Consumer Reports Ranks Best New Car Values

by Don Elliott on January 11, 2012

The independent product testing organization, Consumer Reports, has released their list of the best new car values.

In a press release dated January 3, 2012, Consumer Reports automotive editor Rik Paul says, “A low price doesn’t necessarily make a good car value. A cheap vehicle can wind up costing you more money over time or can be disappointing down the road. We think real value is what you get for your money.”

To arrive at the best new car value, the Consumer Reports analysts took a look at 200 different vehicles. The best overall car value winner—the subcompact four-door Honda Fit hatchback! CR ranked each vehicle’s performance, reliability, and ownership cost data to find the top car value.

Japanese brands accounted for 34 of the 48 best car values when ranked by category of vehicles. Interestingly, American brands have been increasing in value retention in a trend that did not show up in this study. Only 5 American-made vehicles were ranked as best car values. European manufacturers contributed six models and the Korean brands had only three representatives.

A closer look at the rankings by category provides some valuable information. For example, small cars and family sedans scored the best overall by category. In the small car category, the Honda Fit is the obvious winner. However, the worst car value for a small car, the Chevy Cruze 1LT, ranked close to the average score on the overall list.

The worst new car values came from the larger and luxury car segments. The “Best Upscale and Luxury Sedan,” the Lexus ES 350, ranked above the average ranking score. However, the rest of the segment did not do so well. The Jaguar XJL fell to the bottom of the segment and low on the overall list.

Across all segments, the hybrids made a good showing. Fuel economy and low depreciation help to make these vehicles predictably good new car values, costing an estimated $.65 per mile to drive for the first five years.

Consumer Reports calculated cost of ownership based on five years of usage. Ownership costs include depreciation, fuel costs, insurance premiums, interest on financing, maintenance and repairs, and sales tax. All of these costs need to be considered when buying any car, new or used.

The complete list of Consumer Reports best new car values will be available in the February Issue of “Consumer Reports” magazine. It can also be seen online at www.consumerreports.org. Check it out to find a car with a great new or used car value!

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