Consumer Reports released their 2012 Top Picks and automotive Report Card today. The highlights? Toyota took home five of the ten Top Picks, Subaru scored all As, Mazda is the comeback kid and Ford stumbled over their own new tech. Snippets of the press releases are available after the break. For the full releases, check the PR Newswire ticker on the right side of the page, or go here: https://speedsportlife.com/prn-feed/.
Five Toyota Models Named Consumer Reports’ Top Picks; First Time in Nearly a Decade One Brand Has Dominated
New Camry Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata, and Subaru Impreza make top picks list
YONKERS, N.Y., Feb. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As the competition grows stronger with each passing year, it has been increasingly difficult for a single automaker to dominate Consumer Reports’ annual Top Picks list. This year, Toyota is the first brand to earn half of the top 10 spots in nearly a decade.
The Top 10 Picks By Category:
FAMILY SEDAN: Toyota Camry Hybrid ($29,052). In addition to its impressive 38 mpg overall fuel economy, other high points include a comfortable ride; a roomy, quiet, cabin; fairly quick acceleration; and for 2012, a nicer interior and somewhat crisper handling (although the Camry is still no sports sedan).
SPORTY CAR: Ford Mustang ($28,880 to $43,880). The heart of this iconic sports car has always been its strong acceleration and rumbling V8 power. But now there’s more to the Mustang than power. Agile handling, a decent ride, comfortable front seats, and very good fit and finish make the current version an inviting package. The Mustang delivers good fuel economy (22-24 mpg) for its class.
SMALL SUV: Toyota RAV4 ($24,405 to $30,328). With a four-cylinder engine, the RAV4 delivers some of the best gas mileage in its class (23 mpg). The spirited V6 version accelerates as quickly as many sports sedans and gets only 1 mpg less than the four-cylinder model.
AFFORDABLE FAMILY SEDAN: Hyundai Sonata ($21,800). CR chose the four-cylinder Sonata as a more affordable alternative to the Camry Hybrid. The Sonata provides a roomy, well-equipped cabin, supple ride, nimble handling, and thrifty 27 mpg overall, for just a little bit more money than many small sedans.
FAMILY HAULER: Toyota Sienna V6 ($35,810). The Sienna fits the bill nicely for families looking for a comfortable, roomy interior, plenty of features, and the ability to carry up to eight people. Among its high points are lively performance, decent fuel economy (20 mpg), and a comfortable ride, although the handling is rather lackluster. It’s the only minivan that has at least average reliability.
SPORTS SEDAN: Infiniti G ($34,225 to $37,225). The G37’s agile handling, blistering acceleration, and comfortable, well-crafted interior make it one of CR’s highest-scoring sedans. The G is on this list for the sixth straight year. The less expensive but equally inviting G25 isn’t as quick, but gets 24 mpg overall, 3 more than the G37.
GREEN CAR: Toyota Prius ($26,750 to $28,217). The Prius sets the standard for fuel efficiency, practicality, and affordability with its overall 44 mpg. Its roomy interior, comfortable ride, and hatchback versatility make it easy to live with. The 41 mpg of the new Prius V wagon easily tops its class.
SMALL CAR: Subaru Impreza ($21,345). Redesigned for 2012, the all-wheel-drive Impreza is a well-rounded roomy sedan with nimble handling and a compliant, absorbent ride that rivals some luxury sedans. Fuel economy of 27 mpg overall is impressive for an AWD car.
PICKUP TRUCK: Chevrolet Avalanche ($47,435). The Avalanche provides the best combination of utility and versatility of any pickup CR has tested. Its unified bed and cab help give it a steady, comfortable ride, and the cabin is quiet. Its overall mpg is 14.
FAMILY SUV: Toyota Highlander ($38,578 to $47,255). The refined, comfortable, and quiet Highlander has consistently ranked near the top of its class in CR’s road-test scores and has had above-average reliability. The V6 version delivers a decent 18 mpg overall, and the hybrid model tops all SUVs at 27.
Consumer Reports Automaker Report Cards 2012: Subaru Drives Into Top Spot as Honda Slips
Mazda’s score improves most while Ford’s falls the farthest
YONKERS, N.Y., Feb. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Riding a wave of impressive redesigned models in the last few years, Subaru for the first time has earned the top score in Consumer Reports automaker report cards for 2012.
Subaru’s score of 75, two points higher than last year, reflects better test scores for such redesigned models as the Impreza, Legacy, and Outback over the last few years. The 2012 Impreza, which Consumer Reports just tested, now tops the small-sedan class and is the Consumer Reports Top Pick in that category. Subaru’s average road-test score of 82 is the highest in Consumer Reports analysis.
Honda, which had been the perennial winner for the past four years, slipped two points to fourth place among 13 major automakers, behind Mazda and Toyota. Honda has been hurt by several redesigned models—including the Civic and Odyssey—that didn’t measure up to their predecessors. Honda models, however, are still among the most reliable on the road overall.
Toyota remains among the top three automakers for the fifth straight year, buoyed by consistently above-average reliability and most vehicles have high test scores.
Consumer Reports automaker report cards reflect the performance, comfort, utility, and reliability of more than 275 vehicles that CR recently rated, providing a perspective on which manufacturers are building the best all-around models. Each automaker’s overall score is based on the average road test scores and reliability ratings for all of its models that CR has tested.
“While Japanese automakers still hold the top five spots, their lead is shrinking. In some of Honda’s and Toyota’s recently redesigned models, cost-cutting has become more noticeable,” said David Champion, senior director, Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center.
Mazda showed the most dramatic improvement among the 13 manufacturers rated by Consumer Reports. It climbed to second place from last year’s seventh and increased its overall score by nine points. It was helped by an improved Mazda3 and the shedding of two models that dragged down its score, the Tribute SUV and RX-8 sports car.
On the other hand, Ford dropped the farthest, from fifth place last year to 10th. Ford’s road-test score improved by two points over last year’s, but subpar reliability of some new vehicles, due largely to the troublesome MyFord Touch infotainment system and Power-Shift automatic transmission, hurt its report-card grade.
“GM and Chrysler are building nicer cars with each redesign. Still, their scores are dragged down by several older designs that score low in Consumer Reports testing or have reliability issues,” Champion said, “As more new products are introduced, their fortunes could change if they can improve their overall reliability.”
Although Chrysler remains in last place, its overall score jumped eight points, making it the second most improved automaker. Chrysler’s average road-test score also increased by eight points, the most of any automaker, and its overall reliability improved to average. The turnaround can be credited mostly to Chrysler’s extensively freshened and redesigned vehicles.
Europe a mixed bag:
Volvo earned the best grade of any European automaker, thanks in part to a big improvement in the redesigned S60 sedan. Still, average reliability and less-than-stellar test scores kept it from making further progress.
Like Toyota and Honda, Volkswagen’s redesigns of some of its best-selling models, including the Jetta and the Passat, dropped in Consumer Reports road-test scores. The Jetta once provided an upscale alternative to more common small cars, but its new interior is stingy and handling is lackluster, eroding that advantage. The Passat has evolved from a sportier midsized sedan to a larger, more mundane, less sophisticated car. The change has brought mixed results. On the other hand, the redesigned Audi A6 and A8 posted big gains in CR’s road tests.
Despite having frustrating controls, BMW and Mercedes-Benz models are nicely finished and well-mannered on the road, and they get high scores in Consumer Reports road tests. And though reliability has climbed to average for both carmakers, they were hurt by the reliability of some popular models. Mercedes’ flagship S-Class sedan joined the company’s large GL SUV with subpar reliability. The reliability of some turbocharged Mini Coopers and the 5 Series hurt BMW’s grade.