What are the best value new cars?

February 27, 2009 4:35:53 PM PST
Car companies are offering all kinds of deals these days and they can look great. However, Consumer Reports said they're often no deal at all. They've crunched the numbers on hundreds of cars in the just-published annual auto issue.

At Consumer Reports auto test track, every car goes through some 50 different tests, including handling, braking, fuel economy, and comfort. Each earns a total score between 0 and 100.

Along with testing well, you want a car that doesn't cost a lot over time. So in its annual auto issue, Consumer Reports has come up with the best new-car values.

The top cars on the list aren't necessarily the cheapest, but will provide the best bang for the buck over five years.

"They've also got proven reliability and have done well in our tests," said David Champion of Consumer Reports.

At the top of the list is the touring version of the Toyota Prius.

The Toyota Prius holds its value extremely well. It also gets great gas mileage and excellent reliability," said Champion.

Right behind the Prius is the Mini Cooper, followed by the Volkswagen Rabbit hatchback. Rounding out the top five best deals are the Honda Civic EX and the smaller Honda Fit.

To come up with its list, Consumer Reports takes the cost of owning a vehicle for five years and divides it by the road test score.

To calculate the cost of ownership over five years, Consumer Reports factors in the vehicle's depreciation, maintenance and repair, fuel costs, insurance, sales tax, and interest on financing.

When the math was done, other good value cars proved to be the Hyundai Santa Fe mid-sized SUV and the Toyota RAV4 small SUV.

If you're wondering what is the absolute worst value, Consumer Reports found that, to no one's surprise, it's the Hummer H2.

As far as the best value with minivans, Consumer Reports said the Honda Odyssey tops the list.

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