Lexus once again finished on top of the Consumer Reports Annual Car Brands Report Cards, its third in as four editions. Suprising many is Buick, which jumped into the top 10 in this year’s edition of the report card – from 12th to 7th. Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing, told Automotive News in an interview that Buick has a reputation for “large, cushy cars,” and it managed to invent itself pretty quickly.
He said that Buick is making reliable vehicles, those that score very well. He noted that in many ways, Buick is like the new Lexus, but is also sporty to drive. What is more suprising is the Buick Regal’s feat in earning Top Pick honors among sports sedans, which according to Fisher, is a “very un-Buick category.”
At second in the report card is Mazda, which climbed with an overall index score of 75, just three behind Lexus. Consumer Reports called Mazda’s lineup as “reliable” and “fun-to-drive” while delivering “impressive fuel economy. At third is Toyota, and the top 5 spots are completed by Audi and Subaru. The lower half of the top 10 are Porsche, Buick, Honda, Kia and BMW.
Buick, Kia and Porsche are all newcomers to the top 10, displacing Acura, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz. Six of the top 10 spots were Asian brands, down from seven last year. Mercedes droped 12 spots from 9th to 21st, mainly because of its CLA sedan, which Fisher dubbed visually appealing but unreliable. He said that the the CLA was “built around a price point.”
Adding that its handling doesn’t have the feel of a Mercedes and the the driving experience is worse than many family sedans. He said that the CLA will not attract people who are used to driving Mercedes.
He remarked that premium brands need to ensure that the models retain a luxury driving feel, citing the Audi A3 sedan and Q3 crossover as examples of effective moves into the entry-luxury space. Sitting at the bottom of the report card is the Fiat brand, just behind corporate sibling Jeep.