The 2012 Toyota Prius (Credit: Toyota).
The Toyota Prius is the best value for your dollar, according to Consumer Reports, taking over the No. 1 spot from the the Honda Fit hatchback, which has held the honor for the past 4 years.

"There are plenty of less expensive cars," said Consumer Reports in a post on its website. "But they can't match the Prius for its comfortable ride, competent handling, roomy interior, excellent reliability, and, of course, its great fuel economy."

Consumer Reports evaluated more than 200 cars and determined the Best Value vehicle by weighing cost, benefit and risk. The cars that were determined to be the best values had a low cost of operation, good reliability and good performance in testing.

The publication noted in its study that a less expensive car does not necessarily make it a good value, which is why the Prius, which starts at $24,200, beat out the many cars that have lower MSRPs.

"The Nissan Versa sedan ... is one of the least expensive cars on the market. Yet it had a mediocre score in our tests and is not reliable," Consumer Reports noted. "So despite its low price, it's not worth the money."

Consumer Reports admitted that the Prius isn't going to get your adrenaline pumping, but overall, it's a very smart buy.

"The Prius may not be the most exciting vehicle to drive, nor the cheapest to purchase, but it's extremely reliable, roomy, rides well, gets great fuel economy, and is inexpensive to operate," said Rik Paul, the publication's automotive editor, in a statement.


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