Who Makes The Best Cars?

With the average price of a new car now close to $30,000, it pays to get a winner. Consumer Reports is just out with its annual report card on the 13 major automakers.

Walking into a Subaru dealership, you definitely have some good cars to choose from. Subaru now tops Consumer Reports' list of "who makes the best cars"-replacing Honda.

Rik Paul of Consumer Reports says, "Subaru's Impreza is our Top Pick in small cars. And we now recommend all of the Subarus we've tested."

That includes the Outback, Forester, and Legacy. Each year Consumer Reports gives automakers a "report card," grading them on reliability and performance.

Paul says, "For performance, we conduct more than 50 tests on every car at our Auto Track-including braking and emergency handling."

Consumer Reports named Mazda the second best automaker, a dramatic improvement. Its reliability has gotten better. And the Mazda 3, along with other Mazdas, are fun to drive.

Toyota maintains its third place spot, with quality cars like the redesigned Camry.

Honda has slipped to fourth place. Its redesigned Civic and Odyssey are disappointments.

Paul says, "Honda has cut costs on some recently redesigned models, sometimes getting rid of handy features and using cheaper materials. Sometimes their braking and handling performance has also gone down."

Chrysler is still in last place but scoring higher than before.

Paul says, "We've seen big improvements in many of Chrysler's redesigned models, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300. Chrysler's score could go up even further as it revamps its cars."

General Motors and Ford did better in Consumer Reports' auto scorecard than Chrysler, but only slightly. Out of 13 carmakers, Ford came in tenth and General Motors twelfth.

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