Consumer Reports has selected the 2009 Toyota Prius (Touring) as best overall value among 300 American and foreign cars reviewed. The Lexus LS 460, Mini Cooper, Infiniti G37, and Toyota Highlander are among the top cars of 2009 as rated by Consumer Reports.
The Mini Cooper, Volkswagen Rabbit, Honda Civic EX and the Honda Fit completed the top-five selections among the best valued cars, according to magazine.
In its yearly auto issue, Consumer Reports highlights the best new-car value vehicles in nine categories: small cars, family cars, upscale cars, hatchbacks/wagons, sporty cars, minivans, small SUVs, midsized SUVs and pickup trucks.
Here are the highlights:
Best Value Small Cars: Honda Civic EX, Honda Fit (base), Hyundai Elantra SE, Toyota Corolla LE and the Honda Civic Hybrid
Best Value Family Cars: Toyota Prius Touring, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Toyota Prius (base), Hyundai Sonata (4-cyl.) and the Honda Accord (4-cyl.)
Best Value Hatchbacks/Wagons: Volkswagen Rabbit, Mazda3 hatchback, Scion xB, Subaru Impreza Outback Sport and the Toyota Matrix
Best Value Small SUVs: Toyota RAV4 (4-cyl.), Toyota RAV4 (V6), Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander (4-cyl.) and the Nissan Rogue
Best Value Midsized SUVs: Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Nissan Murano, and the Honda Pilot
The magazine also selected its top 2009 vehicle in 10 major categories.
SMALL SEDAN: Hyundai Elantra SE The Elantra SE ($18,695) is a comfortable, roomy small car that provides good fuel economy, a quiet and nicely finished interior, and plenty of features for the money. Only the SE version comes with standard electronic stability control, which is absent on many other small cars.
MIDSIZED SUV: Toyota Highlander The Highlander ($26,000 to $41,000) is a very refined and versatile vehicle. It provides a comfortable and quiet ride, a nicely finished interior, three rows of seats, and decent fuel economy for its class. The Highlander Hybrid’s fuel economy, 24 mpg overall, is among the best of any SUV in Consumer Report’s ratings. First-year reliability has been excellent.
PICKUP TRUCK: Chevrolet Avalanche The Chevrolet Avalanche full-sized crew cab ($36,000 to $47,000) is one of the most versatile and comfortable pickups that Consumer Reports has tested. Its unified bed and cab helps give it a solid feel and a comfortable, quiet ride. Its innovative partition, between the cab and the bed, can be folded to allow longer cargo to extend into the back of the cab.
BEST OVERALL VEHICLE: Lexus LS 460 With a road test score of 99 out of 100, the Lexus LS 460 ($64,000 to $77,000) is Consumer Reports’ highest-scoring vehicle. It provides a luxurious, uncompromising driving environment, with a supremely comfortable ride and a roomy, well-finished, and exceptionally quiet interior. The LS is brimming with electronic amenities, yet the controls are easy to use. Its 380-hp, 4.6-liter V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission deliver smooth, quick acceleration and relatively good fuel economy.
FAMILY SEDAN: The Honda Accord ($21,000 to $31,000) is a roomy, well-rounded sedan that’s easy to live with and enjoyable to drive. It offers a comfortable ride, agile handling, and efficient, refined four- and six-cylinder powertrains. Electronic stability control is standard, and crash-test results are impressive.
UPSCALE SEDAN: One of the highest-rated sedans tested, the G37 (33,000 to $36,000, formerly G35) combines sportiness and luxury in a very appealing package. It has a very lively powertrain, agile handling, a comfortable ride, and a nicely appointed interior. For 2009, it also has a larger, 328-hp, 3.7-liter engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission, which improves fuel economy.
FUN TO DRIVE: The Mazda Miata MX-5 ($22,000 to $29,000) is a true sports car at a reasonable price. With quick, precise steering, a crisp-shifting manual transmission, and balanced handling, it virtually tied the Porsche Boxster in test scoring, but it costs about half the price.
SMALL SUV: The Toyota RAV4 ($23,000 to $30,000) narrowly outscored the Subaru Forester to remain our Top Pick for the third straight year. It provides agile handling, a roomy and quiet interior, a comfortable ride, and an optional third-row seat. The four-cylinder version gets the best fuel economy of any automatic, nonhybrid SUV CR has tested.
MINIVAN: The Toyota Sienna ($26,000 to $38,000) offers a spacious, versatile, and comfortable way to carry up to eight people. Consumer Reports found that the quiet, well-finished interior rivals that of some luxury sedans. Electronic stability control is standard. This is the only minivan available with all-wheel drive.
GREEN CAR: Despite the arrival of more gas/electric hybrids, the Toyota Prius ($22,000 to $24,000) leads this category for the sixth straight year. The base model’s 44 overall mpg is the best Consumer Reports has measured in any five-passenger car. The interior is roomy and versatile, and reliability remains excellent. A redesigned Prius will arrive in early summer.