What is the flat-out best value in new cars today? It’s the Toyota Prius, says Consumer Reports’ annual Best & Worst-Value Ranking.
The regular Prius – now distinguished from its “family” members as the “Liftback” – has now been named best value two years in a row, outdoing the Honda Fit which held the spot for four years prior.
Cost to own and drive the Prius is 47 cents per mile over a five-year total ownership cost, says the publication.
“The Prius’ 44 mpg overall is the best fuel economy of any non-plug-in car that Consumer Reports has tested,” said Consumer Reports Automotive Editor Rik Paul. “Though it’s not particularly cheap to buy, the Prius’ depreciation is so low that it costs less to own over the first five years than its initial MSRP. We call that a bargain.”
What is not a bargain, says CR? That would be the Nissan Armada large SUV which costs $1.20 per mile to own. This was the outright worst value the publication said.
How does CR come up with its analyses? In its own words, it is as follows:
The scores were calculated based on the five-year owner cost for each vehicle, along with Consumer Reports’ road-test score and the organization’s own predicted-reliability score from the latest Annual Auto Survey. In short, the better a car performs in Consumer Reports’ road tests and reliability ratings, and the less it costs to own over time, the better its value. The five-year owner cost estimates factor in depreciation, fuel, insurance premiums, interest on financing, maintenance and repairs, and sales tax. Depreciation is by far the largest owner-cost factor.
Other notable findings were that no plug-in cars made the list in any of the 10 categories and 200 different vehicles assessed.
Among hybrids, Toyota’s Avalon scored top spot in the large vehicle class. And the Lexus ES300h outdid all others in the luxury class.
Here’s a list of the winners and losers as CR sees it:
– Compact /Subcompact Cars: Best, Toyota Prius Four; Worst, Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L
– Midsized Cars: Best, Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium; Worst, Nissan Altima 3.5 SL
– Large Cars: Best, Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited; Worst, Ford Taurus Limited
– Luxury Cars: Best, Lexus ES 300h; Worst, BMW 750Li
– Sports Cars/Convertibles: Best: Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring; Worst, Chevrolet Camaro convertible 2SS (V8)
– Wagons/Minivans: Best, Mazda5 Grand Touring; Worst, Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L
– Small SUVs: Best, Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium; Worst, Ford Escape SE (1.6T)
– Midsized SUVs: Best, Nissan Murano SL; Worst, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
– Luxury/Large SUVs: Best, BMW X1 xDrive28i; Worst, Nissan Armada Platinum
– Pickups: Best, Honda Ridgeline RTS; Worst, Ford F-250 Lariat (6.7L V8)
“Just because a car is cheap to buy doesn’t mean it’s a good value. The Nissan Versa Sedan, for example, is one of the least expensive cars that Consumer Reports has tested,” Paul said. “For about $1,500 more, we’d go with a Honda Fit, which is fun to drive, cheaper to own, more reliable, and provides almost twice the value.”
For more info on its lates automotive test findings, you can check out Consumer Reports.