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Consumer Reports Had a Surprise Pick for Best American Car Brand

Every year, Consumer Reports sets out to find the best car brands. Through surveys, owners reveal what they like and dislike about their vehicles. The responses help determine which brands make the most reliable cars. Several brands retained their ranking in the top spots of the annual list, while others plummeted. 

But one American car brand that ascended to the top 10 was a surprise. Chrysler reached the coveted position with improvements to product lines, along with competitors’ decline in the rankings.

Chrysler is the highest-rated car brand

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The top contenders on this year’s Consumer Reports list include BMW, Subaru, Porsche, and Honda. Mazda took the number-one spot with an overall score of 80 out of 100.

The American car brand that ranks the highest is Chrysler, which surprisingly took eighth overall with 74. Among brands that make the best new cars, Chrysler is the highest-rated.

Chrysler received one of the best road-test scores, getting an impressive 85 out of 100. Consumer Reports determined the scores by putting the vehicles through a series of 50 extensive evaluations.

Another American car brand appearing in the top 10 is Buick, with an overall 72 and a road-test score of 74.

How CR ranks the brands

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Consumer Reports first looks at the overall score. CR’s testers determine it by combining the road-test performance, owner satisfaction, safety, and predicted reliability ratings.

To be eligible for consideration, an automaker must have at least two models from each brand that Consumer Reports has previously tested.

Fiat, Ram, and Maserati didn’t meet the minimum criteria, so CR didn’t evaluate those brands. Last year, Fiat ranked lowest, so perhaps the automaker didn’t want to be included in this year’s study. The last-place spot this year went to Alfa Romeo.

One factor that may have skewed the results is that the study looks at only new cars. Mazda most likely snagged the number-one spot because of its debut of the 2020 CX-30’s debut.

Consumer Reports tested 32 brands for the 2021 Brand Report Card Rankings at its 327-acre test center located in Connecticut. CR conducted more than 50 tests on every vehicle in the study. Testers evaluated each model for safety, braking performance, handling, comfort, and fuel economy.

More about Chrysler

The Detroit News reported the inclusion of Chrysler and Buick on the Consumer Reports list “marked only the second time two Detroit auto brands made the top 10.” The newspaper explained, “both brands moved up 10 spots from last year after improving reliability and owner satisfaction.”

Consumer Reports’ senior director of automotive testing told the newspaper that Chrysler benefited from “an aged product line.” He said, “If you look at the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Charger … these are pretty old vehicles. They haven’t been really redesigned for about a decade, and even then, they had some carryover components from older vehicles.” He added, “They’re fundamentally very nice vehicles that do well in our tests.”

Despite ranking well on CR’s brand report card, no American brand appeared in Consumer Reports’ “Top 10 Vehicles for 2021,” The Detroit News noted. That honor went to the Mazda CX-30 in the under-$25,000 category.