Consumer Reports: Top pick cars

Posted at 4:39 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 16:39:22-05

Consumer Reports' 2016 Top Picks for cars represent the best of the best of the 260 vehicles recently tested in ten categories. To be a Consumer Reports Top Pick, a vehicle needs to drive beautifully, have a strong record of reliability, and be safe, and it needs to make its owners happy.

The Kia Sorento is a Consumer Reports 2016 Top Pick midsized SUV. For years, Toyota has won this category, but the Sorento has overtaken it. It has a powerful engine, did great in crash tests, and got high scores for reliability. And the great thing is that it feels luxurious inside, like you’ve spent a whole lot more money than you actually did.

Toyota did earn two spots on the list—the Camry among midsized cars and the Toyota Sienna among minivans. Subaru also nabbed two spots—the Subaru Impreza for small cars and the Forester for small SUVs. Consumer Reports like Subarus because they’re super-practical and really fuel-efficient. And for such small cars, they feel really large on the inside.

Only two American cars make the list this year—the Chevrolet Impala among large cars and the Ford F-150 among pickups. Ford took a big gamble by switching its F-150 from steel to aluminum construction, but it paid off in Consumer Reports tests, with better fuel economy and better acceleration. And in independent crash tests, it scored really well.

The Mazda MX-5 earns the top spot for sports cars under $40,000. Miata is totally impractical; it seats only two people, and the trunk is tiny. But when you take it out on a sunny day, it’s more fun to drive than cars twice its price.

Two more Consumer Reports Top Picks round out the list—the Honda Fit for best subcompact and the Lexus RX for luxury SUV.