Yonkers, New York – The redesigned Kia Optima has topped the Honda Accord in the latest testing by Consumer Reports. The Optima (formerly sold in Canada as the Kia Magentis) now ranks among the top ten of all four-cylinder family sedans tested by the magazine.

The Optima now ranks sixth in the category, ahead of the Accord and behind the Suzuki Kizashi. The top-scoring family sedans, in order, are the Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry.

The Kia edged out the Accord by just one point in the tests, with both cars achieving “Very Good” overall scores. It drew praise from the engineers for its handling, transmission, controls, fuel economy and crash-test results, but its low points included road noise, low rear-seat height and limited rear visibility.

Consumer Reports also released its evaluations of three midsize SUVs: the redesigned Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Volkswagen Touareg TDI diesel. The Highlander Hybrid outpointed the others and posted an “Excellent” overall road test score. The Touareg came close behind the Highlander and now ranks fourth overall in the magazine’s ratings of midsize SUVs. The Explorer fell short in the segment and now ranks 17th out of 19 vehicles in the category. The editors said that the Explorer has a steady, compliant ride and decent fuel economy, but complained that the engine is noisy, handling is not agile, the six-speed automatic transmission is sometimes slow to downshift, and the optional MyFord Touch dashboard design is “overcomplicated and distracting to use.”

The full test results are in the June issue of Consumer Reports.

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