The Consumer Reports honors will add further luster to Subaru, which has set U.S. sales records in each of the past 10 years.
"Subaru has been on a roll lately with some all-new and redesigned models that have really hit the mark. That's not easy to do," said Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing at CR. "It's usually the case that when brands make significant changes to their vehicles or introduce new ones, their reliability suffers and they slide down in our brand rankings. But those at the top are clearly figuring out how to buck that trend, and it's good news for consumers."
Toyota led all automotive brands with four top picks, including three new winners: the subcompact Yaris, the hybrid/electric Prius and the Avalon large sedan. The other new winner is the BMW X5, which took top honors for luxury SUVs. CR said it's one of the best SUVs its team has ever tested.
To be a top recommendation, a vehicle must score well in road performance, reliability, owner satisfaction and safety. The magazine said only vehicles that included automatic emergency braking as standard equipment were considered for the top picks list because the safety benefits are so important.
"Safety should always be standard, not a luxury reserved only for those who can afford it," CR President Marta Tellado said. "Automatic emergency braking has proven to reduce crashes and save lives. We believe it should be standard in all new cars, just as backup cameras are today."
Tesla and Chrysler were big losers in CR's reliability survey. Tesla Model 3 owners complained about loose body trim and glass defects, CR said. The demotion is a blow for Tesla, which has struggled with manufacturing issues that have caused delivery delays. After appearing to correct those problems, the earlier defects are now showing up in satisfaction scores as deliveries hit their stride.