Consumer Reports — the highly regarded consumer testing publication — has released its lists of the best value and worst value vehicles for 2013, as a part of its ongoing automotive coverage throughout the year. When determining value, though, the magazine looks beyond the initial sticker price to find out how much one really gets with a specific vehicle.
“We think that real value is not necessarily how much you spend but what you get for your money,” Consumer Reports notes. “Vehicles that are reliable, perform well, and don’t cost much to own represent the best values. Overall, small cars and sedans provide the best bang for the buck.” The following list of ten cars represents the “worst combination of performance, utility, and reliability for the money, considering all owner costs over a five-year period,” the magazine explains. All models are presumably from the 2013 model year, and are ranked by their value rating. You can read more about Consumer Reports’ value ratings here. We’ve covered the best value models one can buy here.
10. Nissan Pathfinder
Nissan’s (NSANY.PK) flagship SUV starts at $28,950, which on its own isn’t too bad. Its fuel economy of 20 city and 26 highway are pretty decent for its class as well, but Consumer Reports apparently feels that for cars of its size, there are some better options out there.
9. Ford F-250 Lariat (6.7 liter)
For a hardcore worktruck, the Ford (NYSE:F) F-250 is certainly among the best that money can buy. For everything else, though, it falls somewhat short — limited cabin versatility, an exceptional thirst for expensive fuel, and its large frame make the F-250 a bit difficult to live with as a daily driver, especially those in urban environments.
8. Ford Explorer XLT
Unfortunately, Consumer Reports didn’t go into detail about what it was that makes these vehicles, leaving us to imagine that the reason the popular Ford Explorer is rated as one of the worst values has to do with its general cost of ownership. It starts at under $30,000, and offers 20 combined miles per gallon which isn’t spectacular, but is on-par with its segment.
7. Lincoln MKS
Chances are that buyers can likely find everything they are looking for in a well-equipped Ford Taurus on which the Lincoln MKS is based. Therefore, the higher base price, more expensive options, and higher insurance premiums may not be worth the brand leap, although the MKS will come standard with more options — just not enough to offset the price differences.
6. Lincoln MKX
Consumer Reports came down pretty hard on Lincoln and Ford, despite the progress that the nameplates have made. The MKX — based heavily on the Ford Edge — doesn’t seem to offer enough that would differentiate itself from its corporate sibling, just as the MKS isn’t a far departure from the Taurus. For the $39,575 base price, buyers would probably be looking for more.
5. Cadillac XTS
The new range of Cadillacs (NYSE:GM) has been greatly praised, and several have one awards for the progress they have made in just a couple of years. However, Consumer Reports determined that a good car doesn’t imply a good value; the Cadillac XTS is rated number five for the worst, actually. Left to guess, we would say this is due to higher costs of ownership, though its MSRP and mileage both fall on par with its competition.
4. Cadillac Escalade
With the CTS on the list, it’s not a surprise the the Escalade landed here too, at number four. For what you get for your money, Consumer Reports believes that there are better options — Cadillac’s large SUV boasts a $67,000 base price is incredibly thirsty, and while incredibly comfortable, the standard features don’t add up enough for Consumer Reports to recommend as being a good value.
3. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
The Jeep Wrangler is an icon of off-roading and has a dedicated legion of followers — and Consumer Reports is not among them seemingly, at least the Unlimited Sahara edition. The extra two doors will add close to $4,o00 to the MSRP over the standard Wrangler, before options — the Sahara version starts at another $5,000 above that, although the powertrain and transmission remain the same.
2. BMW 750Li
BMW’s flagship sedan was determined to be the second-worst value within Consumer Reports‘ coverage universe, likely due to its high MSRP, presumably high insurance premiums, and high cost of ownership. Perhaps its rivals — the S-Class and A8, among others — offer more standard equipment or more useful features, since they are not found on this list.
1. Nissan Armada Platinum
Book-ending the list is the Nissan Armada, Nissan’s largest SUV and reportedly the worst value vehicle on the market right now. Based on Nissan’s Titan platform — which is decidedly dated at this point — the Armada offers fuel economy that is less than impressive by today’s standards, (13 city, 19 highway) a $49,610 base MSRP for the Platinum trim, without offering much more that would help justify the price.