To each person, a specific car brand may mean something totally unique. For example, if your father always drove Chevy trucks, then the Chevrolet brand might give you a certain sense of comfort and nostalgia. Yet, to a person from a different background – say a young professional that’s always lived and worked in the big city – they might not get that same feeling at all.
Despite these varying individual associations that we have with car brands, it is interesting to look at them on a wider and more universal scale. What if we take into account multiple models for each brand and the owner survey results for over 640,000 cars, and what if these brands are also compared via road tests using a common underlying framework?
THE TOP RATED CAR BRANDS
The following charts use data from Consumer Reports (US), which published its 2018 rankings for car brands just weeks ago.
It uses three different measures to compare these car brands:
- Satisfaction: Based on user ratings, and whether an owner would “definitely buy” this model again
- Reliability: A prediction of reliability, based on user reports
- Overall Score: This is a composite of Consumer Report’s road test score and the other ratings (Satisfaction and Reliability)
Most brands manage to make at least one great car, but not many have what it takes to deliver consistent quality across several models. Our annual brand rankings recognize the ones that do.
This year Genesis, the new luxury brand from Hyundai, edged Audi out of the top spot. These two automakers stand apart from the rest in that every one of their tested models is recommended by CR.
This is an especially impressive feat for Audi, which makes 10 models for the U.S. market spanning categories from small cars to three-row SUVs. Of those, Consumer Reports has tested eight vehicles.
Genesis, with just two models tested, had less to get right to earn its place at the top of the list. That doesn’t take away from the fact that Genesis excels in our testing and owner satisfaction scores and has average reliability, but it does put its position in perspective.
Luxury rivals BMW, Lexus, and Porsche continue to park near the top of the rankings. Lexus stands out for earning its place more from its reliability rating and standard advanced safety features than its road-test scores, which often have trailed the competition.
Chrysler is the only brand that took a giant step up in the rankings this year, with an Overall Score four points higher than last year, thanks largely to high road-test scores and the average reliability of its Pacifica minivan.
The brands that dropped the most in Overall Score were Buick (eight points) and Acura (six points), both due to declining reliability.
Here’s a full list that includes data for all brands tested by Consumer Reports, including how many models were tested: