Automakers Score Numerous Wins in Annual CR Evaluations
After being shut out in last year’s competition, Honda rebounded with three segment leaders on the Consumer Reports 2013 Top Picks list, as well top-10 finishes for both Honda and Acura in CR’s latest Car Brand Report Cards; meanwhile, Toyota’s Lexus luxury division had the best Report Card grades in the industry, and Toyota itself had a top-five score and two Top Picks. (Scion also contributed one Top Pick winner and a top-10 Report Card grade.)
It was a standout showing for the two automakers in two of the most closely watched automotive-quality reports in America, both of which rely on Consumer Reports’ independent and in-depth testing procedures. Subaru and Mazda put up surprisingly strong marks as well, and although the Europeans were hampered by “inconsistency,” BMW and Audi managed their first Top Pick winners in more than a decade.
On the other hand, the domestic brands didn’t fare quite so well, with zero Top Picks and a similar number of companies among the Report Card top 10. But CR did have praise for “several promising models” from GM, and noted that “many of Ford’s new models ride and handle as well as European luxury cars costing much more.” Singled out for praise from the Blue Oval were some of its newest hybrid products, including the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2013 Ford C-MAX.
The final standings in both the Top Pick and Brand Report Card evaluations are below.
Providing Top Picks in ten key market segments were:
- 2013 Honda Accord—The Midsized Sedan leader was completely redesigned for the new model year, and Honda “nailed it,” according to CR.
- 2013 Scion FR-S and 2013 Subaru BRZ—The dynamic duo shared honors in the Sports Car category, where they were lauded for their “super-sharp handling, excellent braking and ample acceleration.”
- 2013 Hyundai Elantra—Also winning its class in 2011, the Elantra was the No. 1 Budget Car for combining refinement and fuel efficiency with “a smooth, responsive powertrain.”
- 2013 Toyota Prius—The Green Car champion, of course, buoyed by the highest real-world fuel economy that CR has ever achieved with a five-passenger vehicle (44 mpg). Also getting a “thumbs up” from CR: The 2013 Toyota Prius v.
- 2013 Subaru Impreza—Taking the title in the Compact category is no easy feat given the competition, but the Impreza got the job done with a “ride that rivals some luxury sedans” and Subaru’s hallmark all-wheel-drive technology.
- 2013 Audi A6—“Agile, quick and a joy to drive” is how CR described the A6, while also noting that it offers a “sumptuous, impeccably finished cabin” and “returns respectable gas mileage, even with all-wheel drive.”
- 2013 Honda CR-V—The best-selling crossover of 2012—with its “smooth, responsive powertrain, good fuel economy, a compliant ride, excellent braking, a roomy rear seat, and outstanding reliability”—garnered the trophy in the Small SUV segment.
- 2013 Toyota Highlander—The Highlander was lauded in the Midsized SUV class for delivering “the practicality of an SUV with the refinement of a good sedan,” while also sporting a superior interior and above-average reliability.
- 2013 BMW 328i—This year’s highest-rated Sports Sedan was the 328i, backed by a thorough redesign that made it “roomier, more luxurious, and more fuel efficient”—in fact, it offers the best gas-mileage ratings in its class.
- 2013 Honda Odyssey—Providing a “comfortable ride and a roomy, quiet, and versatile cabin,” along with a generously sized and easy-to-access rear-seating area, the Odyssey was the 2013 Top Pick in the Minivan segment.
(Per CR: “No pickup was chosen because GM’s and Chrysler’s full-sized models have been revamped and we haven’t yet tested them.”)
2013 Consumer Reports Brand Report Cards
Obviously grading on a curve, Consumer Reports awarded Lexus a score of 79 points as the leader in the 2013 Brand Report Cards, with Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for CR, saying: “That is quite a feat for a brand whose cars are brimming with technology, including impressive hybrid drivetrains and complicated infotainment systems.”
The rest of the top-10 finishers included:
- Mazda and Subaru—Tied with 76 points each, Mazda and Subaru were acclaimed for building “solid cars with good handling, fuel economy, and versatility at relatively affordable prices.”
- Acura and Toyota—Another tie helped fill out this year’s top five, with Acura and Toyota both achieving scores of 74 points; the latter brand earned specific praise for the “significant strides” it made in redesigning the 2013 Toyota Camry.
- Honda and Scion—This pair each scored 72 points, led by award-winning performances from the 2013 Honda Accord and much-improved 2013 Honda Civic, as well as the 2013 Scion FR-S.
- Audi and Infiniti—Yep, one final dead heat, at the 70-point mark. The former was acclaimed as the only Euro brand with both very good reliability and excellent road-test scores; the also-excellent 2013 Infiniti G and Infiniti M sport sedans set the pace for the latter.
- Mercedes-Benz—The list of top-10 Brand Report Card leaders culminates in Mercedes-Benz, which tied Acura in terms of the highest average road-test scores and posted a Report Card grade of 69.