The annual list gives vehicles an overall score based on road test performance, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction and safety. The other nine categories include small car, subcompact SUV, small SUV, mid-sized sedan, hybrid, two-row SUV, mid-sized three-row SUV, compact pickup truck and luxury mid-sized SUV.
Vehicles selected must come standard in all trims with forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection. In addition, this year’s Top 10 Picks were required to have “highway-speed AEB” and were given two additional points to the overall score for “an active driver assistance system that includes an adequate driver monitoring system.”
“The Ford Mustang Mach-E is the only one of our Top Picks this year that received the added points because its active driver assist system has effective driver monitoring that gives appropriate warnings when the driver looks away from the road for too long,” the publication noted. “Several high-scoring vehicles, including the BMW X5 and Hyundai Tucson, were not eligible this year because they don’t have highway-speed AEB as standard equipment on all trim levels.”
The snub comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently opened an official investigation into reports of Teslas slamming on their brakes without an obvious reason. Over 350 complaints of “phantom braking” events in 2021-2022 Tesla Model 3s and Model Ys have been filed with the agency.
“The phantom braking varies from a minor throttle response to decrease speed to full emergency braking that drastically reduces the speed at a rapid pace, resulting in unsafe driving conditions for occupants of my vehicle as well as those who might be following behind me,” one Tesla owner wrote in a complaint filed Feb. 2.
The investigation covers approximately 416,000 vehicles. The vehicles are equipped with partially automated driver-assist features such as adaptive cruise control and “Autopilot,” which allows them to automatically brake and steer within their lanes.
No injuries or accidents related to the issue have been reported to NHTSA.
The automaker has issued several recalls in recent weeks for a variety of issues which are being addressed through over-the-air software updates, including a similar phantom braking issue that affected nearly 12,000 Teslas across its model range.
Earlier this month, Tesla recalled 54,000 vehicles running its Full Self-Driving system that had been programmed to slowly roll through stop signs if no other vehicles or pedestrians were present. It also recalled nearly 579,000 vehicles with a “Boombox” function can play sounds over an external speaker and obscure audible warnings for pedestrians of an approaching vehicle. In addition, Tesla recalled over 817,000 vehicles for seatbelt reminder chimes that may not activate as programmed.
The Associated Press and Fox Business’ Gary Gastelu contributed to this report.