Lexus topped all automotive brands in Consumer Reports magazine's 2013 brand report card. Japanese automakers again dominated the rankings, taking eight of the top 10 spots.
Lexus vehicles are rarely sporty, but they earned the top score of 79 points out of 100 because of plush and reliable vehicles, the magazine said Tuesday. Subaru and Mazda were tied for second place with a score of 76. Toyota and Acura, Honda's luxury brand, rounded out the top five tied at 74. Honda and Scion were next at 72, followed by Audi and Nissan's upscale Infiniti brand, both at 70. Mercedes-Benz finished 10th with a score of 69.
The ratings of 26 automotive brands, closely watched by consumers, are based on the magazine's average road tests and predicted reliability scores from surveys of subscribers.
Detroit automakers didn't fare very well in the magazine's rankings. Cadillac was the best U.S.-based brand, tying for 14th place with Hyundai, scoring a 63.
Consumer Reports changed its rankings this year, splitting off individual brands from the companies that make them and scoring them individually. For example, in past years, all three Toyota brands - Lexus, Toyota and Scion - were scored collectively as Toyota.
The magazine said Lexus cars are among the most reliable even though they are "brimming with technology," including hybrid gas-electric power systems and complex information and entertainment systems.
Besides Cadillac, General Motors Co. had two other brands in the top 20: GMC and Chevrolet tied with Volvo for 17th with a score of 58. Buick, with a score of 54, was 21st.
Ford and Lincoln continued to be plagued by problems with the complexity of their touch-screen controls, the magazine said. But it's worth noting that Consumer Reports has been especially hard on Ford's new MyFord Touch system, and unrelenting in its criticism even after Ford has made adjustments that other reviewers find satisfactory.
Ford also has been hampered by "unrefined" automatic transmissions, according to the magazine. Ford finished 23rd with a score of 51, while Lincoln was 24th with 50.
No Chrysler brand fared well. Jeep and Dodge were the bottom two finishers with scores of 47 and 46. Part of that poor performance, though, is due to the fact that Jeep is still nursing along some vehicles that were developed under previous owners--Jeep Liberty, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. The Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherokee, however, score extremely well with most reviewers, including AOL Autos, and are in huge demand from new-vehicle buyers.
Consumer Reports also released its top pick for 2013 models on Tuesday. The redesigned Honda Accord won in the popular midsize car segment, while Hyundai's Elantra won in the budget car category. The Subaru Impreza was the top pick for compact cars, while the Audi A6 was tops in the luxury segment. Honda's CR-V won the top spot for small crossover SUVs, while BMW's 328i was the top sports sedan, and the Toyota Prius was the top green car pick.
Complete reports for all the brands are in the magazine's April issue.
With Associated Press
Lexus Tops Consumer Reports' Automotive Brand Report Card