5 On Your Side

Toyota Prius tops Consumer Reports best value list

Posted February 6, 2013

Finding the right new car takes time and work.

Many people dream of driving a top-of-the-line shiny new car with all the bells and whistles – until the reality of the budget kicks in.

There’s a lot more to getting a good deal than just the sticker price. Buyers must factor in whether the vehicle is a smart investment or even worth the money. The real question, though, should circulate around how much it will cost you in the future.

The Nissan Versa is one of the least expensive cars sold, but Consumer Reports said that its poor reliability means it could cost in the long run.

According to Consumer Reports, paying $500 more for the Hyundai Accent is a better value. It has better reliability and is also a much nicer car. It made Consumer Reports list of the “best new car values.”

“Our value scores are based on three elements: our road-test scores, predicted reliability from our Annual Auto Survey, and our estimate of how much it'll cost to own the car for five years,” said Rik Paul of Consumer Reports.

Toyota Prius best value list Toyota Prius tops Consumer Reports best value list

Consumer Reports says the best value is the Toyota Prius. The sticker price is less than $30,000 and over time it costs a very economical 49 cents per mile to own.

On the other end of the spectrum, Consumer Reports said the BMW 750Li costs almost $100,000 and $1.80 per mile to own. It came as the worst value on the list.

“Every category from small cars to SUVs have both good and bad performers,” Paul said. “But if you want some space and want a good value, we recommend a wagon, a small SUV, or a minivan.”

Consumer Reports also said some good choices include the Toyota Sienna and the Mazda5.

For those looking for a smaller vehicle, Consumer Reports said the Mini Cooper's base model is another great value. It's 49 cents per mile to own and has plenty of luxury features.

It is also important to keep in mind that just because a car is an American company doesn't mean all the parts are American made.

The Chevrolet Spark and the Toyota Sienna are good examples of this. Consumer Reports said only 10 percent of the Chevy's parts are American or Canadian Made. With the Toyota, Sienna, 75 percent are American made. That information is typically on the window sticker.


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  • superman Feb 8, 2013

    I stand behind my Honda. Had it for 8 years and never had a single service problem. Changed the oil etc, rotated the tires, replaced the battery and did all the normal maint things. The battery was still doing fine but I figured it was getting old and didnt want to be stranded. Replaced it last year with a new Honda.

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 7, 2013

    "robust and growing trade in used batteries"

    Good point Salty, thanks for reading the article.

  • baracus Feb 7, 2013

    "The 8 year/100,000 mile warranty only applies to the new Prius and is in direct response to Toyota customer complaints that the battery starts going bad after 7 years and costs more than the car is worth to repair. "

    So you consider a car built in 2003 to be new? Not sure how they got a lot of complaints about 7+ year old cars failing at that point, when the first Prius sold in Japan was only six years old at that point and in the U.S. only 3. Lol.

  • SaltyOldJarhead Feb 7, 2013

    Seems to be a bit of a discrepancy between what the Toyota Service Manager says and what the article talks about.

    For example, if there is only a 1% failure rate, why is there a "robust and growing trade in used batteries" where "when most PriusChatters are starting their search for new traction batteries, they are starting on eBay, then checking salvage yards, then going to the dealer."

    I'll stand by my earlier comments. I wouldn't trust a "National Service Manager" as far as I could pick him up and throw him. Had too many dealings with those guys.....

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 7, 2013

    Here's a good article on battery life.


  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 7, 2013

    "Gary Smith, Toyota’s National Service Technology Manager, says that the battery failure rate for a first-generation Prius is around 1 percent, but that the second-generation is down to less than one bad battery in 40,000, a stat he calls “fractional and insignificant.”"

    Now this is from Toyota so the source is to be considered, however until I see evidence to the contrary it stands.

  • SaltyOldJarhead Feb 7, 2013

    "No, they don't." - baracus

    Yes they do - personal experience and the experience of local area Toyota mechanics as well. If you know one, just ask.

    The 8 year/100,000 mile warranty only applies to the new Prius and is in direct response to Toyota customer complaints that the battery starts going bad after 7 years and costs more than the car is worth to repair. Toyota effectively staves off the junking of the car by 1 year with this "warranty".

    This means that you better not keep your brand new Prius past 8 years and if you keep it that long it will be worthless unless the battery had been replaced under warranty very recently.

  • SaltyOldJarhead Feb 7, 2013

    It is well known that after 7 years, Prius owners are living on borrowed time with regards to the battery pack and by 10 years, most have failed. The cost of the battery pack by itself ($3500-4000) plus installation costs effectively total the car after 10 years.

    In short, the Prius is a throwaway car, ready to be junked after 10 years. Not very green at all in my opinion......

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 7, 2013

    Battery replacement has been touted as a fear of owning a prius for many years now, however as the oldest prius's have turned well over 10 years old it appears to be as false as the gun grabbers saying if law abiding citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons it would be like the wild west again. Sometimes false information continues to be regurgitated no matter the preponderance of evidence. The only exception is that if a prius is run with out fuel and the batteries are completely drained the batteries can be ruined, however this is the users fault not a product failure.

  • baracus Feb 7, 2013

    "Prius? Best value for 5 years? OK, at 7 years the batteries need to be replaced."

    No, they don't. Even if they did, the batteries are warranted for a minimum of 8 years (up to 10 in some states), so it wouldn't cost the owner anyway.