BMW tops Consumer Reports 2023 Brand Report Card

Feels like we wrote about Consumer Reports2022 Brand Report Car and 10 Top Picks a few weeks ago, but it was last April. So the mag is back with a ranked roster of 32 brands and 10 vehicles in four categories for your debating pleasure.

Starting with the brands, last year’s top three were Subaru, Mazda and BMW. This year, the Munich crew climbed two spots to win the prize thanks to “Superb road test scores and solid results in CR’s reliability and owner satisfaction surveys.” Subaru narrowly fell to second, maintaining its four-year run in the top three. Mini, eighth last year, jumped five spots to get the last step on the podium. The rest of the top 10 were Lexus (up one spot from last year), Honda (down one spot from last year), Toyota (up three), Genesis (up 12), Mazda (down six), Audi (down three) and Kia (up eight).

The magazine and testing outfit says its Brand Report Card “[reveals] which automakers are producing the most well-performing, safe, and reliable vehicles based on CR’s independent testing and member surveys,” and that “Brands that rise to the top tend to have the most consistent performance across their model lineups.”

Last year’s top 10 had six automakers from Japan, three from Germany (giving Mini credit for England), none from the U.S. or South Korea, and five luxury brands. This year’s list counts five makes from Japan, two from Germany because Porsche fell out of the top ten, two from South Korea, still none from the U.S., and four luxury brands.

Buick again ranked as the best domestic, dropping to 12th after being 11th last year. The big mover was Lincoln, its 10-place jump up to 16th attributed to better reliability from the Corsair and Nautilus. Tesla’s improved overall reliability saw it climb six spots to 17th. Dodge climbed one spot to 15th. Jeep got out of the penalty box in last to come second-to-last. Land Rover fell three places into the penalty spot. 

CR’s top 10 vehicle models

The 10 Top Picks list is practically a new list. Only two holdovers made it to 2023, those being the Subaru Forester and Kia Telluride. For each vehicle segment and purchase price, the outlet crediting the chosen models for being “the best of the best in CR’s ratings: they perform well in road tests; they come standard with key safety features; and owners say they are reliable and satisfying to drive.” The Ford Mustang Mach-E, Honda Accord and Ridgeline, Lexus RX, Nissan Sentra and Rogue Sport, Toyota Prius and RAV4 Prime were all ushered off the stage. The carryovers from last year’s Top 10 Picks are the

  • Kia Telluride: The three-row midsize SUV made this list from launch in 2020 and hasn’t left it. Once again lauded for doing everything well, having a “cavernous cabin and good outward visibility … nice creature comforts… a refined, powerful V6,” and a “smooth, responsive eight-speed automatic transmission.”
  • Subaru Forester: On the list for a tenth straight time, it’s appeal arises from features like “the basic design, crafted to provide solid crash protection, a spacious cabin, generous cargo area, and terrific outward visibility,” plus responsive handling, a supple ride and 28 miles per gallon overall in CR‘s testing.

The new inductees to the list are:

  • Toyota Corolla Hybrid: Called “a rolling masterclass on what is possible with a low-priced model” that also returned 48 mpg overall in CR‘s tests.
  • Toyota Corolla Cross: It’s “the Corolla of subcompact SUVs, with all the practicality, value, and virtue the familiar moniker implies.”
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid: Chosen as the most compelling trim in the lineup, delivers on the
    Camry promise of “comfort, convenience, reliability, and value,” has a “comfortable ride, athletic handling, accommodating seats,” and sipped at 47 mpg overall in the magazine’s trials.
  • Ford Maverick Hybrid: This ingot of nostalgia “reminds
    CR testers of a time when small, basic trucks roamed the land,” making it “a fun alternative to small SUVs.” The 37 mpg overall in
    CR’s tests didn’t hurt, either.

  • Nissan Leaf: The small electric hatchback, in either battery size, got here with a cushy ride and whisper-quiet cabin. 
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid: Continuing the hybrid assault on the list, the Hyundai ”
    cabin is roomy, with a spacious, comfortable rear seat, and a generous roster of standard safety features include BSW, LKA, and LDW.” 

  • Lexus NX350h: Can we interest you in another hybrid? This one “hit a sweet spot with the NX” thanks to 38 mpg overall in
    CR‘s tests, ”
    quick steering and a well isolated ride,” and its “pampering and practicality.”

  • Tesla Model 3: A basket of accolades including “blistering acceleration,” “tenacious grip and precise steering,” “feels very much like piloting a sports car,” and kudos for the Supercharger network.

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