2011 best car values

The Honda Fit was ranked Consumer Reports' best value in the small cars category.

The Honda Fit was ranked Consumer Reports' best value in the small cars category.

Consumer Reports has released its best and worst values for 2011 vehicles, and some of the results may surprise you.

Vehicles were ranked according to reliability, five-year owner costs and road test scores. CR then determined the cars with the best value according to price.

From the article:

A low sticker price doesn’t mean a car will be a good value in the long run. It could turn out to be a big disappointment and a waste of money because of depreciation, reliability, and other factors.

Among small SUVs, for example, you might be tempted to buy the Jeep Liberty Sport ($26,060) rather than the V6 Toyota RAV4 Limited ($30,328), thinking you’ll save more than $4,000. But the RAV4 is one of our top-rated SUVs, has had excellent reliability, and gets some of the best gas mileage in its class. By contrast, the Liberty rates at the bottom of its category, has had below-average reliability, and gulps a lot more fuel. Moreover, despite its lower sticker price, our analysis shows the Jeep could cost you thousands of dollars more to own over the first five years. Overall, the RAV4 is a much better value.

You’ll need to be a CR subscriber to get the whole list, but here are some of the best value highlights:

  • Best small car: Honda Fit
  • Best family car: Toyota Prius IV
  • Best upscale sedan: Acura TSX
  • Best luxury sedan: Hyundai Genesis
  • Best sporty car: Mini Cooper
  • Best wagon/minivan: Mazda5
  • Best small SUV: Toyota RAV4
  • Best midsized SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe

If you’re in the car-hunting mindset, these articles might also help you through your journey:

Clark Howard: New car gadgets come at a premium

Most fuel-efficient vehicles for 2011

Aren’t in the market for a fuel-efficient vehicle? Check out our interactive map for cheap gas prices in metro Atlanta.

Which cars do you think have the best value? Which have the worst?

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

See a great deal I should know about? Email me at ldavidson@ajc.com. You can also follow me on Facebook or on Twitter @atlbargains.

17 comments Add your comment

Phineaus A. Savengeld

March 8th, 2011
4:10 pm

First, in recognizing a great value! :)

Georgia Boy Sweet on Lauren

March 8th, 2011
4:24 pm

Hi, Lauren.

What about the BEST PICKUP TRUCK (Mid-Size and Full-Size)?


Lauren Davidson

March 8th, 2011
4:31 pm

@Georgia Boy: No pickups in the best value section, although they were rated in other CR articles. Sorry. =(


March 8th, 2011
4:49 pm


March 8th, 2011
4:52 pm

You are better off just going to Edmunds.com and looking at the true cost to own. It’s a great read on the overall cost of ownership over 5 years.

If you do use Edmunds, don’t forget to factor in the ‘3 year’ cost if you are constantly buying new cars every few years. On the other hand, if you are buying a car you intend to keep 10+ years you can almost rule out the depreciation cost since you won’t be trading or selling until the car is so old the difference would be minor (assuming you are talking about two vehicles int eh same price range from the start).

CR is one I refuse to use except for the $14.95 price guide on a car. that is well worth the money because you can get the true cost of a car, add about $400-$700 to it and then subtract any manufacturer incentives to dealers and blammo, you have the price in hand that you should not budge from.

Never trust a dealership when they make a big deal about selling you the cost under invoice, or even under cost. The only way they will sell under cost is if they are getting kickbacks to seel the vehicle, and you can almost certainly talk them down .. especially if you go in armed with the facts.

CR cracks me up in that they ranked one truck number one one year .. nothing change between it and two other models over the next two years, and each of the other models were ranked number one in one of the successive years. NO CHANGES. It kills me. They can’t even stick to their own decisions. So biased.


March 8th, 2011
6:00 pm

I just bought a 2004 SAAB 9-5 that I found on Craig’s List for $6,500. It probably cost $40,000 new. SAAB’s don’t hold their value but they are great cars!

uh yeah

March 8th, 2011
7:29 pm

Notice you’ll never find a Mercedes on any of these lists… they are horrible in reliability and value. It’s a wonder it ever became a status symbol.

Curious how Mini made the list… their reliability has been questionable for years.


March 8th, 2011
7:51 pm

The Fit is ugly.

Check out Ford on consumer reports

March 8th, 2011
8:07 pm

Interesting that Ford Fusion is listed as being more reliable than Accord and Camry. Ford has been building great quality cars for years now.


March 9th, 2011
1:49 pm

These are all terribly boring cars.


March 9th, 2011
2:38 pm

Consumer Reports April 2011 Edition : Page 30 Family Sedan 1 Nissan Altima V-6 2. Honda Accord V-6 3. Hyundai Sonata Limited 4. Sudaru Legacy 3.6R 4. Toyata Camry XLE V-6 5. Toyata Camry Hybird 6. Ford Fusion Hybird. At number 10 out of14 cars the Ford Fusion SEL V-6. Hope this help.

Mr. Ed

March 9th, 2011
3:07 pm

Hyundai has come a long way. In the late 80’s they were almost disposable cars and fodder for the late night comedians. Now they have some good looking cars with a long warranty.

Bishop Eddie Longs Red Panties

March 9th, 2011
3:26 pm

@ uh yeah
Mercedes builds the finest safest cars on the road Check the latest
JD power surveys I wouldnt dirive anything else! uh yeah good handle
name to show your ignorance


March 9th, 2011
3:27 pm

Hmmmm, not even one American car on the list… Why am I not surprised? Some time ago I saw on TV program showing Chrysler employees drinking (booze) & smoking pot on the job on a payday. Do we need to say more about how low this country has gone??


March 9th, 2011
3:50 pm

What about these new cars being imported from Detroit ? You just have to know that morale and quality screams from these folks……..


March 9th, 2011
3:53 pm

Hyundai only has one hurdle to get over and it will come with the product they are now putting out. That is you spend 22,000 on one of their cars, and in two years, it’s worth 6,000 vs say a 22,000 Honda which will be worth 14,000.


March 10th, 2011
2:42 pm

it is clear you have not purchased many cars at the auctions, as one who purchases over 1000 used vehicles per year I can assure you that the difference in resale value is not much (less than 2500) between the two brands