By Ron Amadon
A surprise at the top, a big gain for one of the Detroit three, and Toyota has something to crow about.
All this and more came to light when the consumer magazine unveiled its latest top picks at the National Press Club in D.C. before the Washington Automotive Press Association.
Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury brand, was the surprise first place finisher in the Car Brand Rankings pushing last year’s top finisher, Audi, into second place.
CR noted that with just two models tested Genesis had an easier time to get things right than Audi with its wider range of models. Genesis scored high in CR’s testing and owner satisfaction scores, to overcome “average reliability.”
Following Genesis and Audi in the top ten were BMW, Lexus, Porsche, Kia, Subaru, Tesla, Honda and Toyota.
One of the big gainers from last year’s report was Chrysler, which moved into the 11th spot on the strength of its popular Pacifica van. Its rivals finished thusly: Ford came in 20th of 34, and Chevrolet was 23rd.
The brands that dropped the most were Buick and Acura both due to declining reliability of some of their models. Yet both finished in the middle of the pack.
At the bottom of the 34 brands mentioned were Mitsubishi, Alfa Romeo, Land Rover, Jeep and Fiat in number 34 position.
“CR does not recommend any of the Fiat models it has tested. Ten other brands, including Jeep, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Mitsubishi, Jaguar, GMC, Dodge, Mini, Cadillac, and Volvo also do not have any tested vehicles that CR recommends.”
When it comes to individual models four Toyotas were cited, the most of any manufacturer – the Camry, Corolla, Highlander, and Sienna minivan.
The Corolla and Camry were first time picks along with the Chevrolet Bolt, Kia Optima, Ford F-150, BMW X3, and Audi A4.
Chevrolet’s all-electric Bolt won the magazine’s first award in the Compact Green Car Category, CR saying it “delivers very good range, brisk acceleration and tight handling at a mainstream price of $38,424 as tested.”
Three of the top ten picks were repeat winners from last year: Chevrolet Impala, Subaru Forester, and Toyota Highlander.
To be considered a Top Pick, a vehicle has to perform well in CR testing, and in the areas of predicted reliability, owner satisfaction and safety. Reliability and satisfaction data come from more than a half million responses received from CR’s subscribers.
The breakdown by category:
Best Compact Car: Toyota Corolla
Midsized Car: Toyota Camry
Large Car: Chevrolet Impala
Compact SUV: Subaru Forester
Midsized SUV: Toyota Highlander
Luxury Compact SUV: BMW X 3
Minivan: Toyota Sienna
Compact Green Car: Chevrolet Bolt
Luxury Compact Car: Audi A4
Full Size Pickup: Ford F-150
Agree? Disagree? Let the debate begin!