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Frugal Shopper: For Happiness, Don't Sweat The Numbers

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2010 Honda Fit Sport

2010 Honda Fit Sport

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Consumer Reports, as part of this week's torrent of announcements from its Annual Auto Issue, named the 2010 Honda Fit and 2010 Toyota Prius the best new-car values of the year.

While it so happens we like both of those models very much (and appreciate the Prius' 51-mpg rating), they definitely wouldn't fit every shopper—not even every shopper who's strongly value-minded.

Of course, we each hold a different formula for value, and what matters in a vehicle.

Initial price certainly is just a small part of the story. The 2010 Chevrolet Aveo, with the 1LT package, one of CR's designated worst values this year, has a bottom-line sticker price of just $14,970. Likewise, CR chose one of the more expensive Prius models, the well-equipped 2010 Toyota Prius IV model, which includes leather seats (heated in front), an upgraded water-repellent windshield, a Plasmacluster ionizer, Bluetooth connectivity, the upgraded JBL premium audio system with satellite radio.

Other top-scoring vehicles on the CR value scale include the 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring, the Subaru Forester 2.5x, and the Acura TSX (four-cylinder).

2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

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It's also revealed, unabashedly, a list of "worst value" vehicles. Six of the eight "worst value" vehicles—including the Dodge Avenger R/T, Charger R/T, Grand Caravan SXT, and Nitro SLT; the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara; and the Chrysler Sebring Convertible Limited—are from Chrysler. The Mercedes-Benz S550 was called the worst value among luxury sedans.

 
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