Consumer Reports' Top Picks 2015

Compact car: Subaru Impreza

The Impreza's interior packaging is outstanding, especially when you put friends (whom you want to remain your friends) in the backseat. Recent ­improvements have made it quieter inside. The ride is more comfortable than in some pricier cars. It drinks more fuel than its peers, but you're getting all-wheel drive as a benefit. We don't like the slackness and drone of most continuously variable transmissions, but with recent ­improvements Subaru has managed to mask those quirks. Subaru also has finally embraced the need for a contemporary ­infotainment system. The Impreza is among the pricier compact sedans, but it's a strong value. A great starter car.

Test score: 79
Reliability: Very good (4 out of 5)
Overall MPG:
Price as tested: $21,345

Midsized sedan: Subaru Legacy

Most sedans are excellent appliances-they do their job, but few people wake up excited to drive them. The Legacy exceeds those drab, rental-car expectations, providing a quiet, comfortable, and roomy package that also has the best ride among its peers. Its 26 mpg might seem lackluster, but that's with the reassurance of all-wheel drive. Years ago, quirky folks bought Subarus to be practical and pragmatic. Now it's simply a great car with mainstream appeal and impact. If you need a wagon for its cargo space, the Legacy's Outback sibling is an excellent choice, as well.

Test score: 89
Reliability: Very good (4 out of 5)
Overall MPG:
Price as tested: $24,837

Small SUV: Subaru Forester

Compact crossovers are the hottest vehicle segment, and Subaru has nailed the recipe of combining practicality, safety, fuel economy, value, and interior accommodations. Subaru's merchan­dising of features transmits into outstanding value for the price. For 26 grand and change, you get all-wheel drive, a moonroof, 17-inch wheels, heated seats, and a power driver's seat. Its visibility is terrific. The Forester doesn't just look like a tank, it's built like one-with better crash-test results than most of the field. Its one downside-an outdated infotainment center-will be addressed with a running change this spring. This is the vehicle we recommend to our families.

Test score: 84
Reliability: Excellent (5 out of 5)
Overall MPG:
Price as tested: $38,941

Subaru of Glendale

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