AAA's "Top Picks" Crowns Best Vehicles of 2012

Phoenix, Ariz., Mar. 8, 2012. After driving nearly 100 cars, trucks and SUVs, AAA’s auto pros have recently revealed their picks for the best ride in every car category. The results are revealed in the auto club’s seventh annual Top Picks list, which aims to help guide consumers shopping for their next ride.

“This list represents the best new vehicles on the market today,” said Jim Prueter, auto reviewer and club spokesman for AAA Arizona. “Our picks beat all other contenders in their categories based on criteria for design, engineering, excellence, safety, value, efficiency and overall performance.”

The list lauds a number of vehicles as the pinnacle of their ranks. The Audi A6, for example, is the pick for best Sedan/Coupe in the $35-50,000 category, and is described as “the most impressive new car we’ve driven this year.” The coveted Cool Car title went to the Range Rover Evoque, which is described as “the best looking vehicle to join the posh luxury compact SUV class.”

AAA’s Top Picks for 2012 include:

  • Cool Car: Range Rover Evoque
  • Sedan/Coupe under $15,000: Kia Soul**
  • Sedan/Coupe between $15-25,000: Kia Optima
  • Sedan/Coupe between $25-35,000: Ford Taurus
  • Sedan/Coupe between $35-50,000: Audi A6
  • Sedan/Coupe over $50-75,000: Jaguar XJ*
  • Convertible under $35,000: Mazda MX-5 Miata*
  • Convertible over $35,000: Porsche Boxster*
  • SUV under $25,000: Chevrolet Equinox*
  • SUV between $25-35,000: Jeep Grand Cherokee*
  • SUV between $35-50,000: Porsche Cayenne*
  • SUV over $50,000: Infiniti QX56*
  • Truck Full-Size: Ford F-150 (Full Size)
  • Hybrid/Electric: Toyota Prius
  • Minivan: Nissan Quest

(* Denotes second consecutive year, ** Denotes third consecutive year)
Top Picks are selected based on how well the vehicle performs in relation to what a car of its kind is expected to deliver. A convertible, for example, should deliver superior power with precise handling, whereas a sedan is expected to feature a comfortable, spacious interior and a smooth ride.

To be eligible for list consideration, Top Picks must be available for sale to the public no later than January 2012, and fall under a base-price cap of $75,000. Vehicles selected for the list are reviewed by AAA Arizona auto expert Jim Prueter, who has more than 15 years of experience in test driving and reviewing vehicles.

AAA’s 2012 Top Picks are revealed in the March/April edition of Highroads, the club’s bi-monthly member magazine delivered to about 475,000 households in Arizona. Complete reviews of 2012 Top Picks can be found on the AAA Automotive website.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto travel services more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on the streets and highways of the state as well as providing insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.