Consumer reports on utility vehicles

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Japanese automaker Toyota dominated the competition in Consumer Reports’  2018 ranking of the best vehicles in the U. Although Toyota has lost its throne as the world’s largest automaker by sales volume — falling behind Volkswagen and the alliance of Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi — the Consumer Reports verdict served as a reminder that Toyota remains on top in the areas that matter most to consumers. The consumer magazine’s rankings are closely watched because it is known for being fiercely independent, buying its own cars for reviews at dealerships and tapping thousands of members for information on how their cars have performed. This time, Toyota landed four of the 10 category honors in the magazine’s annual Top Picks list. The winners were the Corolla for compact car, Camry for midsize car, Highlander for midsize SUV and Sienna for minivan. It’s hard to beat Elon Musk as a showman, but Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is no slouch on that front — and few question that Toyota will deliver on his promises. The monthly sales totals keep rising for GM’s Chevrolet Bolt EV.

Ford’s F-Series pickups are probably its most profitable products, and most are sold in the United States. Chalk it up to Toyota’s dependability, mainstream design and safety, Consumer Reports says. Part of what helps Toyota is just really impressive reliability across the board,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports. Another factor: standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning systems. Our continued commitment to bringing quality products with key safety technologies to our customers remains a top priority,” Toyota said in a statement. That doesn’t mean the company is impervious to external threats.

In fact, the Chevrolet Bolt, made by General Motors, snatched the crown away from the Toyota Prius in the “compact green car. The Bolt recently became the first mass-market long-range electric car. 7,500 federal tax credit, got 250 miles of battery range. But the Bolt’s design is also paying off.

Though it has a compact hatchback body style, it sits up high like a crossover. Chevy was the only brand other than Toyota to take two slots. The brand’s Impala scored in the large car category. Notable snubs for 2018 included the Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia brands. Fiat Chrysler, whose brands include Jeep and Ram, was also shut out. The picks reflect “a combination of how we’re testing them at the track and creature comforts, as well as performance and fuel economy,” Fisher said.