Annual Consumer Reports Auto Issue Top Picks: Toyota Cleans Up

Our brilliant benefactors at Consumer Reports have released their annual auto issue, and if Toyota was allowed to brag about it, they’d be tooting their horns over the fact that they took five of the top spots out of 10 categories. The April issue is jam-packed with car ratings for the discerning consumer, but companies aren’t allowed to use those scores for commercial use. Sorry!

Toyota is the first brand to earn so many spots in nearly a decade, says Consumer Reports. Honda pulled off that feat in 2003, but doesn’t have a single entry on the top picks list this year.

“Every year the competition grows tighter; in recent years as many as nine different brands have taken the top spots. Combined with the improved Camry, Toyota’s ability to maintain a competitive lead among hybrids and SUVs is a big factor in its strong presence on this year’s list,” said Rik Paul, Consumer Reports’ automotive editor.

The Top Picks by category:

Family sedan: Toyota Camry Hybrid ($29,052).
Sporty car: Ford Mustang ($28,880 to $43,880).
Small SUV: Toyota RAV4 ($24,405 to $30,328).
Affordable family sedan: Hyundai Sonata ($21,800).
Family hauler: Toyota Sienna V6 ($35,810).
Sports sedan: Infiniti G ($34,225 to $37,225).
Green car: Toyota Prius ($26,750 to $28,217).
Small car: Subaru Impreza ($21,345).
Pickup truck: Chevrolet Avalanche ($47,435).
Family SUV: Toyota Highlander ($38,578 to $47,255).

Of course, subscribers have access to the full Ratings for the more than 275 vehicles recently tested by Consumer Reports. For more details, check out the April issue highlights.

2012 Annual Auto Issue: Consumer Reports names its 2012 Top Picks [Consumer Reports]


Edit Your Comment

  1. dolemite says:

    The Avalanche is not a “pickup truck”. It’s some kind of suburbanite plasticy thing people use to haul around a few landscaping trees from Home Depot on the weekend.

    • Mozz says:

      You forgot “overpriced”. For that price, you could buy a real work truck and actually haul a ton or more of gravel.

      • Foil says:

        Yeah 50k price tag for a psuedo truck is not a good call. CR should have done better with their classifications as in the world of trucks one size doesn’t fit all.

        • OnePumpChump says:

          Consumer reports doesn’t get vehicles. They consistently drop the ball on evaluating everything about cars where their approach could not also be applied to refrigerators or humidifiers.

          They can tell you what car is going to cost the least to own (if daily driven), they can tell you what is least likely to leave you stranded (if used as a commuter) and they can tell you what will burn the least gas. They are rigorous in identifying and explaining objective problems with vehicles.

          But they do not understand why people buy cars that aren’t Toyota Camrys. They don’t understand pickups, they don’t understand sports cars, they don’t understand what the difference in character is between a Honda and Toyota, or a Toyota and BMW, for that matter. This Chevy Avalanche thing is just another manifestation of the same sort of thinking (which is not completely useless) that got them to condemn the Suzuki Samurai 20+ years ago. They did not understand it, and they tried to treat it like it was a Toyota Camry.

    • huadpe says:

      For most people who own a [vehicle having a bed of some type in the back], that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Yeah, you need something more substantial if you intend to use it for commercial purposes, but most people who own pickups don’t use them for commercial purposes to the extent that’s necessary or advisable, particularly given how awful a giant truck is on fuel economy.

    • who? says:

      Most Consumer Reports readers are suburbanites who use pickup trucks to haul a few landscaping trees from Home Depot on the weekend.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        I always thought their main demographic was the elderly, especially with all the articles about medical issues and why you should be afraid of all schemes/contests/junkmail/contractors/infomercials/etc.

    • mikedt says:

      I’m willing to overlook the plastic, but not the 47 grand price tag. That has to be generate something like 35 grand in profit.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Aka, what most people in America use their pickup truck for. It certainly isn’t some Chevy commercial with a load of gravel being dumped into the bed on a muddy worksite.

  2. NightSteel says:

    As a ’12 Mustang owner, this makes me smile a little bit. Glad CR has good things to say about it!

    • Chmeeee says:

      I bought their test car (the blue & white one in the article) last year. The power in this thing is addictive, I have to exercise some serious restraint to keep things legal.

      • NightSteel says:

        I got a V6 (with Pony Package), I have kind of a commute so the fuel efficiency was important to me.. but even the V6 is crazy fun. I’m not so sure it’s deserving of glowing praise re: fit and finish, mine has a few minor issues, and I’m not impressed by everything in hard or rubbery plastic. It has a few rattles, too. But I’m digging the 10K maintenance interval, the performance, and a built-in USB port for music.

        I’m planning on a long road trip this year. I’m really looking forward to it.

      • NightSteel says:

        And by the way.. you bought the test car? How’d you swing that?

  3. Marlin says:

    So is CR going to release their raw data so it can be verfied? Or just more junk results they can’t back up and should not even be made?

    • Cat says:

      I don’t care if they get their results from swinging a dead cat counterclockwise over their head at full moon on Friday the 13th. They’re usually spot on:

      Dodge / Chrysler sucks. Toyota rocks.

      I have one of each in my driveway. I will not be buying another Dodge product until CR says it’s okay.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Those of us who experienced frame rot on virtually brand new trucks aren’t nearly as happy with Toyota vehicles. I had a new frame installed on my 3 year old Tundra, which then transformed a very nice vehicle into a complete piece of garbage. If they would have offered a buy out, I would have been all for it.

      • lotussix says:

        i’ve had less problems with my jeep than i’ve had with the other vehicles that i’ve owned….

      • Marlin says:

        Yea toyota and their sludge engines were great, their frames rusting out, bad floor mats i mean gas pedals or oh yea it was nothing…

        Yep toyota has no problems.


        • OnePumpChump says:

          The sludge engines WERE mostly fine. They sludged but just kept on going.

          And Japanese cars in general until the late 90s or so were rust-prone (a lot of European cars, too). Not really applicable anymore, and it never was applicable to everyone…particularly not the people reading Consumer Reports in preparation for buying a NEW car..

    • who? says:

      Consumer Reports reliability ratings and test ratings aren’t the same thing. They do actually buy and test cars, you know.

      Regardless, the reliability I’ve personally gotten from different cars over the years has been very consistent with the Consumer Reports survey results.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Surprise…the Dodge enthusiast site has a problem with CR.

      I’m no fanboy, I was looking at a Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander a couple weeks ago and was disappointed with both as far as interior materials and overall “quality” feel.

      I’m certainly not going to buy a Dodge though. Year 1 of improvement isn’t going to sell me a $40k vehicle. Plus the Dodge will be worth $10k less than the Honda or Toyota after 2 years because most people still think of the POS 2007 Dodge Durango with the Rubbermaid interior , despite the new one being much nicer and competitive. The only Dodge I’d buy has a Cummins motivating it, but I have no need for that vehicle.

  4. makreljohnson says:


  5. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Consumer Reports never does pickup trucks any justice in their coverage. Hardly any reviews, no discussion of engine types, transmission types, towing, 4WD, configurations (2-dr, 4-dr, 3rd dr, converting (like the Avalanche), dually, etc.). They’re always treated as an afterthought.

  6. SteveZim1017 says:

    Green car? what about the rest of us that want red or blue or silver cars?

  7. ARP says:

    Any Subaru owners out there? I was thinking of getting the impreza as a good “semi-city” car (e.g. Arlington, VA, Oak Park, IL, etc.) . Overall impressions?

    • Snowblind says:

      We have had a Subaru Forester since 2000. Since all of the cars are the same, except trim and of course different engines depending on the model.

      The good:
      Peppy engine
      Great traction
      Outstanding brakes
      Good visibility. No gigantic pillars like the Focus
      Ages well. Engine is just as strong as when new.

      Gas mileage
      Tire wear. Driving all 4 wheels makes for odd wear patterns. Rotate on schedule.

      The bad:
      Interior can be a bit cheesy, bad layouts. Like cupholders right in the way of the vents
      Expensive to repair, but not needed often.

      After 12 years, it is still going strong. We are retiring my 16 year old Neon (no, srlsy, I take good care of my cars, even they start out like crap) and getting a newer primary vehicle. No idea yet, but with a son that is hitting 5 feet at age 9, it has to have a bigger back seat…

      • Memtex784 says:

        I have got 2 Subaru’s, being in WI it’s nice to have the AWD in action. Compared some other like models with AWD, they came out to be $5k to10k cheaper and have better gas mileage. Both cars were built in Indiana. What is really interesting when I bought some factory accessories (rubber floor mats, liner, radio add-ons) all were made in USA. Seems like the foreign car brands are more USA made the the domestic ones.

      • GreatWhiteNorth says:

        I agree… my other half drives a 2000 forester since it was new. I grudgingly respect it mechanically and the AWD is good for poor road conditions ( with top snow tires all round), but it is a thirsty machine.

    • Willow16 says:

      We have a 2009 Forester and love it. It’s a great ride, average about 26 mpg with mixed highway/local road driving and it’s phenomenal in the snow and ice. I would definitely buy another one in the future.

  8. wryknow says:

    We just traded our cramped Mazda 5 (really great car before we filled every seat) for a used 2011 Sienna a month ago. I have never been this happy after the purchase on any previous vehicle.
    Time will tell when it comes to reliability etc.
    But we are putting it thru it’s paces with 3 big trips this year along. Can’t wait to fill out my CR survey in the fall.

  9. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says: