The scores are calculated based on how the manufacturers’ vehicles perform in road tests and rate in reliability. The reliability results are based on the magazine’s survey of subscribers’ problems with their vehicles.
Consumer Reports testers found the Lexus vehicles to be quiet, comfortable and fuel efficient; Acura vehicles to be reliable, well-finished and somewhat sporty; and Audis to have excellent interiors, , good handling and good gas mileage. Audi’s improved reliability moved it up in the rankings from eighth place.
Behind the three top brands were Subaru, Toyota, Mazda, Honda and Infiniti, giving Japanese brands seven of the top eight spots. The other Japanese brand, Nissan,came in 18th among the 23 brands receiving report cards.
Buick, GMC and Chrysler, the highest-ranking domestic brands, came in mid-pack. The South Korean vehicles, Hyundai and Kia, ranked in the lower third, between the top Americans and the lowest-scoring brands. Both brands were found to be well rounded, reliable and comfortable, but lost points because of reliability issues.
At the bottom were Jeep and Ford, which each scored 60 points. The magazine found that Jeep had a mixture of spotty reliability and middling road-test results. Ford scored well in road testing, but was hurt by reliability issues, particularly with the My Ford Touch system.
There were no report cards for Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mini, Mitsubishi, Porsche Ram, Scion, Smart and Tesla. A valid determination could not be made, the magazine said, because too few models had been tested or because there was insufficient reliability data to determine a valid score.
The complete results for all 23 brands are available in the annual Consmer Reports auto issue and at the 2014 Autos Spotlight on www.ConsumerReports.org.