Why Compact Cars Give You The Most Value For The Money

To frugal drivers, value and efficiency are sexier than horsepower and design. With fuel economy, cost of ownership and resale value in mind, Forbes evaluated cars on the market and chose the most value-packed models. Most are compacts, with the Mazda2, Nissan Versa and Chevrolet Cruze taking three of the first four spots on the list.

Non-flashy compacts tend to dominate the list because they lose the least amount of resale value, cost relatively little to maintain and don’t guzzle gas. Luxury vehicles tend to take a larger hit because the annual evolution of high-end upgrades usually leave the previous models in the dust.

Jake Fisher, the senior automotive engineer at Consumer Reports, rings in with his take in the story:

“Diesels and hybrids have excellent resale values. If you want to go out and buy a 60,000-mile Prius, you’ll pay top dollar for it.”

What do you look for when you’re shopping for an efficient, cost-effective car?

The cars that pack the most value for the money [Forbes via MSNBC]

Previously: Consumer Reports Announces Its Top Car Picks For 2011