Consumer Reports announced their Top Picks for 2008. The Toyota Prius came out on top in the Green Car category. Nine of the ten category winners were imports.
- Small sedan: Hyundai Elantra SE
- Family sedan: Honda Accord
- Upscale sedan: Infiniti G35
- Luxury sedan: Lexus LS 460 L
- Green car: Toyota Prius
- Fun to drive: Mazda MX-5 Miata
- Small SUV: Toyota RAV4
- Mid-sized SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe
- Minivan: Toyota Sienna
- Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab
Detroit Improves, Asia Shines in Overall Scores
Honda cars and trucks scored an overage of 78 out of a possible 100 points in Consumer Reports' various tests. Toyota came in second with 75 points followed by BMW, Mazda, Nissan and Volkswagen. (After rounding, Nissan and Volkswagen tied with 71 points.)
Meanwhile GM, Suzuki and Chrysler fell to the bottom. David Champion, Consumers Union's senior director of automotive testing, said Chrysler's lineup " is in the dumps."
Ford came in halfway, with steady improvement in reliability, but was unexciting. GM had some attractive vehicles, but reliability still lags.
"The big question in General Motors is, is the reliability going to be there" to go along with the new models, Champion said.
The overall score for each carmaker is based on the average score of all its vehicles tested by the magazine, and average predicted reliability scores based on the magazine's annual surveys. Honda's score included Accura, and Toyota's score reflected the Lexus line-up. Ford and Mazda were not linked together since Ford does not own Mazda outright.
Consumer Reports also calculated vehicles cost of ownership over five years. Cheaper cars were shown to be more expensive than previously thought, since their resale value was so much lower, and represents 48 percent of the cost of ownership.
Toyota Prius Wins Top Pick Green Car
According to CR, the Prius "hybrid retains its lock on this category for the fifth straight year. Despite a wave of new hybrid models, the Prius’ 44 mpg overall is still the best we’ve measured in any five-passenger car. The interior is roomy and versatile, and the Prius has been very reliable. Price: $24,000."
To be chosen as a Top Pick, each car must be well-rounded in their categories and meet the following requirements:
- Road tests: Each Top Pick scores at or near the top of its category among more than 260 vehicles we’ve recently tested at our Auto Test Center.
- Reliability: Each has an average or better predicted-reliability Rating, based on the problems subscribers reported on almost 1.3 million vehicles in our Annual Car Reliability Survey.
- Safety: Top Picks have performed adequately in overall safety if tested by the government or the insurance industry. Starting this year, they also must provide a critical safety feature, electronic stability control (ESC), either as standard equipment or as a readily available option.