Best Car Values of 2011
Toyota cleans up in IntelliChoice.com's 2011 Best Overall Value of the Year awards.
With home values tanking, paychecks dwindling and employment tenuous, it's more important than ever to be smart when choosing a new car. Obviously, that means identifying what your needs are, conducting careful research — such as reading the latest reviews and news about the vehicles that meet those needs — and then haggling for the best price. It also means considering what that vehicle will actually cost you in the long run.
Luckily, IntelliChoice.com does most of the cost-of-ownership legwork for you. And it recently announced the winners of its annual Best Overall Value of the Year awards for 2011.
The awards are given to vehicles with the lowest cost of ownership over a 5-year period in 21 classes defined by size, body style and price. Vehicles are judged based on retail price as well as accumulated ownership costs of depreciation, maintenance, repairs, fuel, fees, financing and insurance.
For 2011, Toyota came out the big winner, collecting 11 prestigious BOVYs. Volvo, MINI and General Motors tied for a distant second place with two cars each. Infiniti, Subaru, Audi and Honda each collected one BOVY nod.
The Big Winner: Toyota
Toyota may have had a tough 2010 with a much publicized group of recalls and a sliding market share, but that didn't stop the automaker from topping 11 of the 20 BOVY classes. Toyota-branded vehicles captured wins in seven vehicle categories, while its luxury division Lexus took home four more.
The seven Toyota winners were the Prius in the passenger-car class; the Avalon in the premium passenger-car class; the RAV4 4-cylinder in the compact crossover/wagon class; the Sienna in the minivan class; the 4Runner in the SUV class; and the Tacoma in compact pickup and the Tundra in full-size pickup classes.
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All of the Toyota winners rose to the top of their classes due to resale value.
But it wasn't the only area in which Toyota vehicles excelled. The Prius, for instance, had predictably low fuel costs, plus low figures for maintenance and repairs. In the minivan class, the Sienna had cheaper insurance and maintenance costs, while the 4Runner rose from third to first in the SUV category thanks to lower maintenance costs and an improved residual value. The Avalon had low fuel costs, too, as did the 4-cylinder version of the RAV4. IntelliChoice's data show that a V6 version of the RAV4 will cost another $840 in fuel over five years, making the 4-cylinder engine the wiser choice for the budget conscious.
Surprisingly, Toyota's pickups also did well. The Tacoma has long been the sales leader among compact pickups, so its win wasn't surprising. However, the Tundra is widely viewed as a less capable pickup than the Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Silverado — and it sells in much lower numbers. Those lower sales totals actually helped the Tundra. "The domestics turn out the trucks in great numbers," says IntelliChoice executive editor Charlie Vogelheim. "Does that make them bad trucks? No. But if you're looking at the ownership costs when you're done with it, it's going to have a lower value because there's a lot on the road."
Toyota's luxury brand Lexus was the next best performer. Lexus winners included the GX 460 in the premium full-size SUV class; the RX 350 in the premium crossover/wagon class; and two IS models, the IS 250 in the premium compact passenger-car class and the IS 250C in the premium convertible class. Again, residuals proved to be a major factor, but Vogelheim also notes that the RX 350 excelled in insurance and repair costs; the IS 250C had lower repair costs than other convertibles; and the GX 460, which was new in 2010, had lower insurance costs and improved residuals. Two of the Lexus models also beat other top Toyota contenders: The GX 460 edged out the Toyota Land Cruiser and the IS 250 bested the Lexus ES 350.
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I and my wife are in the car market. We have done research on several brands as wello as test drives, and our beleife is the Toyota's are not what we thought they would be. The interiors are very cheap and plastic in appearence. It was not close to the car we were looking for, nor nearly as spacious.
Let everyone buy what they prefer.. You might really want to check into where the "domestic car" components are really made though.
I live within 30 miles of 4 Honda Manufacturing Facilities... And I know of Nissan manufacturing facilities and Toyota Facilities within 200 miles of my house... ( These companies are moving jobs into this country)... I'm not sure we can say the same about the "Domestic guys"...
Based on my personal experiences.. The cars I have been driving within the last 10 years know how to drive past the gas station easier than some of the domestic cars and are lasting approximately 3X longer than the "Domestic Cars". It's VERY NICE to be able to go a few years without Car Payments.
A lot of people are missing the point of this article. LOWEST COST OF OWNERSHIP. That is determined by depreciation, repairs, cost of insurance and MPG. There are many other choices out there for good cars but Toyota topped this list because of it's slow depreciation, rare need for repairs, fuel economy in it's smaller vehicles and safety awards. They simply cost you less to own and are worth much more when you sell them.
As far as the money going over seas myth: 81,000 Americans are employed by foreign auto manufacturers in the U.S. and that doesn't include all of the Americans that built these plants and dealerships and are selling/repairing at the same dealerships. The portion that goes over seas is minimal and isn't affecting our economy or employment here. Wanna complain about something that IS affecting our economy? Then get on the band wagon to remove illegal immigrants, THAT'S hurting this country more than all of the importing of foreign products combined. THEY are taking our jobs and abusing our assistance funds.