Determining a great car is largely subjective, but CR tries to remove some bias by basing the winners on road test scores, reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety. These picks offer something to like no matter what you're shopping for.
The latest Honda Fit wins the subcompact category, but its overall score of 67 points is the lowest of any vehicle on this list. CR thinks this is the perfect first new car because of the great fuel economy and affordable price. However, the reviewers complain about interior noise and a rough ride. We came away with a similar impression during our First Drive and also found the new model to be less engaging for the driver.
The Subaru Impreza earns a win in the compact car class with 77-79 points. Consumer Reports loves the practicality of its all-wheel drive system and superb interior space for the class. If you’re in the market for one of these, it might be best to act fast because a new generation Impreza is on the way. Subaru already revealed concepts for the future sedan and hatchback. Spy shots also showed that the company started developing the four door.
Crossovers are the standard for family hauling these days, but there's still a place for the cavernous minivan. Consumer Reports thinks the Toyota Sienna is the best in the class with 78-80 points overall. The model's 2015 refresh makes it even better, including more soft-touch materials, a better control layout, and a quieter cabin.
The venerable Toyota Camry takes the honor in the midsized car class and scores 83-84 points. CR admits there’s nothing thrilling about this sedan, but it’s a fantastic commuter for folks who just need to get around. Owners love them, too. A recent study found that nearly a quarter of Camry drivers kept their car for 10 years, compared to 13.5 percent on average.
The Subaru Forester tops the small SUV class with 83 points. Like the Impreza, Consumer Reports loves the all-wheel drive and ranks the system's performance in the snow better than the setups in the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. If you’re looking for some extra performance, the turbocharged XT trim packs a 250-hp turbocharged four-cylinder. We find this model adds a little more excitement to the traditional CUV.
If you want a few more niceties than the Subaru, then the Lexus RX wins the luxury SUV category with 78-81 points. The styling is certainly polarizing, but if you can get past the odd beak, there’s a good vehicle underneath. CR praises the cabin and comfortable ride. A Top Safety Pick+ honor from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a maximum score on the group’s test for active safety tech shows this is a safe choice, too.
If you prefer excitement over practicality, CR awards the Mazda MX-5 with 79 points and considers the convertible the best sports car under $40,000. It’s hard to argue with this choice. We have loved everychance to drive the Miata and even came away impressed after a recent opportunity to slide it around a course in the snow.
The Chevrolet Impala is one of just two entries on this list from the Big Three, and it scores 81 points to win the large car category. The reviewers think this big sedan is a great cruiser because of its pliant ride and intuitive interior controls. Chevy wanted to improve the Impala’s image with the latest generation by creating a better vehicle and selling fewer of them to fleets. Apparently, the strategy worked, based on this award.
The Kia Sorento is CR’s favorite midsized SUV, and it scores 84 points overall. The magazine is fond of how the model drives and really likes the interior. Customers can choose among five trim levels, three engines, and five- or seven-passenger versions, so it shouldn’t be hard to pick exactly the right layout for their needs.
The Ford F-150 is a perennial member on the bestselling vehicles list, and one of the Blue Oval’s most popular models. It’s also Consumer Reports’ favorite pickup with a score of 76-77 points. The magazine even likes the truck's Sync 3 infotainment, which is high praise from a publication that often looks sideways at these systems. With a huge range of trims, powertrains, and bed lengths, it's hard not to find something to work for you. Rumors suggest a diesel engine is also on the way and possibly a hybrid version, too.