Consumer Reports

Worst to First: These are 2021's best car companies according to Consumer Reports

The redesigned 2022 Subaru BRZ joins the company's lineup this year.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

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. Click here to see 2020's results.

No. 32 - Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 4C

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Alfa Romeo scored a 59/100, 15 points lower than they did in 2020. Consumer Reports tested two of the company's vehicles and was not able to recommend either of them.

No. 31 - Land Rover

2020 Land Rover Defender

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Land Rover earned a 46/100 in the ratings, four points less than in the 2020 ratings, and drops one position. None of its products are recommended by Consumer Reports.

No. 30 - Mitsubishi

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander: Exterior Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Mitsubishi is up three spots from their 2020 position with a score of 46/100 - the same score as lat year. None of their vehicles are recommended by Consumer Reports.

No. 29 - Jeep

Jeep Gladiator

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Jeep earned a 48/100 score but went up two places from their 2020 position, which was up from the 2019 spot. The company has only one product Consumer Reports would recommend out of the six they tested.

No. 28 - Lincoln

Lincoln Corsair

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Lincoln fell 15 spots in this year's rankings, after falling five the year before, getting a 53/100 score despite earning a respectable 78/100 in road testing.

No. 27 - Jaguar

2021 Jaguar XF: Exterior Photo courtesy of Jaguar

Jaguar climbs one in 2021 and was up four places in 2020. The company scored a 54/100 and has one green vehicle in its lineup.

No. 26 - GMC

GMC Acadia AT4

Photo courtesy of GMC

There's some good news for GMC. Despite being in the bottom third of the ratings, Consumer Reports recommends one of their vehicles. That's one more than they did last year. Overall, the company earned a 57/100, down two points from 2020.

No. 25 - Ford

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford fell three places in 2020 and two more in 2021, earning a 57/100 score, the same as what GMC got.

No. 24 - Chevrolet

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Chevy is up one place in 2021, scoring 58/100. Out of the 13 Chevy vehicles Consumer Reports tested, they recommend two of of them.

No. 23 - Acura

2021 Acura TLX Advance Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura is up one spot for 202, earning a 59/100. The company had decent road test scores but Consumer Reports doesn't recommend any of their models.

No. 22 - Cadillac

2020 Cadillac XT5 Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac's brand score of 62/100 helped it jump seven places in the 2021 rankings. Consumer Reports recommends one out of the five Caddy products they tested.

No. 21 - Mercedes-Benz

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

With its 62/100 score, Mercedes-Benz finds itself one spots lower on the list than where it ended up last year. Consumer Reports recommends three of their vehicles.

No. 20 - Volvo

Volvo XC60

​​Photo courtesy of Volvo Car Corporation

Volvo pops up two spots in the' rankings with its 64/100 score. Two of its five vehicles that were tested by the Consumer Reports team are recommended.

No. 19 - Kia

2021 Kia K5 Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia fell down 10 spots in the rankings earning a 64/100, a score 10 points lower than the company scored in 2020. The good news is that out of the 11 of their vehicles that were tested, Consumer Reports recommends four of them.

No. 18 - Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen has better road-test scores than anyone lower than it on this list. The company scored 65/100 and Consumer Reports recommends two of its models.

No. 17 - MINI

2021 MINI Paddy Hopkirk Edition Photo courtesy of MINI

Mini was up five places in the 2020 rankings compared to 2019, but fell seven places from their 2020 level in 2021. The company earned a 66/100 score for this year.

No. 16 - 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. But, this year, they're down five spots scoring just 66/100.

No. 15 - Genesis

2020 Genesis G90 Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Genesis placed second with an 66/100 score, 18 points lower than they scored in 2020. The automaker fell 13 spots from their 2020 placement

No. 14 - Dodge

2020 Dodge Challenger Photo courtesy of Dodge

Dodge was up four places in 2020 earning a 68/100 score. For 2021, the company moves up one place but only earned 67 points.

No. 13 - Nissan

2021 Nissan Rogue Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan jumped four places to No. 17 earning 70/100. For 2021 they are up another four places, getting a 68/1000 with Consumer Reports recommending half of their 12 tested vehicles.

No. 12 - Infiniti

2021 Infiniti QX80 Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Infiniti, the premium arm of Nissan, jumps two spots for 2021 earning a score of 70/100. Like Nissan, Consumer Reports recommends half of the company's vehicles to shoppers.

No. 11 - Audi

Audi Q7

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi fell five spots in the 2021 rankings earning a 71/100 score, just one better than Infiniti. However, Audi's road test score was an 88 compared to Infiniti's 77.

No. 10 - Hyundai

2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Hyundai jumped three spots in the 2020 rankings, earning a 75/100 score. For 2021, they fell three spots with a 71/100 score.

No. 9 - Buick

Buick Envision

Photo courtesy of Buick

Buick slid down one spot with its 69/100 score in 2020, but has made up for it in 2021, jumping up 10. Out of the three Buicks Consumer Reports tested, they recommend two of them.

No. 8 - Chrysler

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Like Buick, Chrysler is up 10 places for 2021 earning 74/100. This is on top of the four places they gained in 2020 with a score of 69/100.

No. 7 - Toyota

2021 Toyota Venza Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Toyota fell three places in 2020's rankings, but gained five in the 2020 ratings, scoring 74/100. Consumer Reports recommends 15 of the 19 Toyotas it tested - impressive!

No. 6 - Lexus

Lexus LX

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

Lexus is down one position for 2021, scoring 75/100, which is two points worse than the company scored in 2020. Seven fo the eight Lexus vehicles tested by the publication are recommended.

No. 5 - Honda

Honda Accord Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Like Buick and Chrysler, Honda jumped 10 places in 2021 with a 75/100 score. In 2020, the company earned a 72/100. Eight of the 10 Hondas tested are recommended by Consumer Reports.

No. 4 - Porsche

2021 Porsche Panamera 2021 Porsche Panamera Photo courtesy of Porsche AGPhoto courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche scored 10 less points in 2021 than they did in 2020 (76 vs. 86/100). The company has earned the same road test score as Audi: 88. Three of the four Porsches that were test driven earned recommended ratings.

No. 3 - Subaru

2022 Subaru BRZ Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru sits in the same place in 2021 as it did in 2020. The company scored worse, however, earning just 76/100 compared to the 81/100. Five out of the seven models Consumer Reports test drove they recommended.

No. 2 - BMW

BMW X7

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW is up six spots compared to their 2020 ranking, earning 78/100. Subaru and BMW scored the same in Consumer Reports road testing, getting an 87. Ten out the 12 BMWs Consumer Reports tested are recommended.

No. 1 - Mazda

Mazda CX-5

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Mazda moved up three places to claim the 2021 crown with a score of 80/100. That rating is one point higher than the company earned in 2020. Consumer Reports recommends all seven of the Mazdas they test drove this year.

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Updated vehicle lineup

Toyota is going more places in 2022 and beyond

Toyota is giving its spunky 86 sports car a makeover for 2022.

Toyota

"Let's Go Places", Toyota's tagline adopted nearly a decade ago, speaks to the automaker's goal of "evolution and commitment to leading through innovation, enriching lives and connecting with customers in new ways they define". Today, Toyota has sold more than 15 million vehicles and is continuing to innovate with connected technologies and alternative powertrains and is global leader of hybrid electric vehicles.

Toyota plans to offer approximately 70 electrified models globally by 2025, in a lineup that will feature 15 dedicated battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), including seven in the new the "bZ" (Beyond Zero) brand and also plans to bring electrification to its truck lineup.

The Japanese manufacturer recently invited a cadre of journalists to its U.S. headquarters in Plano, Texas, to learn more about the company's latest developments and goals, as well as to hear about new and concept vehicles from both Toyota and luxury stablemate Lexus, during a three-day event that was akin to a Toyota-centric auto show. There were ride and drive opportunities in Plano and at the nearby Eagle Canyon Raceway, with a high-speed track and off-road course and even a "secret reveal" of the all-new Tundra. The breadth of new offerings includes models from every segment of the auto market, ranging from BEV to truck and high-performance.


Toyota bZ4X Concept The bZ4X shows Toyota's vision for its bZ (Beyond Zero) electric sub-brand.Toyota


Of the nearly two dozen vehicles on the roster, we selected the following models to highlight:

**The Toyota bZ4X Concept is Toyota's vision for the first of a global series of battery-electric vehicles sold under the "Toyota bZ" (Beyond Zero) brand. Jointly developed with Subaru, the sleek SUV is close in size to the RAV4 and will have a 300-mile range; the AWD model has stunning and chiseled looks, 20-inch wheels and showcases the new e-TNGA BEV-dedicated platform. Notable is the long wheelbase with short overhangs and open-concept interior, with a "bridge" style center console, a large infotainment screen and a unique digital gauge for instrumentation.

Heralded as the vehicle that revived Toyota's sportscar lineage, the all-new 2022 GR 86 hit the track with pro drivers before meriting its Gazoo Racing badge. The lightweight 2+2 rear-drive sports coupe has been engineered with more rigidity, and a horsepower bump from 205 to 228. Added torque moves the needle from 156 to 184 lb.-ft. from its naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four boxer engine, when set up with a manual transmission; peak torque is lower in the rpm range to bring a more linear driving feel. Zero to 60 times have dropped from 7 to 6.1 seconds for the manual and moved from 8 to 6.6 seconds for the automatic.

The Gazoo team put their mark on front and rear frame reinforcements; weight-shaving components, such as aluminum roof panels and fenders; new aerodynamic body elements, a functional MATRIX "G" Mesh grille and exterior air vents. The refashioned interior gets race-inspired touches and Alcantara-trimmed front buckets. Onboard are a host of updated technologies and audio/communications features; it comes in two grades, GR 86 and GR 86 Premium.


2022 Toyota Supra A91-CF Toyota will offer just 600 Carbon Fiber Edition Supras when it goes on sale in fall 2021.Toyota


The GR Supra A91-CF (Carbon Fiber) Edition goes on sale in the fall; only 600 will be available in North America. Exterior design features include numerous carbon fiber elements; a functional aero kit; duckbill rear spoiler; special edition forged 19-inch matte-black wheels with red calipers and a Toyota Supra logo; and new colors. Inside the red-and-black themed cabin with Alcantara-and-leather and carbon-fiber trim are heated sport seats and a collection of top standard features. A turbocharged three-liter inline-six with an eight-speed transmission has paddle shifters and brings zero-to-60 in 3.9 seconds. Performance parts include adaptive Variable Sport suspension, an active rear sport differential, and front Brembo brakes with red calipers.

Both cars offer complimentary one-year memberships to the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) comes with instruction from experts and the opportunity to participate in a High-Performance Driving Event.

Two new Tacomas add choices, capability and other new features to Toyota's mid-sized truck lineup.

The 2022 Tacoma TRD Pro bumps up off-road performance with a 1.5-inch front/.05 rear lift; TRD-tuned 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks, and new suspension components, using machine-forged aluminum construction on the pickup's control arms. Toyota Racing Development's upgrades bring improvements that aid in obstacle clearance with a 36.4-degree approach, 24.7-degree departure, and 26.6-degree breakover angles. New black TRD wheels make a wider track width than stock versions, while new Goodyear Territory all-terrain tires have an aggressive sidewall design. A new exclusive Electric Lime Metallic color is added to the mix. New hood graphics are available that complement the blacked-out hood scoop. A color-keyed rear bumper, door handles and power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators will trim the dual-color styling theme, along with black overfenders and new badging. An aluminum front skid plate with red TRD lettering provides additional trail protection. Unique LED headlights with sequential turn signals feature TRD Pro inserts, while Rigid Industries LED fog lights help illuminate the road and trails ahead.


2022 Toyota Tacoma The Tacoma gets even more off-road goodies for the 2022 model year.Toyota


Based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4×4 Double Cab short-bed model, the TRD Pro is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 and is available with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto. Nifty features include a Multi Terrain Monitor that displays front-, rear- and side-camera views on the 8-inch multimedia touchscreen; the instrument panel's 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display has an inclinometer and tilt gauge. Inside are TRD-themed black leather-trimmed heated front seats, TRD shift knob, and TRD Pro all-weather floor mats., plus a standard moonroof and Toyota's Safety Star System, along with a broad array of technologies.

The 2022 Tacoma Trail Edition, built on the Tacoma 4×4 Double Cab, upgrades off-road performance. It is1.1 inches higher in front and boasts an approach angle of 34 degrees; the rear is lifted 0.5 inches for a departure angle of 23.6 degrees; breakover angle is improved at 26.4 degrees. Unique styling comes with four exterior color choices, black badging accents and a new Trail Edition badge on the rear tailgate. Rear bumpers are now color-keyed to match the exterior grille with new unique bronze-colored lettering and new bronze-finished wheels that offer a 0.5-inch wider track width both front and rear and are fitted with new Goodyear all-terrain tires with an aggressive sidewall tread pattern. New is lockable bed storage while the driver's side storage includes insulation and can double as a cooler. It's also equipped with a 120V power outlet in the bed. Standard is a 3.5-liter V6 engine (278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque) and locking rear differential, as well as the Tacoma Tow Package, with a maximum towing capacity of 6,400 pounds.

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The Nissan Pathfinder is just at home on the trial as it is on the road.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". The message is about making choices and, how the road taken made all the difference. Often in life and on the road, we have to make one choice. Take one road. No turning back. I thought of this poem on my recent test drive in the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder in the hinterlands of Montana, when I could take two different roads—paved and dirt—and that made all the difference!

Nissan has redesigned and retooled its fifth-generation Pathfinder instilling greater latitude for buyers who want to travel both types of roads and expand their adventure footprint. After seven decades of off-road development, 35 years in the business of selling Pathfinders, and with more than 1.8 million sold in the U.S., this Japanese automaker has moved the needle with a ground-up revision of the previous-gen model.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is a capable off-roader.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The full-sized sport utility is available in four trims (S, SV, SL and Platinum) and two- and four-wheel drive versions; Nissan expects that nearly 60 percent of buyers will choose four-wheel drive. The Pathfinder is in a segment that has grown larger each year as more families want a vehicle for around-town, school and playdate runs and for weekend getaways with traction technology that allows travel in the backcountry and good towing capability. Direct competitors are the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Ford Explorer.

A day-long drive of approximately 150 miles on tarmac and over a variety of dirt roads and tracks provided the opportunity to assess the Pathfinder's updates. A late-spring snowstorm added slickness to all the road surfaces in the region and allowed the Pathfinder to show off its traction capabilities at both slow and higher speeds and with lane change and emergency-braking maneuvers, when towing. I concentrated my evaluation on the augmented hardware and software designed to enhance the crossover's capabilities for backcountry travel and towing.

What I found most notable over every road surface was the comfortable ride and responsive handling that come from a collection of upgrades—and, in particular, as a result of the following: the gearing on the new nine-speed transmission, with paddle shifters for personal and more precise shifting for sport driving and slowing over rough terrain; the new terrain mode system that's engineered for different driving conditions; the four-wheel drive system that moves torque more quickly to avoid wheel slip; the improved suspension system; and new tires with a larger contact patch and more aggressive tread pattern, among other changes.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Pathfinder's drive modes are designed to inspire confidence. Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Pathfinder provided sure-footed motoring and comfort over uneven surfaces. Its 7.1 inches of ground clearance easily maneuvered over the small obstacles on the trail and hill descent control took the reigns without hesitation for steeper and longer downhills on traction-compromised surfaces.

I was also impressed with the Pathfinder's towing competence and appreciated the standard trailer sway control onboard all trims. It offered notably strong, mannered acceleration from a standing start and excellent straight-line braking without porpoising for either exercise.

The new 2022 Pathfinder brings off-road and towing attributes that are important to families who are seeking to spend time in the backcountry for days trips and longer and for overlanding in terrain that doesn't require a true off-road vehicle with a low range. It's will appeal to buyers who want don't want to have to choose only one road.

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