Top 5 Best Value New Small Cars

If you’re one of the like, 6 people who are buying new cars this year, you’re probably looking to get the most for your money. Our sister-publication Consumer Reports took a look at this year’s cars in a new way — judging them based not only on their test results but on their total cost of ownership. Let’s take a look.

CR says:

We wanted to show which models are the best values; in other words, which give you the most bang for your buck. And for that, owner costs are only part of the picture. In fact, we found that some of the models that are least expensive to own are not good values.

To determine the best values, we looked at three factors:

* Our five-year owner cost estimates
* The overall road-test scores from our comprehensive test program
* Our predicted-reliability ratings.

Consumer Reports’ Best Value Small Cars

  1. Honda Civic EX

  2. Honda Fit (base)
  3. Hyundai Elantra SE
  4. Toyota Corolla LE
  5. Honda Civic Hybrid

CR also has results for the Best Value Family Cars, Best Value Small SUVs, Best Value Midsized SUVs as well as the best overall value. Check it out.

Best new car values: It’s more than dollars and cents [CR]

Comments

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  1. Stephen Brooks says:

    Does Toyota own CR? or is it other way around.

    I’m pretty happy that I don’t listen to consumer reports.

    Oh yes, and also I think that foreign cars are not worth the hype.

    • Raekwon says:

      @Stephen Brooks: I only see one Toyota on that list. The last list also had Honda on top.

    • superberg says:

      @Stephen Brooks:

      You know, if you don’t use logic, you have no argument.

      Fun fact: CR is a privately-owned company that refuses advertising conflict-of-interest. It also own The Consumerist.

      You think foreign cars are not worth the hype. But an unbiased third party has evidence to the contrary, and your response is to belittle them with nothing to back up your claim? Please.

      I’ve owned US(Saturn, Chevy) and Foreign cars (Toyota, Nissan). The foreign ones required less service and lasted longer.

      • Kevin Weber says:

        @superberg: I love when people use the “unbiased” argument to discredit JD Power’s ratings, which often paint a different picture than CR’s, even though JD Power uses objective data to measure initial quality and reliability (problem reports from consumers). Basically what they’re doing is finding new ways to discredit any opinions that don’t agree with theirs (namely CR always patting them on the back for buying their foreign car), even though there’s no valid reason for it.

        • superberg says:

          @Kevin Weber:

          I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. Are you saying CR isn’t unbiased? That they aren’t objective? They probably pull some of their data from a different pool than JD Power. If you and I each go out onto the street from our respective homes and ask the first 100 people we meet the same question, we’re likely to have a different set of results. Of course JD Power and CR don’t agree 100%.

          Of course, I didn’t mention JD Power, nor did anyone ahead of me. Where you inferred this is beyond me.

          • Kevin Weber says:

            @superberg: Perhaps I read into what you were saying too much. Usually people on here act like CR is the only source for consumer info, and that they walk on water.

            I don’t know if CR is biased or not, because I never see what their methodology is because apparently you have to buy the magazine to get such info. But it’s a Catch-22, because I don’t want to buy the magazine unless I see their methodology first. I guess I could go to Barnes and Noble, but it’s cold outside.

            • ludwigk says:

              @Kevin Weber: or you could just click on the link in the article called “clock here to learn how CR tests their cars”. For that all you need is an Internet connection. As soon as you get that squared away, you should give it a try.

            • WBrink says:

              @Kevin Weber: Read Ludwigk’s piece. I don’t think CR is infallible, but they do have full transparency. Then again, how you have an opinion on CR data analysis without knowing that fact…

        • mac-phisto says:

          @Kevin Weber: i will say i was surprised not to see the focus on this list – most people i know that drive one are in love with that car.

          to be honest, i take any critic’s opinion with a grain of salt. nobody is “unbiased”. we all see the world thru our own little prism.

          that said, i would have to agree that honda beats the piss out of any car on the road. i drove one, it was reliable as hell, & i miss it terribly.

        • Saboth says:

          @Kevin Weber:

          Frankly, I don’t really give a crap about “initial quality”. Sure, anyone can make a new car that has few problems for 1-2 years (like Domestics). I’m more concerned about the 3-5 year and further mark, which is where they all fail *hard*.

        • perruptor says:

          @Kevin Weber: “…even though JD Power uses objective data to measure initial quality and reliability (problem reports from consumers)…

          Those are the same kind of data that CR uses for its reliability ratings. The JDP Initial Quality ratings are largely unrelated to reliability. The objectivity argument is meaningful because one company gets all its money from consumers, and the other company gets all its money from auto manufacturers. If you don’t think that has any effect on their published results, you’re naive. As Deep Throat said, “Follow the money.”

          • Kevin Weber says:

            @perruptor: That’s why they call it “initial quality” and not “reliability” Reliability is a separate survey.

            If problem reports from consumers (hopefully random and not just from Consuemr Reports readers) are what CR uses for reliability, why don’t they post the number of problems for each vehicle?

            • perruptor says:

              @Kevin Weber: “…hopefully random and not just from Consuemr Reports readers…

              Why do you hope for that? Do you think CR readers are lying about their experiences, or that they somehow get better Japanese cars and worse American cars than everyone else?

      • springboks says:

        Don’t get me wrong@superberg: In theory we’re told CR is privately-owned etc. It’s a little too much of a conspiracy for the last several years Honda stacks up on top in so many diffrent categories (don’t get me wrong I’m a Honda/Toyota guy).

        I also find it odd that CR rates SEARS brand of appliances Kenmore high above others.

        If CR is this non-profit, independent organization then why do we have to pay to read their online content.

        Sounds a little like the American Red Cross, paying their corporate big cheeses big $$$. I don’t trust any of these old companies that are out there “looking out for the consumers good”.

        • Tmoney02 says:

          @springboks: If CR is this non-profit, independent organization then why do we have to pay to read their online content.

          Oh I don’t know…maybe because its expensive to buy every product under the sun and then pay testers to spend a lot of time trying out each product.

          How do you propose consumer reports get the necessary money without advertising or any corporate money?

        • perruptor says:

          @springboks: “If CR is this non-profit, independent organization then why do we have to pay to read their online content.

          Please look up what “non-profit” means. (Hint: it doesn’t mean “free of charge.”)

    • cmdrsass says:

      @Stephen Brooks: I’m sure your anecdotal experience beats their years of research, testing, and consumer surveys, so please do go on.

      • sumgai says:

        @cmdrsass:

        I’ve done decades of research and our results show that you are a complete dumbass.

        Honda made 3 of the top 5 results, yet you blast Toyota for OWNING CR?! Like Brooks said, you fail to grasp the concept of logic.

        Foreign cars are leagues ahead of domestic brands. GM/Chrysler/Chevy are still in T-Ball while Honda and Toyota are in the big leagues.

        You have proven yourself completely irrelevant to logical discussion by your psychotic remarks.

    • Paladin_11 says:

      @Stephen Brooks: What’s a foreign car anymore? When you have Hondas made in Ohio, Toyotas in Texas, BMWs in South Carolina, Volkswagens in Tennessee and Mazdas in Michigan are these cars truly foreign? What about your Mexican made Ford Focus? Or Canadian built Chrysler? Or German built Saturn?

      Cars are a global product. Quality has more to do with the standards and process used to construct them than their country of origin.

    • Parapraxis says:

      @Stephen Brooks:

      can we just revoke facebook commenting privileges from now on?

    • WBrink says:

      @Stephen Brooks: GOD DUDE, SERIOUSLY. YOU CAN’T EVEN READ. 1 Toyota vs 3 Honda. HOW DO YOU EVEN GET THE WORDS TO COME UP IN THE POSTING WINDOW?

    • BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

      @Stephen Brooks: It’s not hype. American cars are crap, my Honda civic, less shop time at 130 thousand miles than a my friends 3 year old Jeep.

    • Saboth says:

      @Stephen Brooks:

      I guess you are entitled to your opinion, but JD Powers, Consumer reports, and basically just sales numbers shows foreign made cars are generally superior to American made ones. Honestly…do you REALLY think a Cobalt or Nitro even approaches the quality of a Civic or Corolla? lol…

      • Kevin Weber says:

        @Saboth:

        Please don’t lump in GM and Chrysler with Ford. The difference is getting to the point where it’s like comparing Hyundai with Kia or Suzuki. Two of the three (certainly one) will likely be out of business soon anyway.

    • parnote says:

      @Stephen Brooks: Spoken like a true UAW member!

  2. Kevin Do says:

    Why are there no american brands? I guess American car companies should start making more reliable, fuel, efficient cars instead of big ass trucks and fast but fuel-eating vehicles

    • superberg says:

      @Kevin Do:

      Amen. I’d love to buy American, but I need to be sure I’ll make it to work every morning.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Kevin Do: Everyone knows only effete commies drive small, reliable, fuel-efficient cars. REAL Americans drive stupid-wasteful cars. DUH.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @Kevin Do:

      It would still take ages for them to get into Consumer Reports’ upper echelon. The “predicted reliability” is the killer.

      The Fit is in there, based on five-year cost estimates. Unless they surveyed in Japan and Europe, they don’t have those. Also the current Elantra isn’t five years old. Basically this means either they aren’t using the same standards for all cars on that list, or they’re letting the company’s other cars rub off on these.

      This would mean that even if Chevy made the best small car ever, they’d have a hard time convincing Consumer Reports as long as the Impala were still mediocre and the Corvette was still having roof panels fly off on the road. It also means that the Mazda 3 could be dragged down by the RX-8.

      You also can’t be sure of the reliability of one model, or even a new revision of an old model, based solely on information regarding the company’s other models or their earlier models. I don’t think anyone saw that Honda transmission problem a couple years ago coming. (And on the manuals, even!) Also, even if you have the same engine, or even the same engine and transmission in the same configuration, changes in the layout of the engine bay and cooling system can result in differences in engine cooling, meaning that head gaskets could blow in one car but not another using the same engine, and you’d never see it coming.

      Cars are not Consumer Reports’ strength.

      • Kevin Weber says:

        @TechnoDestructo: Wow, someone with common sense. I trust JD Power for my car info, as they go simply and objectively based on number of problems over a period of time. 3 years for reliability, 90 days for initial quality. I trust a company who pretty much only studies autos over Consumer Reports and their ambiguous “predicted reliability.”

        Also, in reply to Kevin Do, the Ford Fusion hybrid is the most reliable, fuel efficient car you can buy in that class and it’s absolutely killing other hybrids in driving tests.

        • TechnoDestructo says:

          @Kevin Weber:

          JD power has its own problems, mostly to do with how they’re funded.

          • Kevin Weber says:

            @TechnoDestructo: I’ve never bought the funding arguments. Their reliability/quality ratings are essentially rankings of the number of problems that people experience with their autos (less problems = higher ranking). Consumers report the problems in a survey, JD Power simply adds up the totals.

            The one issue I have with them is that the reliability study is only three years out, meaning a lot of major problems might be missed. I am guessing they figured that any longer than three years would be too hard to track?

            • perruptor says:

              @Kevin Weber: “I am guessing they figured that any longer than three years would be too hard to track?

              You guess wrong. They don’t do reliability surveys beyond three years because the manufacturers won’t pay them for it.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @Kevin Weber: “I trust a company who pretty much only studies autos

          you know, the problem i see with that logic is that there are a lot of companies that just study autos but are not at all reliable sources for reviews. i mean, car & driver magazine only studies autos, should we rely on their ridiculously biased reviews & match-ups?

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @TechnoDestructo: THANK YOU. People love to tout the accuracy of consumer reports when it comes to cars, but their bias toward brands over actual vehicles shows every time.

      My biggest pet peeve is the five year cost estimates, because of both what you said (right now there ARE no American small car models more than 4 years old) along with the fact that it IS fact that when a foreign car does break it is at least twice the cost to repair over a domestic.

      I just had to repair a FIT wiper due to ice actually breaking the wiper arm a few weeks back. When I found out exactly how Honda built the thing I was appalled at how poor it was constructed. If it had failed my wife on the road she could have easily crashed. The repair cost me almost 70 dollars for a new wiper arm. This is on a 2007 car. I have NEVER on 4 domestics had a wiper arm fail… Maybe its antidotal but still ice should never shred a aluminum arm.

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        @Jim Topoleski:

        I had a wiper arm break on a 1984 Toyota Corolla once…during the summer. (And finding a replacement in the middle of nowhere was a challenge)

        • Jim Topoleski says:

          @TechnoDestructo: I couldnt get one from Honda! I had to order it online because none of the 3 Honda dealers near me carried it and all wanted me to wait a couple days and pay 100 bucks for it.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @Jim Topoleski: “right now there ARE no American small car models more than 4 years old

        hasn’t the focus been around since 2000?

        • Jim Topoleski says:

          @mac-phisto: Not that model. The name yes, but the current focus is not the same as the 2000 one. Actually in many circles the new one is considered not as good as the old one.

          And I actually misspoke on no American cars if you qualify the Astra a American car since it comes from GM. Its actually german and imported here though.

          • mac-phisto says:

            @Jim Topoleski: how is it not the same? a body update? the civic, elantra & corolla all underwent generational changes in the same period as the focus – if we use your same benchmark, none of the cars on this list have been around 4 years.

        • Saboth says:

          @sleze69:

          To say something is “not a bad car” kind of means it gets left off the list. I’ve read tons of reviews on small cars (CR, Car and Driver, etc), and generally they all agree the versa is “not a bad car”, but it’s fuel economy isn’t as good as others, it’s power is so-so, it’s styling is “ok”, and reliability is “decent”. So when you add it all up, it is “ok”, but other cars always come in better.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @mac-phisto: I (heart) my first-model-year Focus. 9 years, 70,000 miles, no major problems except I had to have the … thing that lets the car bounce replaced. (struts? shocks?) Probably because I spent three years driving over speed bumps at speed when I was in law school as I was never on time and there were too many speed bumps.

          Couple minor electrical issues, easily fixed; routine maintenance; little body work from a minor accident; and the trunk pop button in the car requires a voodoo ritual, but I’ve never bothered to get that looked into, since I just push the button on the keyfob thingie.

          My husband has a 2002 Focus and his is in even better shape, as some of the first-model-year kinks had been worked out by then. (Mine’s significantly noisier than his, for example, especially on the highway.)

      • Saboth says:

        @Jim Topoleski:

        Yeah, well my wife just had her dodge neon’s wiper break because of ice. Step 1: remove ice. Step 2: turn on wiper. They generally have plastic gears inside these days.

        Sorry, face facts, there are 1-2 well built American cars for every 10 Japanese models. I will admit, some of the newer ones are on-par. But for every 1 american car that is good, there is a cobalt or aveo or nitro or patriot dragging Domestic cars’ names through the mud. You are hard-pressed to find lemons in Honda’s or Toyota’s lineups.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wish my Scion xD would make some list. Costs me less than $20 to fill it up and I’ve only spent about $80 on maintenance in the first year, and only because I didn’t want to get my oil changed at the dealer.

  4. innout3x3 says:

    I love my 2000 Corolla. Most reliable car I’ve ever had and the cheapest to maintain. I’ve never had anything break yet.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @innout3x3: get ready – it’s coming. i’m in a 99 solara that’s starting to exhibit issues. 10-yr mark is usually when the gremlins start their mischiefing.

      anyway, i had an 84 corolla that cost me all of $200 in regular maintenance to drive around for 2 full years, when it was already 20 years old! wasn’t much to look at, but what a great car – hatchback, 5spd, great mpg, great handling, great pep. no passing power on the highway & the thing shuddered like a speed junkie over 60mph, but whaddya expect?

      • jamar0303 says:

        @mac-phisto: Ahhh, the ’84 Corolla- a rather special car. Actually, all the AE86 chassis Corollas were.

        (Hint- a different engine might have given you passing power, and then some- or a turbo)

  5. runchadrun says:

    I have a 2007 Civic Hybrid and I’m quite happy with it. I get about 40 mpg in LA traffic (it would be better if traffic didn’t suck so badly here) and I’ve only had to get regular maintenance, though that should be the case with any car in its first two years. My previous car was a 2001 Jetta so I know all about unreliable cars.

    When I bought the Civic I got a $2200 tax rebate which made the payback time about 3 years compared to the non-hybrid Civic. In addition to the car price, maintenance is more expensive because of the special hybrid voodoo that they do (I really don’t know what the difference is other than 0W20 oil but the Honda dealer really sticks it to me.) So in the end the cost savings may be a wash.

    My only beef is that the climate control is based on a thermostat. I just want to have cold air or hot air coming out and it’s a pain to contort the controls into doing that when you’re trying to concentrate on driving.

  6. ElizabethD says:

    Yay, Hyundai! I keep plugging my car brand here. It’s really that awesome. (I am a former owner of VW, Toyota, Subaru, and Mitsubishi vehicles.)

    • woogychuck says:

      @ElizabethD:

      My wife had a Hyundai Accent that was awesome. 120,000 miles and not a single repair that wasn’t standard maintinence.

    • baquwards says:

      @ElizabethD:

      While our ’04 elantra has a butt ugly cheap interior, it is an awesome car, I just may buy another when my nissan gives up the ghost.

      The car is now 5 model years old and yet to have a repair.

    • battra92 says:

      @ElizabethD: We should start the Consumerist Hyundai Evangelists.

      I love, LOVE my Elantra. It’s not the sexiest car around but it’s a lot of fun to drive and just runs really well. It is about ready to clock 25K on it and no major repairs or service outside of oil changes.

      I did hit a ton of potholes this year (damn MA roads) so I may need an alignment and I’m probably due for tires soon but that’s all normal stuff.

  7. HPCommando says:

    Honda Fit Sport with manual transmission. Room, mileage, adaptible interior. I get 41mpg highway and 36mpg city, and 400+ miles to the tank.

    The only thing it really needs is to have an inverter built in for low wattage use, like recharging batteries for laptops, cell phones or cameras.

    • Stanwell says:

      @HPCommando: I looked at the Fit. I liked the Fit. I wanted to get a Fit, until i test drove one and my back was killing me after 2 minutes in the driver’s seat.

      • battra92 says:

        @Stanwell: That was like me and the Yaris. I wanted to like it but it wasn’t comfortable and that damn speedometer is in the middle of the dash.

    • yagisencho says:

      @HPCommando:

      I test drove an 09 Fit Sport a couple weeks ago and was impressed with its utility and incredible road visibility. Coming from an ECHO, I wanted something with a little more oomph, but the Fit fills its niche nicely.

  8. bubby1124 says:

    My Civic EX rocks, 4 years and 80,000 miles later no problems.

  9. MinervaAutolycus says:

    Yay for Hyundai. My 2003 Elantra has 108,000-plus miles and I’ve only had to do routine maintenance on it. Mine was made in South Korea, but they’re made in the U.S. now. It was my first foreign-made car after my a ’64 Volkswagen bug, 2 Mustangs, 1 Tempo, and 1 Tracer. My husband’s 2002 Elantra has a little over 50,000 miles and he’s had the same experience. My Tracer blew the engine at 116,000 miles — a week after the dealer insisted the “check engine” light meant it only needed a $450 tuneup — and a Ford Tempo that finally died after 12 years and 201,000 miles (and paying a ton for repairs). My next car will definitely be another Elantra — unless I can afford the Genesis!

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @MinervaAutolycus: Yay Elantra!

      I have an ’05, and I’ve had to have some electrics repaired, and my steering wheel is technically disintegrating, but everything else is great!

      Though, I’ll probably die in a side-impact crash, I still <3 it.

    • battra92 says:

      @MinervaAutolycus: 07 Elantra owner here.

      The Genesis is really nice and quite frankly I’d want that over my old favorite luxury car (Lincoln)

  10. Raekwon says:

    @Parapraxis: Agreed. I remember when we had to get published on the site or get special approval to post.

    • Parapraxis says:

      @Raekwon:

      remember when we had to submit our comments via carrier pigeon six weeks in advance of the chiseling in the stone tablet where we wanted it to appear?

      man, those were the days. fucking facebook…

    • springboks says:

      @Raekwon: No kidding, we’d go through comments 101 with moderator Roz!

  11. ogremustcrush says:

    Yay, Hyundai Santa Fe was number 1 for midsized SUV. It was in the list for most reliable too. I’ve had to do one repair on mine since I bought it used, but I knew about the issue when I bought it and it was pretty cheap to fix anyway. If only my fuel economy was better… sigh.

    • ElizabethD says:

      @ogremustcrush:

      That’s what we drive too — the Santa Fe. When we bought it we still had 3 kids at home, and a dog; the kids could all fit OK in the back seat, and the dog in the hatchback. I now use it to drive the last remaining teenager to school and myself to work every day. It is simply a very nice car to drive, no “truck” feeling at all, and *knock on wood* I’ve had no major problems in 2.5 years. In a crippling snowstorm last year, I was able to get home in my AWD Santa Fe while cars and trucks by the hundreds (literally) were stranded on city streets and the Interstate. Some of that’s good driving (she says modestly), but the car just outpulled many others, including heavier wagons and SUVs that we passed.

  12. thecarline says:

    i bang my head constantly when discussing cars with thick-headed “pro-mericans”.

    that being said, remember opinions are a lot like…, everyone has one.. if you neglect a car, it shall not treat you well. this is just a starting point for your research.

  13. WBrink says:

    I’m going to hit up my library tomorrow and check out the review on the Fit Sport. That seemed like an incredible value. I wonder if the bump in price makes it unattractive because you start to get into the Corolla/Civic range and the difference of 30-some HP.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @WBrink: There’s also the fact that the Civic and Corolla are sedan-only these days, instead of having a nice practical hatch. You’d need to compare to the Matrix (which is essentially a version of Corolla, even if not marketed that way) to get a really comparable slightly-bigger vehicle.

  14. John Henschen says:

    We’re one of the 6 people who bought a new car this year. We just got a Mini Cooper S Clubman. This is my wife’s dream car… seriously. And I frickin’ love this thing! I have a 2007 Mazda CX7 and while I thought I really liked it, compared to driving this Mini in “sport” mode… ho-lee crap! God its fun. It had really nifty gizmos I like too such as bluetooth connectivity to my phone, iPod connection and control via steering wheel, dual sun roofs… passenger side suicide doors… its a hoot. I may sell my Mazda and get one.

  15. Burt Perkins says:

    Love, love, love my Honda Fit Sport. I don’t get quite 41 mph but it’s a great little car with tons of room.

  16. Lindsey Theobald says:

    Me too! I love my Honda Fit Sport. When I first got it in 2007, I never saw any others on the road. In fact, it was cheaper for me to have one customized and special ordered from Honda than to get a barely used one off the lot. Now, I see them on the road all the time. Great car!

  17. Kevin Weber says:

    Can we get someone to post exactly how CR comes up with these ratings on here? I only see news articles says which cars are the best buys or the most reliable, never what they specifically did to come up with those evaluations.

    • BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

      @Kevin Weber: buy the magazine, cheap skate

      • Kevin Weber says:

        @BiZarRroBALlmeR: why should i buy the magazine when other sources provide this info for free?

        • TVarmy says:

          @Kevin Weber: Go to your local library and make your way to the periodicals section. For free, you can read articles from the latest Consumer Reports, and they probably have several back issues as well.

          But don’t take my word for it!

          Seriously, though, why are you getting so upset over one test? Consumer Reports gets their money from subscribers alone, and no advertising, so it’s unlikely they have an incentive to promote one brand over another.

          I like Consumer Reports because they have a series of objective tests, but I know they often fail to convey an entire sense of the products quality. Meanwhile, JD Power is based on customer surveys, which are more likely to focus on the entire quality of the car, but are probably more brand biased. If a person only buys American and/or has always been a Ford driver, he’ll be less likely to admit he’s bought a lemon out of either conscious support for the company or cognitive dissonance. Also, the type of person who prefers a domestic car may be willing to spend different amounts of time and money on maintenance or drive in a different way than a person who buys a foreign car. Cars are expensive and often associated with self worth, and the brands behind them are powerful symbols to many people. If I want to get the best car for my money, I’d like to see some lab tests that show how the car performs and where its likely to have trouble in the future. A survey is observational instead of experimental, so it faces more variables.

          What I don’t get is why conservatives get so hung up on foreign cars when they always champion the free market. Yes, it benefits the domestic car manufacturers and workers if people are shamed into buying domestic vehicles, but that reduces the amount of money in the average citizen’s pocket because they don’t get the benefits of international trade, as well as less choice and the car companies face less incentives to innovate, both domestically and abroad (domestically, we’ve seen the consequences). If you really want American automobiles to succeed, don’t enable the companies that are doing it wrong. You’re buying an idea rather than a good at that point. Buy the car that best suits your needs, and show the market what the domestic companies should be making.

  18. sleze69 says:

    CR always seems to be lacking WRT cars. Leaving the Nissan Versa off the list is a travesty. I just test drove one (to motivate my fiancee that she REALLY wants to save up for a Rogue) and it was not a bad car. But then look at its price point compared to the competition and it is an INCREDIBLE value for the price.

  19. Jim Mansell says:

    I have a Pontiac Vibe, a 2003 with 180,000 miles on it. It is basically a Toyota Matrix, which is basically a re-bodied Corolla, but i have had NOTHING break or go bad on it. And it STILL gets 30+ mpg. All we ask as Americans is that something just WORK the way it is supposed to, and we are happy. Cars are not supposed to be dead on the side of the road, and until Chrysler/Ford/GM understand that, this trend will continue.

  20. Kevin Weber says:

    Cut the condescending tone. There’s nothing there about details (i.e, numbers) of their cost analysis or predicted reliability ratings. That’s mainly what I’m concerned with. Many car magazines do road tests, but not many do cost estimates and reliability ratings. I want to see their exact numbers and calculations. I can read their FAQ, but I want to see the numbers. JD Power has them posted.

  21. Kevin Weber says:

    TVARmy: So only American car drivers have brand loyalty and bias?

  22. GothGirl says:

    The biggest issue I have with CR is that it only gets data from it’s own readers. I have owned 5 cars in my life time (I’m 36), two GM cars, one Honda, one Subaru, and one Ford. The GM cars have been the best out of the lot… my current Saturn has 92,000 miles on it and has never had a single issue. Of course that’s the division GM is killing…. My Subaru lived in the dealer’s garage for it’s first year until the lemon law finally kicked in. Don’t even get me started on the Ford.

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @GothGirl: agreed, the other issue is they count like 100 of each model, and not overall reliability of the entire line. So if you get a few bad ones in that 100 cars, it will completely skew reliability results to a brand even if real nation data shows the opposite.

      And considering most CR readers drive Japanese vehicles because CR recommends them, of course they will have a better pool of data for Japanese vehicles.

      And I agree with your GM comment. My Saturns have all lasted well over 150k each, and I only got rid of them to buy another Saturn (except for one Cobalt there I wont talk about, not a issue, just wasn’t as nice a drive as my SL2s). And comparing my wifes FIT to my Aura, I take my Aura over her car every single time. It just so much nicer a ride. Granted one is a econo and the other a midsize, but even my Cobalt which I didnt like felt like I was driving a car, and not a go-kart despite only being slightly bigger.

      • perruptor says:

        @Jim Topoleski: “they count like 100 of each model, and not overall reliability of the entire line.

        You keep saying this. It isn’t true. I think you’re misinterpreting their FAQ, which says:

        we require a minimum of around 100 cars to publish reliability information for a model in a given model year. Our sample sizes tend to track quite closely with market sales. Individual sample sizes vary from year to year and range from a hundred to several thousand for the more popular models. A typical model has about 200 to 400 samples for each model year and engine variant.

        And considering most CR readers drive Japanese vehicles because CR recommends them…

        I suppose you have some evidence of that? Anything?

        Do keep on countering the results of a methodical study with anecdotes and personal prejudice, though.

  23. Squeezer99 says:

    funny how consumerist never reported consumer reports articles until CR bought them out.

  24. FrankReality says:

    A while ago I was out of town on business and got to drive three different rentals from Hertz.

    One was a Hyundai SantaFe – I was highly impressed with everything about that vehicle.

    The second week I had a Ford Focus – it was a horrible car – handled poorly, noisy, poor fuel economy, ergonomics/confort awful, transmission shifted rough, fit and finish was poor inside and out. It had 1,700 miles on it, and the Hertz people tagged it for resale when I returned it. It was just as bad as the SantaFe was great.

    The third week I had a Hyundai Sonata – it must have been brand new because it had less than 70 miles on it and the new car smell was awful, but the car was equally as impressive as the Santa Fe, but not quite as fun to drive.

    Would I consider a Hyundai? Absolutely.

    It looks to me that the Japs should be looking over their shoulder, because Hyundai is gaining rapidly.

    One thing that Honda and Toyota do is build a little bit better small car, charge a bit more for it and make a decent profit – they know that none of the US manufacturers can make money building a car of equal quality without charging significantly more – largely due to higher labor rates, union work rule restrictions and large legacy costs such as retiree benefits and pensions.

    Honda and Toyota can also turn a new design into a product on the showroom floor in less than half the time it takes US manufacturers, thus they can respond to changes in the market much faster.

    That said, my wife’s 2004 Cadillac DHS is world-class. And the three Saturn S-Series that I own – a 93 with 240K miles, a 96 with 200K miles and my 99 with 145K, while not great cars, are easy to work on, cheap to drive, parts are available and relatively inexpensive and just about anyone can fix ‘em.

    I’m sure this century’s GM cars are much better than the GMs of the 90s.