Its engineers clock hundreds of thousands of miles every year?subjecting cars to a battery of tests. Then, once a year Consumer Reports names its Top Picks?the best of the best in 10 car categories.
Being named a Consumer Reports Top Pick vehicle doesn't come easy. In addition to how well a car handles an emergency situation, accelerating and braking testing are also performed.
Those are just some of the dozens of tests in which vehicles have to excel. But that's not all.
A car has to be reliable, and owners help by telling Consumer Reports about their experiences with 1.2 million vehicles.
The European vehicles traditionally don't have very good reliability, and that often keeps them off the top pick list. But this year two make the list, including the Audi A6 as the Top Pick Luxury Car. It's a very comfortable car. It has an amazing interior, a nice ride, and agile handling.
And the BMW 328i is the Top Pick Sports Sedan. It's always been a really sporty, fun-to-drive car. But now with a new two-liter, turbo-charged engine, it's actually very efficient, too.
Honda makes a comeback as well. The newly redesigned Honda Accord is the Top Pick Midsized Sedan. The CR-V is tops in the Small SUV class. And the Honda Odyssey has regained the Top Pick Minivan distinction.
But if sports cars are more your speed, the Subaru BRZ and the Scion FR-S lead the pack. The almost-identical vehicles, co-developed by Toyota and Subaru, are exhilarating to drive, with sticker prices that are tough to beat.
Looking for a car for under $20,000? The Hyundai Elantra is Consumer Reports Top Pick Budget Car. The all-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza earned Top Pick for compacts.
The Toyota Highlander stayed on top in midsized SUVs. And despite growing competition, the Toyota Prius remains the Top Pick Green Car. It's a distinction it has held for 10 years running.
Complete ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.