Best Deals Are On Best Cars

best car valueGetting a great deal on a not-so-great car is not really a great deal at all.

If a car is uncomfortable to drive, is not dependable, has lack-luster performance, or doesn’t fully meet the needs of the buyer, it’s not a good buy, regardless of what kind of bargain price is paid.

The best car deals are those that offer good “value.” That is, cars that provide the best combination of features, performance, driveability, safety, and comfort — for the least money. Some cars don’t offer much and are inexpensive, which is understandable. Others, such as many luxury models, offer a lot but also cost a lot, which is also understandable.

However, there are many other cars that provide most of what high-end cars offer, yet have relatively low prices. These cars have the best “value” and make the best deals overall.

Consumer Reports magazine publishes its Annual Auto Issue in April each year (on newsstands now, as of the time of this writing). They report the results of new-car testing and evaluations, as well as used-car reliability surveys. This magazine (and web site) is an essential tool for anyone thinking of buying a car.

The highest scoring new vehicles are those that have the best value. Let’s take a look at them now.

The vehicles ranked highest are the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion Hybrid, BMW 328i, Mercedes-Benz E350, and Mercedes-Benz C250, in that order. The mid-sized Honda Accord, for example, has many of the same features as higher-priced luxury cars, gets great gas mileage, is super-reliable, looks good, is comfortable to drive, and comes with an outstanding array of safety features — all for only $23, 270 – $30,860, depending on model and style.

Interestingly, the worst-scoring vehicles were nearly all small “mini-cars” such as the Scion iQ, Chevy Spark, and Toyota Yaris which were criticized for being noisey, having rough rides, and lacking performance. These are clearly good examples of inexpensive cars with poor value.

Honda also scores highest in the Small SUV (Honda CR-V) and Minivan (Honda Odyssey) categories. Toyota scores best in the “Green” Car (Toyota Prius) and Midsized SUV (Toyota Highlander) categories.

The best Budget Car is the Hyundai Elantra and the best Compact Car is the Subaru Impreza. The best Sports Sedan is the previously mentioned BMW 328i and the best Luxury Car is the Audi A6. The best Sports Cars are twin brothers, Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ.

Overall, the top-ten best car brands are Lexus (Toyota), Subaru, Mazda, Toyota, Acura (Honda), Honda, Scion (Toyota), Audi, Infiniti(Nissan), and Mercedes-Benz, in that order.

There’s much, much more in the new issue of Consumer Reports. Smart car buyers will make sure they use it as one of their key resources when preparing to make a buying decision. Smart buyers will also research pricing information and know what other people are paying. This information and service is available for free at web sites such as  Edmunds.com. The prices will automatically include any cash-back rebates or discounts that are currently available. They also offer already-discounted prices that are honored by local dealers without customers needing to haggle.

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