Best in class: Safety

These vehicles are among Consumer Reports' top recommended models in their categories.

Consumer Reports has the most comprehensive, consumer-oriented autos-test program in the U.S. We anonymously buy our test cars from dealerships and conduct more than 50 evaluations on each vehicle, focusing on performance, safety, comfort, convenience, interior quality, fuel economy, cargo capacity, and more.

Below, we've listed several vehicles that provide good overall safety, and are among the top recommended vehicles in their categories. Not only did each of these vehicles earn a high overall score in their class, but they also meet our stringent requirements to be recommended.
Mazda3speed
SPORTY CARS
Mazdaspeed3
The Mazdaspeed3 is based on the already fun-to-drive and practical Mazda3, but has a stronger powertrain and a sport-oriented suspension. The turbocharged, 263-hp, 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine delivers smooth and very strong performance with minimal torque steer. Expect 24 mpg in mixed driving. This efficiency is good considering the high level of performance, but the Mazdaspeed3 requires premium fuel. It proved to be extremely quick and fun to drive with agile, secure handling. And yet, it has a usable rear seat, decent ride and interior noise, hatchback versatility and room for luggage. More sporty cars
Toyota Avalon
LARGE SEDANS
Toyota Avalon
The Avalon features a large cabin trimmed in high-quality, luxurious materials. Passengers have abundant seating room, and the rear seats can even recline. Handling is responsive but not sporty. ABS and side-curtain air bags are standard, and ESC is optional. Crash-test results are excellent. More sedans
2008 Honda Accord
FAMILY SEDANS
Honda Accord
Redesigned for 2008, the Accord is a well rounded, roomy sedan with a comfortable ride and agile handling. It also has excellent driving position, visibility and the seats are supportive. The four-cylinder engine is smoother than some V6 engines and it got 23 mpg overall. The V6 model is very quick and got 21 mpg. Fuel economy for both engines isn't as good as in the previous generation. Electronic stability control is standard on all models, and crash-test results are impressive. More sedans
Honda Civic
SMALL CARS
Honda Civic
The Honda Civic carries CR's top-tier recommendation. Handling is responsive and secure, and the ride is steady and compliant. The 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine is refined, works well with the smooth five-speed automatic, and returned 28 mpg overall in our tests. With a manual transmission, we got 31 mpg overall. The interior has generous storage space. Standard safety equipment includes antilock brake system and curtain air bags. Crash-test results are impressive. More small cars
2007 Lexus ES350
UPSCALE SEDANS
Lexus ES350
The redesigned, Camry-based Lexus ES350 is a solid and sedate sedan that emphasizes luxury over sport. The ride is very comfortable and the car is very quiet. Handling is not sporty, but is ultimately secure. The punchy V6 delivers strong acceleration and good fuel economy. Fit and finish is impressive. More sedans
Infiniti M
LUXURY SEDANS
Infiniti M35
The M35 is a luxurious, well-rounded sedan. It even outscored all of the luxury sedans in our tests. The ride and handling are well-suited for twisty roads as well as the highway. The V6 engine is strong and powerful. Interior accommodations are generous, and the materials are of high quality and well-constructed. AWD is available. More sedans
Toyota RAV4
SMALL SUVs
Toyota RAV4
With a more powerful four-cylinder engine and other upgrades for 2009, the RAV4 is our top small SUV for the third straight year. It provides agile handling, a roomy and quiet interior, a comfortable ride, and an optional third-row seat. The four-cylinder version gets the best fuel economy of any automatic, nonhybrid SUV we've tested. And the spirited V6 version accelerates as quickly as a Mazda Miata, while getting only 1 mpg less than the four-cylinder. ESC and curtain air bags are standard. More SUVs