‘Consumer Reports’ names the 10 best (and worst) cars of 2016

Consumer Reports now assigns an “Overall Score” to each vehicle it reviews.
Consumer Reports now assigns an “Overall Score” to each vehicle it reviews.

This year Toyota took the most spots on Consumer Reports’s “10 Picks for 2016” list.

Two Toyota vehicles were ranked among the magazine’s top vehicles for 2016 while the Japanese automaker’s luxury brand Lexus took a third spot.

After Toyota, Subaru had the most winning vehicles according to Consumer Reports’s rankings. Only two American vehicles made the cut.

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Consumer Reports published the rankings in its April 2016 issue.

Story continues after gallery.

See the winners:

How they were ranked

This year, Consumer Reports introduced an “Overall Score” grade to each vehicle listed that combines scores on road-test performance, reliability, owner satisfaction and safety.

The publication believes combining these four factors into a single grade will make car shopping “simpler” for consumers.

Jeff Bartlett, deputy editor of cars for Consumer Reports, said the new Overall Score grade will also help consumers focus on a vehicle’s pros and cons.

“The trend is simply, a car that offers a good balance of performance today and down the road during the ownership years, will rise above those with critical weaknesses,” said Barlett. “By emphasizing the Overall Score, it helps consumers look far beyond marketing hype and even their own initial test drive impressions.”

This is how Consumer Reports considers the four factors that go into a vehicle’s “Overall Score.”

Road Test: Vehicles must deliver a road test performance that is either the best or close to the best in their class. The vehicles are test driven over 2,000 miles and judged on safety features (such as braking), cargo capacity, and infotainment system.

Reliability: Tested vehicles must also must have an average or better than average reliability based on reports from the magazine’s 740,000 subscribers.

Owner satisfaction: Consumer Reports asked owners of 230,000 vehicles purchased in the past three years if they would consider buying the same vehicle again.

Safety: Reviewers consider a vehicle’s safety ratings from notable institutions including the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Consumer Reports gives vehicles “extra credit” for offering either forward-collision warning or automatic emergency braking or both.

The losers

At the other end of the scale, Consumer Reports also released its 10 worst picks for 2016, ranking vehicles that received the lowest Overall Score in their respective categories. What this means, as Consumer Reports puts it, is that “every other model in those categories is a better choice.”

The magazine’s lowest-rated vehicles for 2016 include the Mitsubishi Mirage, Fiat 500L, Chrysler 200, Mercedes-Benz CLA250, Lincoln MKS, Dodge Journey, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Cadillac Escalade, Chrysler Town & Country and Mitsubishi i-MiEV. They earned Overall Scores from as low as 31 to as high as 62.

“Those models with low predicted reliability and mediocre, or worse, road test performance are simply those that we wouldn’t recommend to family and friends,” said Barlett. “And combining these ratings puts data behind that guidance.”