Feb. 26, 2018
Consumer Reports is out with its Top Car Picks for 2018. Seven new vehicles made it on the list, including the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt.
In order to receive this designation, a model has to have an exemplary overall score in its vehicle category. This single number consolidates the findings from four key pillars: road-test performance, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety.
CR's 10 Top Picks by Category:
LARGE CAR: Chevrolet Impala ($39,110 as tested). The Impala continues to be a gem among large cars, providing a driving experience that's akin to a luxury car. The spacious, quiet cabin is well-dressed with
high-quality materials and trim. Handling is commendable, as proven in CR's accident-avoidance maneuver, and when confronting corners at CR's 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut.
COMPACT CAR: Toyota Corolla ($20,652 as tested). This practical, fuel-efficient sedan has all the virtues that small-car shoppers seek, backed by its strong reliability track record. The Corolla has a relatively roomy interior, with a spacious backseat. Handling is secure and its ride quality is a cut above for its class. The hohum engine with middling power won't excite drivers, but delivers 32 mpg overall.
COMPACT GREEN CAR: Chevrolet Bolt ($38,424 as tested). The Bolt offers consumers further proof that mainstream electric cars can deliver strong driving performance. This pure electric is built around a 60-kWh battery pack that holds a generous charge, reducing any anxiety of running out of power and getting stranded. The driver sits high up in the Bolt, with a commanding view on par with a small SUV.
COMPACT SUV: Subaru Forester ($27,145 as tested). This is a practical, smartly packaged small SUV that emphasizes fuel economy, room, visibility, and reliability over trendiness or flash. People can get in and out easily, there's plenty of passenger room, and it drives well. The standard 2.5-liter engine provides decent performance and offers exceptional fuel efficiency.
MIDSIZED CAR: Toyota Camry ($26,364-$28,949 as tested). The Camry has earned its reputation as a competent, well-rounded family sedan. With its recent redesign, Toyota added more styling flair and better handling. Fuel economy also improved to 32 mpg overall in CR's tests with the base four-cylinder engine. The hybrid LE version returned an impressive 47 mpg overall-almost up there with the Toyota Prius.
MIDSIZED SUV: Toyota Highlander ($41,169-$50,875 as tested). Three-row SUVs have become the vehicle of choice for many families. They provide all-weather traction and roomy interiors without looking like a minivan. The Highlander stands out with its good performance, fuel economy, and reliability. It's large enough to accommodate eight passengers but small enough for relatively easy parking.
MINIVAN: Toyota Sienna ($38,424 as tested). Minivans are the ultimate solution for moving people and their stuff. In this segment, the Sienna offers the best all-around package with a comfortable ride, an energetic powertrain and respectable fuel economy. The spacious cabin features convenient folding seats and available seating for eight.
FULL-SIZED PICKUP TRUCK: Ford F-150 ($52,535 as tested). An impressive and innovative workhorse, the F-150 pulls ahead of the pack thanks to its weight-reduced design and turbocharged six-cylinder engine. This pickup delivers a standout 19 mpg overall, quick acceleration, and effortless towing ability from the potent 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 engine.
LUXURY COMPACT CAR: Audi A4 ($48,890 as tested). The A4 shines by being sporty, luxurious, and polished in a competitive category. It's very satisfying to drive, with nimble, secure handling helped by its minimal body roll and responsive steering. The powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine accelerates with gusto, proving ever-eager to make a quick getaway, yet fuel-efficient.
LUXURY COMPACT SUV: BMW X3 ($53,745 as tested). Redesigned for 2018, the X3 tops its class. This luxury compact SUV combines driving enjoyment, comfort, slick technology, and utility in an appealing package. Its sharp, sporty handling encourages drivers to seek curvy roads.