Tuesday

Consumer Reports' Top Vehicles for the Money includes


Each year Consumer Reports April issue of its magazine releases the list of best vehicles for the money - and the worst. Best of Value, you could call it.

Based on a mix of how well a vehicle performs in the magaine's tests and also the anticipated reliability of the model line, it's beginning to look like the foreign manufacturers are always going to be taking the top spots.

The message? Detroit still hasn't been able to unseat whoever is at #1. This year it's Honda.

On a company-wide approach, Honda is in first place for value, closely followed by Subaru and then Toyota, who has been upended by its seemingly neverending parade of recalls and bad press. Each of those brands includes their luxury version ("Toyota" includes its Lexus and Scion brands, for instance).

Next comes Volvo and then the first American-built brand, Ford. And worst? That dubious honor falls to Chrysler this year. But just ahead of it are General Motors, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen.

Now, the specific models ranked for being best value.

Best small car value is the Honda Fit Sport while the worst one is the Chevy Aveo5.

Best family car value is the Toyota Prius while the worst is the Chevy Impala.

Best upscale sedan value is the Acura TSX while Buick Lucerne hits the bottom.

Best luxury sedan value is the Hyundai Genesis. That's right. It's a Hyundai. They've come a long way baby. And Hyundai vehicles even look good - a far cry from the ugly things they first shipped to the US market. And the magazine ranks the BMW 750Li as the worst in value luxury sedan.

Best sporty car value is the Mini Cooper while Porsche 911 Carrera S is the worst. You couldn't get much further apart on the sports car spectrum than that.

The best value in a wagon or minivan model is the Mazda 5 Grand Touring while Kia's Sedona EX pulls up in the rear.

The best small SUV value is the Toyota RAV4. American-branded Jeep Liberty Sport falls at the bottom.

And last, the best value in a midsize SUV is the Hyundai Santa Fe GLS while the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara trails the pack.

Consumer Reports meanwhile tagged the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Avalanche as the best sporty car and pickup truck.

But if you check out the price and the cost of owning a car, according to Consumer Reports this is the best and worst values for your money.

Now, on a "lemon" scale, we see more Ford truck lemons than any other kind. There are lots of F-series trucks out there and apparently lots of them have defects.

It used to be that Kia was known as the Yugo of its day but ever since they teamed up with Hyundai, the styling and the quality have only climbed. Still, when we look at the worst value list from Consumer Reports, we can't say that any of the cars on it are the most common lemons we see.

So think it over before you go car shopping next time. In these economic times, getting the best value is important. More than anything else, what the the Consumer Reports list says is that price may have very little to do with getting a good value for your money.

Burdge Law Office
Because life's too short to drive a lemon.