Consumer Reports has come out with its list of top picks for 2018, and some of their choices may surprise you.
In this day and age, it’s hard to stay impartial. We can do it since so far no giant automotive conglomerate has come to us with giant bags of cash asking for a favorable review, but so to can Consumer Reports, perhaps the last bastion of unbiased automotive criticism.
The stories testing publication recently came out with its top 10 list for cars in 2018, pitting every new model (or at least, every model that qualified for testing) against each other until only one remained in each class. CR’s list is based on extensive road testing, expected reliability (based on subscriber reports from previous year's models), owner satisfaction (again, based on their subscriber survey), and safety ratings based on government/insurance crash testing.
Also, only new cars that have a 2018 model are eligible for the test, so if the manufacturer skipped a year they won’t be here. That doesn’t mean they’re a bad car, but it does mean they’re too lazy to make a new one.
With the methodology out of the way, here are the top picks for 2018.
Large Car: Chevrolet Impala
Surprised? We are. You’d think to find something a little more exciting, like a Nissan Maxima or a Dodge Charger in this slot, but the Impala impresses with its above-class interior styling and smooth ride.
Compact Car: Toyota Corolla
Yes, the Corolla is a boring car. But it’s also a very good boring car. It’s safe, economical, and affordable. Perhaps the perfect boring car.
Compact Green Car: Chevrolet Bolt
Tesla can’t make the list because it doesn’t have a 2018 model. But that doesn’t mean the Bolt is a bad car! In fact, there’s a lot going for the Bolt—great range, stylish interior, advanced tech, and best of all, a driving range that won’t leave you stranded on the highway.
Compact SUV: Subaru Forester
Most SUVs will guzzle gas and scoff at you if you take them off-road. Not the Forester. All-wheel drive is standard and the Forester has fuel numbers more in line with a front-wheel-drive family sedan than an SUV.
Midsized Car: Toyota Camry
More boring Toyota competence. More efficiency, safety, and ride quality. It’s hard to get excited about a very good midsized sedan, but the Camry is on this list for a reason.
Midsized SUV: Toyota Highlander
The Highlander is big, its interior is spacious, and can fit the entire extended family, the dog, and tow a boat. Combined with Toyota reliability, and it’s no wonder the Highlander is a top pick.
Minivan: Toyota Sienna
Stop it, Toyota! You’re making everyone else look bad! The Sienna is again a great vehicle, but noteworthy for great reliability and the only minivan with optional AWD.
Full-Sized Pickup Truck: Ford F-150
No surprises here. The F-150 has been the default full-sized pickup for nearly a decade, and it continues to maintain supremacy in its class.
Luxury Compact Car: Audi A4
Audi is like the Toyota of the luxury world: economical (for luxury cars), reliable, and rarely a bad choice. The A4 excels above its competitors for doing everything very well, which is exceptional in its own right.
Luxury Compact SUV: BMW X3
BMW has embraced the SUV market and proven that luxury can come in the form of a taller vehicle, although it’s still lower slung than most SUVs. With an advanced array of safety and entertainment technologies, along with BMW’s legendary reliability, the X3 is a great pick.