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Frugal Shopper: For Happiness, Don't Sweat The Numbers Page 3

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2010 Porsche 911 Turbo

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo

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Even though one vehicle might be a better value—meaning that the numbers work out better, or the composite of features makes better sense—another vehicle might have that "must-have" magic. So whatever you call it, there's another more emotional side to vehicular satisfaction other than value and numbers. Sure enough, automakers are seeking ways to gauge and number-crunch this emotional response, too; for instance the market-research firm Strategic Vision has added a metric called Delight to its annual surveys—a way of showing what's beyond mere satisfaction.

But even Consumer Reports hints that shoppers shouldn't take their value numbers too devoutly. They point out that the 2010 Porsche 911 Carrera—an excellent sports car, but pricey at $77,800—has low value scores because of its high ownership costs, even though it does have good performance test scores and an impressive record for reliability.

The bottom line is that you should definitely consider the facts and numbers in the value equation, but a little spare change won't buy you love. Even if you're the biggest cheapskate in the showroom, going strictly by the numbers probably won't lead to happiness in the long run.

If you happen to plan to keep your vehicle for about five years, and you can stay cool and detached like Consumer Reports, you might want to consider their list below. If not, we're happy to see you follow your heart.

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CR's Best and Worst Value Vehicles

   
 

BEST VALUE

WORST VALUE

 

Small Cars

Honda Fit

Chevrolet Aveo5 1LT

 

Family Cars

Toyota Prius IV

Dodge Avenger R/T (3.5, V6)

 

Wagons/Minivans

Hyundai Elantra Touring

Dodge Grand Caravan SXT (3.8)

 

Small SUVs

Subaru Forester 2.5x

Dodge Nitro SLT (3.7)

 

Midsized SUVs

Hyundai Santa Fe Limited

Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

 

Upscale Sedans

Acura TSX (4-cyl.)

Dodge Charger R/T (V8)

 

Luxury Sedans

Infiniti M35 (RWD)

Mercedes-Benz S550

 

Sporty Cars

Mini Cooper

Chrysler Sebring Convertible Limited

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[Consumer Reports]


 
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