CR Ranks Honda at the Top

March 6, 2008

Consumer Reports’ annual auto issue is just out, and according to the publication, Honda still makes the best cars sold in the U.S., overall. In CR’s so-called “automaker report cards,” which compare automakers based on the overall scores of its vehicles in CR’s road tests, along with the overall reliability of each respective fleet, as measured by the organization in its annual

The Annual Auto Issue incorporates the results of their 2007 Annual Car Reliability Survey, which was released in October, drawing from responses on about 1.3 million vehicles. Then, CR reported that Toyota’s long-bulletproof reliability had faltered a bit, and Ford’s reliability was at a high point — the best they’d seen from the Dearborn automaker in years.

Honda ranked tops for reliability, followed by Subaru, Toyota, and Mitsubishi. Ford ranked fifth overall. Far at the bottom in the organization’s reliability findings was Mercedes-Benz, with General Motors the second-lowest — although CR said that it has seen considerable improvement from GM, along with Ford, this past year. However, products from Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen performed best in CR’s road tests, followed by Honda in third place.

Chrysler placed dead last in road-test scores — gathered through vehicles purchased by CR and tested at its independent auto-test facility — and at the lower end of CR’s reliability ratings for the automaker’s products. According to CR, the overall performance of Chrysler’s vehicles dropped significantly in the past year, due to “a number of unimpressive new vehicles.” The organization continued, in a release, to say that, “Noisy, underpowered engines, poor interior craftsmanship, cramped seating, and limited visibility plagued the most recent Chrysler vehicles tested.”

But things were looking up for Hyundai. 2008 marks the first year the organization has made any South Korean automaker’s product a Top Pick; the Hyundai Elantra SE and Hyundai Santa Fe are now top choices in the small sedan and midsize SUV categories, respectively. This breaks a two-year run during which all of the Top Picks have come from Japan-based automakers.

And finally, we reported to you a few months ago that the Nissan Altima had outscored the Honda Accord in Consumer Reports ratings, and it was then suspected that the Altima would be named their new Top Pick in the midsize sedan category. But for 2008 CR now requires electronic stability control (ESC) to be either standard or optional, so the Accord has held on to its title.

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