2011 Ford MustangEnlarge Photo
2011 Hyundai ElantraEnlarge Photo
The 2011 Kia Sorento is this year's top pick in the Family SUV category and takes that spot from the Chevrolet Traverse; in previous years that spot had also been held by the Toyota Highlander and Hyundai Santa Fe. The Nissan Altima retained its top performance in the Family Sedan category.
CR also named the Hyundai Elantra a top pick for the fourth time; the 2011 Hyundai Elantra is roomy, fun-to-drive, and comfortable, and gets good fuel economy, the publication notes, and nearly matched its EPA-rated 40 mpg on the highway.
Just as last year, there were just two domestic-brand vehicles on the list of top picks. The 2011 Ford Mustang unseated the Volkswagen GTI to get the top pick in the Sporty Car category. CR has kind words for the 'Stang's powerful new V-8 engine and good (for its class) fuel economy. They also point to the Mustang's agile driving feel, good seats, and ride quality.
The slow-selling Chevrolet Avalanche is CR's top pick among pickups, ranking above the Chevrolet Silverado, which had held the position last year.
While there has been much fanfare surrounding the introduction of several U.S.-brand cars, including the 2011 Ford Fiesta, 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and 2011 Ford Explorer—none of these new models made it to CR's list. As they're all-new vehicles, reliability is likely the primary reason; in order to be a Top Pick, vehicles need to score at or near the top of their category in all areas of testing, have average or better reliability (based on the organization's annual questionnaire), and have good crash-test results and standard electronic stability control.
Toyota held the most top spots of any automaker, with the 2011 Toyota Prius, Toyota Sienna minivan, and Toyota RAV4 all on the list. The RAV4 retook the top spot in the Small SUV category from the Subaru Forester. The Toyota Sienna is CR's top-pick minivan for 2011, thanks in part to its seating configuration, and the Prius is the top-pick green car for the eighth year in a row.
Among sport sedans, the 2011 Infiniti G37 remains CR's top pick, while the 2011 Honda Fit, another repeat winner, was the organization's top-rated Budget Car.