Any of you who consider hating on Consumer Reports a personal hobby, get ready to indulge yourself. The consumer advocate mag has just released its list of American Top Picks for 2008, and it ain't pretty. The criteria to be named a Top Pick in general by CR is steep, and the American auto industry failed to produce a single candidate for five out of ten categories, including Small sedan, Small SUV, Minivan, Fun to drive and Green car. To be named a Top Pick, a vehicle has to score well in tests performed by CR, be trouble-free to own and relatively safe. That's not all. A vehicle must also have Electronic Stability Control available, decent crash test results and have been around long enough that there's reliability data to back up its durability. That last one's the knock-out blow for many viable new vehicles.
The Chevy Malibu, for instance, is too new to have an archive of reliability data. Not eligible. The Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan don't offer ESC, so they're not eligible. The Cadillac CTS is too new and the Lincoln MKZ lacks ESC, both not eligible. The list of ineligibility goes on, and what remains is five empty categories and a few strange Top Picks. The Buick Lucerne CXS as Top Pick for an Upscale sedan? It is when the Cadillac CTS and Lincoln MKZ aren't considered. The slow-selling Ford Taurus takes the Family sedan category? Yup, when the Chevy Malibu's not around to fight.

While the idea of an American Top Picks list may sound helpful for super patriots who insist on buying American, the domestic automakers are smack dab in the middle of replacing their disappointing products from yesteryear with new ones that should be on this list. We'll just have to wait a few years for proof that they're reliable before this list becomes useful.

Check out the full list of American Top Picks after the jump, and click the source to read more about the reasoning behind each choice.

[Source: Consumer Reports, Photo by David McNew/Getty]

Category Top-scoring American car American Top Pick
Small sedan None recommended None
Family sedan Chevrolet Malibu LTZ V6 Ford Taurus
Upscale sedan Cadillac CTS Buick Lucerne CXS
Luxury sedan Cadillac STS Cadillac STS
Small SUV Saturn Vue XR None
Midsized SUV Saturn Outlook XR
GMC Acadia SLT2
Ford Taurus X
Saturn Outlook XR
GMC Acadia SLT2 Ford Taurus X
Minivan Chrysler Town and Country None
Pickup truck Chevrolet Avalanche Chevrolet Silverado
Fun to drive Chevrolet Corvette Z06 None
Green car None tested None


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