Congratulations to Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Porsche for making it to the list of the best-performing brands in the Consumer Reports’ yearly rankings. But, the lower budget carmakers are not far behind. Brands like Kia, Honda, Mazda, Buick, and Subaru also made it to the list of top 10 brands for the year 2017. The highest-ranking United States-based brand was Tesla, which placed itself at the #8 position. The poorest performers were brands like Mitsubishi, Fiat, and Jeep.
Consumer Reports ranked the brands based on factors like road tests along with satisfaction and reliability ratings that were based on owner reviews. Safety was also a huge factor. Marks would get deducted for the vehicles if they performed poorly in the government crash tests. Additional points were awarded if the vehicles had forward collision warning or automatic emergency braking as standard equipment.
A new rule was added this year according to which points would be deducted if the vehicle had an automatic transmission shifter that is tough to operate or if it doesn’t return to “park” automatically when the engine is either turned off or the driver’s side door is open.
The automakers are trying to free up some space in the front seat by coming up with uncommon shifter designs, including buttons and rotary knobs. But, improper implementing of such designs could be dangerous.
Last April, Fiat Chrysler had to recall about 1.1 million vehicles immediately after forty-one users reported damages because their vehicles rolled over when they thought the vehicle was in “park.”
Consumer Reports claimed that only one rotary shifter, seen in the 2017-Ford Fusion, met their standards. Various other vehicles, including the popular ones like Chrysler 300, Lexus CT 200h, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, are no longer recommended because of their rotary shifters.
Jake Fisher, the Consumer Reports’ director of auto-testing said, “Shifter design can’t just change for change’s sake. It has to actually make things better.”
The auto manufacturing industries keep a keen eye on Consumer Reports’ rankings as it influences many buyers. A New York-based nonprofit organization, Yonkers buys the vehicles it tests and later prints the outcome in its monthly magazine.
Consumer Reports endorsed 100 percent of the tested vehicles from brands like BMW Mazda and Porsche. Vehicles from brands like Chrysler, Mini, Dodge, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mitsubishi, Fiat or Jeep were not recommended.
Brands like Alfa Romeo, Genesis, Maserati, Ram and Smart were not included in the survey as they lacked the necessary information.
Consumer Reports also recommended vehicle models based on category. For the small car category, Chevrolet Cruze was the best pick, Kia Optima was picked as the best midsize car and Chevrolet Impala was the best large car. The best performing hybrid was Toyota Prius and the best sports car had to be Mazda MX-5.