Ranked

Nissan, Lexus winners in new survey that ranks top automotive brands based on reputation

Lexus has one of the best reputations as a brand, according to new research.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Reputation.com has ranked North America's automotive brands. Each brand was scored, with the industry average coming in at 594, the highest of any industry Reputation.com measures. However, it's not all sunshine and roses.

The industry's average dropped from February 2020's score of 603. Reputation.com says that the lower average is driven by a decrease in review volume due to Google suspending reviews for weeks in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the health crisis, Reputation.com found that a dealership's valet service is the top new driver of positive sentiment while dealership hygiene is the key driver of negative sentiment. Overall, price-related complains constitute the second-highest factor driving negative sentiment, behind service.

Nissan retained its ranking as the top dog with its Reputation Score nearly the same today as it was in February. Mitsubishi had the highest increase over the February rankings (up 54 points) while Cadillac's score dropped the most (down 45 points).

Tesla had a hard go of it. While consumers tend to like their Tesla cars, the company has the lowest rate for responding to negative reviews and lowest engagement scores, as well as worst for pricing and speed of service.

Here's a look at the brand rankings, from worst to first.

No. 32 - Genesis

2020 Genesis G70Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Reputation Score: 366
Sentiment Score: 65%
Visibility Score: 24%
Engagement Score: 61%

No. 31 - Cadillac

2020 Cadillac CT6Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Reputation Score: 504
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 36%
Engagement Score: 80%

No. 30 - Tesla

Tesla Model S

Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Reputation Score: 520
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 40%
Engagement Score: 4%

No. 29 - Jaguar

2019 Jaguar I-PACE

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

Reputation Score: 542
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 43%
Engagement Score: 57%

No. 28 - Mazda

2020 Mazda CX-5Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Reputation Score: 549
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 51%
Engagement Score: 64%

No. 27 - Volvo

2020 Volvo XC90 T8Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Reputation Score: 560
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 43%
Engagement Score: 57%

No. 26 - Fiat

2020 Fiat 500LPhoto courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 578
Sentiment Score: 66%
Visibility Score: 57%
Engagement Score: 65%

No. 25 - Land Rover

2020 Land Rover DefenderPhoto courtesy of Land Rover

Reputation Score: 588
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 49%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 24 - Mitsubishi

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors America

Reputation Score: 593
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 52%
Engagement Score: 61%

No. 23 - Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Reputation Score: 596
Sentiment Score: 69%
Visibility Score: 54%
Engagement Score: 66%

No. 22 (tie) - Ram

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 601
Sentiment Score: 70%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 22 (tie) - Chrysler

2020 Chrysler Pacifica HybridPhoto courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 601
Sentiment Score: 70%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 20 - Jeep

2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xePhoto courtesy of FCA US LLC

Reputation Score: 602
Sentiment Score: 70%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 19 - Honda

2021 Honda Ridgeline

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Reputation Score: 603
Sentiment Score: 71%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 18 - Kia

2021 Kia K5Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Reputation Score: 604
Sentiment Score: 69%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 63%

No. 17 - Porsche

2021 Porsche 911 TargaPhoto courtesy of Porsche AG

Reputation Score: 612
Sentiment Score: 78%
Visibility Score: 48%
Engagement Score: 70%

No. 16 - GMC

2020 GMC TerrainPhoto courtesy of GMC

Reputation Score: 614
Sentiment Score: 74%
Visibility Score: 52%
Engagement Score: 68%

No. 15 - Dodge

2020 Dodge Challenger

Photo courtesy of Dodge

Reputation Score: 615
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 64%

No. 14 - Chevrolet

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet​

Reputation Score: 616
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 53%
Engagement Score: 69%

No. 13 - Infiniti

2021 Infiniti Q50Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Reputation Score: 617
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 54%
Engagement Score: 70%

No. 12 - Audi

Audi E-Tron SportbackPhoto courtesy of Audi AG

Reputation Score: 625
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 56%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 11 - Hyundai

2021 Hyundai Palisade CalligraphyPhoto courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Reputation Score: 626
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 59%
Engagement Score: 66%

No. 10 - MINI

2020 MIIN CooperPhoto courtesy of MINI

Reputation Score: 630
Sentiment Score: 79%
Visibility Score: 50%
Engagement Score: 68%

No. 9 - Ford

2021 Ford Ranger Lariat TremorPhoto courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Reputation Score: 631
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 59%
Engagement Score: 68%

No. 8 - Mercedes-Benz

2020 Mercedes-AMG C63 S

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Reputation Score: 633
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 59%
Engagement Score: 69%

No. 7 - Toyota

2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD ProPhoto courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Reputation Score: 633
Sentiment Score: 71%
Visibility Score: 62%
Engagement Score: 74%

No. 6 - BMW

2021 BMW M3 Sedan and M4 CoupePhoto courtesy of BMW

Reputation Score: 654
Sentiment Score: 75%
Visibility Score: 61%
Engagement Score: 73%

No. 5 - Lincoln

Lincoln AviatorPhoto courtesy of Lincoln Motor Co.

Reputation Score: 658
Sentiment Score: 73%
Visibility Score: 63%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 4 - Acura

2021 Acura TLX

Photo courtesy of Acura

Reputation Score: 666
Sentiment Score: 78%
Visibility Score: 57%
Engagement Score: 71%

No. 3 - Subaru

2020 Subaru CrosstrekPhoto courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Reputation Score: 669
Sentiment Score: 75%
Visibility Score: 65%
Engagement Score: 78%

No. 2 - Lexus

2021 Lexus RX Black LinePhoto courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Reputation Score: 673
Sentiment Score: 77%
Visibility Score: 63%
Engagement Score: 77%

No. 1 - Nissan

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Reputation Score: 681
Sentiment Score: 72%
Visibility Score: 71%
Engagement Score: 79%

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The CX-50 is surpsingly capable off-road.

Mazda

I have driven all of the Mazda vehicles that have been sold in the US market over the past three decades. On everyday roads and on racetracks. I’ve appreciated their “zoom-zoom”. Good power. Punchy torque just where it was needed. Well-balanced and sporty handling. A bit of growl for the versions that called for it. Plus, tasteful-but-modest styling and more or less elbow room, depending on the model. Mazda’s have been made for sports-car enthusiasts and to ferry families. But, I had never known a Mazda called an “overlander”. Until now.

2023 Mazda CX-50Towing capacity extends to 2,000 pounds.Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 moves this traction-sophisticated automaker into the lands where the pavement ends and now takes the brand ‘off-track’. Although it’s not a new thing for many of today’s carmakers to add a backcountry model or two to their lineup, it’s new for Mazda. I traveled to Santa Barbara, California to check out this all-new crossover built on Mazda’s seventh-generation small SUV platform that is shared with the smaller CX-30. This 5-passenger utility is longer, lower and wider than the CX-5 that rides on the previous generation’s underpinnings. The CX-50 has been crafted with a roomier second row and more cargo room for the goods and gear that weekend warriors and adventurers want to carry.

The CX-50 comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation that gets 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter turbo-charged powerplant with 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque; both shift through a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport ute can tow up to 2,000 lbs. with the naturally aspirated motor and up to 3,500 lbs. with the turbo-charged mill and Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) that brings a tow mode as well as Normal, Sport and Off-Road. The newest Mazda model has been made for North America only and is built in Alabama. It is the first Mazda vehicle with auto start/stop that can be deactivated.

2023 Mazda CX-50Mazda is a master of upscale interiors. Mazda

The new crossover starts at $26,800 and comes in S, S Select, S Preferred, S Preferred Plus, S Premium, and S Premium Plus with the base motor. Turb-charged versions come in Turbo, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus that tops out at close to $42,000. A long list of technology and safety features are standard or available. Mazda says that Meridian, a fourth turbo trim will arrive soon with even more off-road cred; it will be set up with 18-inch black wheels AT, hood graphics and other backcountry goodies.

When you look at the CX-50, the first thing you’ll notice is exterior styling that speaks to its adventure-ready mission. Muscular bodywork, such as extra cladding, wide fender flairs and larger, more aggressive tires mean that this crossover has been designed not only to give a nod to the looks of a rugged crossover but to provide enhanced traction and a tad more suspension stretch for motoring over uneven terrain and along bumpy dirt roads. Planted on its haunches with functional air vents, it eschews minivan styling with a low and wide footprint that allows owners to have easy access to high-strength roof rails for loading gear on top; the roof has been made stronger than other Mazda crossovers to accommodate heavier loads, such as a roof-top tent. A panoramic moonroof- a first for Mazda- and attractive antiglare hood graphics and are tasteful additions.

The interior is attractive and roomy, with horizontal lines and “cleanable” surfaces as a nod to outdoor endeavors. Our Turbo Premium Plus model had bright orange reverse stitching that popped the cabin that has been crafted with uplevel trims and materials and brought heads-up display. A 7-inch infotainment screen is standard, while the top models get a 10.25-inch version. A wireless charging pad and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trims. Of note, is the rear power and programmable liftgate to the wide and deep rear cargo compartment, with a load floor that flush with the liftgate opening to help slide heavy items in and out of the back. An available line of cargo accessories makes stowage easier.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 is family roadtrip ready.Mazda

How did it handle over the 200-plus miles of our ride and drive? The Turbo Premium Plus CX-50 offers a lot like; many of its driving attributes are consistent with Mazda’s tuning and handling priorities across its product line. Traveling along coastal highways, carving mountainous twisties with tight turns and accelerating on flat and straight well-graded pavement, it has great Mazda manners: i.e., there is enough power and torque in the right bandwidth to move it well; precise steering with a slightly heavily-weighted leather-wrapped steering wheel and well-modulated brakes, especially with towing a 3,500-lb. load. We enjoyed using Sport mode for carving corners, as it brings elongated shifts from the six-speed automatic; a crisp response comes when sport shifting in “manual mode” and provides a quick throttle response.

We tried out the Off-Road mode on a course that included flat and uneven dirt roads, as well as hill climb and descent. Although there is no downhill descent control system, the brakes worked well, along with manual gearing. Of note, Mazda would be wide to add downhill descent engineering for steeper and slicker terrain. We were able to test the difference between Normal and Off-Road over a special section of the course with sandy corners and a winding track at a speed of 30 mph showing the improved traction in the Off-Road programming and the aid of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that brings a bit of magic to transfer torque to the wheels where it is needed to keep the intended track-think of it like an enhanced traction control program that helps with steering and yaw control.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 comes with off-road driving modes. Mazda

Other aids for off-road and backcountry travel are: the i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system that is standard equipment on all CX-50s, with a 50/50ish power transfer front to back; 8.6 inches of ground clearance; an 18-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle; and an optional 360-degree camera system.

*EPA reports: base motor fuel economy 24 city/30 highway mpg, while the turbo option gets 23/29 mpg and can run on regular or premium fuel.

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New electric SUV

Honda teases its first EV

The Prologue will go on sale as a 2024 model.

Honda

Honda is nearing the unveiling of its first electric vehicle, the Prologue, and today the automaker gave us our first glimps of the new vehicle. It's just a sketch, but Honda did share some production details and information on its product roadmap.

Honda DealerHonda plans to sell half a million EVs by the end of the decade. Honda

Honda says the Prologue will be an adventure-ready SUV "capable of satisfying everyday driving and weekend getaways with a strong hint of the well-received Honda e in the front fascia." The SUV was developed in Honda's Design Studio in Los Angeles, and was designed with an eye on Honda's global EV models. Honda said it focused on aerodynamics and fine-tuning the body to reducelines and improve range.

The Japanese automaker developed the Prologue alongside GM, but it has other EVs coming to market by 2026. By 2030, Honda says it will release 30 new EVs globally with a production volume of two million units. The co-developed vehicle is the first, but the rest will be built on Honda e:Architecture. In 2027, the automaker will begin building and selling a line of affordable EVs using the architecture developed with General Motors. Honda says it plans to sell half a million EVs in North America by the end of hte decade.

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