Consumer Reports Scores the Automakers

Consumer Reports Scores the Automakers
  • Opening Intro -

    Consumer Reports has issued its annual “automakers report card” and says that Honda and Subaru scored highest in its road test and reliability reports with the Ford Motor Company showing the best year over year increase.


Honda and Subaru lead; Ford most improved.

Crosstown rivals General Motors and Chrysler, both of which went bankrupt and have since been restructured, faired poorly with Chrysler finishing dead last in CR’s report.

Report Card

The annual CR report card covers more than 270 vehicles which are graded on performance, comfort, utility and reliability. CR says that road test scores are based on more than 50 tests and evaluations, covering performance, safety, fuel economy, comfort, and convenience. Its reliability scores are derived from the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey, which includes histories of 1.3 million vehicles.

Honda paces all brands, with every Honda model scoring at least average in reliability. Most models are rated as very good to outstanding although neither the CR-V nor the Insight hybrid scored high enough to gain “recommended” buy status from CR.

CR is impressed with Subaru and has awarded the Japanese automaker its highest score, 81, in road testing. The Subaru Forester is a top-rated small SUV, and the Legacy, a good-performing midsize sedan, has steadily improved down through the years. The Impreza WRX, popular with the tuner set, has below-average reliability.

Toyota has remained among the top three automakers for the past three years despite recall problems which have plagued many Toyota and Lexus models since late 2009. Though not mentioned in its survey, CR seems satisfied that Toyota is doing what it should be doing to address its problems while delivering class-leading vehicles.

American Makes

Ford took fifth place, immediately behind Volvo, the Swedish automaker it sold off last year. CR gave Ford a score of 70, up from 66 and recognized the Mustang, Flex and Fusion as impressive and gave high marks for the Fiesta which only made its debut last summer.

General Motors has shown improvement with its Buick LaCrosse and Enclave and with its Chevrolet Traverse and Equinox, all scoring well. CR, however, has criticized the Chevrolet Impala and Chevy Colorado and sees problems with two brands: Cadillac and GMC.

Chrysler remains a problem child, with a score of 50, the worst showing of any manufacturer. Only one vehicle, the Dodge Ram 1500, is recommended by CR, but the magazine sees the company’s recent changes to 16 models as promising.

The Rest

German automotive manufacturers are still lagging its Asian competitors and are now firmly behind Ford including Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. According to Consumer Reports, Mercedes-Benz is the only manufacturer with having the “dubious distinction of year over year drops in both its average road-test (77 to 73) and reliability ratings (from average to below average).” BMW’s 1 Series has an excellent score for road testing, but CR describes this small car as being “hobbled by terrible reliability.”

Source: Consumer Reports

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".