That Time of the Year Top Picks 2009

Top Picks of 2009

Consumer Reports chooses the best cars, trucks and SUVs of the year.

By the Editors of Consumer Reports

Of the more than 300 vehicles we’ve recently tested, our Top Picks are the best all-around choices in their categories. This year’s list includes two new models: The Toyota Highlander is our new pick for midsized SUVs, unseating the Hyundai Santa Fe. And thanks to improved reliability, the Chevrolet Avalanche replaced the Chevrolet Silverado as our choice for pickups.

See more details on all Top Picks below. To see who makes the best cars, best new-car car values, and how to save hundreds on maintenance, go to our annual auto issue hub.

How we choose
Top Picks must meet our criteria in three areas:

  • Road tests: Vehicles must rank at or near the top of their categories in our overall road-testscore, which includes more than 50 individual tests and evaluations.
  • Reliability: Each must have an average or better predicted-reliability rating, which is based on the problems Consumer Reports subscribers reported for more than 1.4 million vehicles in our latest Annual Auto Survey.
  • Safety: Top Picks must perform adequately in overall safety if tested by the government or the insurance industry. (For some models, we do not have enough crash-test data to assign an overall safety rating.) In addition, each must offer electronic stability control (ESC), a proven lifesaving safety feature, as standard equipment or as a readily available option.

Each model’s report card shows its rating in each area, if available. Multiple ratings apply to different versions of a model.

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