Talk about making a splash. Genesis, the luxury brand started by Hyundai just over two years ago, is the highest-rated brand in Consumer Reports' 2018 ranking of auto brands. This is the first year Genesis is eligible to be ranked by Consumer Reports.
"Genesis has luxury cars that not only have good reliability, but they are also comfortable and the technology in them is easy to use," said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports. "A lot of luxury cars have technology and features that are too complex, too cumbersome or even distracting. That's not the case with Genesis."
Consumer Reports has included Genesis for the first time in the auto rankings because the brand now has at least two models, which is a prerequisite for the annual rating. The report card is based on a number of factors including crash tests, Consumer Reports' own testing and analysis of vehicles, and a survey of more than a half million Consumer Reports subscribers who detail what doesn't work on the cars and trucks they drive.
This year, the top three brands are Genesis, followed by Audi (NSU-DE) and BMW (BMW-DE). Tesla (TSLA), was ranked No. 8 out of 34 brands. That is the exact same spot where the electric-car maker was ranked in last year's report.
"Tesla is the tale of two models," said Fisher. "The Model X continues to struggle with reliability issues while the Model S does well and gets high marks."
The bottom three brands according to Consumer Reports are Land Rover, Jeep and Fiat, which ranked dead last for a second straight year. "Fiat vehicles just don't seem to be improving," said Fisher.
FCA U.S. spokesman Berj Alexanian said the company, which owns both Jeep and Fiat, values feedback from customers and third parties as it helps guide product improvements.
"We respect but don't always agree with Consumer Reports' opinion, as they're one of the many third-party evaluators we receive comments from, and we find Consumer Reports' ratings don't always align with customer preferences," Alexanian said.
In addition to ranking the top brands, Consumer Reports also highlighted 10 models for its annual Top Picks list. In 2018, those models range from the Toyota (7203.T-JP) Corolla to the Ford (F) F-150 to the Chevrolet (GM) Bolt, which is the first model ever chosen as a top pick for the category of compact green car. The Chevy Bolt tested by Consumer Reports was sold for $38,424.
"The Bolt is the first longer-range electric vehicle that is being sold at an accessible price point," Fisher said. "It drives terrific, is very practical and the initial information on reliability looks very encouraging."