Consumer Reports' 2011 Top Picks
Best cars in 10 categories, proving goodness doesn't require paying top dollar.
Six new models made our Top Picks list this year, representing a diverse selection from Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. No automaker dominates; the 10 picks come from six manufacturers and eight brands, which reflect the increasing competitiveness within today's auto market. Toyota is the only brand with more than one model. To see the best & worst 2011 cars and best new-car car values, go to Consumer Reports' annual auto issue hub.
Our Top Picks are the best all-around models in their categories. Chosen from the more than 270 vehicles we've recently tested, these vehicles scored well in our testing, have average or better predicted reliability, performed well in government or insurance-industry safety tests, if evaluated, and offer stability control — a proven, lifesaving feature.
Redesigned for 2011, the Elantra delivers a lot for the money. With its makeover, this well-rounded sedan is now more stylish and engaging to drive. The Elantra provides fairly nimble handling; a decent ride; a smooth, responsive powertrain; a well-finished interior; and a relatively roomy rear seat. It's also miserly on gas, achieving 29 mpg overall in our tests and 39 mpg on the highway. We expect this new model to be as reliable as the previous one.
Price: $16,020 to $16,730
Electronic stability control is now a standard feature in the 2011 Fit, which helps solidify this versatile subcompact hatchback as the best in its class and a great value. The Honda Fit provides an amazing amount of interior space for its size, aided by a flexible rear-seat design in which the seatbacks can fold down or the lower cushion can flip up to open an area stretching from floor to ceiling. Agile handling makes the Fit enjoyable to drive. And it pays back with excellent fuel economy: 30 mpg overall with an automatic transmission, 33 mpg with a manual.
Price: $23,970 to $30,335
The Altima provides an impressive balance of comfort and performance while delivering some of the best fuel economy in its class: 26 mpg overall for four-cylinder models and 24 mpg with a V6. The Hybrid version gets 32 mpg. Its comfortable ride, secure handling, and spirited acceleration make the Altima enjoyable to drive. And it has a roomy, well-finished, and very quiet interior. The four-cylinder models earned an above-average reliability Rating, and the V6 model was average.
Price: $25,405 to $31,435
The RAV4 returns to our Top Picks list for the fourth time in the past five years. Its winning formula includes a roomy interior, agile handling, and very good fuel economy for its class. The four-cylinder version provides the best gas mileage of any automatic, nonhybrid SUV we've tested. The spirited V6 version accelerates about as quickly as the Cadillac CTS and Volkswagen GTI and gets only 1 mpg less than the four-cylinder model. A small third-row seat is optional.
Even as more hybrids have entered the market in recent years, the Prius still gets the best fuel economy — 44 mpg overall — of any vehicle we've recently tested. Moreover, the Prius is a pleasant car to drive, with a roomy interior, a comfortable ride, hatchback versatility, and excellent crash-test results. That combination of attributes has helped it earn our pick in this category for the eighth straight year, the longest run of any current model. Software problems in the antilock brake system affected the first-year reliability of this redesigned model, but those problems have been fixed.
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It's amazing that people still bash foreign cars. Honda, Toyota, Subaru and now even Hyundai just simply make better cars. I think that many of the U.S. car makers have stepped it up, but only because they were making inferior cars for so many years. Car buyers have many great options and everyone should spend their hard earned money as they please. I just hope that if you are preaching "Buy American", that you don't shop at Walmart as well. 95% of their products are made my cheap Chinese labor.
When my wife and I decided to buy a new car it was no brainer as a former UAW member that we would buy American. So we searched around dealers and did the reasearch on internet for a car we could afford. But we ran into several problems with just about every american car we looked at, identity crisis. We considered the chevy HHR, but its built in mexico. The fords we looked at were built here but with an engine from brasil and a transmission from france (french transmission, I don't think so) and on and on it went, cars with great american brand names built somewhere else or major components built somewhere else. The cars that were mostly built here were more than we could afford or had very little accesories in them, made worse by pain in the butt american car dealers who act like that they were never near death with their take it or leave it attitude who fee you to death when you finally get to signing the paperwork and your good deal you hammered out with them is distroyed by a $800 dealer fee and $199 paperwork processing fee. So my wife and i went to a hyundai dealer (what a difference in attitude)and picked out a hyundai elantra touring that had everthing we wanted in it and more for way less money, and no identity crisis - %100 Korean and is the the most trouble free car we've ever bought.
Chevy Avalanche at $47K - are you kidding? It's a terrible truck and a terrible car. For a lot less money you can buy any number of pickup trucks that can actually haul something.
Toyota Prius - ugly and boring. I know it gets great fuel economy, but I would much rather buy a Ford Fusion hybrid or or VW TDI and sacrifice a little economy, but have something that didn't look like a toy and didn't drive like an appliance.
Ford Mustang - great choice if you don't need a back seat or trunk. At least it's fun to drive and looks great. The new V6 makes all the difference in the world.
Hyundai Elantra - saw one the other day and was impressed by its styling - much better looking than the Corolla or Civic.
Honda Fit - decent looking and fun to drive, but fuel economy is only so-so for such a small car. I think I would rather spend a little more and buy a Mini Cooper.
Infiniti G37 - best choice of all. The G37 offers a blend of power, handling, quality, and fuel economy for real world driving.
Toyota Sienna - who cares? It's a minivan.
RAV4 - ok small suv, but I would pick the Subaru Forester over it for much better handling and equal reliability.
Hmmm.. Ford’s Fusion, Fiesta, and Lincoln MKZ models are built in Mexico, while the Edge, Flex, Lincoln MKX, and Lincoln MKT are built in Canada. GM vehicles assembled in Canada include Chevrolet's Camaro, Equinox and Impala and the GMC Terrain, while vehicles built in Mexico include Cadillac's SRX and Escalade EXT, Chevrolet's Aveo, HHR, Silverado, and GMC's Sierra. Toyota builds its Camry and Avalon models in Georgetown, Kentucky, its Sienna and Highlander in Princeton, Indiana, and has large plants in Huntsville, Alabama, and San Antonio, Texas. Hyundai builds the Sonata and Elantra in Montgomery, Alabama, and shares a plant in West Point, Georgia, with Kia, which recently celebrated the 100,000th Sorento rolling off that line.
I can see the frustration with the older domestics. Yes it happened, quality not as good as others but, now its much better. Right who would ever think that Ford is now top rated. I know I didnt...
I have the 05 v6 stang also, not a problem after 6 years. Even with the aftermarket tune, CAI, firm shift tranny. Not the fastest but pretty quick, chirp the tires in 2nd gear with automatic.
Plus an 04 F-150 [new body] bought new, same thing not a problem in 7 years.
Actually the truck is better then the car..
What I did notice with these domestics is that they needed a longer break in period before you could get on them, floored at stop light, hard turns, for the hardware, engine, tranny, brakes, to break in correctly after that there fine.
Yes the new Stang is better in power, fit finish, hardware, engine, might have to get one....
Well myself being nonunion get tired of the overpaid crybaby union workers boo hooing and telling everyone else how to spend their money. we dont all have 50-60 bucks an hour of wages and benefits. and that is the reason a piece of junk 5,000 dollar car cost 18,000.