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Consumer Reports names the best and worst cars by brand

Consumer Reports News: March 07, 2012 09:08 AM

Our Annual Autos Issue presents a dizzying array of facts and figures, all aimed at helping car shoppers choose the right model for their needs and budget. While we rate the automakers and present numerous best and worst lists, we haven’t offered a simple guide to the best and worst models by brand. Until now.

As you become immersed in the data, it is clear that assumptions based on brand reputation can be misleading. The reality is, every brand offers models that perform across a spectrum, with some clearly better than others. While we have highlighted those differences previously with reliability, here is a chance to look at the models based on strictly test score.

The test performance variation differs from brand to brand, with a brand’s worst model being still doing rather well, actually. Take Subaru, for example. Its worst model, the Tribeca, scores a 70 (out of 100) and meets our performance standards, safety, and reliability criteria to be Recommended. Meanwhile, the best Jeep is the Grand Cherokee Laredo V6. It earns 71 points in our tests, just one more than the worst Subaru. However, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited marks the low point in our current ratings, despite gaining three points in a recent test-it scored a 20.

The points gap can be even broader. Toyota, for instance, spans from the Toyota Camry Hybrid (93) to the FJ Cruiser (36). Let me repeat: Don’t make assumptions.

The list below includes all brands for which Consumer Reports has tested at least three different models recently, thereby excluding Fiat, Porsche, and Smart.

Best Worst
Acura MDX RL*
Audi A6 3.0 Premium Plus Quattro Q7 Premium Plus (V6)*
BMW 135i 325xi (wagon)*
Buick Regal CXL (turbo) LaCrosse Touring (V6)
Cadillac CTS Premium (3.6) Escalade (base)
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Colorado (5-cyl.)*
Chrysler 300 C 200 Limited (V6)
Dodge Grand Caravan R/T Avenger SXT (4-cyl.)
Ford Flex Limited (EcoBoost) Fiesta SE (sedan)
GMC Acadia SLT2 Canyon (5-cyl.)*
Honda Accord EX-L (V6) Insight EX
Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Accent GLS (sedan)
Infiniti G37 Journey (sedan) QX 56
Jaguar XJL XF (base)*
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (V6) Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
Kia Optima SX (2.0T) Soul Plus*
Land Rover LR4 LR2 SE
Lexus LS 460L GX 460
Lincoln MKZ MKX (3.7)
Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring Mazda2 Touring
Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec GLK350
Mini Cooper (base, hatchback) Cooper Clubman
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR Galant ES (4-cyl.)
Nissan Altima 3.5 SR (V6) Versa SV (sedan)
Scion xB xD
Subaru Impreza WRX STi Tribeca Limited
Suzuki Kizashi SE Grand Vitara Premium (4-cyl.)
Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE FJ Cruiser
Volkswagen Golf TDI (manual) Jetta SE (2.5)
Volvo S60 T5 C70 T5

Even if you have models in mind when you’re shopping, it is wise to consider those based on their Ratings, rather than intangible impressions. You just might be steered to a better car than you would have otherwise considered, and as we often find, the smart choices often are not necessarily the most expensive.

For detailed ratings and road test on any model featured here, just click on the name to visit the appropriate model page.

Jeff Bartlett

   

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