Consumer Reports 'best new-car values'

LOS ANGELES

Each year Consumer Reports crunches the numbers to find the "best new-car values."

"Just because a car is cheap to buy doesn't make it a good value," said Rik Paul of Consumer Reports.

Take the Nissan Versa, for example. At around $15,000, it's one of the least expensive cars Consumer Reports has tested recently. But, they consider it a poor choice.

"The Honda fit costs a little more, but it's a better value. It's more fun to drive, it's more reliable and it's cheaper to own," said Paul.

The Subaru Forester costs $2,000 more than the Hyundai Tucson, but Consumer Reports says the Forester is the better value.

"Our value score is based on a car's five-year ownership cost when you take everything into account, including insurance, fuel, depreciation and so on," said Paul, "and then we factor in how a car performs and how likely it is to have problems."

Among the 200-plus cars Consumer Reports analyzed, the worst value ended up being the Nissan Armada. It costs more than $55,000, gets only 13 miles per gallon, isn't very reliable, and it didn't score well at the test track. Even the door handles are hard to reach.

The best value car was the Toyota Prius, with its 44 miles per gallon, comfortable ride, and outstanding reliability.

Consumer Reports also points out that high-end luxury cars are almost never a good value. They cost a lot to buy, they can use a lot of fuel, and they depreciate quite a bit.

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