Consumer Reports Top Picks 2008
Consumer Reports Top Vehicle Picks of 2008It's the time of year that savvy auto buyers look forward to. Consumer Reports has named its automotive Top Picks for 2008, and there were a few surprises. Four new or redesigned models made its top 10 lists, and this was the first time that a South Korean automaker made the Top 10 -- two of Hyundai's models were picked best overall in their categories.
Next Slide: Domestic Makes the Grade
Domestic Makes the GradeThis year's Consumer Reports list also marked the first time since 2005 that a U.S. model, in this case the Chevrolet Silverado, made the list. Historically, Consumers ReportsÔøΩ annual top 10 list has been a mix of Asian, European and American models, but for the past two years, the top 10 list has been exclusively the province of Japanese models.
Next Slide: New Models Make the List
Small Car: Hyundai Elantra SEMSRP: $13,625 - $16,325
An economical compact car, the Elantra strikes a nice balance between eye-catching exterior design, interior roominess and a generous array of safety features that come standard. It's powered by a 138-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and comes in both the GLS and SE trim levels. CR liked its fuel economy, comfortable ride, and quiet, spacious interior -- not to mention its standard-equipment electronic stability control.
Pickup Truck: Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew CabMSRP: $17,500 - $38,860
The Silverado 1500 was redesigned for '08, which CR said "considerably improved" the vehicle, and that the Silverado attained "nice balance between work attributes and livability, including a generous payload rating, a comfortable ride, improved interior quality and steering feel, and easy access." The 1500 offers four engines and is available in a wide range of sizes.
Family Car: Honda AccordMSRP: $20,360 - $28,310
Redesigned for '08, the Honda Accord has long been a stellar performer, so this is hardly a new honor for the model. It can be ordered as a two-door coupe or four-door sedan, and offers a choice between a 2.4-liter 190-hp four-cylinder engine or the 3.5-liter 268-hp V6. CR effused about the AccordÔøΩs roominess, ride comfort, nimble handling, refined power train, standard-equipment electronic stability control and impressive crash-test results.
Fun to Drive: Mazda MX-5 MiataMSRP: $20,585 - $26,760
A zippy convertible roadster, the MX-5 uses a 2.0-liter, inline four cylinder engine and comes in two power levels: 166 hp for the manual transmission and 158 hp for the automatic. CR test drivers gave it high marks for its "balanced handling, quick and precise steering, and crisp-shifting six-speed manual transmission." CR also noted that the MX-5 "virtually tied the Porsche Boxster in CRÔøΩs test scoring, but it's roughly half the price."
Minivan: Toyota SiennaMSRP: $24,340 - $37,665
Roomy and comfy, the Toyota Sienna is CRÔøΩs top pick in this category for the second year in a row. It comes in several trim lines, and offers two optional second-row seating configurations for maximum flexibility. The266-hp 3.5-liter V6 delivers the power youÔøΩll need for a big vehicle like this. CR noted that the SiennaÔøΩs ÔøΩspacious, quiet, and refined interior is on par with some luxury sedansÔøΩ and that itÔøΩs the only mini that offers all-wheel-drive.