News Column

Cheap Car Might Not Be Best Deal

December 30, 2013

Bryan Alexander and Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

nissan versa
2014 Nissa Versa (Nissan)

The Nissan Armada gets 13 miles a gallon, has terrible scores on the reliability survey and costs $1.20 a mile to operate.

That record earned the big SUV and nine other vehicles spots on Consumer Reports' list of worst auto values by category among 200 models, based on its reviews and surveys.

Besides Armada, Nissan has another worst with the Altima sedan with a 3.5-liter engine in the midsize car category.

Consumer Reports' point is that a cheap car isn't necessarily a good value.

It notes that a Nissan Versa costs about $1,500 less than rival subcompact Honda Fit but that Fit is "fun to drive, cheaper to own, more reliable and provides almost twice the value."

Giamatti aces driving Lincoln in 'Mr. Banks'

Paul Giamatti is getting raves for his role in Saving Mr. Banks as the chauffeur Ralph who befriends Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, played by Emma Thompson.

But Giamatti is almost as proud about his skills at operating the classic Lincoln Continental limo that he drives in the film. By all accounts, it's a bit like flying a plane.

The New Yorker says he loves to drive and insisted on doing a tricky maneuver on camera: driving into the confined Disneyland lot and pulling a turn to a stop in front of Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks.

"The stunt guys were like, 'You're never going to be able to do this.' But I was like, 'Watch me!'" says Giamatti. "I made the turn in that huge frickin' car. And I was awfully proud."

Director John Lee Hancock was impressed. "To get through the gates and make the big curve in Disneyland and land it right in front of Tom was a feat. He should be proud."

The Continental got some changes to bring it back to its 1960s era. Period bumpers, tires and mirrors were added, and it got an engine make-over.

You don't want your period car screwing up on the day your expensive talent is working.

"When you have old cars in the movies, the worst thing that happens is when the car doesn't start," says Hancock.

At the end of the film, the vehicle was in far better shape than when the film crew took it over.

And Giamatti was an excellent caretaker.

"There's wasn't so much as a scratch," says Hancock. "Paul earned his chauffeur status."

Copyright 2013 USA TODAY

Original headline: Cheap cars aren't always a good deal

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Source: Copyright 2013 USA TODAY

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