Consumer Reports (CR) has released its list of the top 10 best cars of 2017, which takes into account several criteria – overall score per category, road test performance, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction data, and safety.

The list is one of the most highly regarded sources of advice when it comes to buying a new car in the United States due to the well-known independence of the organisation. Consumer Reports buys, anonymously, all the cars it tests, and drives each for thousands of kilometres as part of their road tests.

Getting into the list of winners, the first category is for the best subcompact car of 2017, and that honour goes to the Toyota Yaris iA. The car, which was developed by Mazda (it’s essentially the 2 Sedan), launched by Scion, and marketed as a Toyota following Scion’s demise, is described as a “desirable no-excuses budget sedan” by the organisation.

Next up, the new Chevrolet Cruze is the best compact car of 2017, which impressed CR due to its comfortable ride and roomy interior. The second-generation American C-segment sedan is also available as a hatchback, which made its debut at last year’s Detroit Auto Show.

In the compact hybrid segment, the fourth-generation Toyota Prius took home the top prize thanks to its impressive fuel economy – 4.52 l/100 km – as tested by CR. The Prius also boasted excellent levels of reliability as well as a comprehensive suite of safety systems.

The Mazda MX-5 is the best sports car of 2017 as it is “the embodiment of driving pleasure,” according to CR. Other words used to describe the roadster include “spellbinding” and “frugal,” pointing towards the MX-5’s unchanged formula of a front-engine, rear-wheel drive setup, lightweight and sharp handling.

In the midsized sedan segment, the Kia Optima managed to beat out the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry with a value-laden package that includes features normally found on pricier cars. The Optima’s outstanding reliability and extensive warranty coverage also makes it a highly recommended choice for car buyers in the US as well.

The Chevrolet Impala continues to occupy the top spot in the large sedan segment with its roominess and practicality. Despite its large size, CR describes the Impala’s handling as “responsive and secure,” and buyers should consider the car as a competitively priced alternative.

Moving on to the SUVs, the Subaru Forester, which is also available in Malaysia, is the best small SUV of 2017. CR commended the Forester’s roomy packaging, fuel efficiency, solid reliability, easy access and practicality despite the large windows and boxy shape.

For the highly competitive midsized SUV segment, the updated Toyota Highlander – now with more power from its V6 engine, a new gearbox and more standard safety equipment – managed to triumph over the competition. The Highlander also delivered in terms of family-friendly functionality, fuel economy and long-term reliability.

Audi’s latest Q7 was awarded the best luxury SUV of 2017, with CR saying it “feels more like a luxury sedan than an SUV.” The Q7, which is available in Malaysia, also impressed with its infotainment system and impressive handling.

Finally, the Honda Ridgeline is the best compact pick-up for 2017, primarily due to its smart design that makes it highly practical. CR also states it “handles far better than any compact or full-sized pickup, and it shames all non-diesel trucks for fuel economy.”

We’ve compiled the full list of winners for 2017 below:

  • Subcompact car: Toyota Yaris iA
  • Compact car: Chevrolet Cruze
  • Compact hybrid: Toyota Prius
  • Sports car: Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • Midsized sedan: Kia Optima
  • Large sedan: Chevrolet Impala
  • Small SUV: Subaru Forester
  • Midsized SUV: Toyota Highlander
  • Luxury SUV: Audi Q7
  • Compact pick-up: Honda Ridgeline

For those curious which cars won in 2016, here you go:

  • Subcompact car: Honda Fit/Jazz
  • Compact car: Subaru Impreza
  • Midsized car: Toyota Camry
  • Sports car: Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • Large car: Chevrolet Impala
  • Minivan: Toyota Sienna
  • Small SUV: Subaru Forester
  • Midsized SUV: Kia Sorento
  • Luxury SUV: Lexus RX
  • Pick-up truck: Ford F-150