Car Quality Ratings 2011 – Consumer Reports' Top 10 Best-Value Cars


Recently, Consumer Reports published the 2011 list of new cars offering the best value to the discerning consumer. CR uses the Value Score to identify the cars that offer the most in reliability and performance for the least amount of money. The Value Score is a composite quality index that encompasses a vehicle’s 5-year ownership cost per mile, its road-test score, and its predicted short-term reliability rating. This article lists the Top 10 best-value automobiles by Value Score and the second 10 best buys.

The Top 10 Best-Value automobiles by Consumer Reports’ multi-factor Value Score, in approximate descending order (best first), are:

The base Honda Fit, a small 4-door hatchback,
The manual transmission Volkswagen Golf TDI, a small hatchback,
The 4-door, 2.5-liter, 5-cylinder, 6-speed automatic transmission Volkswagen Golf 2.5, a small hatchback,
The base, 2-door, 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder, 6-speed manual transmission Mini Cooper,
The 4-door, 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder, 5-speed automatic transmission Honda Civic EX, a small car,
The 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder, 4-speed automatic transmission Toyota Corolla LE, a small sedan,
The 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder, 6-speed automatic transmission Hyundai Sonata GLS, a family sedan,
The Toyota Prius IV, a 4-door, family-size, hybrid hatchback,
The 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, 6-speed automatic transmission Toyota Camry LE, a family-size sedan,
The 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, 4-speed automatic transmission Subaru Forester 2.5X, a small, 4-door, all-wheel-drive sport-utility vehicle.

The next ten Best Buys are:

The base, 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, 4-speed automatic transmission Toyota RAV4, a small, 4-door sport-utility vehicle,
The Toyota Camry Hybrid, a family-size sedan,
The 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder Nissan Altima 2.5 S, a family-size sedan,
The 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium, an all-wheel-drive, family-size sedan,
The 5-speed automatic transmission Mazda5 Grand Touring, a 2.3-liter, 4-cylinder, 182-inch wagon,
The 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel, 6-speed manual transmission Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, a 179-inch wagon,
The 4-speed automatic transmission Hyundai Elantra Touring, a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, 176-inch wagon,
The Honda CR-V EX, a small, 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder, 5-speed automatic transmission, 4-door sport-utility vehicle,
The V6 Toyota RAV4 Limited, a small 4-door SUV,
The 4-cylinder Mitsubishi Outlander SE, a small 4-door sport-utility vehicle.

All of the foregoing automobiles have a Value Score of 1.5 (rounded to the nearest tenth) or better. The base Honda Fit has the highest Value Score, 1.97. A vehicle with a Value Score of 1.5 is rated by Consumer Reports as having a value that is 1.5 times the average value.

The above vehicles listed by 5-year ownership cost per mile are:

Base Honda Fit
Toyota Corolla LE
Base, manual Mini Cooper
Toyota Prius IV
Manual Volkswagen Golf TDI
Honda Civic EX
Volkswagen Golf 2.5
Manual Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI
4-cylinder Toyota Camry LE
Subaru Forester 2.5X

Hyundai Sonata GLS
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Hyundai Elantra Touring
Base, 4-cylinder Toyota RAV4
4-cylinder Nissan Altima 2.5 S
Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium
Honda CR-V EX
4-cylinder Mitsubishi Outlander SE
Mazda5 Grand Touring
V6 Toyota RAV4 Limited.

The 5-year ownership cost per mile ranges from $.43 for the base Honda Fit to $.63 for the V6 Toyota RAV4 Limited.

The 5-year ownership-cost estimates include fuel costs, insurance premiums, interest on financing, sales tax, depreciation, maintenance, and repairs. However, they do not include compensation for time lost in tending to repairs, and the accompanying inconvenience and stress. For those consumers for whom time is valuable, reliability is important.

If the list of the Top 20 Best Buys is cut to include only those Best Values with a Much-Better-Than-Average predicted short-term reliability, the list shrinks considerably. The Best Buys with the highest predicted short-term reliability are:

Base Honda Fit
Honda Civic EX
Volkswagen Golf 2.5
Subaru Forester 2.5X
Base, 4-cylinder Toyota RAV4
Honda CR-V EX
4-cylinder Mitsubishi Outlander SE
V6 Toyota RAV4 Limited.

And if the last list is further restricted to those vehicles with a 4-year reliability history consisting of only Much-Better-Than-Average reliability ratings or a 5-year-or-more reliability history with at least 60% Much-Better-Than-Average reliability ratings, the list shrinks to:

Base Honda Fit
Honda Civic EX
Base, 4-cylinder Toyota RAV4
Honda CR-V EX.

This elite list is dominated by Honda Motor Company.

Consumer Reports’ latest edition of Best & Worst New Cars reports that of all the 2011 top models by value, Toyota Motor Corporation accounts for 12 and Honda Motor Company accounts for another 7. The remaining top models are made by several automobile manufacturers, nearly all East Asian and European.


Source by James Bleeker