Cars: US Consumer Reports Top Pics

US Consumer Reports is a great read, always independent and never dull. Over many years, its advice has indeed become the leading source of information not only in the US, but all over the world. Take their Top Picks for best cars in 2006: They tested 200 cars and for the first time, all the magazine's top picks were made by Japanese auto makers. Their selections are based not on any other guidline but the consumers' best interest.

I'm impressed (although I don't like cars):

Four new models made our Top Picks list this year. The redesigned Honda Civic is our choice among sedans priced below $20,000. The outstanding Infiniti M35 dethroned the Lexus LS430 in the luxury-sedan class ($40,000 or more). The Toyota Highlander Hybrid scored highest among SUVs priced above $30,000. Among pickup trucks, our choice is the new Honda Ridgeline.

The addition of the Highlander Hybrid means that our Top Picks now include two hybrid models, but for very different reasons. The Toyota Prius is our Top Pick in the “green”-car category because of its excellent 44-mpg overall fuel economy, the best we’ve measured in any five-passenger vehicle.

Hisane Masaki at Asia Times has an analysis of what the unsurpassed success of Japan's car industry (noting that Japan's trade surplus with the US is huge - at $82.6 billion in 2005, of which about 60%, or $50.6 billion, came in the autos and auto-parts trade) actually means here.


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