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Drive On: Consumer Reports lauds Toyota Prius as bargain

6:45 AM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
Toyota's Prius, little changed from the 2010 model seen here, is Consumer Reports' pick as best value(Photo: David Dewhurst / Toyota)
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What's the best car value for the money? Consumer Reports says it is the Toyota Prius.

It's not a particularly surprising answer, given that the humble hybrid has been a CR fave for years.

Still, in Consumer Reports usual supremely cold-blooded, objective analysis, the Prius had the best "combination of performance, reliability and low estimated ownership costs of 49 cents per mile -- less than half that of the average car."

Prius, the barely-midsize hybrid, beat out the "perennial pack leader," the subcompact Honda Fit, which ruled for four long years. Though it has everything that a practical sort should love, even Consumer Reports' bosses sound hardly bowled over by the Prius.

"The Prius may not be the most exciting vehicle to drive, nor the cheapest to purchase, but it's extremely reliable, roomy, rides well, gets great fuel economy, and is inexpensive to operate, " says Rik Paul, automotive editor at Consumer Reports, in a statement.

The magazine,as far as well can tell, refers only to the original Prius. The Prius "family," including the much-derided Prius C subcompact, V wagon and the plug-in, aren't part of this current endorsement.

The consumer magazine says Toyota and Lexus models placed at the top in six of the 10 categories. Overall, Toyota hybrids were considered strong values due to their fuel savings and reliability. As for fuel, they still maintain some of the most amazing numbers in the car business: about 50 miles a gallon in combined city and highway driving. In Southern California, they are conquering taxicab fleets.

To reach its conclusion, CR weighed five-year owner cost, road-test score and predicted-reliability. Five-year ownership cost is a figure made up of estimated depreciation, fuel costs, insurance premiums, interest on financing, maintenance and repairs and sales tax.

USA Today

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