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Feb. 22, 2020, 10:41 a.m. EST

Consumer Reports picks its top cars and ranks them by price

Tesla, Toyota models among those winning a place on Consumer Reports’ best of 2020

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By Claudia Assis, MarketWatch


Bloomberg News/Landov
A Tesla employee proposes to his girlfriend while giving her a Tesla Model 3, one of the first to be made at the company's new factory in Shanghai, China, in December.

Consumer Reports had a couple of twists in its 2020 top-car list: It ranked them by price, rather than by model type, and focused on safety features to offer its picks.

Japanese car maker Toyota Motor Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM -0.10%   /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +0.10%  had four of its vehicles among the nonprofit’s top 10 best autos for the third straight year.

Those included the Toyota Corolla as best vehicle under $25,000 and a record 17th appearance for the Toyota Prius hybrid as one of the best cars priced between $25,000 and $35,000, this year alongside Subaru Corp.’s /zigman2/quotes/200526066/composite FUJHY +0.51%   /zigman2/quotes/203522406/delayed JP:7270 +1.28%  Forester and the Legacy.

Tesla Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA -1.21%  Model 3, the Silicon Valley car maker’s sedan for the masses, also won a spot on the nonprofit’s list , although its suite of advanced driver-assistance features got a ding.

“Autopilot, an optional system on the vehicle, does not require the driver to stay engaged, creating safety concerns,” Consumer Reports said. The Model 3 was a top pick for vehicles between $45,000 and $55,000.

The change to ranking by price rather than model type mirrors the way people shop for cars, Consumer Reports said.

“You don’t need to buy from a luxury brand to get a luxurious vehicle. Our goal is to help people identify the best vehicle for their needs, at an affordable price—and with all the latest safety features,” Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of automotive testing, said in a statement.

The automobiles that made the list all boast the highest reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety scores, among others, Consumer Reports said.

They also were required to offer as a standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and forward collision warning, two features that the organization said have the potential to save lives and shouldn’t cost extra.

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Claudia Assis is a San Francisco-based reporter for MarketWatch. Follow her on Twitter @ClaudiaAssisMW.

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