Toyota Prius Best, Nissan Armada Worst in Consumer Reports' Cost Per Mile Rankings

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
toyota prius best nissan armada worst in consumer reports cost per mile rankings

The Toyota Prius was ranked at the top of Consumer Reports’ Best New Car Value scoring for the second year in a row. CR’s analysis ranked over 200 vehicles on performance, reliability and costs and determined that over five years the Prius will cost 47 cents per mile to own and operate. Lower depreciation and operating costs for the Prius offset paying a premium for the hybrid.

“The Prius’ 44 mpg overall is the best fuel economy of any non-plug-in car that Consumer Reports has tested,” Rik Paul, the magazine’s automotive editor, said in a statement. “Though it’s not particularly cheap to buy, the Prius’ depreciation is so low that it costs less to own over the first five years than its initial MSRP. We call that a bargain.”

At the other end of the cost of ownership spectrum is the Nissan Armada, which costs consumers $1.20 per mile.

Factors going into the rankings are Consumer Reports’ own road tests, reliability predicted from the magazines’ reader generated data, plus a score calculated from depreciation, fuel, insurance premiums, maintenance, sales tax and repairs costs over five years. Ten car categories were ranked, with the Prius coming out as the overall winner.

Compact /Subcompact CarsBest, Toyota Prius Four; Worst, Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L

Midsized Cars

Best, Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium; Worst, Nissan Altima 3.5 SL

Large Cars

Best, Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited; Worst, Ford Taurus Limited

Luxury Cars

Best, Lexus ES 300h; Worst, BMW 750Li

Sports Cars/Convertibles

Best: Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring; Worst, Chevrolet Camaro convertible 2SS (V8)


Best, Mazda5 Grand Touring; Worst, Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L

Small SUVs

Best, Subaru Frester 2.5i Premium; Worst, Ford Escape SE (1.6T)

Midsized SUVs

Best, Nissan Murano SL; Worst, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

Luxury/Large SUVs

Best, BMW X1 xDrive28i; Worst, Nissan Armada Platinum


Best, Honda Ridgeline RTS; Worst, Ford F-250 Lariat (6.7L V8)
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4 of 81 comments
  • Jacob_coulter Jacob_coulter on Dec 20, 2013

    Will there ever be a domestic vehicle from the Big 3 in the "best" category for reliability? And it's no surprise that most of the "worst" categories are filled with offerings from the Big 3. I think the gap has narrowed, but would it kill the Big 3 to actually make a more reliable car than the competition? Or have they just figured consumers don't care about the gap enough to base their purchase decision on? I know, I know, all of these poor rankings are the result Consumer Reports being owned by the Japanese and the fact that people are too stupid to figure out Ford's MyTouch.

    • See 1 previous
    • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Dec 21, 2013

      Yeah, the Camaro convertible SS is a "worst" car by CR. If that is really the case, we have reached the point where the worst car is amazingly awesome. I guess the "best" models fill themselves with free fuel overnight.

  • Salguod Salguod on Dec 20, 2013

    A Prius is 47 cents per mile? That seems rather high, frankly. The 2010 Outlook that I owned for a bit over 3 years cost me $0.412 per mile to own. That includes everything but insurance and registration. Given the enormous difference in fuel economy and the fact that my Outlook depreciated nearly 50% in that time, it seems that 47 cents for a Prius over 5 years is a bit high as does $1.20 for the Armada. My 1999 Odyssey cost me $0.256 over 9 years, my 2005 Mazda3 is at $0.246 from new in Feb 2006 to date. I'm curious why CRs numbers are so much higher than mine.

  • Make_light I drive a 2015 A4 and had one of these as a loaner once. It was a huge disappointment (and I would have considered purchasing one as my next car--I'm something of a small crossover apologist). The engine sounded insanely coarse and unrefined (to the point that I wasn't sure if it was poor insulation or there was something wrong with my loaner). The seats, interior materials, and NVH were a huge downgrade compared to my dated A4. I get that they are a completely different class of car, but the contrast struck me. The Q3 just didn't feel like a luxury vehicle at all. Friends of mine drive a Tiguan and I can't think of one way in which the Q3 feels worth the extra cost. My mom's CX-5 is better than either in every conceivable way.
  • Arthur Dailey Personally I prefer a 1970s velour interior to the leather interior. And also prefer the instrument panel and steering wheel introduced later in the Mark series to the ones in the photograph. I have never seen a Mark III or IV with a 'centre console'. Was that even an option for the Mark IV? Rather than bucket seats they had the exceptional and sorely missed 60/40 front seating. The most comfortable seats of all for a man of a 'certain size'. In retrospect this may mark the point when Cadillac lost it mojo. Through the early to mid/late 70's Lincoln surpassed Cadillac in 'prestige/pride of place'. Then the 'imports' took over in the 1980s with the rise of the 'yuppies'.
  • Arthur Dailey Really enjoying this series and the author's writing style. My love of PLC's is well known. And my dream stated many times would be to 'resto mod' a Pucci edition Mark IV. I did have a '78 T-Bird, acquired brand new. Preferred the looks of the T-Bird of this generation to the Cougar. Hideaway headlights, the T-Birds roof treatment and grille. Mine had the 400 cid engine. Please what is with the engine displacements listed in the article? I am Canada and still prefer using cubic inches when referencing any domestic vehicles manufactured in the 20th century. As for my T-Bird the engine and transmission were reliable. Not so much some of the other mechanical components. Alternator, starter, carburetor. The vehicle refused to start multiple times, usually during the coldest nights/days or in the most out of the way spots. My friends were sure that it was trying to kill me. Otherwise a really nice, quiet, 'floaty' ride, with easy 'one finger' steering and excellent 60/40 split front seat. One of these with modern mechanicals/components would be a most excellent highway cruiser.
  • FreedMike Maybe they should buy Twitter now.
  • FreedMike A lot of what people are calling "turbo lag" may actually be the transmission. In this case, Audi used a standard automatic in this application versus the DSG, and that makes a big difference. The pre-2022 VW Arteon had the same issue - plenty of HP, but the transmission held it back. If Audi had used the DSG, this would be a substantially quicker, more engaging car. In any case, I don't get these "entry lux" compact CUVs (think: Cadillac XT4, Lexus NX, BMW X1, etc). If you must have a compact CUV, I can think of far better options for a lot less money. And, no, the Tiguan isn't one of them - it has the Miller-cycle 2.0T, so it's a dog. But a Mazda CX-30 with the 2.5T would fit the bill.