Monday, May 7, 2012

Toyota dominates annual Top Picks list

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 redesigned Toyota Camry Hybrid and Highlander edged out the competition to become Top Picks in Consumer Reports’ family sedan and family SUV categories respectively. The Camry Hybrid delivers 38 miles per gallon overall fuel economy - the best in class and as good as some smaller and less versatile hybrids.

The two new Toyota additions join the incumbent Prius, RAV4, and Sienna as the best in their individual categories.

The Top Picks are the best all-around models in their categories, chosen from more than 275 vehicles the organization has recently tested. Top Pick models must meet stringent criteria.

They must rank at or near the top of their category on overall road test scores. They must have earned an average or better predicted-reliability rating based on a survey of the magazine’s subscribers. And they must perform well if included in crash or rollover tests by the government or insurance industry.

The Toyota Prius was named Consumer Reports’ Top Pick Green Car for the 11th time and the ninth consecutive year - both records claimed by no other model in the history of the Top Picks. The Prius, including the recently tested Prius V wagon version, continues to set the standard for its blend of fuel efficiency, practicality, and affordability.

The 44 overall miles per gallon for the hatchback is still the highest of any five-passenger, nonplug-in vehicle tested and the 41 mils per gallon for the new Prius V wagon easily tops its class.

Toyota picks by category:

FAMILY SEDAN: Toyota Camry Hybrid ($29,052). In addition to its impressive 38 miles per gallon overall fuel economy, other high points include a comfortable ride and fairly quick acceleration.

SMALL SUV: Toyota RAV4 ($24,405 to $30,328). With a four-cylinder engine, the RAV4 delivers some of the best miles per gallon in its class (23).

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 miles per gallon), and a comfortable ride.

GREEN CAR: Toyota Prius ($26,750 to $28,217). The Prius sets the standard for fuel efficiency, practicality, and affordability.

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 road tests.


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