December 24th, 2013 by Steve Cypher

Once again the folks from Yonkers name their best and worst new car values

2013 Honda Civic

Getting recommended

You can say what you want about the way Consumer Reports goes about reviewing vehicles, but one thing is certain – the automaker certainly pay attention. A case in point is the Honda Civic.

Back in 2012 Honda released its ninth generation compact with the aim of keeping it affordable. The problem was the Civic was  cheapened to the point where it was no longer competitive in the segment.

But despite the hue and cry from journalists, the final straw to the debacle was when CR weighed in and removed its coveted “Recommended” rating. Honda went back to the drawing boards and, within 13 months, the automaker performed a major freshening on the Civic – with the result that CR was able to once again bestow a “Recommended” rating on the 2013 model.

As is its wont, Consumers Reports also publishes an annual list of best and worst automotive values. So without further ado, here are the latest winners and losers from CR:

2011 Toyota Prius

Big winner

Top dog sucker for the second year in a row is Toyota’s iconic Prius. According to CR, “The popular hybrid has the right combination of performance, reliability and low estimated five-year ownership costs of 47 cents per mile.”

The Prius, it should be noted, unseated the Honda Fit last year – a title the diminutive Honda had held the previous three years. But a new Fit will be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in January of next year, so stay tuned.

2014 Nissan Armada

Big loser

In addition to a big winner, CR also lists its biggest loser, which in this case does not refer some poor overweight soul who has spent the past few months being berated by Jillian Michaels in front of a national television audience.

No, in this case it’s much worse – think of it as a vehicle so bereft of goodness as to be banished to the nether regions of automotive hell. This year that inauspicious title goes to the Nissan Armada a vehicle CR describes as “a large SUV that gets only 13 mpg overall and scored poorly in Consumer Reports‘ annual reliability survey (that) costs a hefty $1.20 per mile” to operate.

That per mile cost, by the way, is based on the organization’s projections of five- year ownership costs and the overall scores take that into account as well as Consumer Reports’ road-test score and CR’s own predicted-reliability score from their latest Annual Auto Survey.

“The Prius’ 44 mpg overall is the best fuel economy of any non-plug-in car that Consumer Reports has tested,” said Consumer Reports Automotive Editor Rik Paul. “Though it’s not particularly cheap to buy, the Prius’ depreciation is so low that it costs less to own over the first five years than its initial MSRP. We call that a bargain.”

The rest of the story

Here are Consumer Reports winners and losers in each of the categories:

Compact/Subcompact Cars:
Best, Toyota Prius Four
Worst, Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L

Midsized Cars:
Best, Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium
Worst, Nissan Altima 3.5 SL

Large Cars:
Best, Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited
Worst, Ford Taurus Limited

Luxury Cars:
Best, Lexus ES 300h
Worst BMW 750Li

Sports Cars/Convertibles:
Best, Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring
Worst, Chevrolet Camaro convertible 2SS (V8)

Best, Mazda5 Grand Touring
Worst, Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L

Small SUVs:
Best, Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium
Worst, Ford Escape SE (1.6T)

Midsized SUVs:
Best, Nissan Murano SL
Worst, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

Luxury/Large SUVs:
Best, BMW X1 xDrive28i
Worst, Nissan Armada Platinum

Best, Honda Ridgeline RTS
Worst, Ford F-250 Lariat (6.7L V8)

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