Yonkers, New York – The Toyota Avalon posted an “Excellent” overall score and outranked competitors from Hyundai, Buick and Ford in a new Consumer Reports test of five large and upscale sedans.

The Avalon earned an overall road test score of 87, outdistancing the Hyundai Azera Limited, which also earned an “Excellent” score with 81 points. The Buick LaCrosse, Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKZ all received “Very Good” ratings, ranking 73, 73 and 77 points respectively.

The Avalon remains one of Consumer Reports’ top-rated sedans, due to its quiet and spacious cabin, comfortable ride, strong performance and good fuel economy. It ranks only below the Hyundai Genesis and Lexus ES 350 in the category. The magazine said that the Azera continues to be a good value with nice and roomy interior, but ride and handling show some limitations. Changes in the Taurus and LaCrosse have left them virtually tied in the ratings and are competent contenders in the class. Although the MKZ is a smaller vehicle, it competes on equal footing in terms of performance, amenities and price.

“Detroit’s new contenders measure up well,” said Rik Paul, automotive editor of Consumer Reports. “The redesign much improves the LaCrosse, and a freshening for the MKZ has brought many of the same improvements found in its platform mate, the Ford Fusion. The Taurus’ freshening results in a quiet, comfortable car, but styling has compromised some functionality.”

All of the cars in the test group were rated “Recommended,” except for the LaCrosse, which does not yet have reliability data. Consumer Reports only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on an annual auto survey of subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

For its January issue, Consumer Reports also tested the Kia Forte, a small sedan that replaces the “lackluster Spectra,” the magazine said, and which proved relatively roomy, with simple controls and very good fuel economy. However, it landed mid-pack in ratings of small sedans, with a “Very Good” score of 69.

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