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According to Consumer Reports, "Top Picks are as close as it gets to "no-brainers" in the auto market. They're impressive all-around vehicles, chosen from more than 280 we've recently tested, that have excelled in our testing, are reliable, and have performed well in independent crash tests."

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Two years after Consumer Reports smacked Toyota by pulling its coveted Recommended label from the Japanese automaker's vehicles in the wake of safety concerns, the venerable consumer products testing magazine has slipped back into its comfortable role of being one of Toyota's biggest fans. In announcing its annual Top Picks list, CR lauded five Toyota models as best-in-class, meaning the once beleaguered brand captured fully half of the category awards.

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2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2010 Consumer Reports Top Pick Cars – Click above for high-res image gallery

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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.

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

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var digg_url = 'http://digg.com/offbeat_news/Consumer_Reports_announces_its_10_Top_Picks_of_the_year'; Yesterday, Dan Roth and I spent the day at Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, CT. The occasion was the publication's annual Press Day, during which members of the media are given a tour of their expansive (and very impressive) facilities, demonstrations of some of the tests they perform, and finally, the formal announcement of their annual top 10 car picks.

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