Consumer Reports’ 2016 Annual Top Picks: Kia Sorento & Lexus RX Are Best SUVs
Ford F-150 named top pickup truck for first time in 17 years
YONKERS, NY — Seven new vehicles made Consumer Reports’ 2016 Annual Top Picks list—the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Kia Sorento, Toyota Sienna, Toyota Camry, Lexus RX, Honda Fit, and Ford F-150¬—in each of their respective categories.
The redesigned Ford F-150 was named best Pickup Truck, thanks in part to its fuel economy, quiet and spacious cabin, and much-improved infotainment system. It’s Ford’s first win in the category since 1999 and its first overall Top Pick honor since 2012.
Consumer Reports’ 2016 Top Picks list, Car Brand Report Cards and more from the Annual Auto Issue were released at a press conference today before the Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) in Washington, D.C. For more details and videos of the Top Picks, visit ConsumerReports.org.
“This year several automakers have really hit the mark with their redesigned vehicles,” said Mark Rechtin, Consumer Reports’ Cars Content Development Team Leader. “This year’s Top Picks include refreshed models, like the Lexus RX, that have vaulted back to the top of their respective categories after lengthy absences.”
The Toyota Camry notched its fifth Top Pick honor in the 20-year history of the list in the Midsized Car category, and its first in four years. There was a time when Honda Accord had a solid edge over the competition in this ultra-competitive category, much of the past decade, but this marks its second straight year out of the top spot.
Subaru’s Forester and Impreza models are Consumer Reports’ Top Picks for Small SUV and Compact Car, respectively. It’s the fifth consecutive award for the Impreza, and the second in a row for the Forester. Both are noted for their reliability, ride comfort, and suite of available safety technology.
The Chevrolet Impala repeated as the Top Pick in the Large Car category, proving that an American automaker knows how to make an outstanding car for the masses. The Impala joins the Ford F-150 as the only domestic winners this year.
Consumer Reports’ Top Picks must rank at or near the top of their respective classes in CR’s road-test score. Models must also have an average or better predicted reliability rating based on problems reported by subscribers for the 740,000 vehicles in CR’s 2015 auto survey. Also taken into consideration is owner satisfaction, which CR obtains by surveying subscribers about their happiness level regarding the 230,000 vehicles in their garages. Finally, and importantly, Top Picks must perform effectively in crash or rollover tests conducted by the government and insurance industry (if tested).
Consumer Reports’ 2016 Top Picks By Category:
MIDSIZED CAR: Toyota Camry ($24,089-$32,603) The Camry’s no-fuss driving experience – great outward visibility, controls that fall easily to hand, a roomy interior – may not be the most thrilling in its class, but it’s far from plain. The solid Camry delivers year after year of outstanding reliability, which when combined with impressive crash-tests results, make it a near-perfect sedan.
SUBCOMPACT CAR: Honda Fit ($19,025) The Honda Fit is thrifty with fuel, returning a competitive 33 mpg overall, and its nimble handling beats expectations. It has remarkable interior space for such a tiny footprint, with second-row seats that elegantly stow away or flip up to hold more cargo. Road noise does boom in, and its rough ride can be tiring on long drives. Still, its crash-test scores have improved over its predecessor.
COMPACT CAR: Subaru Impreza ($21,345-$22,345) Despite its compact size, the Impreza’s ride and comfort will surprise. It has expansive window glass, lots of interior space for a car of its size, intuitive controls, a suite of available safety technology, great crash-test results, and an available hatchback version to haul bulky cargo. And with the added benefit of superb all-wheel-drive traction, the Impreza is a smart, practical car.
LUXURY SUV: Lexus RX ($51,630-$57,565) Lexus created the luxury crossover segment almost 20 years ago, and its dominance hasn’t diminished since. Though the exterior now features origami styling and a new “Predator” grille, it still boasts a quiet and comfortable cabin, effortless power delivery, a smooth ride, and a tastefully done interior fit and finish. The hybrid version gets an impressive 29 mpg overall.
SPORTS CAR <$40K: Mazda MX-5 MIATA ($29,905) The MX-5 Miata combines lithe, precise handling with a crisp manual stick and a zoomy engine—that gets an enviable 34 mpg—to create the perfect car for the enthusiast driver and weekend racer. It’s reliable, too. With its jumpy, firm suspension, loud cabin, and tight quarters for taller drivers, the Miata isn’t a commuter car. But given a sunny day and a winding road, none of that matters.
SMALL SUV: Subaru Forester ($27,145) The Forester is roomy, rides comfortably, and handles unflappably. Its AWD system routed the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V in CR’s snow-driving evaluations. Fuel economy is among the class leaders. It also has the best sight lines from the driver’s seat of any model on the market.
MIDSIZED SUV: Kia Sorento ($37,915) The Sorento is a great SUV hiding in plain sight. It offers class-above elegance at mainstream prices. It’s a shade smaller than its midsized competitors, but that allows it to be city-friendly while still offering the space and features of a larger vehicle.
MINIVAN: Toyota Sienna ($35,810-$38,201) The Sienna is super-reliable transport with all of the modern features an active, connected family would want. Its spacious and multifunctional interior, with available seating for eight, mates well with the Sienna’s magic carpet ride and energetic powertrain.
PICKUP TRUCK: Ford F-150 ($45,750-$46,755) By eschewing traditional steel body panels, Ford created a pickup that weighs less, enabling it to be quick off the line and fuel-efficient. The cabin is extremely quiet and spacious. The intuitive Sync 3 infotainment system is a welcome update from the MyFord Touch. The F150 has the best predicted reliability of any domestic truck.
LARGE CAR: Chevrolet Impala ($39,110) The Impala is dynamic and comfortable, combining a cushy ride with responsive handling, beating some elite luxury sedans at their own game. The controls are refreshingly intuitive, without resorting to overcomplicated interfaces. There’s enough cabin space to fit five comfortably.
Complete details on Consumer Reports’ Top Picks for 2016, Car Brand Report Cards, Best and Worst Lists and other key findings are available in the Annual Auto Issue of Consumer Reports on newsstands March 1stor visit Consumer Reports’ 2016 Autos Spotlight page on ConsumerReports.org.
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. Roughly 6,000 miles of general driving and evaluations are racked up on each test car during the testing process. CR buys all its test cars anonymously from dealers. Other reviewers base their evaluations on press cars that are hand-picked by the automakers.
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Consumer Reports is the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit, consumer organization working to improve the lives of consumers by driving marketplace change. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has achieved substantial gains for consumers on health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other issues. The organization has advanced important policies to cut hospital-acquired infections, prohibit predatory lending practices and combat dangerous toxins in food. Consumer Reports tests and rates thousands of products and services in its 50-plus labs, state-of-the-art auto test center and consumer research center. Consumers Union, a division of Consumer Reports, works for pro-consumer laws and regulations in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. With more than eight million subscribers to its flagship magazine, website and other publications, Consumer Reports accepts no advertising, payment or other support from the companies whose products it evaluates.