In addition to its varied category and overall best and worst category lists, Consumer Reports has a best value list and the 2011 Honda Fit has emerged as a double winner — best small car value and best overall value in 2011 among more than 200 different vehicles analyzed.
“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 uses performance, reliability, and ownership cost data to calculate value scores, with all cars in the same category — the entry level Honda Fit to the luxury sedans like 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 the publication’s own predicted-reliability. 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. Within categories models are ranked by value score, above or below the average.
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.
Here’s the list of the best and worst value in each of the eight vehicle segments analyzed by Consumer Reports:
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
To read the 2011 Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue online, visit: www.ConsumerReports.org.