Consumer Reports 2015 Top 10 Car and SUV Picks: Tesla Model S Takes Overall, Buick Regal Best Sports Sedan, Toyota Prius Best Green Car
Consumer Reports released its list of top 10 car and SUV picks for 2015 with Subaru nabbing three of the coveted spots.
Consumer Reports tests each vehicle in performance, reliability and safety. Reliability is based on problems reported by subscribers who rated 1.1 million vehicles in the product review organization's latest Annual Auto Survey. Safety is judged by a vehicle's crash or rollover test result conducted by the government or insurance industry.
There are no trucks in the top picks because the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and Ford F-150 are too new to have testing data, according to Consumer Reports, and the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra and Ram 1500 are "not reliable enough."
Overall: Tesla Model S
Consumer Reports named the Tesla Model S as its most impressive new vehicle released in 2014. The high-performance electric vehicle with its over-the-air software updates and subscriber reported average reliability takes first place for the second consecutive year. The Model S with luxury package has a sticker price of $89,650.
Compact Car: Subaru Impreza
The Impreza's interior is superior to most compact cars, giving backseat passengers plenty of room. It is quieter inside. The ride is comparable to pricier cars. The all-wheel drive means it uses more fuel than other compacts, but that's to be expected. The Subaru Impreza comes with a contemporary infotainment system. Though the $21,325 piece is more than other compact sedans, Consumer Reports says it's a good value.
Midsized Sedan: Subaru Legacy
The Legacy delivers a comfortable, roomy and quiet ride rated highest among its peers. While the 26 mpg may seem blasé, that's with the reassurance of all-wheel drive. The Legacy with its 175hp Subaru Boxer engine is priced right at $21, 695.
Large Car: Chevrolet Impala
Say goodbye to the Impala's reputation as a bad rental car. The new and improved Impala rivals the Lexus ES 350 and Toyota Avalon. The large and roomy interior boasts comfortable seats. It rides like a true luxury car. The big controls are intuitive and easily understood for the older set. The only negative, according to Consumer Reports, is the limited visibility caused by its high rear deck and deep parcel shelf. You can get the Chevrolet Impala with optional forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems for $35,000; however, the V6 version is the model that meets Consumer Reports reliability standards, which is priced at $39,110.
Luxury Car: Audi A6
The Audi A6 is a driver-focused machine that provides crisp handling, a whisper-quiet ride, ample trunk space, functional layout display, and technology that fans of Design Within Reach can appreciate. All functions are within a finger reach of an infotainment system. The Quattro all-wheel drive gives you security with a commendable fuel economy. The 2015 base Audi A6 gets an EPA-estimated 25/33 mpg city/highway, which is great for the class, while the TDI model gets 24/38 mpg, which is excellent, reports U.S. News. The model tested by Consumer Reports has a price tag of $56,295.
Green Car: Toyota Prius
The $29,230 Prius remains the top pick as the best green car – a Top Pick for 12 years in a row. No other vehicle can match the combination of affordability, great fuel economy, innovative packaging and blue-chip reliability. While the interior isn't the most luxurious, the ride comfort is OK and the cornering is humdrum, the Prius is still the perfect economical transportation solution.
Sports Sedan: Buick Regal
The American front-drive Regal defies Buick's brand stereotype, according to Consumer Reports, with a driving experience comparable to an Audi. The 259-hp, 2.0-liter turbo is enhanced with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. It is responsive across a linear power band. The IntelliLink infotainment system is outstanding. If you want to bolster your sport sedan experience, you can purchase the Regal with a stick shift. A well-equipped Regal for $34,485 delivers a great deal for the money.
Minivan: Honda Odyssey
Consumer Reports claims the Odyssey is the best vehicle Honda makes. It rides like a living room on wheels, takes corners with confidence and handles better than most family sedans. The flexible eight passenger seating is comfortable. It scores high in crash tests. One of the best values on the market at $38,055.
Small SUV: Subaru Forester
Subaru has combined interior accommodations, safety, practicality, fuel economy and value in the 2015 Forester. The SUV is an outstanding value for the $26,814 price as it comes with all-wheel drive, 17-inch wheels, a moonroof, heated seats and a power driver's seat. The visibility is excellent. The Forester garnered better crash-test results than most small SUVs. The only downside is its outdated infotainment center which Subaru plans to address with a running change this spring.
Midsized SUV: Toyota Highlander
The 2015 Toyota Highlander is three inches taller than its predecessor. The engines are the same, but the new all-wheel-drive setup and double-wishbone rear suspension make it handle more like a car. The cavernous interior has great features like a smartphone balcony and a center cubby big enough for a woman's purse. It is a great value at $38,941.
Though not listed in the Consumer Reports top 10, the Volkswagen Golf won North American Car of the Year Award at 2015 Detroit Auto Show, beating out the Ford Mustang and Hyundai Genesis.