Potential new vehicle buyers looking for the best of the best of 2020 models will want to focus on Asian brands with one very famous German exception, according to Consumer Reports.
The magazine’s annual best brand rankings saw Japanese brands capture four of the top five spots and Asian makes nab six of the top 10. However, Porsche came in at No. 1, moving up from third place in 2019. Genesis, Subaru, Mazda and Lexus rounded out the top five.
Subaru was last year’s winner, but it got dinged for reliability issues with its WRX sports car. Genesis was second last year and finished there again. The biggest climber? EV maker Tesla, which rose eight spots as a result of improved results for its Model 3 and Model S sedans.
Tesla was also the top U.S. brand on the overall list, finishing in 11th place between Mini and Toyota. Lincoln was the next best finisher at 13, a five-spot decline compared with last year’s results. Volkswagen also suffered a five-spot slide, but it was Acura that suffered the biggest drop: eight places.
Overall, U.S. brands didn’t fare well, but some did see improvement, including Chrysler’s four-point increase, which was match by its sibling, Dodge.
Fiat came in dead last at No. 33. It was preceded by Mitsubishi, Jeep, Land Rover, Cadillac, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo and GMC. Those brands comprised the bottom eight on the 2019 list as well. The magazine tested a total of 36 models from those brands and recommend only the Jeep Grand Cherokee. In contrast, the top four brands saw only one vehicle of the 20 tested not earn a recommendation, the aforementioned Subaru WRX.
The results are based on CR’s testing and member surveys. Typically, the magazine notes, the leaders benefit from outstanding road test and reliability results as well as owner satisfaction surveys, which are factored into each model’s Overall Score. The Overall Score is based on four key factors: road test, reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety.
Consumer Reports also offered up its Best Cars of the Year for 2020 as well, and once again, Asian brands dominated. Toyota took home four awards — five it you add in one for Lexus. Subaru nabbed two and the other winners got just one.
Tesla was the sole U.S. winner, taking top honors for in the $45,000-$55,000 price range along with the Lexus RX and Toyota Supra. The winners are selected by price range. There just one winner in the under-$25,000 price category: the Toyota Corolla.
The $25,000-$35,000 category had three top picks: the Subaru Forester; Subaru Legacy; Toyota Prius/Prius Prime. The picks in the $35,000-$45,000 category were Kia Telluride; Honda Ridgeline; and Toyota Avalon.
The magazine stiffened the requirements for consideration this year. This year only CR-recommended models that come standard with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection were eligible to make the “Best Cars” list. CR gives extra points to the Overall Score for models that have FCW, AEB, pedestrian detection, and blind spot warning as standard equipment on all the trims.
“Studies and our own testing have shown pedestrian detection systems can help curb this tragic trend,” says Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. “We added this requirement to help make this feature commonplace.”