"To be a 'Top Pick,' the vehicle also has to be reliable because you don't want to spend time taking your vehicle to the shop, And all the money that might cost," says David Champion of Consumer Reports.
Of course, the vehicles have to perform well if they've gone through industry or government crash tests.
"Toyota is back this year," Champion says. "Out of the 10 Top Picks, Toyota took five of them."
Among them: Toyota Camry Hybrid. It's 2012's Top Pick for Family Sedan.
"The redesigned Toyota Camry Hybrid is much more engaging to drive," Champion says, "gets an impressive 38 miles per gallon, and has a nice plush interior."
The Chevrolet Avalanche is the 2012 Top Pick for Pickup Trucks.
The Ford Mustang muscled its way to the Top Pick Sporty Car. Unlike others in its class, it's comfortable and gets pretty good fuel economy.
Consumer Reports is also out with its annual report card on the 13 major automakers - grading them on reliability and performance. Subaru now tops Consumer Reports' list of "Who Makes the Best Cars."
"Subaru's Impreza is our Top Pick in small cars," says Rik Paul. "We now recommend all of the Subarus we've tested."
Consumer Reports named Mazda the second best automaker And Toyota maintains its third place spot. Honda is number four.