Consumer Reports Best & Worst cars
By Ron Amadon
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Audi and Subaru ranked ahead of the rest in Consumer Reports annual Best and Worst auto edition as seven new vehicles made its Top Picks list.
Audi topped the listing of “Which Brands Make the Best Cars” and Subaru came in next. Lexus, Porsche, BMW, Mazda, Buick, Toyota, Kia and Honda rounded out the top ten. Lexus had topped the list the last two years.
“Consumers don’t always have to spend top dollar to get a great car,” CR said noting the Subaru and Mazda second and sixth place finishes.
On the other end of the list were Nissan, Infiniti, GMC, Cadillac, Dodge, Chrysler, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Jeep and Fiat. Only vehicles that were on the market were considered in CR’s ratings, so the Volkswagen family of diesels were ignored since a stop sale order has been issued on them.
Each brand receives an overall score made up of its road test performance, reliability, safety performance, and owner satisfaction data.
New additions to the Top Picks list by category were my Car of the Year, the Mazda MX-5 Miata as top sports car and the Kia Sorento that beat back the long running champion Toyota Highlander in the Mid-Sized SUV category. Toyota’s Camry was the winner in the Midsize Car ranking and the Sienna was the top van.
In the Luxury SUV category, the Lexus RX was a new addition to the top ratings while the Honda Fit was the top sub compact car and the Ford F-150 was named top pickup to round out the seven new comers.
Other Top Picks were the Chevy Impala as the top Large Car for the second straight year while the best small SUV was the Subaru Forester for the third year in a row. Suby’s Impreza captured the Best Compact Car category for the fifth year in a row. Both the Forester and Impreza were notable for their “reliability, ride comfort and suite of available safety technology.”
Ford, Lincoln, and Chevrolet finished mid-pack in the overall ratings “and were largely bogged down by their inconsistent reliability scores,” CR said.
Ford’s F-150 was cited for its fuel economy, quiet and spacious interior and much improved Sync 3 infotainment system.
Toyota Camry cited for a “no-fuss driving experience.”
Honda Fit for its fuel economy and “remarkable interior space.”
Kia Sorento – “A great SUV hiding in plain sight.” (I agree.)
Toyota Sienna – A “super-reliable transport with all the modern features…” Yes, the presenter told us, it’s a van but one day you might wake up and find you have kids and conclude “I NEED a van.”
CR did not name a “Best Overall” vehicle this year.
Attention performance car fans! The Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Challenger and Charger received the lowest rating possible for reliability.
In the introduction to the annual auto edition, CR’s President Marta L. Tellado made the case for auto makers to include as standard equipment on all their vehicles forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. The technology, she said, has already reduced injury and death rates in high end cars.
Next year, automakers who do make those items standard will receive bonus points in their overall test scores.
Taking safety equipment further, the magazine backed Alcohol Detection Systems that would prevent drunk drivers from taking the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working on finalizing that technology that CR said would reduce drunk driver caused accidents that “kill almost 10,000 people per year.” (Talk about something that should be standard in every vehicle on the road.)
If you are in the market for a new vehicle, and forecasters say lots of consumers are, you would do well to check out the 2016 Annual Auto Issue from Consumer Reports.