In the Consumer Reports 2017 Annual Top Picks list, two of Chevrolet’s vehicles were named tops in their respective classes: the 2017 Chevy Impala and 2017 Chevy Cruze. Because of this, that means Chevy has locked-down these two very heated categories. Especially in the compact sedan segment, where it’s usually the Civic or Corolla that are always sitting at the top. Instead, it’s the Cruze’s time to shine. No doubt, it’s because of the great redesign it experienced recently, and the hatchback version has undoubtedly helped boost its popularity even further. Jake Fisher, the Consumer Reports director of automotive testing, describes the Cruze as an Impala that’s been shrunk down, sharing many of the same virtues as well.
The Chevy Impala, on the other hand, has been dominating the large sedan segment for a while. Being named the top pick for the third year in a row.
What allowed the Cruze to win? Let’s take a look at what Fisher had to say about it:
“If you look at the competitors, you look at Corollas or any other compact cars, there’s a lot they could learn from the Cruze in terms of ride, quietness and just a substantial-feeling vehicle, along with having the latest infotainment, which again you can navigate. It’s not overwhelming. It’s well-laid out.”
What’s that lengthy quote mean? Essentially, it means the Cruze has hit the nail on the head when it comes to what consumers are looking for in a compact vehicle. A quiet ride and exceptional ride quality are certainly at the top of the list, but it still needs to feel like you’re in a vehicle. Not a tuna can. Hence the substantial-feeling vehicle statement. Perhaps just as important as fuel-efficiency (which is extremely impressive), is also the technology that automakers pack into their vehicles. In the compact car segment, technology is one of the biggest reasons to buy. With the Cruze having the latest and greatest infotainment tech — thanks to Chevy’s persistence about always updating infotainment tech year-after-year — it’s not really surprising to see it hit the top of the list.
Furthermore, the Cruze is available as either a diesel or hatchback model. While this wasn’t mentioned by Fisher, it’s still worth noting. Surely, we will see these be huge selling points for the Cruze name later down the road.
Fisher had this to say about the Impala: “This is not the rental car version. This is the new version that they have which drives like a luxury vehicle, continues to be reliable and it’s just good owner satisfaction. It drives terrific.”
Large economy sedans like the Impala are few and far between. Very rarely are reviewers able to find a vehicle that comes in at your average price point, but acts, looks, and feels like a high-end luxury sedan. Clearly, this is a major reason the Impala has been named as a top pick for 2017.
Even so, for it to be a top pick by Consumer Reports for a third year running means it has to just be an all-around exceptional vehicle.
Consumer reports did this for most categories of vehicles, and it wasn’t just the Cruze and Impala that got their time in the spotlight. They also ranked subcompact, luxury SUV, sports car, small SUV, midsize SUV, compact pickup, and midsize sedan. But, the Cruze and Impala were the only two models by GM/Chevy that got top pick out of the list.