Thinking about buying a Toyota Prius but can't figure if the initial purchase cost will be offset in the long run enough to make it a smart buy? Then you're probably reading these words on AutoblogGreen and not on Autoblog. But beyond that, Consumer Reports has some good news for you.

Nissan ArmadaFor the second year in a row, CR has named the Prius the best value on the market. The analysis is based on overall ownership cost over the course of a five-year period, with the Toyota hybrid emerging at the top at 47 cents per mile. The worst? The Nissan Armada, which will cost you $1.20 per mile.

Of course, few buyers looking at a Prius would also be considering an Armada, but the test results are broken down into ten categories, which you can view below. And Japanese cars dominated nearly all of them, with domestic and German vehicles landing last in most categories. Alongside the Prius, the Subaru Legacy, Toyota Avalon Hybrid, Lexus ES 300h, Mazda MX-5, Mazda5, Subaru Forester, Nissan Murano, BMW X1 and Honda Ridgeline all topped their respective categories. Read the full report below.
Show full PR text
Consumer Reports Names Toyota Prius Best New-Car Value for Second Year in A Row
Nissan Armada ranked lowest overall in CR's annual Best- & Worst-Value Ranking

YONKERS, NY- Consumer Reports finds the Toyota Prius to be the best overall value for the automotive dollar and the Nissan Armada the worst in its annual Best New-Car Value analysis.

This is the second straight year that the Prius has topped CR's best-value list, which highlights the cars that give you the most bang for your buck. The popular hybrid has the right combination of performance, reliability and low estimated five-year ownership costs of 47 cents per mile. Last year, the Prius unseated the perennial best-value leader, the Honda Fit. The Fit had held the best new-car value title for the previous four years.

The Armada, a large SUV that gets only 13 mpg overall and scored poorly in Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey, costs a hefty $1.20 per mile, according to CR's analysis.

Toyota and Lexus models placed at the top in three of the 10 categories that Consumer Reports analyzed-with the Prius taking top overall ranking and emerging in first place in the compact/subcompact cars category. The Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited is the top-scoring vehicle in the Large Cars group and the Lexus ES 300h is the top model in the Luxury Cars category.

Vehicles from Subaru and Mazda were also standouts in the analysis; each automaker had vehicles that topped the rankings in two categories. The Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium was the top-scoring vehicle in the Midsized Cars category and the Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium scored best among Small SUVs. The Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand ranked first overall in the Sports Cars/Convertibles category while the Mazda5 Grand Touring was best in the Wagons/Minivans group.

In creating its annual Best and Worst New-Car Values list, Consumer Reports mines its performance, reliability, and owner-cost data to calculate a value score for more than 200 different vehicles ranging from small cars like the Hyundai Accent and Honda Fit to luxury sedans such as the Cadillac XTS and BMW 750Li.

"The Prius' 44 mpg overall is the best fuel economy of any non-plug-in car that Consumer Reports has tested," said Consumer Reports Automotive Editor Rik Paul. "Though it's not particularly cheap to buy, the Prius' depreciation is so low that it costs less to own over the first five years than its initial MSRP. We call that a bargain."

The 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 score from the latest Annual Auto Survey. 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. The five-year owner cost estimates factor in depreciation, fuel, insurance premiums, interest on financing, maintenance and repairs, and sales tax. Depreciation is by far the largest owner-cost factor.

The 10 vehicle categories Consumer Reports included in this analysis: Compact/Subcompact Cars, Midsized Cars, Large Cars, Luxury Cars, Sports Cars/Convertibles, Wagons/Minivans, Small SUVs, Midsized SUVs, Luxury/Large SUVs, and Pickups.

"Just because a car is cheap to buy doesn't mean it's a good value. The Nissan Versa Sedan, for example, is one of the least expensive cars that Consumer Reports has tested," Paul said. "For about $1,500 more, we'd go with a Honda Fit, which is fun to drive, cheaper to own, more reliable, and provides almost twice the value."

Here's a look at the winners and losers in each of the categories:

- Compact /Subcompact Cars: Best, Toyota Prius Four; Worst, Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L
- Midsized Cars: Best, Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium; Worst, Nissan Altima 3.5 SL
- Large Cars: Best, Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited; Worst, Ford Taurus Limited
- Luxury Cars: Best, Lexus ES 300h; Worst, BMW 750Li
- Sports Cars/Convertibles: Best: Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring; Worst, Chevrolet Camaro convertible 2SS (V8)
- Wagons/Minivans: Best, Mazda5 Grand Touring; Worst, Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L
- Small SUVs: Best, Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium; Worst, Ford Escape SE (1.6T)
- Midsized SUVs: Best, Nissan Murano SL; Worst, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
- Luxury/Large SUVs: Best, BMW X1 xDrive28i; Worst, Nissan Armada Platinum
- Pickups: Best, Honda Ridgeline RTS; Worst, Ford F-250 Lariat (6.7L V8)

No matter what type of car consumers are looking for, Consumer Reports value analysis will help shoppers get the most for their money. To learn more, visit: www.ConsumerReports.org starting December 17 or pick up the February Issue of Consumer Reports Magazine.

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 rates thousands of products and services annually. 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.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 93 Comments
      brian peters
      • 1 Year Ago
      I know they say the depreciation has a major impact on cost of ownership but it really looks like MPG wins out. I don't have all the numbers but it sure looks like the top and the bottom are also top and bottom in fuel economy. Wonder what this will look like when more data is available on PHEVs and BEVs?
        Temple
        • 1 Year Ago
        @brian peters
        They calculate the cost involved in PHEVs and BEVs. The thing is, the price delta for them incredibly high. Consider a PHEV Prius versus a regular Prius. You're looking at paying $7,000 more for plug-in capability. How much do you have to pay to make up that difference? Granted, you get money back from the Federal government, but still gas prices would need to be very high to make that difference back up. There will come a time when PHEVs/BEVs will match a hybrid in cost-performance, much like how it took hybrids over a decade to become value as well.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Temple
          Yes... but the idea that a premium will always be $7,000 is false. Toyota comes up with that premium based on actual costs... but at a production volume that they are assuming to sell, based on an assumed demand. Toyota and GM differ greatly on their assumptions of PHEV demand. And if Toyota believed they could sell twice as many PHEVs as they currently believe... that $7,000 premium might be much lower. So low, that gasoline prices (averaged over the life of the car) would easily justify the purchase.
          Temple
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Temple
          @Joeviocoe No, the premium is decided by the cost of the components. The plug-in Prius simply requires more batteries, has more components, and is much more complicated. If they could add PHEV at an even smaller cost I'm sure Toyota would add just to sell more cars. Toyota's premium is the smallest I could find, Consider the Volt, its basically a Chevy Cruze with large battery. Obviously, there is a lot of engineering, a lot of cost, and lot of complexity that is added. It really does cost GM tens of thousands more than the Cruze to make the Volt. As better, smaller, cheaper batteries start to appear, costs will come down. But its not these cost premiums aren't coming out of thin air.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Temple
          --"the premium is decided by the cost of the components." Riiiigght... I said that. "premium based on actual costs... but at a production volume " But the "Costs" vary! They vary based on volume. Whether or not initial capital investments are paid off or not... whether production is optimized. There is a lower limit of course, based on the material costs of components, and the minimum labor needed to assemble. But that is NOT were most of the costs come from... they come from expenses that change over time, and are dependent on volume. Which is why economies of scale is a real term. I am NOT saying there is no reason (thin air) for current premiums. It costs a LOT to retool factories, set up new supply chains, and recoup a LOT of R&D money. That costs time and money. But the bulk of the expense is NOT dependent on the quantity produced (as materials and labor would)... so as volume ramps up, initial investment can be paid off, and costs can come down. Examples: GM ramped up volume, the costs came down, prices dropped. Nissan did too. The only gamble, was if they could sell their Volt and Leaf at higher volumes. The answer was yes. Toyota has a LARGE production volume of hybrids compared to GM. And their plug in Prius only contains a few parts that are different from the standard Prius. While GM produces a Volt that only shares a similar platform to the Cruze.... but is mostly different. And differs in the most expensive way, the drive train. And before you even misunderstand me... I am NOT suggesting the premium for the Plugin version over a similar non-plugin car... will EVER be near Zero. I am only saying that it will eventually be low enough to justify the purchase with gasoline savings. There have been HUGE lies told about the Volt.. .how each one costs $xxx,xxx to make. But of course that number went down drastically. And as it went down, it did so retroactively... as in now that GM has sold X thousand Volts... it NEVER cost GM that much to make each. And when they sell millions of PHEVs over the next decade... taking an aggregate of the cost of the whole program from costly start, to profitable finish... the Volt MAKES GM MONEY! Which is the whole reason why they do it.
          chanonissan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Temple
          @temple, nissan have the lowest premium, the check the 2014 highlander hybrid and the nissan pathfinder hybrid, there is a big difference of $5000.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @brian peters
        I wouldn't expect more data to have any impact on CR's rankings.
      MJ
      • 1 Year Ago
      What? No mention about VW TDI? This is so BIASED! This article is MOOT and wasted my damn time! VW TDI will always make better mpg and makes monster torque from launching from a full stop or cruising on highway and tap the pedal a bit and let turbo push the car to speed up and hardly hurt the mpg. Prius can't even do that! My 2011 JSW TDI makes 47-55 mpg almost constantly. Prius isn't even friendly to earth due to so much emissions during building them. Here's the article, science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/does-hybrid-car-production-waste-offset-hybrid-benefits1.htm Have a Merry Christmas!
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Even the name 'Armada' is annoying. Really? You want to invoke the imagery of a fleet of military naval ships?
        jadziasman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        It's THE perfect name for a large SUV. How old are you? Back in the early to mid 70s Detroit build cars so big that they were called land yachts.
      Radioactive Flea
      • 1 Year Ago
      That is ok. I will take that Armada over a Prius any day. You can not put a price on Safety, and I would rather my family not be in a tin can.
        flammablewater
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Radioactive Flea
        The Prius has top safety ratings in every category, and in the only category the Armada is tested - rollover - it did worse than the Prius. I don't want a Prius either but it's no less safe than the Nissan (small cars are incredibly safe now), and I'd always pick a car that's actually been tested over one that hasn't.
          Radioactive Flea
          • 1 Year Ago
          @flammablewater
          Not really. It has 4 stars. I just looked it up. I would hope it has a better rollover rating then an SUV, but then again most cars do.
          Jesus!
          • 1 Year Ago
          @flammablewater
          Wrong there sonny boy. The Prius, Camry, and Lexus twins all epically failed the small overlap test. Go take a look.
        Brewman15
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Radioactive Flea
        Yes, but when it comes to accident AVOIDANCE nearly any 'tin can' car will out accelerate, out handle, and out brake the Armada or any other behemoth SUV/truck. So, I'll stick with my 'tin can' coupe.
          Autoholics Anonymous
          @Brewman15
          I know someone who actually bought a Nissan Titan for their son because it was big and thought it was therefore safer....until he rolled it.
          Radioactive Flea
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Brewman15
          Do you really think a Prius can out accelerate an Armada?
          ChrisH
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Brewman15
          I just know that when a Prius and an Armada collide which one I want to be in
          Brewman15
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Brewman15
          @ Autoholics - Thanks for proving my point. :) @Radioactive - That's why I said any tin car and not specifically the Prius. The Armada does out acclerate the Prius at around 2 secs for both 0-60 and quarter-mile, but the Prius does out brake and out handle it, which is pretty funny to me. @ChrisH - I had that same thought. So, I moved from my car to a Mazda CX-5, but then I saw people driving bigger SUVs. I didn't want to be 'unsafe', so, I bought an Excursion. But then I saw people driving 1-ton trucks. So, I bought a Ram 3500 crew cab long bed dually. But then I saw people driving dump trucks. So, I bought a Mack dump truck, but that's when I saw people driving semi-trucks. Now, I drive a class-8 Internation Prostar semi weighing 40 tons. Now, I feel super safe! /sarcasm.
          jebibudala
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Brewman15
          According to MotorTrend, the Prius was part of the Top 10 Slowest 0-60 vehicles of 2012.
          Basil Exposition
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Brewman15
          @Brewman - you\'re cracking me up dude - class-8 International Prostar semi - LOL!
          Radioactive Flea
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Brewman15
          You guys are getting silly. Anyone can find a rating published to their advantage. So let’s do our own test! Take a Prius against an Armada head on at 50mph. Who wants to drive the Prius? Anyone?
          Jesus!
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Brewman15
          You havent driven a massive suv with a massive engine have you? A prius out accelerate? Lol
      Master Austin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ridgeline doesn't doesn't do anything better than some of the real full size trucks, and from some of the reviews in the past, fuel economy is worse than what you will find on say a V6 F150, without the capability nor reliability. Then again, we all know CR is a joke at this point, they would have use drive solar powered marshmellows if they had their way.
        Temple
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Master Austin
        Ridgeline has always been a niche product. Basically, for folks that want some of the truck utility, but don't want to give up a unibody construction, and its ride quality. EItherway, sales are low, and its going to get discontinued by mid-2014. It won't come back until 2016. Probably be based on the next-gen Pilot when it returns, and with a AWD hybrid that Honda is pushing (the one where there are rear-motors at the rear and no trans-axle). The 'leaked' profile looks more traditional than the Ridgeline: http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-autos-honda-ridgeline-truck-20131212,0,2601890.story
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Temple
          [blocked]
        jtav2002
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Master Austin
        CR doesn't rate trucks based on things that truck drivers actually use trucks for. I mean wasn't the Ridgeline praised for it's car like handling and in bed trunk lol. CR rates appliances. Sometimes it would seem their rankings would be reversed and an enthusiast would be better looking at the vehicles they rate worse.
        hokkaido76
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Master Austin
        You mad??????
      Matt44
      • 1 Year Ago
      Best Pickup is the Ridgeline?
        Andy Grey
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Matt44
        As long as it is not made by the Detroit three the Consumer Reports loves it!
        hokkaido76
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Matt44
        @ Andy Grey: Yeah, you can stop trolling now...........
          l
          • 1 Year Ago
          @hokkaido76
          Truth hurts?
        JSH
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Matt44
        This is a best value ranking. The vehicles are being on the lowest cost per mile.
        hokkaido76
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Matt44
        @ I: Haters are going to keep on hating......
      miketim1
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Pruis is still impressive. Make you wonder how good the next gen is gonna be
        joe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @miketim1
        More recalls and uglyer like the dumb ass people who buy them!!
      Patrick
      • 1 Year Ago
      I continue to enjoy how the Honda Ridgeline is tested as a pickup. Of course it will win for lowest cost. But it doesn't help anyone in the market for an actual pickup. If the Ridgeline is a pickup then the wrx sti 5-dr is a sensible family wagon.
      Howard S
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a flawed report...There are much more worst cars to compare to like Range Rover and Porsches. In addition, did they even take into account the replacement battery for a Prius? It's not an apples to apples comparison.
        BYALTF
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Howard S
        As stated in the analysis is based on overall ownership cost over the course of a five-year period. The Prius battery would still be under warranty. Unlike Honda hybrids, I've never heard of anyone who has had to replace a Prius battery. They last longer than most cars. In the last year two of my coworkers have had to replace/repair the transmissions on their GM car and truck, and that cost more than a Prius battery.
        over9000
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Howard S
        wahhh wahhh stick to your Ford Mustang with Chinese transmission
      thomas.leopard
      • 1 Year Ago
      I LOVE my Volvo S60!!
      x percent
      • 1 Year Ago
      If my only option was the best or worst in each category I'd choose the worst.
      Terry Actill
      • 1 Year Ago
      The only place I see an Armada is at the gas pump.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X