Many people assume that a low purchase price makes a car a good value. But a cheaper car can actually end up costing more in the long run. Or down the road you could end up regretting its disappointing performance or reliability. And that's no bargain.
Consumer Reports has published a complete story in the February 2012 issue covering the best new-car values. This analysis, available in expanded form online, reveals that small cars and family sedan deliver the most bang for the buck. But, it can be costly to make assumptions. In every vehicle class, we find significant variation in the value score and the cost per mile. The scores are calculated based on a model's five-year owner cost (shown as cost per mile), road test score, and predicted-reliability rating. See the complete best and worst new-car values.
The chart below highlights those models that offer the best or worst combination of performance, utility, and reliability for the money, considering all owner costs over a five-year period. All have an automatic transmission, except where noted, and typical options. Best values are all recommended.
Learn more about new-car value scores.