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Hyundai breaks through with two 'top' models

Image: Consumer Reports top ten cars 2008
The Hyundai Santa Fe midsized sport utility vehicle was among the top 10 vehicles. hyundai.com
/ Source: msnbc.com

Consumer Reports awarded coveted "top pick" status to two Hyundai vehicles Thursday, marking the first time that South Korean models have been represented on the magazine's influential list.

The Hyundai Elantra SE small sedan and Santa Fe midsized sport utility vehicles were among the top 10 vehicles for 2008 unveiled in the magazine's April issue. The magazine's annual ratings, based on road tests and predicted safety and reliability are considered highly influential among consumers.

Other new models represented on the 2008 list included the Lexus LS460L luxury sedan and the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado, the first U.S.-made pickup truck to make the list since 2005. The Japanese-made Lexus, with a list price of $77,000, got a score of 99 out of 100 on the magazine's road test and was the highest rated vehicle for 2008.

The remaining six cars on the list retained their titles from 2007:

  • Toyota Prius, green car
  • Honda Accord, family sedan
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata, fun to drive
  • Infiniti G35, upscale sedan
  • Toyota RAV4, small SUV
  • Toyota Sienna, minivan

The Accord, a perennial winner, actually was edged out in Consumer Reports' ratings this year by the Nissan Altima. But the Altima lacked electronic stability control, a safety feature that was required for "top pick" status, according to the magazine editors.

Hyundai's Elantra, with a list price of $18,000, beat out the Honda Civic EX and Mazda 3 in the small sedan category. The Santa Fe, which sells for $22,000 to $31,000, edged out the Honda Pilot among midsized SUVs.