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.

Small Car

Hyundai Elantra
Price: $18,445
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.

Budget Car

Honda Fit
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.

Family Sedan

Nissan Altima
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.

Small SUV

Click to enlarge pictureToyota RAV4 Limited (© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.)

Toyota RAV4 Limited

Toyota RAV4
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.

Green Car

Toyota Prius
Price: $26,750
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.