Ford Most Improved Automaker, But Honda, Subaru, Toyota Still Make Best Vehicles

Consumer Reports has released its annual Automakers Report Card, which ranks automakers based on road tests and predicted reliability. For 2011, Honda, Subaru and Toyota took the top three spots, while Ford was the most improved automaker. This is the third year in a row that Honda, Subaru and Toyota scored highest by the magazine.

Honda, including Acura, has the best reliability record of any manufacturer, according to Consumer Reports. No Honda product scores less than average in reliability. The magazine currently recommends 76 percent of the Honda vehicles it has tested.

Subaru has the highest average road-test score of 81. Consumer Reports says the only Subaru model that has below-average reliability is the Impreza WRX. All five of Subaru’s other vehicles scored high in road tests and reliability.

Toyota, including Lexus and Scion, also did well in Consumer Reports’ automaker ranking. Despite the automaker’s numerous recalls, its reliability scored better than average by the magazine at a 74. Consumer Reports currently recommends 74 percent of the Toyota vehicles it has tested.

2011 Honda Accord Coupe

Honda still makes some of the best cars around, according to Consumer Reports’ annual automaker ranking.

Ford increased its average test score from 66 to 70 this year. Consumer Reports says the Fusion, Flex, Mustang and Fiesta are impressive and scored well in its tests. The magazine currently recommends 71 percent of the Ford vehicles it has tested.

General Motors also improved its score for 2011, increasing from 65 to 67. GM’s Buick Enclave, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Traverse scored well, while the Chevrolet Impala sedan and Chevrolet Colorado truck didn’t score as high. Cadillac and GMC had below-average reliability scores. Consumer Reports recommends 46 percent of the GM models it has tested. 

On the other end of the spectrum, last place belongs to Chrysler in 2011. The automaker’s average score was 50. Chrysler’s reliability scored below average, and the magazine currently recommends only one Chrysler model, the Dodge Ram 1500 truck.

A few luxury automakers didn’t fare well either. Mercedes-Benz is the only manufacturer whose scores dropped in both road tests and reliability. BMW is also near the bottom of Consumer Reports’ automaker ranking. Both automakers have below-average reliability. BMW and Mercedes-Benz SUVs had reliability problems, although they performed well in tests. BMW’s 1 Series has an excellent road-test score, but the magazine said it had terrible reliability.

Consumer Reports magazine based its annual Automakers Report Card on the performance, comfort, utility and reliability of more than 270 vehicles it recently tested. Overall scores are a combination of road-test scores and predicted-reliability scores. Reliability scores come from Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey, which includes histories of 1.3 million vehicles.