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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 15, 2005
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Consumer Reports: The Best on the Road
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(Undated-AP) -- Consumer Reports is out with its annual top picks in new cars and light trucks, and for the third straight year the winner in the popular family sedan or wagon category is the Volkswagen Passat (puh-SAHT').

The magazine's director of auto testing David Champion says it's an excellent car, nicely trimmed inside, comfy and roomy. He says it handles well and has comfortable seats and good brakes.

Among small S-U-V's, the Subaru Forester has been knocked out of the top spot by this year's choice, the Toyota RAV-4 (rav-fohr). Champion describes it as "nimble" and "fun to drive" and says it has a very "car-like feel." Plus, it gets good gas mileage and has a permanent four-wheel-drive system that's very user-friendly.

In a new category for "green" cars, they like the gas/electric hybrid Toyota Prius (PREE'-uhs).

And, of all the vehicles tested, the best overall is the Mercedes E-320 wagon. Champion says it's a "very nice car" that accelerates quickly and also gets reasonable fuel economy.

But its 54-thousand dollar price isn't for everyone.

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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