A revised methodology in devising its annual Car Brand Report Cards has seen Consumer Reports award Lexus its top overall ranking for 2013. For the first time ever, the institute broke out individual brands from their larger corporate umbrellas, meaning car makers like Lexus and Scion were judged independently from parent company Toyota. That strategy worked out well for Lexus, as the luxury brand earned a top report card score of 79 for the 2013 model year.
The institute has recommended every one of the Lexus models it has tested to date, and said that the company’s products won out thanks to “a foundation of plush and very reliable vehicles.”
Meanwhile, Mazda and Subaru tied for the second-highest scoring report cars, with scores of 76. Subaru earned praised for sporting models like the BRZ, which CR testers apparently had a lot of fun driving (naturally), while the Mazda products were lauded for their blend of practicality, sportiness and efficiency. Both of the Japanese brands offered good handling, fuel economy and versatility, said Consumer Reports.
The institute has recommended every one of the Lexus models it has tested to date.
Acura and Toyota rounded out the top five with twin scores of 74 points. A full eight out of the top ten best brands were Japanese companies, with Audi (eighth place) and Mercedes-Benz (tenth place) the only European companies with high-ranking scores. CR noted that those Euro brands were inconsistent this year, with Volkswagen losing ground and Mini doing the worst overall of the European brands, at 20 out of 26 overall.
Domestic automakers didn’t do particularly well, either. Cadillac was at the tops of the General Motors portfolio, but was still held back by just average reliability and no love at CR for “complicated CUE controls,” a complaint we’ve heard before. Ford and Lincoln were also dinged for their infotainment systems and reliability, as well as for EcoBoost engines that didn’t deliver on promised fuel economy ratings. Chrysler brands were the worst off, however, with just the Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 and Chrysler 300 V6 being recommended by the publication. Scroll down for the full list of Brand Report Card scores, as well as the Consumer Reports press release, or head over to CR’s website to read the full feature and find out the granular info behind each of the brands.