By Claudia Assis, MarketWatch
Cheapskates rejoice: Some of Consumer Reports’ great-car nods went to a couple of cheaper brands this year, although luxury car makers got most of the top spots in the magazine’s 2016 rankings.
Highest overall car-brand scores in the magazine’s 2016 Brand Report Card went to Volkswagen AG’s /zigman2/quotes/206919008/delayed XE:VOW +0.14% Audi and to Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.’s /zigman2/quotes/203522406/delayed JP:7270 +2.50% Subaru, with Consumer Reports recommending all of their models it has tested. Audi won best overall brand.
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Luxury brands Lexus, a division of Toyota Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/203803129/delayed JP:7203 +1.35% , Volkswagen’s Porsche, and BMW /zigman2/quotes/202432319/delayed XE:BMW -1.48% rounded the top five in the rankings. Mazda, another nonluxury brand and mostly independently owned, finished sixth place, Consumer Reports said.
“Consumers don’t always have to spend top dollar to get a great car,” the magazine said. Consumer Reports included 30 brands in its report card and said it calculated a car’s reliability and safety tests as well as road tests to come up with its recommendations.
Audi and Volkswagen vehicles pulled from dealerships following VW’s emissions scandal and massive recall were not considered, the magazine said.
Likewise, brands with fewer than two tested cars were not part of the rankings. That meant vehicles made by Tesla Motor Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +1.32% , as well as ultraluxury brands such as Jaguar, didn’t make the list.
The Tesla Model S was lauded as “best overall” vehicle in 2014 and 2015, but Consumer Reports has since soured on the brand. In October, the magazine pulled the luxury electric sedan, which starts at $70,000, from its recommended list due to reliability concerns.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV /zigman2/quotes/209202731/delayed IT:FCA -0.85% Fiat came in dead last, named worst overall brand. All Fiat-Chrysler’s offerings landed in the bottom third of the rankings.
Overall domestic brands, except for General Motors Co. /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM +3.14% premium brand Buick, didn’t fare that well either. Ford Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite F +4.95% , Ford’s Lincoln, and GM’s Chevrolet “finished mid-pack and were largely bogged down by their inconsistent reliability scores,” the magazine said.
The magazine also released its 10 top car picks of the year, selected by vehicle category.
The Toyota Camry was the best midsize car, with Honda Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/200490352/delayed JP:7267 +3.15% Accord out of the top spot among sedans for the second year. Ford’s F-150 got the top spot among pickup trucks, the first time since 2012 for Ford’s iconic truck.