Consumer Reports puts emphasis on safety, vehicle price in naming its 10 Top Pick cars, SUVs, trucks for 2020

Colchester, CT – Consumer Reports (CR) announced its list of 10 Top Pick cars, SUVs, and trucks for 2020. For the first time, the mission-driven, nonprofit organization is segmenting its selections according to price-point rather than model type, and placing greater emphasis than before on advanced safety technology. The Top Picks list was announced during a live video conference from the organization’s Auto Testing and Safety Center in Colchester, CT. 

photo by sebastiaan stam

“Consumers are searching for the best car in their price range, and that’s how we are presenting our findings,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ Senior Director of Automotive Testing. “You don’t need to buy from a luxury brand to get a luxurious vehicle. Our goal is to help people identify the best vehicle for their needs, at an affordable price–and with all the latest safety features.”

Consumer Reports found that car buyers do not need to choose between cost, quality, and safety. While the average price of a new car in 2020 is more than $37,500, four of the top vehicles on Consumer Reports list — the Subaru Forester, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Prius/Prime and the Toyota Corolla — retail at under $35,000.

Toyota continues to stand out among its peers. For the third consecutive year, the Japanese manufacturer boasts four cars in the top ten, with a record 17th appearance for the reliable and eco-friendly Toyota Prius. Also contributing to the list of the year’s top cars are the Kia Telluride, Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Supra, Lexus RX and Tesla Model 3. 

Consumer Reports selected the Top Picks from hundreds of current models in its ratings. These cars have some of the highest Overall Scores in their categories, factoring in road tests, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety. The organization requires that the models come standard with forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection–two proven safety features.

This is the first year that CR has required the added safety feature of pedestrian detection, which works with AEB to sense when people are in a car’s pathway and automatically brake, if needed. CR believes all these advanced safety features have the potential to save lives–and shouldn’t cost extra as part of an options package.

“We’re not willing to compromise when it comes to the safety of cars — which is why we’re pushing automakers to make life-saving technologies like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection standard on all models in order to earn a coveted spot as a Top Pick,” said Marta Tellado, President and CEO of Consumer Reports. “After all, we believe basic safety is a right for all of us — not a luxury reserved for those who can afford it.” 

Consumer Reports’ 2020 Top Picks list, Car Brand Report Card and more are available online at CR.org/spotlight.

CR’s Top Picks by Price Categor

Under $25K category:
Toyota Corolla (Small Car): The Corolla is roomy for a compact sedan, efficient (33 mpg overall in CR’s testing), and comes with extensive, and standard, advanced safety tech. The new Corolla has improved driving dynamics, tackling corners more skillfully than its predecessor thanks to well-weighted steering and limited body lean. The Corolla soaks up bumps with the best in the class.

$25K – $35K category:
Subaru Forester (Small SUV): The Subaru Forester features a combination of practical design, high owner satisfaction, and impressive fuel economy. It rides well, impressively absorbing road imperfections. The boxy design sticks out in a world of sleek SUVs, but the Forester’s shape delivers benefits, such as easy access through large doors, hip-height seats, and big windows that provide great visibility.

Subaru Legacy (Midsized Sedan): The redesigned Legacy sits at the top, or near the top, in most every CR ratings category, distinguishing itself with a strikingly smooth ride and standard all-wheel drive. The Legacy feels like a solid, substantial car. With front seats that offer a wide range of adjustments and an interior with plenty of headroom, the Legacy accommodates drivers and front- and rear-seat passengers of many body types. The wide trunk opening makes loading and unloading quite easy.

Toyota Prius/Prius Prime (Hybrid/Plug-in Hybrid): The Prius has been one of CR’s Top Picks 17 times—more than any other model. The vehicle delivered 52 mpg overall in CR’s tests, making it a standard-bearer for hybrid efficiency. The Prius Prime plug-in version provides even better mileage for drivers who can charge often to make use of its 22.5-mile range on electric-only power. Despite their complex powertrains, these Prius models have an enviable track record for reliability.

35K – $45K category:
Kia Telluride (Midsized, Three-Row SUV): An undeniable standout, the Telluride scored among the highest of any vehicle CR has recently tested in its road test. And yet this is an aggressively-priced model that offers a compelling blend of comfort, features, space, and capability for the money. What makes the Telluride so impressive is how it manages to do the big and small things well, from its nicely matched V6 engine and automatic transmission to its elegantly simple controls.

Honda Ridgeline (Compact Pickup Truck): The innovative Ridgeline reimagines what a modern pickup truck can be, combining a unique carlike driving experience with clever, useful features. The Ridgeline has a ride that rivals a great sedan’s, handling that outshines other trucks and a quiet, coddling cabin. Its V6 engine delivers strong, smooth acceleration and it returns better fuel economy than most trucks. Its fold-or-swing tailgate makes bed access a cinch, and a large lockable underbed storage bin adds unique versatility.

Toyota Avalon (Large Sedan): The Avalon achieved a near-perfect score for ride comfort and has the best predicted reliability of any large sedan in CR’s ratings. Its V6 engine paired with a slick shifting eight-speed transmission provides lush power. Even more attractive is the hybrid version with fuel efficiency you’d typically see in a much smaller car. Like most Toyotas, the Avalon also comes standard with a host of advanced safety systems.

$45K – $55K category:
Lexus RX (Midsized SUV): The Lexus RX pioneered the midsized luxury crossover in the late 1990s and continues to set the standard. The winning formula remains the same for Lexus: a Goldilocks size, smooth power delivery, plentiful amenities and proven reliability. A tremendous value for luxury seekers, the RX comes in different versions, including an extremely efficient 450h hybrid and a three-row RXL.

Tesla Model 3 (Electric Car): The Model 3 offers a thrilling driving experience with a high-tech vibe. It boasts rapid acceleration delivered in near silence, instant passing power and enough thrust to push the driver into the seat. The car’s impressive handling and quick precise steering help it feel like a sports car. Its high-end road performance is diminished slightly by its stiff ride, but its long range and green credentials offset those drawbacks. CR’s concern with the Model 3, however, is that Autopilot, an optional system on the vehicle, does not require the driver to stay engaged, creating safety concerns.

Toyota Supra (Sports Car): The Supra made a return to the US after a two-decade long absence, distinguishing itself as an entertaining thrill ride. The Supra boasts impressive acceleration from its 6-cylinder turbocharged engine. Great fuel-economy, sharp steering and responsive handling all contribute to the vehicle’s rich performance, making it a treat to drive.

Complete details on Consumer Reports’ Top Picks for 2020, Car Brand Report Card, Best and Worst Lists and other key findings are available in the Annual Auto Issue of Consumer Reports in print or online at CR.org/spotlight.

Consumer Reports conducts a battery of tests on every vehicle it evaluates, including braking, handling, comfort, convenience, safety, and fuel economy. Roughly 6,000 miles of general driving and evaluations are racked up on each car during the testing process. CR buys all its test cars anonymously from dealers and does not accept free samples from automakers for any of its ratings or evaluations.


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