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Frugal Shopper: For Happiness, Don't Sweat The Numbers Page 2

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The exemption would apply to companies that sell fewer than 400,000 vehicles per year in the U.S.

The exemption would apply to companies that sell fewer than 400,000 vehicles per year in the U.S.

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The formula Consumer Reports used included road tests, reliability ratings, and estimated total ownership costs over five years—in other words, depreciation, the cost of insurance, maintenance and estimated repair cost, even fuel costs.

Back in 2008, CR broke down those ownership costs into average percentages, and depreciation was by far the largest portion, at 46 percent of those total costs over five years. At that time the less impressive resale values of Kia and Hyundai models offset their low prices, long warranty coverage, and relatively good reliability records, for example, even though the Honda Fit is more expensive than the Hyundai Accent.

For this year, calculating these figures out and averaging them for a cost-per-mile estimate over five years, CR saw costs ranging from 42 cents per mile for the Honda Fit to $1.70 for the Mercedes S550. So if you keep them both for that long, the Benz costs about four times as much to own.

Buying a vehicle solely on buff-book performance-number bragging rights is silly. So is buying one based only upon ownership-cost numbers.

If you're setting out looking for a new car, and you're on a rather tight budget, you're quite simply better off to make a well-informed decision. Consider how the vehicle drives, how you feel behind the wheel, how your family fits, whether it has the features you need, whether it's good enough on gas, whether it'll cost too much to keep up, and whether you think it'll but not sweat these numbers.

Angular Rear Exterior View - 2010 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2-door Coupe

Angular Rear Exterior View - 2010 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2-door Coupe

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One model that we have trouble arguing with on CR's list—one that makes sense both from a fiscal standpoint and for being a blast to drive—is the base Mini Cooper. The Cooper remains the top pick in CR's sporty cars category, and it's one of The Car Connection's top-rated vehicles. It's maintained a good reliability record, strong resale value, and very low fuel costs (thanks to an EPA rating of 28 mpg city, 37 highway), and we can vouch for the day-to-day ownership experience.

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Comments (22)
  1. Wow small cars are a good value even at Gas

  2. "2010 Honda Fit and 2010 Toyota Prius the best new car values of the year" - the trend is going into a world on smaller and more efficient autos.

  3. So Chrysler, not a good value at all right now. They need new models that are reliable and desirable, fast.

  4. Maybe they don't have a big delight factor, but are any of those Best Value cars undesirable? No. Note that government motors didn't make the list at all. Satisfies me.

  5. you sure recomend toyota they seem to have thier problems I will stick with GM

  6. No Toyota is a good value to me-plenty of other well priced vehicles around. I don't trust Consumer Reports anymore after their most recent issue which promoted Toyota to a fault.
    As you said, "What matters is the vehicle."

  7. I don't trust Consumer Reports either. I went with thier recomendations and found out, thier reports stunk...!

  8. I trusted Consumer Reports on what they recomended an got ripped..!
    Some things about thier reports are right, but don't put your full truth in what they say...! They DO screw up...!

  9. I have read consumers report and have found that they are wrong more then right. Example: Gas mileage of a Chev Impala. Any that I have drove or know about got at least 9 miles per gallon better then they reported.

  10. this sickens me and many idiots will read the consumer reports and not buy me and my families personal favorite of mopars. the charger r/t is not a family sedan is a 4 door moder muscle car of course its not the best values it eats gas and tires hence the r/t maybe they shoulda used the v6. The avenger hauls ass for a v6.And the nitro and wrangler are very reliable and always have decent re sale they didnt take in to account the fact that some people dont want a rolling plastic 40 mpg computer and some people want something fun like a wrangler or something a little faster than most suvs and alot cooler looking in most owners opinons in the nitro. These are reliable somewhat niche cars that many people will not even consider thanks to these morons. rant over

  11. Wow pick on Mopar much
    These Mopar cars that are supposed bad buys are the farthest from it, how can you compare a Charger with a Hemi to a Acura with a 4cylinder and still keep your job meat head, some of these test writers are completely clueless, I have met a few a various car shows and most don't even know were to put the key in and these are the guy's that are killing the North American Auto industry with there stupid reports. So someone with very little knowledge wants to buy a car and he or she reads a poor report of course they are going to shy away and look at something out of country because that sure looks like this so called experts picks are all Gutless cars with no Jam
    So thanks again for selling a few more out of country cars JERK

  12. For 20 years or more, my personal experience with cars has not been anything like what Consumer Reports says. I have had nothing but success in the 25 or 30 Mopars I have own over the last 40 years. It's interesting to note that the number car people said they would buy again was a Dodge.

  13. You guys are so hung up on Toyota and Honda that you would not know a good car if you drove it!! Yes, I have driven Honda cars for many years and they are good, however, my 2006 Honda Accord has so much road noise that you can hardly hear the radio. I also have owned Dodge vehicles and they have been very good. Your class comparisons choices are very poor and do not apply. Thanks for your hatred of Chrysler and GM!!

  14. I hate that dodge can't build a reliable car.My dodge van only had 321,000 miles on it when the water pump went.You would think that they could make a vehicle that would last.Now at 350,000 I have to replace the alternater.What junk(sic)

  15. When I was driving to work one morning and had the radio on. Consumer Reports had a gentelman on and when someone called in and asked about a Jeep Laredo the gentelman from Consumer Reports told him that Jeep did not make a Laredo and the last one mad was in 1986............I guess he only looks at Toyota. HOW about the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo still being sold ????? and this is 2010

  16. I guess with everyone being hurt or killed by Toyota you at Consumer reports think is a great buy! ???

  17. They brag up the some of the first terrorist's to this country, Pearl Harbor. Also the one's that got the big bailout rebuilding their county with our social security funds that modernize them 70 to 100years ahead of USA companies. Go Chrysler,Ford & GM. buy American, check & see where must of the parts come from. Thanks

  18. tired about hearing toyota,honda& nisson. i have always bought dodge ,ford & chevy products. my ford ranger has 245000 miles on it. all origanal major parts. my wife has a mustang 170000 miles on it with no major problems also, & yes i have a hemi powered dodge ram & love it. better check parts boxes on those other three. consumer reports kiss my %$#@.

  19. Hmm, compare a Charger with a Hemi V8 to an Acura with a 4 cylinder, seems fair to me!
    Of course they choose the R/T models for both the Charger and Avenger. They should have chose the V6 Charger and the Avenger with the 4 clyinder.

  20. I wouldnt buy a foreign car even if it ran on water,buy american

  21. OK being a jeep site I guess there's a small bias... Chryco put out some awesome cars - in the 60's. their track record since then has been spotty at best ( K car anyone ? )
    On the other hand, Honda has produced a quality product for the most part for the last 20 years.
    my last point is taken from a previous post
    By George #13, Posted: 3/8/2010
    For 20 years or more, my personal experience with cars has not been anything like what Consumer Reports says. I have had nothing but success in the 25 or 30 Mopars I have own over the last 40 years. It's interesting to note that the number car people said they would buy again was a Dodge.
    25 or 30 cars in 40 years ????? WTF ? my Honda lasted me 11 years ! and had an early death as a result of an accident. does this guy live on a 7/24 demolition derby course or do his cars not last him more than 1.5 years ???
    Honda and Toyota are viewed as the top of build quality, something that North American makers have not been able to say for a very long time.
    Looks like the Japanese figured out a different way to win the war !

  22. Infiniti has just taken the veil on the 2012 M35 Hybrid, the first gasoline-electric hybrid car, but the luxury division of Nissan is already planning an expansion to other models. Automotive Industry News newspaper reported that Infiniti really want the technology through the Infiniti lineup. The company bills the performance of Hybrid M35 as power of a V8 with four-cylinder fuel economy levels that will be necessary for the division to hit the new government in charge of fuel economy laws. The M35 Hybrid uses a value of 3.5-liter V6 371 horsepower when equipped with the hybrid power pack, but offers a 60-90% improvement in fuel economy with its non-hybrid counterpart.

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