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Consumer Reports 2014 Top Picks
The annual Consumer Reports Top Picks are out, highlighting the vehicles that the venerable publication sees as being the best in the industry.
This year, many familiar faces took top honors, such as the Toyota Prius, Subaru Forester, BMW 3 Series and Honda Accord. But there were also a few surprises. The "Best Overall" award, for instance, went to the Tesla Model S -- an all-electric vehicle available only in select markets.
Head through to see the Consumer Reports top ten vehicles for 2014.
Sticker Price: $21,995 - $32,995
Invoice Price: $20,811 - $30,836
Fuel Economy: 22 mpg City, 29 mpg Highway
A brilliant redesign for the 2014 model year has the Subaru Forester outshining all of its competition, which includes the popular Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. While Consumer Reports acknowledges that there is still room for improvement in its ride quality and infotainment, the fact that it is so roomy, fuel efficient, versatile and safe means that this SUV is one of the best vehicles you can buy right now.
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Sticker Price: $21,955 - $33,480
Invoice Price: $20,100 - $30,612
Fuel Economy: 24 mpg City, 34 mpg Highway
Honda nailed it with the Accord. It's roomy, nice to drive, well equipped and fuel efficient. With its four-cylinder engine, the Accord squeezes out 30 mpg overall and 34 on the highway. Higher trim models have advanced safety features seldom found in this category, and all models come with a standard back-up camera.
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Sticker Price: $17,895 - $23,195
Invoice Price: $17,104 - $21,978
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg City, 34 mpg Highway
The all-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza remains the best compact car available, according to Consumer Reports. Both sedan and hatchback versions are good, sensible vehicles, with nimble handling and a compliant, absorbent ride that rivals some luxury sedans. Fuel economy is impressive for an AWD car. And the roomy interior, spacious rear seats, simple controls and refreshingly good visibility make it easy to count on as a daily driver.
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Sticker Price: $29,900 - $35,550
Invoice Price: $28,490 - $33,440
Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway
Consumer Reports found the Hyundai Santa Fe to be "one of the most pleasant and well-rounded SUVs." The publication was especially impressed that, despite its "limo-like" second-row seat and huge cargo area (which are both positive attributes), the Santa Fe is still easy to drive and park. Fuel economy is decent, and it comes with a variety of standard features at a good price.
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Hyundai Santa Fe Overview
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Sticker Price: $24,200 - $30,005
Invoice Price: $22,748 - $27,930
Fuel Economy: 51 mpg City, 48 mpg Highway
No surprises here. This marks the eleventh year in a row the Prius has taken the top spot in the green car category. The publication says no current plug-in car can match the Prius hatchback for its blend of fuel efficiency, practicality and affordability. Its 44 overall mpg is still the best Consumer Reports has measured in any five-passenger, non-plug-in-vehicle. The Prius' roomy interior, comfortable ride, hatchback versatility and low running costs make it easy to like.
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Sticker Price: $24,385 - $49,405
Invoice Price: $22,846 - $45,283
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway
The Ram 1500 has been well received by both critics and car shoppers. Consumer Reports was especially impressed with its comfortable ride, whisper-quiet cabin, versatility and power. The Chevrolet Silverado actually outscored the Ram in the publication's testing, but because its reliability isn't known, the Ram took the top spot.
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Sticker Price: $43,100 - $57,500
Invoice Price: $40,084 - $53,477
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg City, 33 mpg Highway
Consumer Reports found the Audi A6 to be agile, quick and a joy to drive, while surrounding drivers and passengers with a sumptuous, impeccably finished cabin that's brimming with the latest high-tech features. The base A6's potent, turbocharged I4 engine, super-smooth eight-speed automatic transmission and comfortable ride add to the business-class feel. It returns respectable gas mileage, too, even with all-wheel drive.
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Sticker Price: $37,300 - $41,450
Invoice Price: $34,315 - $38,135
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg City, 35 mpg Highway
With its recent redesign, the BMW 328i has become roomier, more luxurious and more fuel efficient while retaining most of its sporty, fun-to-drive characters. Ride comfort and fit and finish are impressive. And its 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers quick acceleration, while posting the best gas mileage in its class. The only complaint Consumer Reports had about the 328i was its snug rear seat.
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BMW 328i Overview
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Sticker Price: $28,825 - $44,450
Invoice Price: $26,366 - $40,618
Fuel Economy: 19 mpg City, 28 mpg Highway
With improved reliability helping it earn the top spot among family haulers, it provides a comfortable ride and a roomy, quiet and versatile cabin. The V6 engine performs well and delivers a competitive 28 mpg on the highway. And a backup camera -- a great safety feature -- is now standard on all models. Consumer Reports calls it the "most complete family vehicle you can buy."
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Sticker Price: $69,900 - $89,900
Invoice Price: NA
Fuel Economy: NA
If you've been following the auto industry even a little bit, you know that the Tesla Model S has been winning award after award as publications and testing agencies continue to be impressed by the all-electric sedan's performance. Consumer Reports awarded the sleek sedan its "Best Overall" award because of its combination of "blistering acceleration, razor-sharp handling, compliant ride and versatile cabin, which can fit a small third-row seat." All in all, the publication was beyond impressed, saying "the Tesla is a glimpse into a future where cars and computers coexist in seamless harmony."
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