||Toyota Tops Consumer Reports' Annual Survey
Japanese automakers dominated Consumer Reports' annual survey of the best cars, with Toyota Motor Corp. taking five of the "Top Picks" and Subaru Motor Co. taking the top score as best-overall automaker.
Subaru ousted Honda Motor Co. as the top overall manufacturer, and Honda fell to fourth place. Japanese automakers held the top five spots, with Nissan Motor Co. in fifth.
"While Japanese automakers still hold the top five spots, their lead is shrinking. In some of Honda's and Toyota's recently designed models, cost-cutting has become more noticeable," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' automotive test center.
Toyota's top picks are the Toyota Camry hybrid, Highlander, Sienna, Prius and RAV4, the only time since 2003 that one nameplate has had so many winners.
Two U.S. vehicles were among the top 10 picks. The Chevrolet Avalanche was best pickup, and the Ford Mustang was best sporty car.
The influential magazine's rankings of nearly 300 vehicles and 13 major automakers helps millions of car buyers decide what vehicle to buy annually, and automakers tout positive results.
Mazda Motor Corp. showed the biggest improvement, climbing to second place overall from seventh last year.
Ford Motor Co. fell the furthest, dropping from fifth place last year to 10th place this year, as the magazine raised concerns about the automaker's reliability and concerns about its MyFord Touch infotainment system. Ford was ahead of Mercedes-Benz in 11th place.
General Motors Co. was in 12th place and Chrysler Group LLC was in 13th place, though it was the second-most improved automaker. Chrysler's average road test score improved by eight points.
"GM and Chrysler are building nicer cars with each redesign," Champion said. "Still, their scores are dragged down by several older designs that score low or have reliability issues."
Overall Automaker Rankings
Top 10 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)
(Source: The Detroit News, 02/28/12)
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