These are the 10 best cars, SUVs and pickups of 2019, according to Consumer Reports
Subaru and Toyota dominated the Consumer Reports list of the best new vehicles of 2019.
While Toyota scored four wins in the 10 vehicle categories, surging Japanese automaker Subaru was named as the best brand in the industry, beating even luxury competitors.
Subaru ranked first overall among 33 brands, followed by four luxury brands: Genesis, Porsche, Audi and Lexus.
Subaru also nabbed two of the 10 best-vehicle awards, with the Subaru Forester prevailing as best compact SUV and the Subaru Ascent winning best-midsized SUV.
The company has been on a tremendous sales streak in the U.S., surpassing Hyundai in 2018 as the seventh biggest new-vehicle seller among all manufacturers, according to car-buying advice site Edmunds.
“The big winner really looks like Subaru,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing for Consumer Reports. “In terms of reliability, the ways the cars test and safety, they really are No. 1.”‘
The 2019 Subaru Forester Sport. (Photo11: Subaru)
The publication’s annual Top Picks list serves as an influential guide for many American consumers as they shop for new vehicles.
The list gauges customer satisfaction through comprehensive surveys and combines those measures with Consumer Reports’ testing of fuel economy performance and reliability. It does not take into account styling preferences or popularity.
Toyota won large car, subcompact car, hybrid/electric car and midsized car for the Avalon hybrid, Yaris, Prius hybrid and Camry hybrid, respectively.
But it might not help much. Hybrid sales have tanked, and subcompact cars have fallen out of favor amid a nationwide SUV boom. As a brand, Toyota ranked ninth out of 33.
“Toyota really excels in terms of reliability” and safety, Fisher said. But “they’re not as well-rounded as Subaru” due to some models that didn’t test well.
Consumer Reports also said it can no longer recommend the Tesla Model 3 electric sedan after noticing substantive manufacturing defects, including “loose body trim” and “glass defects,” such as windows cracking too easily.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has argued that the company is repeatedly improving the Model 3 through manufacturing changes and software upgrades. But the company’s aggressive move to accelerate the pace of production in 2018 may have caused some issues, Fisher said.
Yet “people who have told us they have problems with the car have also told us they’re very satisfied with the car,” Fisher said.
That reflects the popularity of the Tesla brand and its position as a status symbol for many buyers, he said.
“You may not be buying a Tesla Model 3 because you want the most reliable car,” Fisher said.
As a brand, Tesla ranked 19th, just behind Buick and just ahead of Ford.
Tesla said in a statement that its cars are “the safest and best performing vehicles available today.”
“We’re setting an extremely high bar for Model 3. We have already made significant improvements to correct any issues that Model 3 customers may have experienced that are referenced in this report, and our return policy allows any customer who is unhappy with their car to return it for a full refund,” the company said.
Fiat and Jaguar ranked last and second to last among the worst-performing brands in the industry, though Fisher noted that the Consumer Reports ranking doesn’t reflect elements like “panache” and vehicle styling.
Fiat Chrysler said in a statement the “Fiat brand results continue to be skewed by limited models and sample sizes.”
“We encourage people to experience Fiat vehicles for themselves, and we thank our loyal customers who continue to love our Italian-designed, fun-to-drive vehicle lineup,” Fiat Chrysler said.
2019 JD Power reliability rankings: Lexus, Toyota, Porsche top list of most reliable cars in America
Consumer Reports approved: Best cars under $25,000 for first-time buyers
2018 CR rankings: Toyota dominates Top Picks for vehicles
In one key change for 2019, the publication updated its criteria this year to require advanced safety components, including pedestrian detection systems that trigger automatic emergency braking.
Under the new standards, several models lost their Consumer Reports recommendation, including the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Acura RDX, BMW 5-Series and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Here’s how Consumer Reports ranked the top brands in the industry:
- Alfa Romeo
- Land Rover
Here are the Consumer Reports 2019 Top Picks:
Full-sized pickup truck: Ford F-150
Price as tested: $52,535
This is the nation’s most popular vehicle for a reason. The perennial best-seller also nabbed the top spot on the Consumer Reports list for its “brisk acceleration, effortless towing ability and impressive fuel economy.”
Compact SUV: Subaru Forester
Price as tested: $29,341
Redesigned for 2019, the Forester prevails in probably the most crowded category. It’s solid all around, including comfort, steering, safety and fuel economy. Fisher said it’s also impressive that the overhauled model made the list since it often takes a while for automakers to get things right on a redesigned vehicle.
Midsized SUV: Subaru Ascent
Price as tested: $43,867
Talk about a nice rookie outing. This 3-row SUV is new, so it’s a big surprise to see it make this list. But Consumer Reports said the vehicle is smooth and efficient with a comfortable and functional interior.
Subcompact SUV: Hyundai Kona
Price as tested: $25,025
The Kona is starting to make its mark. As a small SUV, it has a lot of competition, but Consumer Reports said it’s versatile with good safety equipment and affordability.