Some people buy cars and only need them to perform specific tasks, but for a lot of people, cars need to be good all-around vehicles. We can nitpick its opinions on specific models, but it’s hard to argue that Consumer Reports doesn’t provide the best information on how well-rounded cars are. Since it buys the cars it tests outright, its opinions are about as unbiased as car reviews come. For most shoppers, that kind of information is an important part of the car-buying process.
Each year, Consumer Reports compiles the road test scores and reliability ratings from each car in a brand’s lineup and gives that brand an overall score. It then ranks automakers to see which brands do the best and which do the worst. Some brands do exceptionally well in road tests but fall flat on reliability, but often, reliable cars perform poorly in road tests.
Which brands got the balance right, and which ones need some improvement? Here are the five best- and five worst-rated car brands in the U.S., according to Consumer Reports.
Subaru has a great reputation in the outdoor adventure community, and its vehicles are popular choices in areas with harsh winters, but all-wheel-drive isn’t the only thing Subaru is known for. Its predicted reliability score was very good, while its average road test score was a strong 80, giving it a 73 overall.
Like Subaru, Audi is also known for its all-wheel-drive technology. In recent years, it’s also received praise for its attractive designs and high-quality interiors. Its reliability has come up drastically in recent years, as well. When paired with a score of 81 on the road test, Audi just barely edges out Subaru with a score of 73 as well.
Toyota is known for reliability, but its cars have also been getting better to drive. That makes it a popular choice with both buyers and Consumer Reports. Its road test score is only a 72, but its well above-average reliability leads it to an overall score of 74.
Mazda might not be the most popular brand in the U.S., but anyone who is shopping for a car and doesn’t at least test drive a Mazda is missing out. Car enthusiasts love Mazdas, regular car buyers love Mazdas, and Consumer Reports loves Mazdas, too. It gets a road test score of 76, and with excellent reliability, it receives an overall score of 75.