Some of the most popular foreign auto brands, including Audi, Porsche, BMW and Lexus, once again lead the rankings of the Consumer Reports annual top auto picks. In fact, the 2017 auto ratings contain just two American brands, Tesla (No. 8) and Buick (No. 10), among the top 10.
"In terms of the domestic brands, the reliability hasn't been consistent," said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of automotive testing. "Some of the domestic brands are saddled with some legacy products that really [aren't] as good as the contemporary vehicles."
But it's not all bad news for American-made cars and trucks. For example, Tesla cracked the top 10 in the first year it's eligible to be ranked since the brand now sells more than one model. Meanwhile, General Motors has two models as top picks: The Chevy Cruze is rated as the best compact car and the Chevy Impala is named as the top large sedan.
"When we talk about top picks, we are really talking about cars that shine in all categories, not just reliability, but also their performance, their safety and the features," said Fisher. For the second straight year, the magazine did not select one car or truck as an overall top auto pick.
The annual Consumer Reports top picks issue is considered one of the most influential reports in the auto industry because it is based on the testing of Consumer Reports and the responses of Consumer Reports subscribers critiquing their own vehicles.
What autos ranked among the worst according to Consumer Reports? Fiat-Chrysler's Dodge, Jeep and Fiat brands were 3 of 4 lowest-rated brands in the report, including Fiat, which ranked dead last. FCA's Chrysler brand did climb seven spots in the study to place 19th out of 31 brands. Consumer Reports does not recommend any FCA models it has evaluated at its test track in Connecticut.
"We value all feedback from our customers and third-party evaluators, including Consumer Reports, as it helps guide our product improvements," a Fiat-Chrysler spokesman said in a written statement. "We respect Consumer Reports' opinion, as they're one of the many third-party evaluators we receive comments from. At the same time, we continue to encourage customers to experience our vehicles for themselves. We're aggressively pursuing both product and launch-quality improvements as they are top priorities for the Company and our internal measurements continue to show sustainable progress."