German luxury makes lead Consumer Reports auto brand ratings

General Motors

Three German luxury makes  top the annual Consumer Reports rankings of automotive brands released Tuesday. But Chevrolet, in the best showing by a domestic brand, racked up best vehicle ratings in two of the 10 categories.

Audi led the brand rankings for the second year in a row followed by Porsche and BMW. Lexus, the Japanese luxury brand, was fourth and Subaru at fifth was the top mainstream brand. However, Kia at sixth and Mazda at seventh were just behind Subaru,

Buick at 10th was the highest-ranked Detroit brand, although U.S.-based Tesla came in eighth. The rest of the Detroit names came in the mid-to-bottom of the 31 brands ranked. Chevrolet was 17th, Cadillac 18th and Chrysler 19th. Fiat Chrysler brands Jeep and Fiat finished 30th and 31st.

Here are more details on the Consumer Reports rankings: 

  • Chevrolet’s big coup was having Cruze rated as the best compact car for the first time. Cruze topped Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla -- best sellers and typically critics’ favorites in this segment. “The Cruze is impressive,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing. “With such a smooth ride and quiet interior, it feels like a much large car. And reliability has been solid right out of the gate.”
  • The Chevrolet Impala held on to its spot as best large sedan, giving Chevrolet more entries on the list of 10 top vehicles than all others except Toyota, which had three. Honda’s one vehicle on the list was its Ridgeline compact pickup truck, resurrected after a few years out of the lineup. CR note that Ridgeline drives more like a sedan than most pickups.
  • In addition to Honda, other brands with one vehicle on the list included Kia, Mazda, Subaru and Audi. You can see the full list of top-ranked vehicles in the April issue of Consumer Reports or, if you are a subscriber, at this site,

To get a top ranking in an individual category, a vehicle first has to have top road test performance at CR’s testing facility in Connecticut. That number then is combined with predicted reliability (based on a large sample of CR readers), owner satisfaction and safety to get an overall score.

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