To rank the best value cars for 2013, Consumer Reports compared a car's estimated ownership costs to its scores in the magazine's performance tests as well as its predicted reliability. Here are the top picks in 10 categories:
Toyota Prius (Best Overall Value/Best Small Hatchback) -- The Prius costs an estimated 49 cents per mile to own, according to Consumer Reports, less than half the estimated cost of the average automobile.
Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE (Best Family Sedan) -- The Camry Hybrid scored high in performance, and Consumer Reports calls it "refined, comfortable and roomy."
Lexus RX 350 (Best Large or Luxury SUV) -- Despite what Consumer Reports called "lackluster" handling and steering that "gives little feedback," the RX earned a respectable score of 79 in the magazine's performance tests.
Toyota Prius V (Best Minivan or Wagon) -- This is basically the Prius with more cargo space. Fuel economy isn't as good as the regular Prius, but it still got 41 mpg in Consumer Reports' testing.
Honda CR-V EX (Best Small SUV) -- Consumer Reports called the CR-V "one of the more sensible and competitively priced choices in the small SUV class." It also has much-better-than-average predicted reliability.
Toyota Corolla (Best Small Sedan) -- Consumer Reports described the Corolla as "rather bland" but it is very dependable, the handling is "sound and secure," and it gets good fuel economy.
Acura TSX (Best Upscale Sedan) -- The TSX ls "mildly sporty," according to Consumer Reports. Its predicted reliability isn't quite as good as some of the others in this list, but it's still above average.
Cadillac CTS (Best Luxury Sedan) -- The only car from a U.S.-based automaker on the list, the Cadillac CTS has above-average reliability but ranked poorly in fuel economy.
Mini Cooper (Best Sporty Car) -- The base Mini model is fun to drive and agile, according to Consumer Reports, and has surprisingly roomy front seats.
Toyota Highlander (Best Mid-Sized SUV) -- The Highlander is very dependable and has a comfortable "cushy" ride, according to Consumer Reports. Handling is also secure.
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