Yonkers, NY — The Consumer Reports (CR) 2019 Top Picks in cars list includes six new winners—the Hyundai Kona, Subaru Ascent, and BMW X5, and three Toyotas—the Yaris, Prius and Avalon. The nonprofit organization announced its list of the 10 best cars, SUVs and trucks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., before the respected Washington Automotive Press Association.
The Ascent really impressed in our rigorous tests and is a great all-around performer. It’s a highly functional and comfortable three-row vehicle that will appeal to many families. – Jake Fisher
The all-new Subaru Ascent is CR’s Top Pick in the highly-competitive midsized SUV category. Its smooth power delivery, comfy ride, functional interior, and suspension performance that rival some luxury cars helped propel it to the top of the pack. The top luxury SUV, the BMW X5, has the distinction of being among the best SUVs that CR has ever tested.
“The Ascent really impressed in our rigorous tests and is a great all-around performer,” said Jake Fisher, Senior Director of Automotive Testing at Consumer Reports. “It’s a highly functional and comfortable three-row vehicle that will appeal to many families.”
Toyota led all the automotive brands with four CR Top Picks for the second consecutive year. The Prius earned CR Top Pick honors for a record 16th time, this year getting the nod in the newly created Hybrid/Electric Car category. The fourth-generation of the pioneering hybrid gets a remarkable 52 mpg overall in CR’s own fuel economy tests, and maintains a stellar track record for reliability and owner satisfaction. The Camry is the top midsized sedan for second straight year. This is the second time that the Yaris has been a Top Pick; the first time it made the list was in 2017. The Avalon is on the list for the very first time.
Four of CR’s 10 Top Picks were repeats from 2018: The Ford F-150, Toyota Camry, Audi A4 and newly redesigned Subaru Forester. And while new car prices continue to rise, half the cars on this year’s list cost less than $35,000. Those weren’t just base model prices either–but reflect the prices CR paid for its nicely equipped test vehicles. The list demonstrates that consumers on a budget can still find satisfying, safe, reliable, and well-performing vehicles.
Safety should always be standard, not a luxury reserved only for those who can afford it. Automatic emergency braking has proven to reduce crashes and save lives. We believe it should be standard in all new cars, just as backup cameras are today. – Marta Tellado
In order to be designated a Consumer Reports Top Pick, a model has to have an exemplary Overall Score in its vehicle category. This single number, the most comprehensive view of vehicle quality available, consolidates the findings from four key pillars: road-test performance, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety. CR feels so strongly about the safety benefits of automatic emergency braking (AEB) that only cars that include it as standard equipment were considered for the Top Picks list this year.
“Safety should always be standard, not a luxury reserved only for those who can afford it,” said Marta Tellado, President and CEO of Consumer Reports. “Automatic emergency braking has proven to reduce crashes and save lives. We believe it should be standard in all new cars, just as backup cameras are today.”
CR’s 10 Top Picks by Category:
Midsized SUV: Subaru Ascent
The three-row Ascent debuted
at the top of CR’s midsized SUV ratings thanks to its smooth power
delivery, comfy ride, and functional interior. It has a turbocharged
four-cylinder engine that’s energetic in everyday traffic, with plenty
of reserve power for passing. Like most Subarus, the Ascent comes
standard with all-wheel drive. It especially shines because of its
excellent ride: The suspension handles road bumps better than some
luxury cars. Its cabin is one of the finest in the segment, with
comfortable seats and many soft-touch surfaces, especially on upper-trim
versions. There is a handy, kid-friendly third-row seat. The
infotainment system, with its clear buttons and large touch screen, is
simple to use.
Price as tested: $43,867
Read the complete Subaru Ascent road test.
Midsized Car: Toyota Camry Hybrid
The Camry Hybrid is a
hyperefficient car that gets 47 mpg overall in our tests, and its
hybrid-electric powertrain doesn’t compromise the driving experience.
The hybrid battery pack doesn’t reduce trunk space, either. Plus, this
car is a hair quicker from 0 to 60 mph than the regular four-cylinder
Camry. (The four-cylinder returns great fuel economy in its own right,
at 32 mpg overall, and starts at $4,305 less.) A comfortable ride and
capable handling add to the appeal. The striking, angular center dash
houses an infotainment system that now offers compatibility with Apple
CarPlay (but not Android Auto). Standard safety gear includes pedestrian
detection and lane departure warning.
Price as tested: $28,949
Read the complete Toyota Camry Hybrid road test.
Compact Luxury Car: Audi A4
The A4 is a thoroughly
satisfying sports sedan with precise handling, the latest technology,
and undeniable cachet. Its interior is quiet and decked out in
high-quality materials. The front seats are comfortable and supportive.
The rear seat, however, is a bit tight, which is typical for the class.
The optional Virtual Cockpit transforms the instrument panel into a
high-tech display that can be reconfigured on the fly to show trip
information, audio details, phone tasks, or navigation guidance. The
balanced suspension provides secure handling and a taut ride that
effectively smooths rough patches in the road. The turbocharged
four-cylinder engine has superb response, with plenty of power when
needed and a slick-shifting automatic transmission.
Price as tested: $48,890
Read the complete Audi A4 road test.
Subcompact SUV: Hyundai Kona
The Kona is a fun new entry
in a growing class of subcompact SUVs. It has a snazzy-looking exterior
and an inviting interior. The natural step-in height makes it easy for
drivers to settle into the comfortable front seats. The cabin has
easy-to-use controls and a good, full-featured infotainment system
that’s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Despite its
compact proportions, the Kona’s smart design creates quite a bit of
versatility thanks to its tall liftgate and split rear seats that fold
down. Handling is a strong point—limited body lean and quick steering
make it a joy to drive. Despite its entry-level pricing, forward
collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping assist
are all standard.
Price as tested: $25,025
Read the complete Hyundai Kona road test.
Subcompact Car: Toyota Yaris
The Yaris sedan (sold by
Toyota but built by Mazda) delivers an impressive degree of quality and a
joyful driving experience at an affordable price. The 2019 model gets
improvements that include a new XLE trim level that adds upscale touches
such as convincing leatherlike upholstery and automatic climate
control. The ride is good for the class, and the handling is responsive.
The smooth four-cylinder engine is teamed with a quick-shifting
six-speed automatic transmission. All told, the Yaris is an energetic
and nimble little car in a segment known for cars that feel more like
rolling penalty boxes. And the Yaris shows that critical safety
equipment needn’t be reserved for high-priced vehicles. It comes with a
standard city-speed AEB system that can help prevent collisions or at
least reduce the severity of an accident.
Price as tested: $17,570
Read the complete Toyota Yaris road test.
Large Car: Toyota Avalon Hybrid
The redesigned Avalon is a
smart, value-driven alternative to luxury sedans such as the Acura TLX
and Lexus ES. The hybrid version in particular offers more room,
comfort, and fuel efficiency for the money. The spacious, richly
furnished cabin has an upscale feel, with soft materials, intricate
stitching, and other tasteful details. The front seats are wide and
supportive, and the rear has generous legroom and available heated
seats. The optional hybrid powertrain, with its electric drive, provides
immediate power as well as impressive efficiency. The Avalon Hybrid
returned 42 mpg overall in CR tests and 52 mpg on the highway—astounding
numbers for such a large car. It delivers both nimble handling and a
plush ride, a combination that shames direct competitors and many
Price as tested: $38,643
Read the complete Toyota Avalon Hybrid road test.
Luxury SUV: BMW X5
Redesigned for 2019, the
midsized X5 is one of the best SUVs that CR has ever tested. It’s
difficult to make an SUV both luxury-car comfortable and fun to drive,
but here BMW strikes the perfect balance. The turbocharged inline
six-cylinder engine is powerful and responsive, helped by its
quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. The X5 delivers swift
acceleration and fuel economy that’s impressive for its class, although
it does require premium fuel. The interior has impeccable fit and
finish, and lots of rich materials. The iDrive infotainment system is
packed with early adopter, high-tech features—such as the ability for
drivers to make changes with the wave of a hand—yet it’s still easy to
Price as tested: $68,730
Read the complete BMW X5 road test.
Hybrid/Electric Car: Toyota Prius
The Prius returns to our Top
Picks list for a record 16th time. This pioneering hybrid has long been
a paragon of efficiency, with the current model achieving 52 mpg
overall and a stunning 59 mpg on the highway. But it’s more than just
thrifty; the Prius is a standout car with a stellar track record for
reliability and owner satisfaction. For 2019, a newly available
all-wheel-drive option makes this supremely practical car even more
appealing. There’s decent room in the Prius, and the hatchback adds
cargo-toting versatility. Plus, Toyota throws in a full suite of safety
tech, including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and
lane keeping assist, as standard equipment.
Price as tested: $27,323
Read the complete Toyota Prius road test.
Compact SUV: Subaru Forester
The Forester is a
multitalented, no-nonsense vehicle that has broad appeal. This compact
SUV’s roomy interior focuses on practicality and functionality. The 2019
redesign doesn’t look much different from its predecessor, but the
Forester is now a more solid vehicle—quieter, with a more premium feel
inside. Its power is admittedly modest, but its fuel economy tops the
class. The ride is comfortable, the steering is responsive, and its body
doesn’t lean too much around corners. The Forester has large doors,
making it easy to get in and out, and tall, upright glass all around,
providing unrivaled visibility. Inside, there’s generous room for
passengers and cargo. Bonus: Forward collision warning, lane departure
warning, and lane keeping assist come standard.
Price as tested: $29,341
Read the complete Subaru Forester road test.
Full-Sized Truck: Ford F-150
The F-150 continues to be
King of Pickup Mountain, despite tough competition from the recently
redesigned Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Ram 1500. The
F-150 lineup ranges from basic work trucks to richly appointed trailer
haulers, and there are many steps in between. Five engines are offered,
and the core two are potent, turbocharged V6s with 10-speed automatic
transmissions. There’s a wide range of equipment to make driving and
connectivity easier, such as WiFi, an easy-to-use infotainment system,
and a rearview camera that’s specially designed to help drivers line up
with their trailer. The 2.7-liter V6 turbo version we tested delivered
brisk acceleration, effortless towing ability, and impressive fuel
economy. The cabin has generous room for the driver and passengers in
the widely sold crew cab.
Price as tested: $52,535
Read the complete Ford F-150 road test.
Complete details on Consumer Reports’ Top Picks for 2019, 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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