Mazda tops Consumer Reports brand rankings

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Lincoln’s redesigned Aviator and Corsair crossovers performed well in Consumer Reports’ road tests. But they had “much below average reliability,” according to a Consumer Reports release.

Tesla fell five spots to No. 16, a result of reliability issues with the Model S, Model Y and Model X, Consumer Reports said. Only the Model 3 has an overall score high enough to be recommended by Consumer Reports.

Honda had the biggest yearly gain. It rose from No. 15 last year to No. 5 this year.

Two Detroit brands are in the top 10 — only the second time that’s happened, Consumer Reports said. No. 8 Chrysler and No. 9 Buick jumped 10 spots each. The release said they both got boosts “from incremental improvements in reliability and owner satisfaction.”

Other Detroit brands had average scores. Dodge rose to No. 14, a seven-spot gain. Cadillac inched up to No. 22, also a seven-spot gain. Chevrolet, Ford, GMC and Jeep did not change much.

Consumer Reports also unveiled on Thursday its selection of best-performing vehicles in 10 categories.

Toyota led brands again for the fourth consecutive year with four top vehicle picks, one of which is the Prius. It has appeared as a top pick a record 18 times, the release said.

The Tesla Model 3, which won another top picks spot this year, delivers an “otherworldly driving experience, with punchy acceleration that comes on in a quiet surge,” according to the release. Last year, Consumer Reports said the model was not without safety concerns.

Consumer Reports also is rolling out a new green leaf icon to designate Green Choice cars, trucks and SUVs in its ratings.

Green Choice vehicles on this year’s 10 Top Picks list are the Toyota Prius, Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Toyota Camry and Tesla Model 3.

“The goal of CR’s Green Choice is to inform consumers and incentivize manufacturers to meet these important consumer demands,” Consumer Reports CEO Marta Tellado said in a statement.

To land a top recommendation, a vehicle needs to score well in road tests, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction and safety.

Consumer Reports said it conducts several tests on each vehicle it evaluates: braking, handling, comfort, convenience, safety and fuel economy. Vehicles go through 6,000 miles of general driving and evaluations during the testing process. Consumer Reports added that it does not accept free samples from automakers.

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Saurabh Shukla

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