Honda Civic

For the 2006 model year, Honda's redesigned Civic is the Consumer Reports Top Pick in the Sedan, Less Than $20,000 category.

Consumer Reports

For the first time since the magazine began publishing its list of automotive Top Picks in 1997, there are no domestic vehicles among those selected for this year. In fact, the entire list is made up of Japanese brands. In his monthly editorial column, Jim Guest, the president of Consumer Reports, wrote that he expects a strong response to the list from readers who might think the magazine has a bias against American cars.

"We hear it about once a week, so let's set the record straight: Our staff members are as patriotic as anyone. We fully understand the desire to support our domestic auto manufacturers—General Motors, Ford, and the Chrysler division of DaimlerChrysler—and to keep jobs and wages in the U.S."

Photo Gallery: Consumer Reports' Top Picks

Guest also noted that, "A vehicle's country of origin plays no part in our testing and Ratings. At our auto-test track, it's the results that count, such as braking distance, fuel economy, accident-avoidance capability, comfort, and ergonomics. Statistics from more than 50 tests and evaluations feed into a vehicle's overall score."

For 2006, there are four vehicles selected as Top Picks that were not on the list last year—the Honda Civic, Infiniti M35, Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Honda Ridgeline. All others are repeat winners.

Honda (and its premium nameplate Acura) dominated this year's list, taking five of the ten Top Pick slots. The Civic wins in the Sedan, Less Than $20,000 category; Accord is best Sedan, $20,000 - $30,000; Acura TL is best Sedan, $30,000 - $40,000; Odyssey is best in the Minivan class; and the new Ridgeline is named best Pickup Truck.

Two Toyotas are on the list, both of which are hybrids. The Prius continues as the magazine's Top Pick in the Green Car category, and for 2006 the Highlander Hybrid is listed as tops in the SUV, More Than $30,000 category. Consumer Reports refers to this gas-electric hybrid SUV as "a well-rounded SUV that delivers quick acceleration, a comfortable ride, and a third-row seat. Its 22 mpg is impressive for a midsize SUV. This hybrid and its near twin, the 23 mpg Lexus RX 400h ($50,000), are the only SUVs to achieve an excellent overall score in our [CR's] testing."

"The 10 vehicles on Consumer Reports' Top Picks list are standouts across the board for performance, versatility, reliability, safety, and interior fit and finish," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut. "CR's Top Pick list is an excellent place for consumers to start when they're in the market for a new car."

Consumer Reports selects its Top Picks from more than 200 vehicles that have been tested by the publication in the last year. The highest-ranked vehicles were the best performers in Consumer Reports' road tests, consumer-reported reliability and crash testing from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Top Picks for 2006 are:

Sedan, Less Than $20,000Honda Civic
Sedan, $20,000 - $30,000Honda Accord
Sedan, $30,000 - $40,000Acura TL
Luxury Sedan Infiniti M35
Fun To DriveSubaru Impreza WRX/STi
SUV, Less Than $30,000Subaru Forester
SUV, More Than $30,000 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
MinivanHonda Odyssey
Green CarToyota Prius
Pickup Truck Honda Ridgeline

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