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Honda, Subaru Remain Top Automakers in Consumer Reports Ranking

March 1, 2011

Automotive News gives us the low-down on what vehicles consumers really want, based on this study conducted by Consumer Reports.


Honda, Subaru Remain Top Automakers in Consumer Reports Ranking

Automotive News — February 28, 2011 – 2:00 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) — Honda and Subaru topped Consumer Reports’ annual rankings of automakers for 2011, while better reliability and enhanced resale values helped Ford improve the most since last year.

Honda Motor Co. posted the best overall score of 74 out of 100 points in the Consumer Reports’ ranking. Honda was followed by Subaru with 73 points and Toyota Motor Corp. with 71 points. Volvo placed fourth with 68 points, followed by Ford with 67 and Hyundai.

Chrysler Group LLC had the worst ranking among the car makers with 43 points. Mercedes-Benz, BMW and General Motors also placed near the bottom of the rankings.

The Ford Mustang was the No. 1 pick among sports cars, placing a U.S. manufacturer at the top of that list for the first time in six years. Top picks in other categories include Honda Motor Co.‘s Fit for the new category of budget cars, Hyundai Motor Co.’s Elantra for small cars and Nissan Motor Co.‘s Altima for family sedans for the second year.

“The (best picks) come from many different manufacturers,” Consumer Reports’ Director of Automotive Testing David Champion said in an interview. “At one time, it used to be dominated by Honda and Toyota.”

According to the magazine, no Honda product scores less than average in reliability. Currently, Consumer Reports recommends 76 percent of the Honda vehicles it has tested. But some new Honda models have been unimpressive, the magazine said, including the new CR-Z coupe and Insight hybrids. The two hybrids didn’t score well enough in tests to be recommended.

The redesigned Odyssey, the magazine’s top-ranked minivan, also dropped a few points in its test score, compared with the previous year.

Subaru has the highest average road-test score — 81 — as measured by the magazine. And while the Japanese automaker only markets a half-a-dozen models, they all do well in Consumer Reports’ road tests and nearly all are reliable. The Forester is a top-rated small SUV, and the Legacy sedan has been improved with each generation. Only one model, the sporty Impreza WRX, has below-average reliability, the magazine said.

Toyota, which last week recalled 2.17 million vehicles for floor mats that may jam accelerator pedals, claimed three of the 10 top picks, the most of any automaker. Toyota’s RAV4 is the top small sport-utility vehicle, its Prius is the top environmentally friendly car for the eighth consecutive year, and its Sienna is the top family hauler.

Toyota’s Prius scored the best for fuel economy at an average 44 miles per gallon. Five vehicles — the Cadillac Escalade, the Ford Expedition EL Eddie Bauer, the Lincoln Navigator Ultimate, the Nissan Armada SV and the Nissan Titan SV — tied for the worst with 13 mpg.

The magazine said GM’s average test score for all tested models improved to 67 from 65 last year. But the automaker still markets a few lackluster models, the magazine said, including the Chevrolet Impala sedan and Colorado pickup.

Chrysler finished last in the rankings with an average test score of 50.

An automaker’s overall score is based on a composite of road-test and predicted-reliability scores for all tested vehicles. The magazine’s road test score is based on more than 50 tests and evaluations, covering performance, safety, fuel economy, comfort, and convenience. Reliability scores come from Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Survey, which included histories of 1.3 million vehicles.

The rankings by Consumer Reports influence car buyers and are published in the magazine’s annual auto issue. Consumer Reports, published by Consumers Union, uses vehicle owner reliability surveys from 1.3 million people, government and insurance-industry crash tests and its own evaluations of how vehicles function for its ratings.

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