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Consumer Reports' Top Picks list for 2006


Independent consumer magazine picks the best new models of 2006

March 7, 2006 -- The top picks from Consumer Reports magazine, published in its April issue, is a handy shortcut to picking the most reliable and driveable vehicles on the market.

CR's choices are based on category scoring in individual testing, predicted reliability based on surveys of current owners, and adequate crash test performances. More than 200 vehicles were included in the testing this year. Survey results from 6.3 million of the magazine's subscribers, covering more than one million vehicles, were factored into the rankings.

All of the magazine's Top Picks are recommended models and all-around high performers that:

Scored at or near the top among competing vehicles in its testing

Are predicted to have average or better reliability, based on CR's latest Annual Car Reliability Survey, and

Performed adequately in overall crash protection if tested by the government or insurance industry.

Consumer Reports magazine does not accept advertising. It anonymously buys all the cars it evaluates from dealerships and puts them through 50 individual tests at a dedicated, 327-acre auto-test centre staffed by a team of experienced auto engineers. Every vehicle is evaluated for months and driven for 10,000 km or more.

Among 2006 cars and trucks the April issue recommends overall, Asian auto makers build 57 of the 90 models. North America's 'Big Three', Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, have only four vehicles combined among the 44 "most satisfying" vehicles rated in the magazine. European-based brands have only seven. CR's remaining "most satisfying" vehicles all are Japanese makes. Among the 21 "least satisfying" vehicles, 14 were from the Big Three and seven were Asian.

Here is the latest Top Pick list from Consumer Reports for 2006. All are Japanese brands.

Note that pricing is based on U.S. dollars, so add roughly 20% to these values to account for the exchange rate's affect on selling prices in Canada.

2006 Consumer Reports Top Picks
Sedan, less than $20,000: Honda Civic
Sedan, $20,000-$30,000: Honda Accord
Sedan, $30,000-$40,000: Acura TL
Luxury sedan: Infiniti M35
SUV, less than $30,000: Subaru Forester
SUV, more than $30,000: Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Minivan: Honda Odyssey
Pickup truck: Honda Ridgeline
Green car: Toyota Prius
Fun to drive: Subaru Impreza WRX/Sti.