The automaker that can’t seem to catch a break in overall quality rankings — or more comprehensive ones — doesn’t get a reprieve in Consumer Reports‘ latest brand ranking.
In its 2017 list of the best and worst brands, which combines scores for predicted reliability, road testing, safety and owner satisfaction, a familiar German brand returned to the same podium it occupied last year. Unfortunately for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the bulk of its brands languished — once again — on the lowest steps of the pyramid.
For a second year in a row, Audi took the coveted top billing, followed by Porsche, BMW, Lexus and Subaru. Porsche moved up two spots from last year, as did BMW. Meanwhile, Subaru dropped two spots while Lexus dropped one.
The rest of the top 10 includes Kia, Mazda, Tesla, Honda and Buick. Tesla didn’t make last year’s list at all, as CR averages the results of at least two models in order to qualify the brand. It would seem that its appearance in the top 10 pushed one well-respected brand out of the upper echelon: Toyota. That automaker, generally synonymous with reliability and repeat customers, slipped from seventh place to 11th.
Even within the top 10, there’s plenty of variability among individual models. CR notes that Audi’s stellar road test scores pushed it to the top, despite other automakers scoring higher in the satisfaction and reliability fields.
“Only Porsche, BMW, and Mazda earned a recommendation on every model we tested,” stated Consumer Reports. “Audi, Honda, and Hyundai lead the other brands, with 86 percent of their tested lines being recommended.”
Subaru, Volkswagen (23rd) and Mini (24th) all dropped in rank due to reliability ratings. Mercedes-Benz fell from 14th to 20th, while Hyundai and Nissan stayed nearly static in the 12th and 22nd spots.
Among domestic makes, Ford dropped from 16th to 21st place, even though its overall score (65 out of a possible 100) only dropped a single point. The Blue Oval’s luxury marque, on the other hand, rose — Lincoln improved in both standing (17th place to 15th), and score (65 to 68 points). points). Chevrolet rose three spots and three points, ending up at 17th (with 67 points).
There was good news for Cadillac in this year’s list, as GM’s flagship brand moved up six spots to 18th and added eight points to its overall score (58 to 66). The General’s lowest-ranked brand, GMC, slotted in at number 25 with the same score as last year — 60 points.
At Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the only bright spot was the elevation of the sparse Chrysler brand, but it was the newfound dearth of models — there’s now only two — that helped its ascent. For 2017, Chrysler, now consisting of the venerable 300 and new Pacifica, ranked 19th, with a score of 66. That’s up from last year’s 26th place and 58 points.
Of course, that’s where the good news ends. At number 31, Fiat maintained its dead-last standing, though its overall score rose from 38 to 41. (The sound you hear is not champagne corks popping in Auburn Hills.) Jeep again ranked second-last, with a score that rose to points to 43. Dodge sunk from the 27th to 25th spot and saw its score drop two points to 56.
The Ram brand doesn’t make an appearance on the list.
Jeep stands to potentially improve its brand fortunes next year, thanks to new product and the elimination of two models — the Patriot and first-generation Compass — that consistently dragged it down.
While FCA scored poorly overall, it had company. Mitsubishi again ranked third-last with a score of 51, preceded by Land Rover and its score of 52.
[Image: Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles]