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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 18, 2013 at 7:12 am

I don't trust consumer reports, all there test are filled with inaccurate tests that are manipulated to favor foreign cars.

March 18, 2013 at 4:24 am

I love this country and I would love to purchase Made in the USA. If only the reputation and history of those vehicles were made to the current standards. I own three foreign cars. I will buy what i consider gives you best for your money. I have been serving for 19yrs.

March 18, 2013 at 12:40 am

Drive a Mazda sometime they are very reliable cars & very rarely in the shop for any kind of problem they have a great engine & many safety features & upgrades

March 18, 2013 at 12:14 am

My last several cars have been CR best picks. 2 Lexus and 1 Subaru. They have been the best vehicles I ever owned. I always drove Buicks before and owned Chevys, Chryslers and Fords before that. The Buicks were good early on but when comparing price quality and reliability the Lexus was the better car hands down. I put 200,000 miles on my Subaru and did normal maintenance, it is still going strong. My son has it now. The Fords and Chevys we owned were sold after 2 years and replaced with Buicks because of service issues. They constantly needed repaired and they were bought new. Our Chrysler minivan served its purpose but everyone I knew including my son who has owned two Dodge trucks has put huge amounts of money into repairs on a regular basis. Not a Chrysler fan at all.

the man
March 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm

does anyone care what they think they are a joke. i think they just hate america some foreign magazine is much better than c reports

March 17, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I would no more trust a Consumer Reports review of cars than I would a Car and Driver magazine review of health insurance plans...

Adam Mast
March 17, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I bought a 2013 Cadillac XTS Premium edition. 11 recalls so far.
I don't like that this car was obviously rushed to market before the glitches were worked out, making guinea pigs of the consumers. Definately my last Cadillac ever!!!

robert hughes
March 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Late model corvettes get uglier and uglier, Ill drive my 911 Porsche.

March 17, 2013 at 7:19 pm

We just paid $500 for rear seatbelt sensors on a Mercedes. I think there is something wrong with that picture!

lobo joe
March 17, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Did you ever notice how one of the biggest equipment failures on vehicles are sensors. Further, did anyone observe how these sensors always seem to cost more than logic dictates?