For the second straight year, Consumer Reports has seen fit to release a second set of Top Picks comprised solely of American automobiles, and we're betting there will be plenty of discussion regarding the merits of such a distinction from both the pro-import and pro-domestic crowds, just as there was a year ago. We'll leave that up to you in the comments, but please remember to be civil.

Getting to the actual rankings, there were enough surprising omissions from the list that CR decided to list its Top Performers, which don't necessarily earn a Recommended rating, alongside the actual Top Picks. Taking top honors in the Small Car category for '09 is the Ford Focus. Back in 2008, no American automaker had a small car that CR felt comfortable recommending. Ford also took the win in the hotly-contested Midsize SUV category with its Taurus X, though that model is currently scheduled to be cancelled after MY2009.

CR's Top Pick for an American Family Sedan is the Chevy Malibu, which narrowly beat out the previous generation of the highly reliable Ford Fusion. Expect those wars to heat up when the revised 2010 Fusion makes it through CR's barrage of testing procedures. If there's one category that U.S. automaker have on lock down, it's pickup trucks. This year, the Chevy Avalanche grabbed the win away from last year's winner and its corporate sibling, the Chevy Silverado. See the full rundown after the jump.

[Source: Consumer Reports, Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty]


Consumer Reports American Top Picks for 2009
Category
Top Pick
Top Scoring
Small car
Ford Focus
Ford Focus
Family sedan
Chevrolet Malibu
Chevrolet Malibu
Upscale sedan
Lincoln MKZ
Cadillac CTS (reliability too low to recommend)
Luxury sedan
Cadillac DTS
Cadillac STS (reliability too low to recommend)
Small SUV
Ford Escape Hybrid
Ford Escape Hybrid
Midsized SUV
Ford Taurus X

Chevrolet Traverse/GMC Acadia/Saturn Outlook
(no reliability data for Traverse, reliability too low to recommend for others)

Minivan
None qualify
Chrysler Town & Country (reliability too low to recommend)
Pickup truck
Chevrolet Avalanche
Chevrolet Avalanche
Fun-to-drive
None qualify
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (reliability too low to recommend)
Green car
Ford Escape Hybrid
Ford Escape Hybrid