• 55
Koreans come on strong, a domestic makes it and Toyota nabs four

Consumer Reports will soon release its highly anticipated Annual Auto Issue and we've got the scoop on which cars will be honored as Top Picks within its pages. This year there were some surprises among the 10 categories, including Hyundai, which broke out with two Top Picks: the Elantra SE for Small Sedan and Sante Fe for Midsized SUV. Even a domestic vehicle managed to make it on the list (the first time in two years), with the Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew Cab earning a Top Pick in the Pickup Truck category. The rest of the honored vehicles all hail from Japan, including four Toyota models, one Mazda, one Infiniti and one Honda.

The fact that Hyundai earned two Top Picks and a domestic received one at all is a testament to our long held suspicion that Japanese automakers aren't the only ones who know how to build a good vehicle. Other automakers, particularly our own domestic ones, just forgot for a while. But they're remembering, and quickly. Many new Ford and GM models are performing extremely well in CR's battery of tests, as well as ranking higher and higher in its readership surveys. CR is still withholding a Recommended rating for some of them based on past models that weren't fit for road use, but that won't last forever.

Check out the full list of Top Picks after the jump within the Consumer Reports official press release.

[Source: Consumer Reports]



First time a South Korean automaker represented in Top Picks
First time since 2005 a U.S. model makes list for pickup truck

YONKERS, NY - Consumer Reports has named four new models to its Top Picks list for 2008-the Hyundai
Elantra SE and Hyundai Santa Fe as top choices for small sedans and midsized SUVs, respectively; the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado as the top choice for pickup truck; and the Lexus LS 460L as the best luxury sedan.

The announcement was made today during a Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) press conference. Details can be found in CR's Annual April Auto Issue, on sale Tuesday, March 4.

This marks the first time that a South Korean automaker – Hyundai – is represented, and the first time since 2005 that a U.S. model – the Chevrolet Silverado – has made the list. Historically, Consumer Reports Top Picks have been a blend of Japanese, European, and domestic models, but for the last two years the Top Picks have all been from Japanese manufacturers.

The Toyota Prius remains the Top Pick in the "green" car category for the fifth year in a row. The Prius demonstrated an excellent 44 mpg overall in Consumer Reports' real-world fuel economy tests, the best of any five-passenger vehicles tested by CR.

Consumer Reports' Top Picks are the most well-rounded models in their categories and must meet stringent road test, reliability, and safety requirements. Each Top Pick scores at or near the top of its category among more than 260 vehicles CR recently tested at its Auto Test Center; has average or better predicted reliability (based on the problems subscribers reported on in CR's Annual Car Reliability Survey of almost 1.3 million vehicles), and performed adequately in overall safety if tested by the government or 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. That's why the Honda Accord, for example, is the Top Pick in family sedans over the Nissan Altima. The Altima scored slightly higher in CR's testing, but offers ESC only as a pricey option on the V6 and standard on the hybrid model.

"All the vehicles in Consumer Reports' Top Picks list are standouts for performance, versatility, reliability, and
safety," said David Champion, senior director of automotive testing, Consumer Reports. "CR's Top Picks list is a great place for consumers to start when they're looking for a new car."

Consumer Reports' testing procedures are the most comprehensive of any U.S. publication or Web site. More than 50 individual tests are performed on every vehicle, including evaluations of braking, handling, comfort, convenience, safety, and fuel economy. Around 6,000 miles of general driving and evaluations are racked up on each test car during the testing process.

Here, by category, are the issue's best performers. Changes from last year's Top Picks list are noted:

• SMALL SEDAN: Hyundai Elantra SE. The Hyundai Elantra SE ($18,000) is a well-rounded small car that
provides good fuel economy, a comfortable ride, and an interior that's quiet, roomy, and well-equipped. The
SE also has standard electronic stability control, a proven safety feature that's absent on many other small
cars. The Honda Civic EX and Mazda3 scored almost as well and are more fun to drive, but lack ESC on
more affordable versions. (Last year's Top Pick for Small Sedan was the Honda Civic.)

• MIDSIZED SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe. Redesigned for 2007, the much-improved Santa Fe ($22,000 to
$31,000) edged out the Honda Pilot in CR's tests. It provides a quiet and roomy interior, excellent fit and
finish, a refined powertrain, a relatively good ride, and an optional third-row seat. Standard ESC helps
provide secure handling. (Last year's Top Pick for Midsized SUV was the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.)

• PICKUP TRUCK: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab. The redesigned Silverado ($27,000 to $39,000)
is considerably improved. It achieves a nice balance between work attributes and livability, including a
generous payload rating, a comfortable ride, improved interior quality and steering feel, and easy access. ESC
is standard on all crew-cab models. The GMC Sierra is virtually identical to the Silverado. The redesigned
Toyota Tundra outscored the Silverado in CR's tests, but first-year reliability of the 4WD, V8 version was
below average.

• LUXURY SEDAN: Lexus LS 460L. With a score of 99 out of 100 in CR's road test, the LS 460L ($77,000)
is CR's highest-rated vehicle. It provides a no-compromise environment of comfort and roominess, coupled
with an isolating quietness. It also delivers quick acceleration and relatively good fuel economy. While it's
brimming with electronic amenities, its controls are easy to use. (Last year's Top Pick for Luxury Sedan was
the Infiniti M35.)

• FAMILY SEDAN: Honda Accord. The Accord ($22,000 to $31,000), redesigned for 2008, is a well-
rounded roomy sedan with a comfortable ride, agile handling, and smooth, refined powertrains. Electronic
stability control is standard on all models, and crash-test results are impressive. Although the Nissan Altima
edged out the Accord in CR's ratings, most affordable versions of the Altima lack ESC, a requirement to be a
Top Pick. (This is the sixth consecutive year that the Accord was named a Top Pick for Family Sedan.)

• UPSCALE SEDAN: Infiniti G35. The G35 ($33,000 to $35,000) successfully blends sportiness and luxury.
Available in rear- or all-wheel drive, it has an exuberant powertrain, agile handling, and a well-crafted
interior. (This is the second consecutive year the G35 was named Top Pick for Upscale Sedan.)

• FUN TO DRIVE: Mazda MX-5 Miata. The MX-5 ($27,000) won drivers over with its balanced handling,
quick and precise steering, and crisp-shifting six-speed manual transmission. It virtually tied the Porsche
Boxster in CR's test scoring, but it's roughly half the price. The manual top can be lowered and raised with
one hand from the driver's seat, making open motoring a snap. (Unchanged from last year.)

• SMALL SUV: Toyota RAV4. The impressive RAV4 ($23,000 to $30,000) is versatile, comfortable, and
roomy enough for a small third-row seat. The spirited V6 version accelerates quickly (the same as a Mazda
Miata from 0 to 60 mph), yet delivers an excellent 22 mpg overall. The four-cylinder version gets 23 mpg, the
best of any nonhybrid SUV CR has tested. (Unchanged from last year.)

• MINIVAN: Toyota Sienna. The Sienna ($24,000 to $37,000) is CR's pick for the second year in a row. Its
spacious, quiet, and refined interior is on par with some luxury sedans and its V6 engine is powerful and fuel
efficient. It is also the only minivan available with all-wheel drive. The Honda Odyssey, on the other hand, is
more agile and fun to drive.

• GREEN CAR: Toyota Prius. The gas/electric Prius hybrid ($24,000) 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 CR has
measured in any five-passenger car. The interior is roomy and versatile, and the Prius has been very reliable.

CR's Annual April Auto Issue is on sale from March 4 through June 4. The Consumer Reports Auto Issue is available wherever magazines are sold. Free highlights from the April Auto Issue will be available at

Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Web site; the magazine's auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To subscribe to Consumer Reports, call 1-800-234-1645.

Information and articles from the magazine can be accessed online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I do not put much faith into consumer reports ratings, in their own words they tell you that many domestics rated higher in the test than the imports but they wont give them the ranking because cars of the past did not rank, what a croc!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I just read over this issue at Barnes & Noble (while my wife was digging for blood and guts novels)... and then put it back on the rack! No vehicle I've ever owned has made it to the Consumer Reports top picks... not sure if that says more about me or THEM! BUT none of the vehicles we're considering made the cut anyway... so that means a better $ deal for me when I shop and the roads will now be clogged with lemmings driving Hyundai's and Hondas (Toyota presently out of love with CR)! OH WELL, I've NEVER had a car that I didn't absolutely enjoy... so I take it all with a grain of salt.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So the CR reports don't align with how some people here feel so what do those people do?

      First delcare the CR people not to be enthusiast... shot down

      Next trying to declare them SF wussies...

      How about BABY-EATERS! That might stick!

      Sheesh, face it. There are many cars in each category and to win any of them means a lot of work.

      At least the domestics got a truck onto the list.

      What do they have to compare to the CR/V & RAV4? NOTHING. The escpae is passable but its an old design with only a recent face lift.

      Losing to the Accord... well its a domestic for all intents and purposes and does damn well. Plus when I small car shopped the Honda dealers were more willing to invoice or lower price their cars than Chevy (well it didn't help that the cobalt is crap).

      I was surprised by the G35, but domestics don't compete there. Compared to the 05 and before the current G35/G37 are worlds apart in quality. Finally not feeling as if they were not merely upgrades from Maximas

      • 7 Years Ago
      I fail to see why the Rav4 and SanteFe are in 2 different size category.....

      Didn't toyota extend some warranties because their doors and rear hatch are prone to extensive rust problems?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Santa Fe for the mid size SUV spot?! Are they nuts? There are quite a few mid size SUV's that I would consider to be superior to it. The new Jeep Libtery for one, and the Ford Escape. Both drive better, feel higher quality, and cost around the same amount.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You might want to review the whole review and stanadard options for each car, Santa Fe did not edge them out because their "materials" are so much better than the Jeep and Ford.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I just bought a Santa Fe after test driving the Escape and Liberty. The Santa Fe drives FAR better than either, is bigger, can haul 7 people has a better warranty and just looks classier. All for equal or less money OTD.
        • 7 Years Ago
        LOL... If I remember correctly anyone begins with "yea man," he's full of sh.............. :) All the same, nice posts!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ok, yes, I have driven an Escape a LOT (couple of trips that were 1-2k miles each). Both the previous generation and the new generation. Now granted both were fully loaded for the most part with leather seats and such, but both were nice to drive. Both were V6's with FWD/AWD/4WD. I was happy with the milage (26 HWY on average), good ride, great power, and comfortable.

        My experience in the Liberty is not as good. I hated the previous generation liberty. Ugly as sin, and I had a lot of issues with it. The new liberty improved in a lot of those areas.

        I do think the new Santa Fe is *WAY* better then the previous generation, which was a total POS. But there are a lot of mid-size SUV's out there that I think are better in several areas.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Liberty did horrible in crash tests.
          • 7 Years Ago
          Horrible??? You have no idea what your talking about.

          2008 Jeep Liberty
          5 star Front Impact - Driver and Passenger
          5 star Side Impact - Driver and Passenger

        • 7 Years Ago
        New Santa Fe is clearly better ... again the only reason I didn't buy santa fe is because of dealer treatment and I went with Escape only because of dealer treatment and A-plan.

        • 7 Years Ago
        yea man, i shopped all of them. bought the santa fe. without a doubt beats them all. in saftey features alone much less quality.
        amazing value.

        Liberty?? hahaha that should be sold at half of what it cost. such a pos.
      • 7 Years Ago
      And the scrambling is once again on, but! but !but! but !but !TOYOTA! its funny to watch the domestic fangirls running around in circles every year, i keep hearing ,just wait until this comes out !just wait until that comes out! and its the same old story, the japanese are just better at what they do .
        • 7 Years Ago

        It's funny, if you look up the definiton of fanboy/girl, it's noted that the people that use the term are usually fanboys/fangirls themselves. Try not to be so obvious next time....
      • 7 Years Ago
      It won't matter what Hyundai does, some can never accept that they could improved to challenge or top the industry. The battle is between the ears.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A lot of people also figured Honda and Toyota wouldn't make any inroads because they were known to build cheap vehicles with a metal known as "instarust". They made better vehicles and perceptions changed. Bottom line being, companies that make a good product blossom and profit. Companies that make terrible products either struggle or go out of business entirely. And I don't think Hyundai is going out of business anytime soon.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I actually think that Hyundai has come a very long way and had one of the sharpest turnarounds in the car manufacturing world.
        My wife's 07 Elantra Limited 5 speed has completely surprised me in a lot of ways. It has become one of my favorite small cars to drive in the affordable category. I used to drive a Civic 4 door and to me it is not nearly as fast or fun to drive. I still manage to surprise a lot of people on the highway when only requiring mearly 3 seconds to pass a car going 60, also when you get the occasional person that wants to try to drag race me in their attempt to shame me for driving a Hyundai. Once i finally figured out how to control the torque steer I could easily beat most non turbo cars that either have a 4 or 6 cylinder (or Ford's V8's in most Lincolns and not police-ized Panther based cars) with auto transmission. The mighty 2.0 DOHC I4 in the Elantra is quite peppy especially since they switched over to CVVT and have a much broader band of torque.

        On the touring side the seats are quite comfortable for very long trips, which my wife and I take quite often. This has to be the first car I owned where after 7 hrs of driving my butt does not become sore. The factory system has excellent sound quality with a lot of features, an average fuel mileage trip computer, electronic climate control system for both driver & passenger, heated seats, 17" wheels, leather wrapped shifter and wheel, a trunk that still surprises me in the space it offers, which is 9 cubic ft less than the 08 Malibu! Don't believe me? Go and check for yourself.

        The even cooler part is that I got all of this for $16,780 with the 10 year 100,000 mile Bumper to Bumper warranty which means it covers EVERYTHING that is not typical maintenance like brakes and clutch. I also for the lifetime of the car get free oil changes at the dealer I bought it at. Let's see the new Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic beat that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Or for those of us that used to appraise cars and had to touch, feel and smell for problems with cars that will never believe Hyundais to be worth anything. Probably because every single Hyundai I ever saw was utter crap. Styling is borrowed, power is very low, MPG is low considering the non-sporting nature, and the ESC is extremely instrusive and disrupts the dynamics of the vehicle.

        Don't worry I complain about most cars, because they are built to fool the masses into thinking they are quality products. Why else would VW have some of the nicest interiors? They want you to forget about all of the future problems that live in the engine bay...
      • 7 Years Ago
      They're making strides in the right direction, but I get really tired of these auto mags snubbing mazda. OF COURSE the miata won for the little sport coupe category, it's the only reasonably priced purpose-built sportscar on the market. But the Mazda3 has deserved to be on this list since it came out, same with the CX9. The're both so clearly superior to their classmates and virtually everyone recognizes this but consumer reports!
        • 7 Years Ago
        I've sat in a Hyundai Elantra. Great product - high quality and tight fit/finish. But to claim it's superior to the Honda Civic *AND* the Mazda3? Whatever.

        CR is the same rag that has routinely pulled utter crap out of their collective asses like rating the Toyota Maxtrix above the Pontiac Vibe when they are both rebadged knockoffs of the same machine.

        These people enjoy the pretend credibility they have now because they publish to an audience that knows less about cars than they do. They're the AOL of the Auto Industry*.

        *Dear AOL: don't take it personally that I posted this opinion one of your sites - deleting this comment wouldn't change my opinion nor anyone else's.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If you go to the Best-of and Worst-of list, two things jump out at you: Asian brands are clearly superior used cars and the General's stuff is pretty much to be avoided. I usually agree with CR but you gotta be kidding me, a Lincoln Continental as a top pick for used car. Must be a statistical error or all the owners lied about them. Even a LM dealer salesman told me to stay away from used Conti's
      • 7 Years Ago
      Honda CR-V should be best small SUV.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Overpriced (FYI: 27K in Canada for a base model), underpowered (+4cyl only), boring to drive, cramped.

        Someone here picked one up because it was like a car but higher, therefore hooking up (way to speak of course) his baby in the back isn't a pain for his back, which is understandable. But in that regard the Patriot does a better job at being affordable (in Canada, at least), only thing you have to cope with is the interior materials, the design being perfectly utilitarian.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh, and I think the Mazda3 should have one for small sedan. I do NOT think ESC should be the deciding factor for is a car wins or not. Especially since there is no standard on how to rate ESC. Not all ESC's are created equal, and I would be willing to be that if they did a test of the same hyundai with and without ESC, that they would notice little if any difference.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So out of a portfolio of almost 50 vehicles GM only managed to get one top pick!

      Hmm! No surprise there!
    • Load More Comments