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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After studying and testing 280 cars in eight categories, Consumer Reports has arrived at one of its most highly anticipated annual lists: the new cars offering the best values.

(The flip side of this ratings coin is, of course, the Consumer Reports' list of the the new cars offering the worst values of 2010, a slideshow of which just so happens to be available here: Consumer Reports' worst new-car values of 2010.)

Results were based on the cars' performance, utility and reliability, in addition to the cost of ownership over the first five years.

The cars receiving the highest overall marks from

Consumer Reports

were the


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Fit and the


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Prius, both of which received value scores of 2.08.

The value of the average vehicle was set at 1.0 in the rating scale; a score of 2.0 would, according to the metric, represent twice the value of the average model.

In addition to overall scores,

Consumer Reports

broke down the best new-car values into eight vehicle categories. The results, and photos, follow....


BEST VALUE: Small Cars

Honda Fit

With a base price of a mere $14,900, the Honda Fit offers the best value in the small cars category.

Consumer Reports

deemed the Fit to be "excellent" in regards to its reliability, which helped the car amass a "value rating" of 2.08 -- tied for tops among all cars tested.

Honda reported that its January sales in America fell 38.4% to 2,697 units from a year ago. Honda also reported that Fit was the industry's second best-selling car among new vehicle registrations for the month of January 2010, with sales of 13,058 units in Japan.


BEST VALUE: Family Cars

Toyota Prius IV

The Toyota Prius IV, with its $22,800 base price, is more expensive that the Honda Fit and has a higher cost per mile. But it performed noticeably better in

Consumer Reports

road tests -- and, in doing so, also received a value rating of 2.08.

"A low price doesn't always equal a good value," Rik Paul, automotive editor at

Consumer Reports

said. The magazine says the redesigned Prius feels a little wider, heavier and more substantial.


BEST VALUE: Wagons/Minivans

Hyundai Elantra Touring

The Hyundai Elantra Touring, the top value in Wagons/Minivans according to

Consumer Reports

, costs $14,145 (base price) and received a value rating of 1.77. "The Elantra is a pleasant small sedan with a comfortable ride and low road noise,"

Consumer Reports




Subaru Forester 2.5x

The Subaru Forester 2.5x offers the best value in the small SUV's category. It has a base price of $20,295 and was given a value rating of 1.83.

Consumer Reports

says the Forester has "an impressively comfortable ride and it handles well, with responsive, communicative steering."



Hyundai Santa Fe Limited

The Hyundai Santa Fe Limited was given a value rating of 1.33 by

Consumer Reports

. The car costs $21,695 (base price) and is the best in the midsized SUV's category. The magazine describes the ride as "compliant and well-controlled."


BEST VALUE: Upscale Sedans

Acura TSX (4-cyl.)

The best value in the upscale sedan category, the Acura TSX (4-cyl.) costs $29,310 (base price) and received a value rating of 1.46. "Its smooth revving engine, slick transmission, and agile handling make it enjoyable to drive," says

Consumer Reports



BEST VALUE: Luxury Sedans

Infiniti M35 (RWD)

The Infiniti M35 (RWD) received a value rating of 1.16 by

Consumer Reports,

topping the luxury sedan category. The purchase price of the Infiniti M35 is $45,800 (base price). "The M is comfortable both cruising on the highway and hustling along twisty roads," notes

Consumer Reports



BEST VALUE: Sporty Cars

Mini Cooper

The Mini Cooper, winner of the "sporty cars" category, receiving a value score of 1.82 from

Consumer Reports

, and carries a $18,800 base price. According to

Consumer Reports

, "The Mini has very agile handling, with quick, precise steering and little body lean, making it fun to drive."

Start Over

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York


>>The Worst New-Car Values of 2010

>>Top Car Models of the Year

>>Worst 2009 Cars

>>Best 2009 Cars

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