Consumer Reports

Worst to First: These are the best car companies according to Consumer Reports

Some of the usual suspects make up the top-tier of the Consumer Reports rankings.

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Want to buy a new refrigerator? They have a ranking for that. Consumer Reports also takes a close look at automotive brands rating them based on a combination of feedback from testing and member surveys. Each year they release a list ranking all the brands sold in the U.S.

Here's how Consumer Reports determines their rankings, straight from the horse's mouth:

Brand report cards are built on an average of the Overall Score for each model tested. A brand must have at least two models tested to be included. The Overall Score is based on four key factors: road test, reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety.

• The road-test scores are for vehicles purchased by CR and run through more than 50 tests.
• Reliability predictions are based on problems reported by CR members in 17 trouble areas.
• Owner satisfaction from surveyed CR members reflects whether drivers would purchase the same car if they had it to do again.
• Safety includes crash-test results and extra points awarded for proven advanced safety features that come standard for the model.

From worst to first, check out how the brands scored below.

No. 33 - Fiat

Fiat 500X Trekking

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Fiat is the lowest ranked brand in the annual Consumer Reports ratings. They earned a 43/100 score and had no vehicles recommended by Consumer Reports.

No. 32 - Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Mirage

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Mitsubishi sank two spots to the next-to-last position with a score of 46/100. None of their vehicles are recommended by Consumer Reports.

No. 31 - Jeep

Jeep Gladiator

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Jeep earned a 49/100 score and sank two places from their 2019 position. The company has only one product Consumer Reports would recommend out of the six they tested.

No. 30 - Land Rover

2020 Land Rover Defender

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Land Rover earned a 50/100 in the ratings but none of its products are recommended by Consumer Reports.

No. 29 - Cadillac

2020 Cadillac CT6

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac's brand score of 57/100 helped it fall three places in the 2020 rankings. Consumer Reports does not recommend any of Cadillac's products.

No. 28 - Jaguar

2021 Jaguar F-Type

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

Jaguar climes four places in 2020 with a score to 57/100.

No. 27 - Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 4C

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Alfa Romeo scored a 59/100, the same as the No. 26 company. That's up one place from 2019's standing.

No. 26 - GMC

GMC Acadia AT4

Photo courtesy of GMC

GMC is the highest rated brand that scored a "zero" in the question of which products Consumer Reports would recommend. They tested six. Overall, the company earned a 59/100.

No. 25 - Chevrolet

Chevrolet Camaro

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Chevy is down one place in 2020, scoring 61/100.

No. 24 - Acura

Acura ILX

Photo courtesy of Honda of American Mfg., Inc.

Acura has the same score as the No. 23 place brand (66/100) but had higher road test scores.

No. 23 - Ford

Ford Expedition

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has fallen three places in 2020 with a 66/100 score, the same as what Acura got.

No. 22 - Volvo

Volvo XC60

​​Photo courtesy of Volvo Car Corporation

Volvo pops up one spot in Consumer Reports' rankings with its 67/100 score.

No. 21 - Dodge

Dodge Charger

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Dodge is up four places in 2020 earning a 68/100 score.

No. 20 - Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz GLA

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

With its 68/100 score, Mercedes-Benz finds itself three spots lower on the list than where it ended up last year.

No. 19 - Buick

Buick Envision

Photo courtesy of Buick

Buick slid down one spot with its 69/100 score, but still played better than most of the luxury brands on the list.

No. 18 - Chrysler

Chrysler 300

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Chrysler is up four places with a score of 69/100 for 2020. Its vehicles earned a very good 85/100 in road testing.

No. 17 - Nissan

Nissan Sentra

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan jumped four places to No. 17 earning 70/100.

No. 16 - Volkswagen

Volkswagen Atlas

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

No. 16 and 17 achieved the same 70/100 score. Volkswagen had better road-test scores, however.

No. 15 - Honda

Honda Passport

Photo courtesy of Honda of America Mfg, Inc.

Honda fell two places and earned a 72/100 score in this year's rankings.

No. 14 - Infiniti

Infiniti QX50

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Infiniti maintained its spot from 2019 getting a 73/100.

No. 13 - Lincoln

Lincoln Corsair

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Lincoln fell five spots in this year's rankings getting a 73/100 score despite earning a respectable 81/100 in road testing.

No. 12 - Toyota

Toyota Camry TRD

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

Toyota fell three places in this year's rankings, scoring the same as the Nos, 14, 13, and 11 place brands with a 73/100.

No. 11 - Tesla

Tesla Model X Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Tesla was the biggest mover in this year's rankings, gong up eight places to end up at No. 11. The company scored 73/100.

No. 10 - MINI

Mini Cooper Electric

Photo courtesy of MINI

Mini is up five places in the 2020 rankings compared to 2019 earning a 74/100 score.

No. 9 - Kia

Kia Sportage

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia hopped up three spots in the rankings earning a 74/100, the same as the tenth place finisher.

No. 8 - BMW

BMW X7

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW slipped one spot from their 2019 ranking, but earned the same score as the seventh place brand. The company earned high road test scores (88/100).

No. 7 - Hyundai

Hyundai Palisade

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai jumped three spots in the 2020 rankings, earning a 75/100 score.

No. 6 - Audi

Audi Q7

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

While Audi scored the same as the brand in the fifth position (77/100), the automaker had higher owner satisfaction scores than the No. 5 place company.

No. 5 - Lexus

Lexus LX

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

Lexus bested its mass market counterpart with its 77/100 score. The luxury automaker is in the same position this year as they were in 2019.

No. 4 - Mazda

Mazda CX-5

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Mazda moved up two spots from where they placed in 2019 thanks to a 79/100 score.

No. 3 - Subaru

Subaru Crosstrek

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Subaru moved down two places from their 2019 ranking coming in third with a score of 81/100.

No. 2 - Genesis

Genesis G70

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Genesis placed second with an 84/100 score, keeping their placement unchanged since 2019.

No. 1 - Porsche

Porsche Carrera

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche scored 86/100, moving them up two places from 2019 and securing the German automaker the top spot in Consumer Reports' rankings.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Jeep has begun teasing its newest three-row SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Instagram

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer. It's wood-paneled sides, cavernous interior, go-anywhere capability. It was the bee's knees. Now those vintage models are a collector's item. Soon, it will be reborn.

A new teaser from Jeep simply states, "Grand" and the definition "magnificent or striking in appearance, size, or style". While AutomotiveMap is pretty sure that the teaser is for the return of the Grand Wagoneer, Jeep also has a redo of the Grand Cherokee and a few other things in its sights. Perhaps this is a BOGO (or three or four) teaser.

A Jeep product presentation for investors earlier this year detailed the forthcoming model rollout, including modifications to the plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It states that a new three-row Jeep E-Segment model is coming in the first quarter of 2021. Separately it lists the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer as coming in the second quarter of 2021 followed by the next-generation Grand Cherokee.

All the models are scheduled to have some level of electrification (product plans say PHEV, which would be on-par with the new PHEV Compass, Renegade, and Wrangler offerings) as well as an advanced level of autonomy (don't expect anything too revolutionary here) and connectivity.

The new Wagoneer full-size SUV that Jeep is debuting is expected to compete directly with the Chevrolet Suburban. The Suburban was redesigned for the 2021 model year and, in addition to a bevy of tech updates, the model has significantly expanded its third-row legroom.

Product plants show that the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are different vehicles. Not much is known for sure about the two models, but rumors are rampant. One that seems to have sticking power is that the Grand Wagoneer will have finer appointments than the Wagoneer, which could be designed to be more off-road-ready.

The Grand Cherokee is going to be a two-row SUV built on the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

The most mysterious model is the three-row E-Segment model that Jeep has said is coming. E-Segment models are typically large, showy flagships - sometimes large cars, but other times wagons. Jeep has also said that an electrified version of the Wrangler is on the way. Does A +B = C? Only time will tell.

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The Toyota Tundra is due for a redo, but it still has a lot to like if you're not too picky.

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

Americans buy millions of trucks every year. Even in the midst of a pandemic, folks are still buying trucks. In 2019, between all the various full-size truck models from Ford, Ram, GM, Nissan, and Toyota, U.S. customers bought nearly 2.5 million pickups — and that doesn't include all the smaller midsize models, which add another 600,000 to the truck total.

Nearly all of those truck sales are dominated by the big three of Ford, RAM, and GM, but there's a not insignificant niche carved out by Toyota as well. The endlessly-popular Tacoma is the best-selling midsize truck, and the full-size Toyota Tundra has a loyal and dedicated following.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition On the outside, the truck looks strong and capable - it is.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

I know a few Tundra owners who love their trucks just as passionately as Ford and Chevy owners do. I've driven most of the pickups on the market, but I haven't spent much time behind the wheel of Toyota's big truck — and I was curious to see what Toyota was doing to compete.

My test unit was the premium, Western-themed "1794 Edition" that honors the founding of the JLC Ranch in San Antonio, Texas on which Toyota now has a truck assembly plant. Unsurprisingly, it's the same plant that built this truck. 1794 is basically Toyota's version of Ford's King Ranch, only with less-impressive brand awareness.

The model weighed in at $55,199, including option-boxes ticked for the TRD Off-Road Package ($155), running boards ($345), moonroof ($850), and a spray-on bedliner ($579). All in, it's certainly not a cheap truck, but it's not crazy expensive either. The big three all have ultra-luxe truck trims that can run well-north of $70,000, so this was a very reasonable top-line truck.

It's also not nearly as well-appointed as those other trucks, but it's certainly nice enough. Inside, there is "1794" embellishment on the floor mats and the center console, plus wood trim on the steering wheel, dash, and gear shift.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition There are nods to the 1794 Edition throughout the cabin.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

It's very roomy, and things are laid out logically — which is a good thing considering how old the Tundra is. The interior was last redesigned the better half of a decade ago, and this generation of the truck is nearly old enough to enter high school. So, it's a bit old, but aging gracefully which, perhaps, shows why Tundra owners like it so much. They know what they're going to get.

One thing they'll get is a lot of stops at the pump. The 5.7-liter V8 is extremely thirsty, scoring just 14 mpg combined city and highway, though the engine itself is buttery smooth and capable. Pushing 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, you won't have any complaints as long as fuel prices stay around two dollars per gallon. If prices shoot back up north of $4, it might be another story.

The exterior is pleasing enough, with a giant big chrome grille on the front and special 1794 badging on the doors. The Tundra has aged well and was particularly striking in the brilliant Voodoo Blue coloring that my tester sported.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition The cabin is straight out of the middle of the last decade.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The interior is solidly dated compared to the competition, but it's all functional enough. The 2020 edition of the Tundra gains Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is enough to get me to ignore the massive "Home/Apps/Audio" buttons that surround the screen.

With the competition launching enormous 12-inch-plus touchscreens, I don't think Toyota will be able to wait too much longer before reworking this interior. In the middle console are numerous cupholders and storage cubbies, surrounding an enormous phallic shifter. There's a massive center storage bin under the armrest, which will come in handy for those using their truck as an office.

The rear seats have tremendous amounts of legroom, and the seats fold up to allow for more interior storage, though I wish the rear floor was totally flat to make loading Costco water bottles a little easier.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition The rear seats fold up allowing for more versatile cargo space.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

In the back, there's a truck bed. It's for putting stuff in. There's nothing elaborate here with in-bed lighting or fancy tailgates like the GMC Sierra has. It's just a truck bed, with a tailgate, that you can fill with things.

That's perhaps the best way to describe the Toyota Tundra. It's a pickup that allows you to haul things around. No fuss, no muss, nothing crazy. It gets you and your stuff from here to there, while slurping down massive amounts of fuel.

It's a Toyota. You know what you're getting. Enjoy it.

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