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Lexus, Subaru, Mazda get top car scores

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Lexus, Subaru and Mazda had the highest scores for their cars on the 2013 Annual Car Brand Report Card from Consumer Reports, which was released last week.

This year, the nonprofit, independent product-testing organization took a different approach to its annual report card ratings, assessing each car brand individually versus combining brands into one score for the parent auto manufacturer. For example, each of General Motors' brands were assessed individually this year as were the other automakers that own multiple brands, including Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Lexus performed the best, with a report card score of 79 out of 100, followed by Mazda and Subaru, which tied with a score of 76. Japanese brands overall scored the highest, with eight of the top 10 brands. European automakers were generally in the middle of the pack, though Audi and Mercedes-Benz were both in the top 10, and Mini was ranked dead last among all European brands.

Consumer Reports said that domestic brands struggled in the scores. Even though Ford and General Motors have many promising new models, these automakers have been plagued by low scores because of technology issues or new engines that don’t perform as well as competitors. Chrysler continues to struggle because of reliability issues and many older models that are not as strong as its competitors.

The nonprofit calculated its report card scores based on its road-test and reliability scores for each individual model, assessing both areas equally. Consumer Reports methodology requires data for at least three models for a brand. As a result, its 2013 Car Brand Report Card does not include Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Ram or smart.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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March 17, 2013 at 6:51 pm


Really? Consumer Reports does NOT accept advertising. Their staff goes out and buys the cars right off dealerships, just as everyone does. US News & Reports is a for profit company, CR is not.

Honda Fan
March 17, 2013 at 6:43 pm

When a car company makes a recall, they are usually taking care of a "potential" problem that their people have discovered from customer problems. They take care of the problem FREE. I consider that responsible action. Unlike other manufacturers who ignore the problem. I had a 2000 Toyota Tacoma. In 2005 they announced that they were inspecting 1995-2000 Tacomas for corrosion in the frame. If you had a Tacoma with corrosion in any of 8 designated spots(my truck had one) they then paid you 150% of the Kelly Blue Book price and rated it in excellent condition regardless of the actual condition. I gladly accepted their offer and said Thank You very much. I now own an AMERICAN manufactured Honda Ridgeline.

March 17, 2013 at 6:12 pm


lorraine titilah
March 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm

we desperatly need made in the USA. i want to buy made here! the more foreign we buy the less jobs there are! that goes across the board! want to keep working for minimum wage,want to keep having no labor laws, then keep buying those tinny foreign cars! yes GOD BLESS AMERICA! also we live here thats why omg. u don't like it here? go home! i subcribe to c.r. and i think they have a love affair with Lexus,toyota and all foreign vehicles. i have never seen a great report yet on an american made car!

March 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Yes I am a vet as well as an American. I will only buy car & trucks that are made in America as that gives jobs to my fellow averican. Every one that I have bought has been great with no big problems and I had them for over 10 years or more than 100,000 miles. I will continue to do that as long as I can. Just last summer bought a GMC and it is great.

March 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I have lived by the CR for 20 years and they have been spot on. It is not their opinion, but rather owners giving the data good or bad.

Bruce Madeley
March 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Every auto manufacturer is in such a hurry to keep up with current trends that they forget about ease of using controls. If I'm on an expressway going 70 mph and want to turn the volume of my sound system down, I want a knob to turn and not a screen to have to look at and find the right spot to rub my finger across. Those seconds of inattention to the road could cause an accident.The U.S. is also slow in using softer plastics instead of rock hard plastics on dashboard surfaces.

March 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm

OMG, Why are people so stupid, why wouldn't you buy a foreign car?, there are some really good foreign cars and you would be helping world economy, not just america economy. And why do comments get political or racist if, in the first place, the topic is about cars. The only thing that is missing is a ''VETERAN'' saying that he served the country so many years and that he would never buy a foreign car. GOD BLESS AMERICA

March 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm

I agree, CR has always been bias it seems. Don't put a lot of value in their reporting.

Dr. G
March 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I bought one of there top rated cars and it was the worst car I ever owned.