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

February 26, 2010

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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