Every year, The Consumer Reports Brand Report Card reveals which automakers have bettered themselves and how mainstream brands like Ford, Honda, and Mazda stack up with top-shelf luxury brands like Audi and Acura.
This year, the top two best carmakers ended up being Audi and Subaru respectively, followed by luxury brands Lexus, Porsche, and BMW as the definitive top five. Mazda came in sixth while Buick took seventh, with Consumer Reports recommending 100% of all Mazda models and 80% of all Buick models that were tested to potential buyers. Toyota took eighth place overall, followed by Kia in ninth, and Honda rounded things out in 10th.
Only vehicles that are currently available on the market were considered contenders, so Audi and VW diesel vehicles were not included in the scoring due to the emissions scandal, and Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Maserati, Ram, Smart, and Tesla were all ineligible due to having fewer than two currently tested models. Also, most domestic brands didn’t fare nearly as well as Buick, with Ford, Lincoln, and Chevrolet stuck in the middle due to inconsistent reliability scores, while all Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) scored quite poorly.
All told, thirty different brands were involved in this year’s Brand Report Card. In order to determine which automakers consistently create quality cars, Consumer Reports took a brand’s overall scores and road test ratings, and then predicted reliability results for each tested model based off these findings. Auto experts then averaged those scores across the board to serve as an indicator of which brands made the best cars.
This is the ninth consecutive year Consumer Reports has compiled and published its Car Brand Report Card. But in order to keep it a fair playing field, scoring methodology strictly prohibits the comparison of previous results to current models. Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of automotive testing, explains the rationale behind why this annual report matters, “It’s not enough to make cars that drive and handle well. Consumers are best served when those vehicles are also highly reliable and safe.”
Here are the 10 worst-performing brands in Consumer Reports’ testing for 2016.
Nissan was dinged pretty heavily for various transmission woes, and even though it has an average predicted reliability rating, Consumer Reports only recommends 33% of its models, an issue that is compounded by a road test score of 71 and an overall score of just 63 points.
Landing directly beneath Nissan is its luxury cousin, Infiniti, which fared poorly due to a worse than average predicted reliability rating, and also because only 20% of its models came recommended. All together, Infiniti this year has 63 points overall and a road test score of just 76.
GMC may make badass trucks like the All terrain X pictured here, but according the annual report it also makes problem-prone vehicles as well, featuring both poor predicted reliability and a road test score of 71. Consumer Reports only was able to recommend 17% of all GMC models, which brought its overall score down to 60.
Cadillac may offer blazing performance machines like the CTS-V and offer cylinder deactivating technology in its new V6 models, but it still has a ways to go when it comes to reliability and quality. Only 25% of its lineup comes recommended, and it earned a surprising “worst rating” for predicted reliability. Nevertheless, Cadillac did score a few points in certain areas, earning it a road test score of 76. Unfortunately, this was not enough to help its overall score of 58.
Only 17% of Dodge’s test models this year came recommended and with a worse than average predicted reliability rating, the guys who bring the thunder via the hellacious Hellcat apparently aren’t designed to be around for the long-haul. While a road test score of 73 helped their cause somewhat, an overall score of 58 was the final result for the Detroit automaker who wowed the world with its ACR Viper.
The second brand under the FCA badge should be scoring higher than its Dodge counterpart due to being more of a luxury brand, but Chrysler didn’t perform any better with an overall score of 58. Landing right in the middle for being one of the worst automakers of 2016, Chrysler featured road test score of 73, but was absolutely dogged without a single model that could be recommended. Add in a worse than average predicted reliability rating, and Chrysler gets bumped to the bottom of the barrel again.
4. Land Rover
The only European automaker to make the list is Land Rover, a brand that is widely respected for its luxurious, versatile SUVs. After driving and loving a handful of Land Rover SUVs, we were dismayed to hear that it earned a horrid rating for predicted reliability and doesn’t have a single model in its lineup that was recommended by Consumer Reports. Scoring just 55 points overall and landing a road test score of only 71, I can’t help but wonder if Consumer Reports was driving the same cars we were.
Poor Mitsubishi. It seems the power hungry brand of the 1990s has fallen down a deep hole, as it has just been awarded for being Japan’s worst automaker of 2016. Burnishing an overall score of just 51 and a lowly road test score of 46, the brand that once created cars like the twin-turbo VR4 3000GT and DSM Eclipse has lost its way as it even plans on retiring the long running Lancer Evolution. In its defense, Mitsubishi was awarded an average predicted reliability rating, even when Consumer Reports refused to recommend a single model.
FCA is taking one hell of a pummeling this year. Try as it might, the Jeep brand has once again ranked poorly after numerous Consumer Reports tests and reviews. After receiving the worst predicted reliability rating, a 55 road test score, and a review that doesn’t recommend a single model, the off-road king now has an overall score of only 43. We may have been impressed by the EcoDiesel Grand Cherokee and the fun little turbocharged Renegade Sport seen here, but apparently there’s more to the equation than meets the eye.
Languishing at the bottom of the auto manufacturing food chain this year is Fiat, as it graces the list as the worst automaker of 2016 according to Consumer Reports. The publication could not recommend a single model of vehicle under the brand name, and it garnered the worst possible rating for predicted reliability. Fiat also had a road test score that only earned it 52 points, and after all was said an done, Fiat only was able to come away with an overall score of 38.