Consumer Reports, long respected by consumers for its unbiased analysis of everything from vacuum cleaners to children’s toys to cars, has published its list of the most reliable (and unreliable) vehicles.

Overall, the results are stunning — five of the top eight most reliable family cars were hybrids, and topping that short list is the Honda Insight. Though in its first year on the market, the Insight led the pack of reliable hybrids, finishing well ahead of the popular Toyota Prius, the best-selling hybrid in the U.S. Aside from the Insight, the other four hybrids that made the grade were the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, and Toyota Camry Hybrid. Great news, considering that there were no hybrids on the list last year.

But Consumer Reports adds a caveat. Just because a vehicle ranks high on their new car reliability list does not mean they necessarily recommend it. Their report, which measures their subscribers’ experiences with 1.4 million vehicles, as well as their own testing, finds that the Insight, though extremely reliable, is “sluggish,” so they do not recommend it. Lest you think Consumer Reports is just biased against hybrids, note that also in this reliable-but-sluggish class are the non-hybrid Toyota Yaris and the Volvo S40.

Will the third-gen Prius top the list next year, or will the Insight win again? Can the Ford Fusion hybrid gather some steam and beat them both?

We’ll see in 2010.

Source: Consumer Reports