• 2012 Honda Fit Sport.
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  • 2012 Honda Fit Sport.
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  • 2012 Honda Fit Sport.
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  • 2012 Honda Fit Sport.
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  • 2012 Honda Fit Sport (interior).
  • 2012 Honda Fit Sport (interior).
  • 2012 Honda Fit Sport (interior).
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  • 2012 Honda Fit Sport (interior).
  • 2012 Honda Fit Sport (interior).
  • 2012 Honda Fit Sport (interior).
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  • 2012 Honda Fit Sport 1.5 liter i-VTEC engine.
Looking for the best value in a new car? Better make it Japanese, according to Consumer Reports. The go-to buyer's guide has just finished compiling its list of the best values in the new-car market, and an overwhelming proportion of them hail from the Land of the Rising Sun.

CR took some 200 different vehicles into account, catalogued them into eleven categories and picked the best values based on the outcome of their own road tests, their reliability ratings and overall ownership costs (including depreciation) over a five-year term. The resulting 48 best values included 34 picks from Japanese automakers, six European, five American and three South Korean.

At the very top of the list sits the Honda Fit, which not only ranked as the best value in its category, but the best value overall. Consumer Reports concludes that, even discounting the Fit from your shopping list, the small car category still represents the best value no matter which model you choose. Case in point: The Chevrolet Cruze, which was ranked as the worst value in the small car category, still ranked above average overall. Follow the jump for the full press release.
Show full PR text
Honda Fit Repeats at Top of Consumer Reports Best New-Car Value List
Analysis of performance, reliability, and owner cost finds small cars and family sedans deliver the most bang for the buck

YONKERS, N.Y., Jan. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite the influx of new vehicles into the small- and budget-car marketplace, the Honda Fit remains on top in Consumer Reports list of best value small cars. The Fit also re-emerged as the best overall value among some 200 different vehicles that were analyzed.

"A low price doesn't necessarily make a car a good value," said Rik Paul, automotive editor at Consumer Reports. "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."

Consumer Reports mined its performance, reliability, and ownership cost data to calculate value scores for some 200 different vehicles ranging from small cars like the Honda Fit to luxury sedans such as the Jaguar XJL.

Scores were calculated based on the five-year owner cost for each vehicle along with Consumer Reports road-test score and the organization'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 short, the better a car performs in Consumer Reports road tests and reliability ratings, and the less it costs to own over time, the better its value.

Overwhelmingly, the best values come from Japanese automakers, including most of the top models in each category. Of the 48 best values in Consumer Reports lists, 34 are from Japanese brands. Six models come from European brands (mostly Volkswagen), five come from American ones (mostly Ford), and three are from South Korean automakers.

In all, 11 different categories of vehicles were evaluated including small cars, family sedans, upscale and luxury sedans, sporty cars, wagons, minivans, small SUVs, midsized SUVs, large and luxury SUVs, compact pickups, and full-sized pickups. Within categories, models are ranked by value score, above or below the average.

Overall the report finds that small cars and family sedans provide the best value. In addition to the Honda Fit, the Toyota Prius hybrid, diesel-powered Golf TDI (with manual transmission), Scion xD, and Toyota Corolla also made Consumer Reports list of best values in the small car category. Most scored at least twice as high as the average model and higher than any other model in Consumer Reports' analysis. Even the lowest-scoring small car, the Chevrolet Cruze, is close to average in overall value.

Best Value Small Car : Honda Fit
Worst Value Small Car : Chevrolet Cruze 1LT


The family-sedans category is led by the four-cylinder Nissan Altima, which scored 75 percent higher than average. That's followed by the four-cylinder Kia Optima, the Subaru Legacy, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and the four-cylinder Honda Accord. Again, even the lowest-rated family sedans have value scores that are slightly better than average.

Larger and luxury vehicles are among the worst values overall. The best large and midsized SUVs, for example, tend to earn about the same value score as the lowest-ranked family sedans. Large or luxury sedans and SUVs also usually score at only about 70 percent of the average.

There are exceptions. The top-scoring upscale sedan, the Lexus ES 350, earned a value score that's almost one and a half times the average, for example. The ES is comfortable, quiet, roomy, and reliable, and it's a nicer overall car to drive than the four-cylinder Altima family sedan. But its cost per mile is a relatively high 77 cents, and its five-year owner cost is $11,000 more than the Altima's. That drops its value score slightly below the Nissan.

Best Value Upscale & Luxury Sedan : Lexus ES 350
Worst Value Upscale & Luxury Sedan : Jaguar XJL


The analysis also revealed wagons and small SUVs tend to provide better value than larger SUVs or minivans. Among wagons, the diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta TDI with manual transmission is the top scorer, offering almost 70 percent more value than the average car. Other good choices are the Mazda5 microvan and Subaru Outback, with almost one and a half times that of the average value.

Best Value Small SUV : Toyota RAV4 (base, 4-cyl.)
Worst Value Small SUV : Jeep Liberty Sport


The top small SUVs are even better values than wagons. Leading that class are the four-cylinder Toyota RAV4 and the Subaru Forester, with scores that are 84- and 70-percent better than average. Midsized SUVs represent less of a bargain because of their higher purchase prices and fuel costs. Even the best midsized SUVs in the chart scored only a little better than average. Among luxury SUVs, only the BMW X3, Acura RDX and MDX, Infiniti EX, and gas and hybrid versions of the Lexus RX had above-average value scores.

Best Value Small SUVs : Toyota RAV4 (base, 4-cyl.)
Worst Value Small SUVs : Jeep Liberty Sport


Minivans generally get better fuel economy than most midsized or larger SUVs, have more space than all but the largest SUVs, and usually cost less. But as a class, subpar reliability drags them down. Even the most reliable minivan, the front-wheel drive versions of the Toyota Sienna, have only average reliability, which allows us to recommend them. As a result, they are also the only minivans that earned a better-than-average value score.

Consumer Reports analysis also showed that hybrids can be relatively good values because of a combination of good fuel economy, low depreciation, and above-average reliability. As a class, hybrids have an overall value that's at least one and a half times that of the average model, and on average they cost about 65 cents per mile to drive over the first five years.

The complete best and worst lists for all 11 best car values categories are available in the February Issue of Consumer Reports and online at www.ConsumerReports.org starting January 3.

Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit annually rates thousands of products and services. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org ® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 80 Comments
      maverick_02
      • 3 Years Ago
      If any of you get one of these, I beg of you get the manual transmission! the automatic saps what is to be had in this car. Don't do it!
      IBx27
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just in case you needed a little more evidence of CR's irrelevance in the automotive world...here ya go!
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        NightFlight
        • 3 Years Ago
        Literally millions of people take them seriously. Were you being sarcastic??
      caddy-v
      • 3 Years Ago
      For the record, the host of WLS radio car show has made several comments regarding CR. Most notable, "The only thing Consumer Reports is good for is a substitute for running out of toilet paper".
        tipdrip215
        • 3 Years Ago
        @caddy-v
        You're right on the money, caddy-v. I keep a few old CR mags around just for that purpose, just rip out a page (or few) and wipe.
      Mark A Golden
      • 3 Years Ago
      the car looks like crap, and i wouldn't buy it because it looks like crap...
      Jonesy
      • 3 Years Ago
      As a former Product Development Engineer at Honda, i can tell you that this report is RIGHT ON THE MONEY! All components (save normal maintenance items) are designed to last 300,000miles minimum... I currently work in development for another OEM and many of my coworkers came from the "big 3" american firms... They informed me that 100,000miles was the target at the "big 3" until just a few years ago... NOW, they are designing to 150,000miles.... Don't pretend this is all bias... THESE are the facts and that's why American cars don't last as long...
        rmkensington
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jonesy
        "As a former Product Development Engineer at Honda" Riiiiight. And now you spend all your time surfing Autoblog?
          torqued
          • 3 Years Ago
          @rmkensington
          Is that really hard to believe? That people with jobs in the automotive industry like to read about cars?
          Jonesy
          • 3 Years Ago
          @rmkensington
          If scanning autoblog takes up your whole day, you should learn to read faster.
        emperor koku
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jonesy
        If you're not planning on keeping the car long-term, or you lease, it doesn't make a difference. But if you buy and keep a car for ten years, I agree - go Honda or Toyota.
        Justin
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jonesy
        My 97 Ranger and my sister's dead 97 Accord would like to know your definition of "fact", as well as proof that modern Honda's are designed to last 2-3 times than modern GM/Ford.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        redgpgtp97
        • 3 Years Ago
        The Cruze was not financed by tax dollars, it was already designed and built in other countries before the bankruptcy and before they brought it to the US.
        Dayv
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yeah, dang Consumer Reports publishing the reports they based on mathematical criteria and subjective evaluation! They should report that we have always been at war with Eastasia, Big Brother loves you, and American-made cars are objectively the best by virtue of being American-made! Resale values are meaningless!
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
        Justin
        • 3 Years Ago
        subcompacts \= all respective categories I also don't think GM and Ford are that far behind even in this segment. In some segments I'd say they're ahead.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Johnny
        • 3 Years Ago
        The value rating is largely determined by resale values and even though the Cruze is a massive improvement over the Cobalt it takes a while for people to find out about whether it's long term reliability is good so resale values will lag behind. You have to make a big improvement and then wait several years before long term reliability is known and that's what really affects resale value. The cheaper it is to keep a car running the better the resale value, it's pretty much that simple. That's why old BMW 5 series and 7 series vehicles have horrible resale values.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Johnny
          [blocked]
          cwerdna
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Johnny
          Well, the Cruze already has the worst predicted reliability by Consumer Reports for small cars. Not a good start. Unfortunately, Chevys and many other American cars are popular as rentals, which further depresses their resale value. Automakers throwing on incentives when selling cars also hurts resale value vs. those that don't.
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its ridiculous that even after all the strides that Detroit has made over the last few years, they are still only managing a handful of cars on CR's list. And I am not accusing CR of bias, rather in some categories Detroit's entries are VASTLY superior to what they offered in the past, but they are still not benchmarks in quality, styling, efficiency or other metrics.
        The Lead Foot
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        Well I certainly wouldn't say the Fit, RAV4 or the ES350 are anywhere near being considered as "benchmarks" in anything design related I mean my god...
          tipdrip215
          • 3 Years Ago
          @The Lead Foot
          Regardless of what CR may say, I think the Fit might be the only Honda product that is still at the defacto top of its class in any category. But I have a bad feeling that when they redesign it, Honda will screw it up as they have everything else they've tried to do lately.
      Fannibal
      • 3 Years Ago
      I trust consumer reports- it pretty much mirrors the car experiences among my friends me and most of my friends own a mix of japanese and korean cars(all with no major problems). toyota avalon, honda civic, subaru legacy, hyundai azera, hyundai sonata, acura mdx. not a single major repair needed in any of these cars. They range from 1-10 years old with most of them being ~ 5 years old. the one friend that has ventured out and bought a BMW has had nonstop issues for the past 5 years. she absolutely loves the engine and handling of her BMW, but hates it in every other respect-reliability, cost of maintenance, frequency of her car being in the shop, etc. She says she will never buy another BMW. In her circles, apparently she knows a few other BMW/Mercedes owners and they all love their cars performance, but hate the reliability and likely won't buy another one.
      Snark McGee
      • 3 Years Ago
      Did anyone read the press release fully? Yes, the Fit got the best "value" score, but the Golf TDI got the best review rating and scored 4th in value. There is a lot more to this article than Fit vs. Cruze.
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