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Forbes Magazine Ranks Mazda2 as Best Car Value

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author photo by Autotrader March 2011

Value can often be difficult to measure. In the car world, some consider reliable cars to be good values, while others say the best values are cheap luxury cars, bargain-priced pocket-rockets, or cavernous minivans and SUVs. But Forbes says it's come up with a way to measure value objectively, compiling a list of the ten most value-packed cars on sale today.

Mainly based on ownership costs like original retail price, depreciation, fuel, taxes, insurance, and projected maintenance and repair costs, Forbes' list is heavy on small, inexpensive cars. That's because Forbes says trucks and SUVs have dubious resale values in the wake of rising gas prices, and because larger vehicles are often most costly to insure.

Number one on Forbes' list of value-packed cars is the Mazda2 Sport, a five-door hatchback starting at just over $14,000. Forbes says five years' depreciation on a Mazda2 will be around $8,400, with fuel costs coming in just under $8,000. Projected maintenance costs are just $1,613, for a total cost of around $29,000.

Taking the number two spot on Forbes' list is the Nissan Versa SL hatchback, with a $30,259 cost of ownership, followed by the Honda Civic EX, Chevrolet Cruze, Toyota Tacoma, Honda Accord LX, Hyundai Tucson GL, Honda Element LX, Toyota Prius, and Honda CR-V. Many cars made Forbes' list due to their outstanding depreciation ratings, such as the Toyota Tacoma, projected to lose just 41 percent of its value over five years. By comparison, Forbes projects the Hyundai Tucson to lose more than 60 percent of its value in the same period.

Forbes said luxury vehicles missed out on the top-value list for several reasons. First, luxury cars tend to depreciate more, as their high initial prices are often based on image, which quickly fades as new styles roll out. Plus, costs tend to be higher on luxury cars.

"It's a general rule that the cost of ownership is going to be a lot higher for an expensive luxury vehicle," said David Wurster, head of product development and analytics for automotive analytics firm Vincentric. "Think about sales tax. Since you're not looking at ratios or percentages – it's just gross tax – the number is going to be a lot higher on something expensive."

So if you're looking for value, stay away from luxurmazda2, ry cars and – in large part – from trucks and SUVs. By focusing on small cars with low depreciation rates, you'll be sure to get your money's worth from your new car purchase.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Forbes Magazine Ranks Mazda2 as Best Car Value - Autotrader