I am a happy-go-lucky kind of person. My parents told me I was a happy child, content to play by myself, crying very little – a good girl. That could have stemmed from the fact I was very nearsighted and big, blurry things scared me so I kept to myself. But, I’m going with the good girl thing and I’m digressing.

My mind fodder is about autos so back to the subject at hand. I would rather focus on the positive than the negative, but we humans love our best of and worst of lists. There has to be a first and a dead last.

The Consumer Reports (CR) lists of the worst autos are based on:

Road test programs – CR runs cars and trucks through over 50 tests on a 327-acre facility in Connecticut. They include testing on acceleration, braking, emergency handling and fuel economy. Hearing road noise, uncomfortable seats and/or sub-par safety systems are a big no-no.

Safety evaluations – Crash test data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). CR gives extra kudos to cars and trucks that have advanced safety systems that have been shown to reduce crashes and are standard on vehicles.

Reliability and satisfaction – This data comes from CR members who answered surveys regarding driving experience, comfort, value and detailed info about “17 key trouble areas.”

Criticism helps us do better and grow (or some such nonsense), and I’m a get-the-worst-over-with-first kind of gal so first up, is the worst.

The worst 2019 vehicles and starting price

1. Compact SUV – Jeep Compass - $21,845

2. Mid-sized SUV – Dodge Journey, $22,995

3. Two-Row Midsize SUV – Jeep Wrangler, $28,045

4. Luxury SUV – Land Rover Discovery, $52,950

5. Minivan – Honda Odyssey, $30,190

6. Midsize Car & Hybrid – Honda Clarity, $33.400

7. Compact Car – Fiat 500L, $21,910

8. Compact Luxury Sedan – Jaguar XE, $36,995

9. Compact Truck – Toyota Tacoma, $25,850

10. Nissan Titan XD, $32,990 – worst overall

Car and Driver rated their best of list from data compiled from the IIHS and the NHTSA, using a “simple star rating system that goes from one to five stars.” The two entities also rate autos as Good, Acceptable, Marginal or Poor and Basic, Advance, or Superior. This list includes cars that have earned both a 5-star overall rating from NHTSA and IIHS Top Safety Picks. This list includes 5 of the top cars and 5 of the top crossovers and SUVs.

The best 2019 vehicles and starting price

1. Genesis G80 - $47,295

2. Honda Insight Hybrid - $25,080 (EX)

3. Hyundai Sonata - $28,620

4. Lincoln Continental - $64,700

5. Mercedes-Benz E-class - $57,545

6. Acura RDX - $38,395

7. Hyundai Santa Fe - $33,645

8. Mercedes-Benz GLC-class - $45,145

9. Subaru Ascent - $39,970

10. Subaru Crosstrek - $28,170

My picks from both lists

I dug a little deeper to determine why a Jaguar would be on CR’s “worst” list. How could that be? I look longingly at the Jags I see whizzing or purring by (and there are plenty of them where I am). Despite these ratings, I’d still take the 2019 Jaguar XE.

According to an article from CR, the reasons for the Jag being on their worst of list are:

• The interior feels cheaper than it should (flimsy materials, cheap touches that don’t measure up).

• The 247-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo-charged (whew) engine responds quickly, but that doesn’t translate into enough firepower. It takes 7.7 seconds in the 0 to 60 mph acceleration sprint, which trails its competition by a second. Picky, picky!

• Gas mileage was 25 mpg – a “middling” number for a compact sedan and the 8-speed transmission is rough.

• Rear seat room is small.

• Controls aren’t easy to use and the infotainment system isn’t great—you can’t interact with the phone through the steering wheel controls.

According to Car and Driver, the 2020 Jaguar XE is a “much cooler cat,” because of its updated, more luxurious interior (leather seating standard) with those infotainment features getting bumped up. Though the back seat is still tight, the newly optional “Dynamic Handling” package makes the ride much better.

From the best of list, my choice(s) would be the Mercedes-Benz GLC-class because of its stellar technologies and advanced safety features, and it’s a Mercedes – a beautiful car. I’d also go with the Subaru Crosstrek because of its reputation, safety features and it’s budget friendly. Plus, their commercials tug at my all-my-kids-have-paws heart.

What would be your pick for the worst of and best of list?

Be safe out there.

Reach Brigitte Surette at bsurette@postandcourier.com.

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