2012 Annual Auto Issue: Consumer Reports names its 2012 Top Picks

Consumer Reports News: February 28, 2012 01:08 PM


As the competition grows stronger with each passing year, it has been increasingly difficult for a single automaker to dominate Consumer Reports’ annual Top Picks list. This year, Toyota is the first brand to earn half of the top 10 spots in nearly a decade.

The redesigned Toyota Camry Hybrid and Highlander edged out the competition to become Top Picks in Consumer Reports’ Family Sedan and Family SUV categories, respectively. The Camry Hybrid delivers a surprising 38 mpg overall fuel economy—the best in class and as good as some smaller and less versatile hybrids.

The two new Toyota additions join the incumbent Prius, RAV4, and Sienna as the best in their individual categories to secure the brand a starring role in this year’s list. The Toyota Prius was named CR’s Top Pick Green Car for the 11th time and the ninth consecutive year—both records claimed by no other model in the history of Consumer Reports’ Top Picks.

“Every year the competition grows tighter; in recent years as many as nine different brands have taken the top spots. Combined with the improved Camry, Toyota’s ability to maintain a competitive lead among hybrids and SUVs is a big factor in its strong presence on this year’s list,” said Rik Paul, Consumer Reports’ automotive editor.

The last time a single brand held such a grip on Consumer Reports’ Top Picks was Honda in 2003. Historically a strong performing brand, this year there are no Honda models on the list for the second time in three years.

The Top Picks by category:

Family sedan:
Toyota Camry Hybrid ($29,052).
Sporty car: Ford Mustang ($28,880 to $43,880).
Small SUV: Toyota RAV4 ($24,405 to $30,328).
Affordable family sedan: Hyundai Sonata ($21,800).
Family hauler: Toyota Sienna V6 ($35,810).
Sports sedan: Infiniti G ($34,225 to $37,225).
Green car: Toyota Prius ($26,750 to $28,217).
Small car: Subaru Impreza ($21,345).
Pickup truck: Chevrolet Avalanche ($47,435).
Family SUV: Toyota Highlander ($38,578 to $47,255).

Consumer Reports’ Top Picks are the best all-around models in their categories, chosen from more than 275 vehicles the organization has recently tested. Top Pick models must meet CR’s stringent criteria in three areas: road test, reliability, and safety. They must rank at or near the top of their category on overall road test scores; they must have earned an average or better predicted-reliability Rating based on problems Consumer Reports subscribers reported on 1.3 million vehicles in the latest survey; and they must perform well if included in crash or rollover tests by the government or the insurance industry.

See the complete report on Consumer Reports’ Top Picks for 2012, including videos of each model.

Visit the annual auto issue special section for quick access to the latest Ratings, articles, and videos.

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