Consumer Reports named the Honda Fit as the small car with the best overall value in its 2011 Annual Auto Issue, now available online. The Fit also emerged as the best overall value among some 200 different vehicles analyzed, ranging from small cars to luxury sedans. Although the Jeep Wrangler is well known for its off-road capability, it was named as the overall worst value.
"A low price doesn't necessarily make a car a good value," said Rik Paul, automotive editor at Consumer Reports. "At a time when people need to make every dollar count, our best value list highlights the models that give you a lot for your money."
Consumer Reports mined its performance, reliability, and ownership cost data to calculate value scores for some 200 different vehicles ranging from small cars like the Honda Fit to luxury sedans such as the BMW 750Li.
Scores are calculated based on the five-year owner cost
for each vehicle (shown as cost per mile) along with CR's road-test score and predicted-reliability rating. Five-year owner cost estimates factor in depreciation, fuel costs, insurance premiums, interest on financing, maintenance and repairs, and sales tax. Depreciation is by far the largest owner-cost factor.
In all, eight different categories of vehicles were evaluated including small cars, family cars,
upscale sedans, luxury sedans, sporty cars, wagons and minivans, small SUVs, and midsized SUVs.
Small, affordable cars are often considered value choices. But some small cars are far better
choices than others. At $16,000, the Honda Fit is the top value of more than 200 vehicles in our analysis; the similarly priced Chevrolet Aveo
is the worst value in its class, with higher owner costs, a low test score and below-average reliability. The difference in owner cost could be $3,000 over five years, the typical period most people keep their cars.
Several family cars and small SUVs also stand out as good values, including the Honda CR-V
, Hyundai Sonata
, Subaru Forester
, and several Toyotas, notably the Camry
, and RAV4
Small and family cars tend to provide the most value for the money, while luxury cars as a class are more expensive to own. But there are always exceptions. For instance, CR's best-value luxury car the V8-powered Hyundai Genesis
4.6, has a value score that is the same as the average for all cars.
Even some SUVs can be relatively good values, but midsized models tend to be more expensive over time due to worse fuel economy and higher purchase prices. Still, several models scored better than average, including the Hyundai Santa Fe
, four-cylinder Kia Sorento
, and the V6 and hybrid versions of the Toyota Highlander
This year, seven best-value models come from Hyundai and its Kia brand, both of which has been producing a string of newer models that score well in CR's testing and have average or better predicted reliability. When including its Lexus and Scion brands, Toyota continues to lead in best values with 11 models. Five best-value models are from Honda and Acura. Among the worst values, three models are from Chrysler, seven are from GM, and nine are from European brands.
Here's a look at the best, and worst, value in each of the eight vehicle segments: Best value small car: Honda Fit Worst value small car: Chevrolet Aveo5
1LT Best value family car: Toyota Prius IV Worst value family car: Chevrolet Impala LT
(3.5) Best value upscale sedan: Acura TSX
(4-cyl.) Worst value upscale sedan: Buick Lucerne
(V8) Best value luxury sedan: Hyundai Genesis 4.6 Worst value luxury sedan: BMW 750Li Best value sporty car: Mini Cooper
(base) Worst value sporty car: Porsche 911 Carrera S Best value wagons/minivans: Mazda5 Grand Touring Worst value wagons/minivans: Kia Sedona EX Best value small SUVs: Toyota RAV4
(base, 4-cyl.) Worst value small SUVs: Jeep Liberty Sport Best value midsized SUVs: Hyundai Santa Fe GLS
(4-cyl.) Worst value midsized SUVS: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
See our expanded best new-car values list
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