Consumer Reports releases top car picks

How you can find safe, reliable ride

By Nikki Kimbleton - The Morning Show anchor, Rachael Joyce, Consumer Reports

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Is it time for a new car? Consumer Reports is out with its annual auto issue that includes its exclusive top car picks.

Whether you’re in the market for something new, or slightly used, we’ve got advice on how to find a safe, satisfying and reliable ride.

At its 327-acre test track, Consumer Reports tests about 50 new cars each year, evaluating everything from performance to fuel economy to child seat installation.

Consumer Reports just released its 2018 Top Picks, which include the Chevy Impala as top large car, the Subaru Forester as top small SUV and the Ford F-150 as the top full-sized pickup. 

But with the average price of a new car at more than $35,000, buying a reliable used car can be a great way to save money.  

Consumer Reports also offered recommendations for used cars that performed well in its tests when they were new and have held their value with better-than-average reliability. 

“Your best bet is to look for a car around three to five years old that fits your budget," said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports auto expert. "That’s because the typical lease is three years long, so you could pick up a great vehicle coming off lease at a pretty steep discount -- as low as $20,000 or less.”

If you’re looking for a small  SUV without the sticker shock of buying a new car, Consumer Reports suggested you check out a used Mazda CX-5 from 2013 to 2015, or a Toyota RAV4 from 2008 to 2013.

Want something sportier? A 2014 Subaru BRZ -- or its sister car, the Scion FR-S -- will give you a fun ride without breaking the bank.

Need something practical? According to Consumer Reports, you can’t go wrong with the Toyota Camry. Look for a model from 2008-2015. It consistently did well in Consumer Reports’ tests, and can be had for less than $20,000.

You can check out Consumer Reports' full list of top picks for cars, both new and used, at CR.org

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