Top 5 Car Picks for 2012

Usually, top car picks should meet our requirements in three aspects: First, road test. Top cars must rank at or near the top of its category in overall test score.Second, safety. Top models must work well if involved in accident or rollover tests carried out by the government or the insurance industry. Third, reliability. Each must have got an average or better predicted-reliability Rating, dependent on the problems Consumer Reports subscribers reported on 1.3 million cars.

Our Top Picks are the best car models in the categories, selected from the more than 260 cars we’ve recently tested. For car buyers, they are a great place to start. To learn how other models stack up, see our ratings in our model overviews.

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Five Amazing Road Trip Cars for You

1. Mercedes Benz E-Class Wagon
Base Price: $57,150
Road-trip-friendly Features: Comfort, massive amounts of space, AWD for road trips to the Yukon
Mpg (city/highway): 19/27
Number Of Cup Holders: 4
Cubic Feet Of Cargo Capacity: 57.4

This Benz doesn’t just have the comfort of a superbly engineered E-class. It has enough cargo room for six months worth of supplies.

2. Aston Martin Rapide

Base Price: $207,895
Road-trip-friendly Features: Sex appeal, comfort, cargo capacity, V12 for passing Buicks
Mpg (city/highway): 13/19
Number Of Cup Holders: 3
Cubic Feet Of Cargo Capacity: 31.3

If James Bond didn’t get all of his friends killed, he’d drive one of these. Four can travel in the utmost style in this Aston.

3. Ford Mustang Convertible
Base Price: $27,310
Road-trip-friendly Features: Channelling Steve McQueen, the wind in your hair, Americana
Mpg (city/highway): 19/31
Number Of Cup Holders: 2
Cubic Feet Of Cargo Capacity: 9.6

For a 300hp muscle car, the Ford Mustang gets fantastic fuel economy. Cargo room may be lacking, but that’s what the back seats are for. The Mustang road trip is an American rite of passage. It must be done.

4. Maserati Quattroporte Sport GTS
Base Price: $134,700
Road-trip-friendly Features: Leather and alcantara, Ferrari engine, seeing the peasants in their slow sedans as you pass them
Mpg (city/highway): 11/18
Number Of Cup Holders: 4
Cubic Feet Of Cargo Capacity: 15

While it’s not the fastest sedan in the world, it is certainly one of the most dynamically pleasing and quite possibly our favorite.

5. Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI
Base Price: $25,540
Road-trip-friendly Features: Fuel economy, enough cargo room for another car, real green cred
Mpg (city/highway): 30/42
Number Of Cup Holders: 4
Cubic Feet Of Cargo Capacity: 66.9

Hybrids may pollute the environment a ton in production, and seep horrible chemicals into landfills when the batteries give up, but diesels are clean and efficient, without any of the drawbacks of hybrids. The leather interior of the Jetta Wagon is sure a plus at this price point.