Announces Best Bets for 2012 Models

As we've done for a long time, we're rolling out our Best Bets for the 2012 model year. We know that many consumers are looking for guidance when it comes time to choose a new car, and Best Bets were designed to help with that process.

Unlike our awards, which call out the absolute top models, Best Bets include any vehicle you can be confident in buying. We have four criteria in determining which cars to recommend:

  • The car must get average or better fuel economy for its segment
  • The car must have average or better reliability
  • The car must get average or better scores in crash tests (although we do have some exceptions for low-volume models that are not crash-tested)
  • And's editors must endorse the car as well.

In years past, we've rolled these out mostly in one shot, but this year we're trying something new. As more 2012 models are tested and rated, we'll keep adding to the list when new information warrants it, so check back on KickingTires to see which models have gained our recommendations.

Compact SUVs and Crossovers

Midsize SUVs and Crossovers

Full-Size SUVs and Crossovers

Luxury SUVs and Crossovers

Hybrid and Diesel SUVs and Crossovers

Compact Sedans

Compact Hatchbacks

Midsize Sedans

Midsize Coupes

Full-Size Sedans

Luxury Cars

Luxury Coupes

Luxury Hatchbacks and Wagons

Sports Cars


Compact/Midsize Pickup Trucks

Full-Size Pickup Trucks

By Patrick Olsen | March 5, 2012 | Comments (19)



Some of these choices are strange. Also, where did you guys find a G25 Coupe?


Thanks for the G25 pickup. We fixed that.
Why strange picks? The Best bets have to meet the requirements listed above and as far as the editors weighing in it's a pretty easy litmus test. They don't have to be best in class just cars that we'd recommend to any car shopper.


The Prius is completely off this list? Why?
It does what it does very well.


Cruze nor Focus are best bets as compacts? The #2 and #4 sellers in the class last month arent worthy of recommendation?


Why didn't the Scion tC make it and the eclipse did? That raised an eyebrow. Every a editor could please explain.



Oh and the tC supposedly got the highest safety rating, it's 23/31 mileage with either transmission is better than the Mitsubishi, offers more room and practicality, lots of standard features for the money, and hasn't been known to be an unreliable car.


Sheth both the Cruze and Focus are below average in reliability. Consumers Reports.

Regarding Prius: The reason we've decided to publish Best Bets in a new way is to get the most coverage out as quickly as possible. The Toyota Prius looks to be a casualty of this and is indeed a Best Bet by our criteria and is listed as such now on our site. It's category just wasn't prepared to roll out with our main announcement.

We'll have more 2012 Best Bets announced in the future when criteria requirements are met and we'll announce them on KT when they do.

Hope you understand.



This isn't Consumer Reports. Unless has some official relationship with CR or is involved in their data collection Im not understanding why CR's data is being used to evaluate cars on this site. No one else does that. Once you rely on consumer reports for rankings you are automatically creating lists that are going to be dominated by Japanese/Korean cars since thats mostly what CR recommends. I think they recommend 90% of Japanese cars and about 50% of American cars.


Sheth - They're not taking CR's opinions and ranking into account (see Honda Civic as a recommended model); rather, they're utilizing CR's data for reliability. Say what you will about CR - they are one one of the few places that do significant statistical research on automobile reliability.


Per sheth's and Semaj's comments, why is using Consumer Reports' information in the first place? CR has a strict "no commercial use" policy, and as a unit of Classified Ventures, LLC definitely qualifies as a commercial entity.


This looks more like a list of cars they tested, with more to be added later.

I think a better perspective, especially from, would have been to make it a two-part list with Best Bets and Must Avoids in each category.

That would provide a better gauge of what they tested, and where each ranks.

If more cars are added to this list throughout the year, a buyer may overlook a car they might prefer because it is not now on the list of best bets, but could be later on.

That's the problem with snapshots in time. Another time may provide another list of best bets.

And, in time, this list will be expanded to include more best bets.

That could result in buyer's remorse, once the deal is sealed.


Hey Dave, any reason why the Scion tC wasn't considered a Best Bet? I'm not gonna go on any tirade. I really would like to know your feedback or any other editor if they can provide any insight. Thanks in advance, guys.



CR doesnt do any research- they collect data from subsribers. Their methods are flawed, they dont align with JD Power or other sources in many cases and there is a reason why most auto publications dont refer to CR's findings. As stated, by adopting CR's recommendations in recommendations they are basically going to be primarily endorsing imports- which is what CR does. CR's data is not objective so it shouldnt be used here. I mentioned this before and Dave said my point was taken and they would consider what weight CR should be given in the future. It seems like they are only expanding their reliance on CR's reliability rankings. They werent going this nearly as much before. The car magazines and websites do 1 year tests on various vehicles of all types. If you follow those tests you see there is VERY little difference in mechanical reliability amongst new cars over the course of 30k-40k miles. CR's data shows something very different- that reliability is extremely dependent on whether or not you buy an Asian branded car.


The Scion tC was redesigned for 2011, so it doesn't have a reliability history. It is common for all-new and recently redesigned cars not to have crash-test or reliability results, which makes them ineligible until the data arrive. Fortunately, crash tests are quicker and more plentiful than they once were, so they're seldom an impediment.



Again predictable and totally wrong. What is research if not collecting and reporting data? Methods flawed? Proof please. And who does it better? There is a reason Asian brands are recommended more by CR and it's not biased bashing, it is about reliability. What kind of data would you rather see, one car tested for a year or reports from hundreds or thousands of owners over several years? Gee a sample of one versus hundreds...who's methods are flawed?

CR buys the cars they test just like consumers do. Mags get theirs loaned to them on the most part.

Personally, I would much rather have actual owners reporting over a period of ownership versus a test drive or short term ownership. Cars break down over time...who keeps them for one year. Even leases are three years on average. So what does a one year,one month or one week test do for consumers?

Don't align with JDPowers? What a joke! JDPowers is nothing but a paid advertising organization. The sell their seal of approval. Why don't you list JDPower's methods of so called research. CR explains in detail how they do their tests and how they collect data and from whom. Try to get that info from other review type organizations.

Waaaaahh. You're always crying about CR not recommending American brands enough and that they favor the Asian brands. Well, I've had about 40 cars in my life. About 35 of them have been American/German brands and the five Asian brands I've had have been so much more trouble free it's not even comparable. They might not look as nice or even drive as nice in some cases but for reliability there is no comparison. And no amount of your constant crying changes that.

Amuro Ray

@ Lance,

That's 1 thing that lying commenter's good at: wasting digital space!

Don't feed that troll, he's acting like a cry baby since kicking tires began like, 4-5 years ago, and haven't matured a bit.


Joe, much appreciated! Keep up the great work. Your reviews of the cars are some of the best in the industry showing no bias. Thank you!



You are poorly informed. I dont even know where to start but I can tell you have been spoon fed CR PR nonsense.

1. Cars are built on assembly lines, largely by robots. The idea that a manufacturer could pick out a "reliable" car and send it to a magazine for a test is absurd. Even you know that.
2. CR's methods for collecting data violate every rule of statistical sampling. They survey the same group of people every year, they dont tell you their minimum sample size, they dont detail the weighting of issues, they often get wildly different reliability marks for the same car depending on drivetrain, they dont offer PPV rates or repair rates, etc. The way they present their data is absolutley useless. There is no baseline for "reliable" and their rankings of most relibale brands is MUCH different from JD Power's findings. For the record JD Power surveys tens of thousands of different people every year to gauge reliability of cars. They consistently find that there isnt a huge variation between the top 5-10 brands in terms of problems per vehicle.
3. I said magazines tests cars for a YEAR and they usually try to put an extrodinary amount of miles on the car. C&D puts 40k on most of its cars in a 12-18 month period- far more than the average driver. During the course of their tests most cars have no more than 1 or 2 minor problems.
4. You are totally wrong about JD Power- they are in the business of collecting data on a number of products- cars are just one of them. They are not paid to produce results for automakers. You may have to pay them to use their name if you mention their awards, but they survey real people to rank automakers. Where did you get your version of things from? Its way off. JD Powers survey methods are easy to find, contrary to your statement about CR being the only one that reveals how it gets data. CR tries to cover up its flawed methods by talking about how many surveys it gets- that is irrelevant because the SAMPLE is constant- they are not getting data from a representative cross section of the buying public.
5. I figured you were a person who buys cars based on CR's views, you sound like one. Biased, poorly informed, etc. Even CR tells you that the overall number of problems with vehicles has declined drastically over the years- that includes domestics. What you dont get is that CR uses a sliding scale of reliability so the improvement doesn't really show up. There is no threshold for "reliable" in CR, they base everything on "average" which is based on the responses they receive. So a Chrysler sold today could as reliable as a Toyota from 2005 but it CRs sample has improved in reliability overall and the Chrysler is less "reliable" than a current Toyota CR tells you Chrysler is selling an "unreliable" car. It's nonsense. They need to offer data on PPV to actually show you how many problems these cars have. They refuse to do that just like they dont explain their ambiguous road test scores that always place american cars near the bottom of their respective classes.

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