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IN THIS REPORT
Overview
Top picks
Important update

Top Picks 2005
Consumer Reports names the best models in nine categories.

Image of the CR Top Pick icon.For 2005, we have two new Top Picks. The Honda Odyssey minivan, redesigned for 2005, regained a slim lead over the Toyota Sienna. With Ford no longer building the SVT Focus, the Subaru Impreza WRX (including its STi variant) is our Top Pick among affordable fun-to-drive cars.

Important update: We've removed the Ford Focus as our Top Pick for small sedans because it performed poorly in insurance-industry crash tests that were announced on March 6. Read more.

The Honda Accord is our Top Pick among family sedans. Its new hybrid version, helped by quick acceleration and very good 25-mpg overall fuel economy, outscored the Volkswagen Passat V6, which had shared the top spot.

Again, we’ve included a category for SUVs with three-row seating to help guide families that need room for seven or eight people but don’t want a minivan. That category is still topped by the Honda Pilot.

Of the 200-plus vehicles that Consumer Reports has recently tested, our Top Picks are worth special attention. Each is an all-around high performer that:

• Scored at or near the top among competitor vehicles in our comprehensive testing and evaluation program.

• Showed average or better reliability, according to our latest subscriber survey.

• Performed adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

Each vehicle’s “report card” shows how it fared in testing, reliability, and crash protection. The Honda Odyssey and Toyota Prius have gotten good results in government crash tests, but have not been tested in the insurance industry’s offset-crash test, which we require for a crash-protection rating. For more details on each model, see our vehicle profiles, available to ConsumerReports.org subscribers.

Most categories also list noteworthy runners-up, which have different strengths or driving characteristics than the Top Pick. The right model for you depends on your needs and driving style.

How Consumer Reports tests cars

Car driving around cones on our test track.
These Top Picks for 2005 are a result of the most comprehensive auto-testing program of any U.S. publication or Web site. Here are some of the ways in which Consumer Reports’ testing differs from that of other auto reviewers:

• We anonymously buy all the cars we test from dealerships, just as you would. Last year we spent nearly $2 million on test vehicles.

CR uses a dedicated, specially equipped, 327-acre auto-test facility with a team of full-time engineers, technicians, and support staff.

• Every vehicle that CR tests is evaluated for months. Each is pushed to its limits at our track and driven for 6,000 to 8,000 miles in everyday conditions.

• More than 45 individual tests are performed on every vehicle, including evaluations of performance, comfort, convenience, safety, and fuel economy. Many tests were developed exclusively by CR’s auto engineers.



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