2008 Toyota Prius Touring
The bible for many new-car buyers, Consumer Reports, has named the 2009 Toyota Prius Touring the single best overall value among more than 300 new cars this year. The honor came in its 2009 Annual Auto Issue (on newsstands next Tuesday, March 3), which is eagerly snapped up--and/or read online--by literally millions of car shoppers every year.
While it wasn't the lowest-cost car in its class, the Prius Touring won for its low estimate for five-year cost of ownership, which the magazine pegged at $26,250--due to high resale value and its superb overall fuel economy of 42 miles per gallon. It also gave the Prius a high score of 80 out of 100 possible points in its arduous road test.
"A low price doesn't necessarily make a car a good value," said Consumer Reports automotive editor Rik Paul. "At a time when people need to make every dollar count, our best value list will help consumers understand the difference."
How does the magazine figure out which cars will provide the best value? For each of more than 300 recently tested cars, it blends several factors, including road-test scores, estimates of ownership cost over five years, and predicted reliability ratings.
It divides every car's five-year owner-cost by its road-test score, which gives a dollar figure for each test-score point. Lower is better when it comes to value. That cost of ownership, by the way, includes depreciation, fuel consumption, insurance, cost of financing, repairs and maintenance, and--of course--sales tax.
But then any cars with average or worse-than-average predicted reliability get knocked off the list altogether; cheap but unreliable isn't so cheap in the long run.
The Prius Touring received a cost-per-point of $325. The other four models, following right behind, were the Mini Cooper and Volkswagen Rabbit (tied at $330), Honda Civic EX ($340), and Honda Fit ($350).
Score one more award for the highest-production hybrid on the planet, the Toyota Prius. And, hey, just wait'll Consumer Reports gets their hands on a 2010 Prius ....
2009 Toyota Prius