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Which Car Brands Make the Best Vehicles?

Which Car Brands Make the Best Vehicles?

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Most brands manage to make at least one great car, but not many have what it takes to deliver consistent quality across several models. Our annual brand rankings recognize the ones that do.

This year Genesis, the new luxury brand from Hyundai, edged Audi out of the top spot. These two automakers stand apart from the rest in that every one of their tested models is recommended by CR.

This is an especially impressive feat for Audi, which makes 10 models for the U.S. market spanning categories from small cars to three-row SUVs. Of those, Consumer Reports has tested eight vehicles.

Genesis, with just two models tested, had less to get right to earn its place at the top of the list. That doesn’t take away from the fact that Genesis excels in our testing and owner satisfaction scores and has average reliability, but it does put its position in perspective.

Luxury rivals BMW, Lexus, and Porsche continue to park near the top of the rankings. Lexus stands out for earning its place more from its reliability rating and standard advanced safety features than its road-test scores, which often have trailed the competition.

Chrysler is the only brand that took a giant step up in the rankings this year, with an Overall Score four points higher than last year, thanks largely to high road-test scores and the average reliability of its Pacifica minivan.

The brands that dropped the most in Overall Score were Buick (eight points) and Acura (six points), both due to declining reliability.

Brand Standings

Our brand rankings by Overall Score are based on CR’s exhaustive vehicle testing, as well as owner feedback on more than 640,000 cars to determine the predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings.

Brands are ranked based on the average Overall Score for all of their current tested models. The Overall Score is a composite of the road-test score and the predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings from our Annual Auto Survey.

Safety features, such as standard forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, are also factored into the score.

A brand must have at least two current models that have been tested by CR to be included in our rankings. Maserati and Smart lacked sufficient data to be included.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the April 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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