Can one car be good enough to represent the quality of an automaker’s entire lineup?
Likely not, so Consumer Reports has determined which car brands consistently deliver vehicles that serve consumers well. The publication tabulated the overall score, road test score and predicted reliability results for each tested model of a brand. Those figures were then averaged at the brand level before being used to rank automakers to see who makes the best cars.
See the top 10 best automakers of 2016, according to Consumer Reports below.
Honda had an overall score of 71, a road test score of 73 and a predicted reliability of average. The brand has 88 percent of its models recommended by Consumer Reports. According to the publication, the Japanese automaker suffered due to problematic new transmissions in recently updated models.
Kia is next on the list with better than average predicted reliability, but only 67 percent of its models are recommended. Still, it had an overall score of 72, boosted by its road test score of 75.
Toyota is well known for its reliability and it shows with a best rating under predicted reliability. It suffers, however, because some of its models only rank in the middle of Consumer Reports‘ road tests and only 62 percent are recommended. Its overall score of 72 actually ties Kia, but its road test score is lower at 69.
The sole American automaker in the top 10, Buick comes in with 80 percent of its models recommended, helping net an overall score of 74. Its road test score is respectable at 76 and its predicted reliability is better than average.
Mazda is the first automaker in the top 10 to have all of its models recommended along with better than average predicted reliability. Its overall score ties Buick at 74 and the Japanese brand actually has a lower road test score at 74. But it can claim that 100 percent of its models are recommended.
BMW is the first German brand in the top 10 at the fifth spot with an overall score of 76 and a road test score of 85. The publication ranks its predicated reliability as average and only gave half its models a recommended rating. Then again, BMW likes to have a billion models in its lineup, so that’s fair.
Besting BMW is Porsche in fourth place, although its overall score is the same at 76. The company known for exciting sports cars actually has a lower road test score of 84, while its predicted reliability is also the same as BMW, at average. It does, however, have 60 percent of its models recommended.
Toyota’s luxury arm, Lexus, continues to have success in numerous studies conducted by Consumer Reports. Its overall score ties both BMW and Porsche at 76 and its road test score is actually quite lower at 74 compared to the two German automakers. It does, however, have 88 percent of its models recommended and earns a best rating in the predicted reliability category.
Leading all mainstream brands is Subaru, with an overall score of 78. It is also another brand that has all of its test models recommended and gets better than average predicted reliability. The Japanese automaker earned an 80 for its road test score.
Topping the list for best automakers of 2016 is Audi, which may come as a shock considering the recent massive diesel scandal. Every test model is recommended by Consumer Reports, but it’s worth noting that the company did not include vehicles that have been pulled from dealership showrooms. That means that TDI models were not included. Still, Audi has better than average predicted reliability along with a road test score of 83 and overall score of 80.
Both Audi and Subaru performed very well on road tests and have strong reliability, but most importantly, their owners are very satisfied with their cars.
Surprised to not see Mercedes-Benz in the top 10, considering both BMW and Audi are? Well, Consumer Reports noted that Mercedes has an inconsistent reliability record, causing it to drop to 14th place.