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Consumer Reports names the best and worst cars by brand

Consumer Reports News

While car brand reputation can be a strong influence on purchase decisions, such perceptions can be misleading. The reality is, every brand offers models that perform across a spectrum, with some are clearly better than others.

As we see in our annual Car Brand Perception survey, how consumers view brands can often be a trailing indicator and not reflect the current reality. To further illustrate this point, we have compiled a list chronicling the best and worst models by brand based on our overall test scores.

The test performance variation differs from brand to brand, with some brands' worst model being still doing rather well, while others span a wide range making any generalities quite misleading. Take Acura, for example. Even its worst model, the ILX, scores a 77 (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, six points less than the worst Acura. However, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited marks the low point in our current ratings, scoring only a 20.
The gap between best and worst can be even broader. Chevrolet, for instance, spans from the Corvette Z06 (92) to the Spark (34).

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

Best Worst
Acura MDX ILX (2.0L)
Audi A6 3.0 Premium Plus Quattro A5 Premium Plus (2.0T)*
BMW 135i X5 35i Premium
Buick Regal CXL (turbo) Verano Leather (2.4)
Cadillac CTS Premium (3.6) Escalade (base)
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Spark 1LT
Chrysler 300 Limited (V6) 200 Limited (V6)
Dodge Charger SXT Plus (V6) Avenger SXT (4-cyl.)
Ford Fusion SE Hybrid Fiesta SE (sedan)
GMC Acadia SLT2 Yukon Hybrid
Honda Accord EX-L(V6)/LX (4-cyl.) Insight EX
Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Accent GLS (sedan)
Infiniti G37 Journey (sedan) QX 56
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (V6) Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
Kia Optima SX (2.0T) Rio EX
Lexus LS 460L GX 460
Lincoln Navigator Ultimate MKS (base, 3.7)
Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 2 Touring
Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec ML350
Mini Cooper (base, hatchback) Cooper Clubman
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR Galant ES (4-cyl.)
Nissan 370Z Coupe Touring Versa SV (sedan)
Porsche Boxster 2.7 Cayenne (base V6)
Scion FR-S iQ
Subaru Impreza WRX STi Tribeca Limited
Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE FJ Cruiser
Volkswagen Golf TDI (manual) Beetle 2.5L/Jetta SE (2.5)
Volvo S60 T5 XC90 3.2

Even if you have models in mind when you're shopping, it is wise to look at their Ratings. 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.

More from Consumer Reports:
2013 New Car Preview
Best & worst used cars
Complete Ratings for 200 cars and trucks

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