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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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Lucy Weisneck
March 24, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I drive a 16 year old Toyota Avalon. It never has a problem
and I only take it in for routine maintenance.
I love this car as it is so comfortable to ride in.

March 24, 2013 at 9:09 am

I am buying a 2004 Lexus sc430 and the dealership is charging 695.00 for documentation fee and wants 399.00 for a theft protection package. Are these 2 things high and is theft protection necessary?

Joanne Huntsman
March 23, 2013 at 10:44 pm

My present car, as well as my last two cars, are almost all I have owned for over 34 years. I bought my first one used, not knowing if Subaru models, as well as high expectations from a family that owned and operated an Exxon Station for over 45 years, but it was reasonably priced and , per my mechanic, in very good condition being ten years old. Ten years later and 214,000 miles logged, I bought a new one. Had that one for over 13 years and now, another used that I bought last year because I liked it better, a turbo Outback Loaded, even has Windshield Wiper Defroster. Once I fell in love with the way it drove, gas mileage and almost no repairs except brakes and early on one timing belt. They start up every time, will take you anywhere you want to go,in Michigan 5 years ago with 3-1/5 feet of snow and compared to other cars my friends and family have, it never breaks down, or even starts making noise on those really hot or cold days. Other than buying my own home and putting two children through college, these have been the best purchases I have ever made!!!

March 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm

We have a 2009 Saturn Alura which we just rolled over 100K miles. The only cost were brake pads, and factory required scheduled service. 2.4 liter 6 speed automatic averaging 28 mpg.

Nice car, but Blue Book value way down.

jo mamma
March 19, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Does anyone know if buying a mazdza is better than leasing? What do you think?

March 18, 2013 at 12:08 pm

My previous car was a BMW 3-series and I had constant issues with it; I was spending $500-700 every 6 months on SOMETHING. Then I bought a new 2007 Mitsubishi Galant and have not had a single problem with it -- NOTHING! well, except I did replace the OEM battery after about 5 years :)

March 18, 2013 at 11:49 am


March 18, 2013 at 11:43 am

a friend has a jeep liberty with 346k miles on it...just one 500 dollar fix for some kind of timeing normal stuff..brakes,,1 set of struts

March 18, 2013 at 11:20 am

What good is this report when most of the cars are not included?

March 18, 2013 at 8:56 am

2013 mustang gt premium ragtop triple black balls to the wall