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U.S. News Announces the 2016 Best Cars for Families

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U.S. News Announces the 2016 Best Cars for Families

Source : U.S. News – March 11, 2016

Highlights from the 2016 Best Cars for Families

U.S. News & World Report, a nationally recognized publisher of consumer advice and information, today announced the 2016 Best Cars for Families. U.S. News evaluated 256 vehicles and named winners across 21 categories. The awards are published on the U.S. News Best Cars website at http://usnews.com/cars-families.

The 2016 Best Cars for Families winners have the best combination of safety and reliability ratings, excellent reviews from the automotive press and the space and features that keep the entire family happy. New high-tech features, such as in-car wireless Internet, teen driver controls and smartphone apps, were considered alongside traditional criteria such as passenger and cargo space.

Mercedes-Benz and Honda tied with the most awards won by individual brands, taking home four awards each. Mercedes-Benz won half of the awards in the eight luxury categories. What sets the brand apart from its competitors are features in the C-Class, GLE and GLC – such as in-car Wi-Fi, rear-seat USB ports, tri-zone climate controls, hands-free liftgates and rear sunshades – that make traveling with a family more comfortable.

Honda's models are among the top picks for families because of their large cargo spaces – ideal for strollers, grocery bags and more. For the sixth consecutive year, the Honda Odyssey won Best Minivan for Families, the longest streak in the awards' history. The Odyssey's available features, such as a 16-inch rear-seat entertainment screen that can show two different movies side-by-side, a built-in vacuum and a power liftgate, can make life a little easier for parents who have their hands full. In addition, professional car critics say the Odyssey has great driving dynamics, unlike other minivans.

Two award categories, Subcompact SUVs and Luxury Subcompact SUVs, are all-new for 2016, with the Honda HR-V winning Best Subcompact SUV for Families and the BMW X1 winning Best Luxury Subcompact SUV for Families.

"Finding the best family car can be a time-intensive process," said Jamie Page Deaton, managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars. "Whether you need extra room for car seats or want to monitor your new teen driver, the Best Cars for Families have options for every type of family."

Of the 21 Best Cars for Families winners, six are also winners of the 2016 Best Cars for the Money awards because of their excellent long-term value.

Highlights from the 2016 Best Cars for Families

Highlights from the 2016 Best Cars for Families

For the full set of winners and finalists, visit http://usnews.com/cars-families.

The award methodology combines professional automotive reviews, safety and reliability ratings, seating and cargo volume and the availability of family-friendly features. Within each of the 21 automotive categories, the vehicle with the highest composite score is named the Best Car for Families in that category.

Award Contact: Jamie Page Deaton, (603) 717-2992, jdeaton@usnews.com

Media Contact: Lucy Lyons, (202) 955-2155, llyons@usnews.com

About U.S. News Best Cars
Since 2007, U.S. News Best Cars, the automotive channel of U.S. News & World Report, has published rankings of the majority of new vehicles sold in America. Each year, U.S. News publishes the Best Cars awards, including Best Vehicle Brands, Best Cars for the Money and Best Cars for Families. U.S. News Best Cars had over 45 million unique visitors over the past year, with over 65 percent of visitors actively shopping for a car. Eighty percent of active shoppers reported that the U.S. News Best Cars site influenced their car purchasing decision.

About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Personal Finance, Real Estate, Travel, Cars and News & Opinion, www.usnews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 35 million people visit www.usnews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

2015’s Best 15 Family cars named

Canadian Auto Dealer – February 19, 2015 at 6:26 pm, by Todd Phillips

Salespeople in dealerships are always looking for an edge, a talking point that helps tip the scales in their favour when helping a customer narrow their choice for a new vehicle. The editors of Kelley Blue Book have made it easier for some — and harder for others — by naming the Best 15 Family cars for 2015.

“Once again, we recruited families to assist our expert editors in this laborious evaluation, putting the Best Family Car candidates to a real-life test, including vehicles in two new car categories — full-size pickup trucks and compact cars,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com.

“Evaluated on comfort and driving, safety, child seats, cargo space, rear-seat entertainment, and extra features, this year’s group of winners are deemed the most worthy of family duty.”

The editors concede that with the mix of models and crossovers and minivans, deciding what even constitutes a family car is changing with the times. But nonetheless, the editors have narrowed down their choices to 15 vehicles that they recommend.

The vehicles are evaluated on criteria such as comfort and driving, safety, child seats, cargo space, rear-seat entertainment (for those long drives with antsy kids) and extra features.

This year’s KBB.com’s 15 Best Family Cars of 2015 (in alphabetical order) are:

Kelley-winners-640

The editors analyzed three minivans, four compact SUVs, four mid-size sedans and three mid-size sedans, and included vehicles from other categories, including two full-size pickup trucks and three compact cars.

Honda most recommended by Consumer Reports

Which automaker builds the best cars? The word “best” can be taken to mean many different things, but when it comes to predicted reliability Consumer Reports picks Honda as number one.

This said Subaru and Toyota prove worthy of your attention too, with the former earning a “Recommended” ranking for every model it sells. The news came out in the consumer advocate magazine’s 2009 Auto Issue, currently available on newsstands throughout the United States and Canada.

While Subaru and Toyota fared well, Honda excelled in predicted reliability, scoring a “Recommended” grade with all of its vehicles except for the quirky Element crossover, which came very close.

Toyota did well on reliability grades too, not unusual for the Japanese brand, while the European brands were praised for performance, comfort and safety, plus incremental improvement in overall reliability.

And what of the domestics? Ford is top dog thanks to its F-150 pickup truck and Flex family hauler achieving “Recommended” scores and most of its lineup rated above average, while General Motors got eight vehicles on the “Recommended” list, including the Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Malibu, Corvette, Pontiac G8, and all four of its Lambda-based crossovers, the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook.

Not unlike its current sales numbers Chrysler struggled with Consumer Reports too, without a single vehicle “Recommended”.

Article Information

  • Source: Canadian Auto Press
  • Author: Canadian Auto Press
  • Date Posted: March 5, 2009

Honda revives Insight to take on Prius

Honda will revive the Insight name when it introduces a hybrid concept next month at the Paris Auto Show that the company says will be the least-expensive gas-electric hybrid on the market when it reaches dealers next spring.

The original two-seat Insight was only available in North America for the 2000 to 2006 model years — but it was always the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the road, and would still be if sold today, averaging official U.S. EPA numbers as high as 70 miles/gallon, or 3.4 L/100 km in city driving.

Yet the first Insight is a textbook example of the risks of letting an engineering focus drive an automobile project: in their zealous drive to remove weight and become the most fuel-efficient mass produced car on the planet, Honda gave it a tight two-seat interior, zero cargo room, a manual-only transmission at its debut, and truly bizarre rear wheel-covering bodywork that screamed "I'd rather save fuel than worry about style."

Unfortunately for Honda, both gas prices and sales of hybrid vehicles took off soon after the Insight left the market, and now Honda is playing catch up to Toyota, and in some respects GM, for the green car crown.

Its Civic Hybrid is now the lowest-priced hybrid on the market — its $26,350 MSRP comes in slightly less than the mid-size Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid.

It's the new Insight's low price that Honda is betting will help it achieve its aggressive 100,000-unit-a-year sales goal in North America, or about half the projected 2008 sales of the market-leading Toyota Prius, which starts at $27,400 for 2009, a price that has dropped by about $2,000 since last fall.

The Honda Insight concept will showcase a much more consumer-friendly vehicle, with a five-door, five-seat hatchback body shaped very much like the Prius.

Not only will the Insight sport a lower-cost version of its Integrated Motor Assist hybrid technology, it will also offer a system to guide drivers to more fuel-efficient driving practices.

The second-generation Insight will become the Toyota Prius' only true hybrid competitor, at least until later in the summer of 2009, when Honda plans to introduce the CR-Z Hybrid as a lightweight two-door coupe.

Article Information

  • Source: Globe and Mail
  • Date Posted: September 11, 2008

First Drive 2010 Honda Insight

Scottsdale, Arizona — Honda has recommissioned its Insight name for an entirely new hybrid, one intended for a group thus far shunning this mode of environmentally fashionable mobility. Gen Y folks, the mid-20s crowd, are mostly single, entry-professionals who spend $18,000–$22,000 for their new cars. They’re environmentally with it, but hitherto seemingly priced out of the hybrid market.

The production Insight officially broke cover at the Detroit Auto Show and goes on sale come Earth Day, April 22. Thus, when we drove it around ever-burgeoning Scottsdale, Arizona, in mid-December, it was too early for Honda to price it precisely. However, to make sense within the Honda lineup, this hybrid would have to cost less than the $23,650 Civic Hybrid. And I’d bet Honda’s citation of that $18–$22 range isn’t just coincidence.

Similar to the Civic Hybrid’s system, the Insight’s Integrated Motor Assist teams a 1.3-liter 88-bhp 4-cylinder engine with a 13-hp electric motor, the latter residing where you’d expect to find a conventional flywheel. These operate interactively with a Continuously Variable Transmission to propel the front-wheel-drive hatchback. Like the latest Civic, the Insight’s IMA makes it a full hybrid, in that its i-VTEC variable-valve hardware shuts down the gasoline engine through Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management. During VCM, all the valves are closed and the engine cycles in sort of a balloon mode, each piston compressing its air, the air returning the favor on the piston’s downstroke. (Contrary to my initial thoughts on the matter, this is more efficient than it sounds. In fact, for instance, the game of incorporating a separate clutch for true engine-shutdown apparently isn’t worth the candle.)

For optimizing IMA attributes, the Insight’s driver gets a really neat tripart Ecological Drive Assist: an ECON button, a real-time Guidance Function and, for the gamer in all of us, a Scoring Function.

The ECON button optimizes engine, CVT, IMA assist and regenerative braking, air conditioning and even cruise control. For instance, in ECON mode those little fuel-wasting dithers of your accelerator foot are smoothed out. IMA‘s Start/Stop feature is employed somewhat more actively. By contrast, cruise control reaches its ECON set speed somewhat less aggressively.

The real-time Guidance Function is simple but effective: an illuminated arc backing up the speedometer’s digital readout. It changes color from deep blue (fuel-guzzling) to light blue (better) to a fuel-efficient green. There’s also a somewhat less prominent but equally real-time Multi-information Display of bar graphs showing the degree of IMA boost and regen.

The Scoring Function is good fun. It tracks current driving practice, updating approximately every 2000 meters, as well as giving feedback of cumulative patterns. An Eco Guide accumulates little leaf symbols as you drive more environmentally responsibly. When you turn off the ignition, it rates your Eco Score and Lifetime results.

I asked about dual settings for driving partners, but Honda felt this might make for more marital discord than it’s worth.

Do these gizmos work? The Insight’s EPA City/Hwy numbers are 40/43 mpg, respectively. I posted 54.9 mpg on my driving stint. And, later, on a specially devised suburban tour, fully half of our journalist contingent saw results better than 60 mpg, with the best of them in the 70s. Impressive indeed.

All this, in an attractive and tidy 5-port hatchback. The Insight’s styling is a blend of Honda FCX Clarity (the front end especially), Toyota’s current Prius (its side profile shares these aero attributes) and Honda’s signature dual-glass rear. With an overall length of 172.3 in. and wheelbase of 100.4 in., it nestles neatly between the company’s Fit (161.6 in. and 98.4 in., respectively) and Civic (176.7/106.3). However, the Fit’s 60.0-in. height and boxier shape give it an edge in rear seating, where tallish sorts will find head room better and bigger sorts will find ingress/egress more graceful. The Insight’s front seating is fine, with more than ample room for head, legs and squirming.

Its target customers may be Gen Y and, secondarily, active empty nesters. But I’d say this new Insight is a rational approach for anyone desiring hybrid motoring. And certainly at its expected annual sales — 100,000 in North America, another 100,000 around the world — the Insight will make a significant contribution to sustainable mobility.

Article Information

  • Source: Road and Track
  • Author: Dennis Simanaitis
  • Date Posted: January 9, 2009

2010 Honda Insight

Honda Canada is waiting until Earth Day, April 22, to put its new 2010 Insight on sale, but back in Japan, it’s on sale and demand is soaring for the cheapest hybrid on the market. Honda received more than 5,000 orders in less than a week once the Insight began rolling into Japanese showrooms on Feb. 6.

The gas-electric Insight starts at ¥1.89-million ($24,500), but is likely to have a base price closer to $21,000 in Canada – not taking into account various provincial sales tax rebates for hybrids that can save you up to $3,000.

So the whole hybrid equation changes and that’s exactly what Honda has in mind. Honda set out to create a hybrid for the masses, not just the early-adopting ecoheads. If you are tight-fisted with your money but also concerned about the planet, Honda thinks it has a hybrid for you.

By the way, Honda is also doing an in-your-face to Toyota. The Insight launch should make a gigantic splash in hybrid-land and go head-to-head with the Toyota Prius, the world’s best-selling hybrid and arguably the iconic symbol of the Toyota brand.

2010 Honda Insight

Honda officials are convinced that it’s all about the price. And they’re not alone. Aaron Bragman, a research analyst with HIS Global Insight, expects the Insight – a dead ringer for the 2009 Prius – to have an impact on sales of the Toyota Prius, currently the world’s best-selling hybrid by far, with nearly 300,000 sold around the world just last year.

“I don’t think having a competitor that’s so close in shape and abilities, and is undercutting it by several thousands in any way helps Prius sales,” says Bragman, adding that cost of ownership is critical these days. “Right now, people are so price-sensitive for vehicles.”

It is worth noting that Toyota Canada dealers will have the all-new, third-generation 2010 Prius on their lots by June.

Honda’s price advantage flows from using much simpler technology than Toyota. Simpler, but not simple. The Insight, like all hybrids, is still a complicated machine. Aside from its gas engine, there is also the usual hybrid fare – battery pack, electric motor, sensors and so forth.

The whole package should add up to dramatic fuel economy gains and emission reductions. Here’s the fuel economy number from Honda: 4.8 L/100 km city and 4.5 highway, with a combined rating 4.7 L/100 km.

Not bad, but not as good as the “old” 2009 Prius at 4.0 city/4.2 highway, and even further away from the coming 2010 Prius, which Toyota Canada rates at a combined 3.8 L/100 km.

In a nutshell, the Insight can’t beat the Prius on fuel economy, but it will sell for thousands less than the expected $27,000-$28,000 starter sticker for the 2010 Prius.

And just like the Prius, the 2010 Insight is a functional four-door with a hatchback at the rear. There is comfortable seating inside for four adults, a decently roomy cargo hold and, perhaps most important of all, Honda has loaded it with an array of gauges and displays for coaching drivers to be as frugal in their driving as possible.

Take the speedometer or I should say its background. The colour changes from blue to green depending on how you drive. Green, of course, means you are driving in a more environmentally responsible way. The instrument becomes your conscience, in other words.

Do well, and you are rewarded with a good “ecoscore,” signified by little leaves. The more, the better and, if you are excellent, you win a digital trophy surrounded by a wreath.

Honda also allows drivers to choose “Eco” mode. This is for the most socially conscious of us. In Eco, your wasteful tendencies are controlled by dampening the throttle response, adjusting the air conditioning and maximizing the electric assist. Over all, the Insight’s emissions are graded at an ultraclean Tier II Bin 3.

All this just so-o-o-o Honda. That is, the hallmark of a good Honda is the way engineers grind out the details. Honda has rightfully built a reputation for making vehicles that are well thought-out and faithfully executed.

The gas engine by itself makes 88 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque. But it seldom runs alone. The electric motor provides up to 13 hp and 58 lb-ft of torque and, all told, the combination is good for 98 hp at 5,800 rpm and 123 lb-ft of torque from 1,000-1,500 rpm.

This is Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system. It’s really simple in design, obviously trickier in execution. In a nutshell, there is the small and efficient gasoline engine, a conventional continuously variable transmission (CVT) and a thin, brushless electric motor sandwiched between the two.

Look for 0-100 km/h in about 11 seconds, which is about what you’ll get in a Honda Fit Sport, but faster than the Honda Civic Hybrid by about two seconds. The Insight has an estimated range of 640 km on a single tank of regular gas.

However unlike the Prius or, for instance, vehicles with General Motors’ Two-Mode Hybrid system, the new Insight cannot start out from a stop in all-electric mode, although it can run on electric power alone at very low speeds. Regardless, the Insight feels pokey on the road and in “Eco” mode it is even less lively.

It could be that the CVT – no manual or conventional automatic is offered – is to blame here. At times, it seems noisy and coarse, with the engine out of sync with the car’s speed. But at other times, this is not so.

Nonetheless, the Insight feels solid and steady at highway speeds and, in city driving or on country-like roads, the handling is well-mannered and predictable – like a Honda Fit hybrid.

No surprise there. The Insight borrows heavily from the strut-based Fit, and the entire chassis and suspension from the firewall forward is pure Fit. The spring and damper calibrations are specifically optimized for the Insight, of course, but the geometry and many of the hard parts are identical. And while the rear suspension isn’t a direct carryover, the twist-beam rear axle is the same.

All in all, the Insight is a very nice grocery-getter. The fuel-saving electric power steering is responsive enough and the regenerative brakes – designed to help recharge the battery – are surprisingly smooth, rather than grabby.

As an everyday driver, the Insight is practical, too. The nickel-metal-hydride battery pack and electronics unit fit neatly under the rear cargo floor, so the rear seat backs can be folded down to make room for bigger cargo. You can’t do that in the current Civic Hybrid, which shares much of its mechanical and electron wizardry with the Insight.

The exterior design is not what I’d call gorgeous, but it’s sensible. Still, there are some design issues. Back-seat users need to duck and twist to avoid whacking their heads when getting in and out and, once in there, head room is tight for grown-ups.

The steering column tilts and telescopes, but the front seats lack lumbar adjustments and they are not terribly comfortable after more than an hour.

In the end, Honda has built a clever and fuel-efficient hybrid, one priced to reset the thinking about this technology and one that is a clear shot across the bow of Toyota.

2010 HONDA INSIGHT

Type: Compact hybrid four-door hatchback

Price: $21,000 (estimated)

Engine: 1.4-litre, inline-four-cylinder, (DOHC)

Horsepower/Torque: 98 hp/123 lb-ft (combined)

Transmission: CVT

Drive: Front-wheel-drive

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 4.8 city/4.5 highway; regular gas

Alternatives: Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

Like

  • Smart engineering that makes the most of relatively straightforward technologies
  • Incredibly affordable price for a hybrid
  • Useful city car in every way
  • Hatchback design is totally versatile
  • Very low emissions

Article Information

  • Source: Globe and Mail

Honda Insight tops Japan sales

First time hybrid takes top spot

TOKYO–Honda’s Insight, billed as the cheapest gas-electric hybrid on the market, ranked as the top-selling vehicle in Japan for April – the first time a hybrid has clinched that spot.

Honda Motor Co. has pitched the Insight as an affordable hybrid though such vehicles have a bigger price tag than gasoline engine cars because they’re packed with expensive green technology.

The Insight starts at 1.89 million yen ($22,500 Canadian) in Japan, where it went on sale in February, and $23,900 in Canada., where it is starting to arrive in showrooms.

Honda sold 10,481 Insight cars in April in Japan, according to data released Monday by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

That marked the first time a hybrid model was Japan’s monthly best-seller, excluding minicars limited to an engine size of up to 660 cubic centimetres, Honda said.

“The all-new Insight has been very well received by a wide range of customers due to its excellent environmental performance, easy-to-use packaging, light and comfortable driving and affordable pricing,” the Tokyo-based maker of the Accord sedan and Odyssey minivan said.

But Honda will face tough competition from a revamped version of the world’s top-selling hybrid, the Prius, from Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp.

The revamped Prius is set to be introduced next week and Toyota executives have made clear they are aware of the challenge from the Insight.

Toyota is expected to be aggressive with its pricing, although the Prius is a bigger car than the Insight and would be expected to carry a higher price tag.

Japan has been no exception in seeing its domestic auto market languish because of the global slowdown and credit crunch.

But interest in ecological cars is growing because of government incentives for green technology as part of efforts to stimulate spending amid a recession.

Article Information

  • Source: The Associated press
  • Author: Yuri Kageyama
  • Date Posted: May 11, 2009

Five cars pass new, tougher crash test

Larger vehicles generally hold up better than smaller cars in crashes, so it’s significant that the Honda Civic compact was able to get the top score on the new test.

The revised 2013 Honda Civic is the first compact car to earn a Top Safety Pick “Plus” designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The insurance industry group does its own crash testing separate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash test program required for new vehicles.

Two Civics — both the two-door and four-door models — and three other larger vehicles earned this top rating, it was announced today. The other top scorers were the redesigned 2014 Mazda6 midsize mainstream sedan, the Lincoln MKZ midsize luxury sedan and the Volvo XC60 midsize luxury SUV.

TSP+ means the cars were able to score a top “good” score on the new, tough “small overlap frontal crash test” — hitting a barrier at 40 mph with just the outside 25% of the car’s front end — in addition to the regular tests.

Larger vehicles generally hold up better than smaller cars in crashes, which is why it’s significant that the Honda Civic was able to ace the new, added test with a “good.”

Honda is delighted with its showing. “We believe this is a distinct competitive advantage, especially as more and more consumers place a premium on crash rating performance,” says Art St. Cyr, Honda’s vice president of product planning, in a statement.

The test is not easy. The small frontal overlap that IIHS began doing last year is designed to mimic hitting a narrow object, such as a pole, or a partial head-on collision on the driver side. In order to be designated as a TSP+, the vehicle needs to first pass the other IIHS front, rear, side and rollover tests — then pass the new small overlap test.

A bunch of cars have flunked the test, but the latest test results show that engineers are figuring out how to modify new cars to make sure they’ll pass. Reached for comment, Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety says such tests are critical to coaxing safety improvements out of automakers.

Honda Civic’s score reflects upgrades to the 2013 model of the popular vehicle that had just been redesigned for 2012. A makeover of that model was undertaken after criticism of the new car’s interior materials and other appearance and performance attributes, not its crash test results.

But while they were at it, Honda engineers built extra safety into the revised version, with significant changes to the front crash structure to meet the new test. The changes to the structure are related to the design of the front crash structure of Civic’s larger sibling, the redesigned 2013 Honda Accord midsize sedan.

The Accord was one of two mainstream midsize sedans to score “good” in the small frontal offset in earlier testing of 13 models (story here).

According to IIHS, Volvo engineers took a different approach, changing the SUV’s electronics so that the side-curtain airbag would deploy in the small overlap test.

This round of small overlap testing was at the request of the automakers, who were confident they’d do well, said IIHS spokesman Russ Rader. While this test is new and harder, IIHS has done a wider overlap test — 40% of the front end — since 1995.

NHTSA not added such tests to its battery but says it is is evaluating procedures for small overlap and also oblique frontal crash test. Since it published initial findings in September 2009, NHTSA has had research underway on such crashes and the types of occupant injuries that occur in them.

The agency says it also has developed two frontal crash test procedures that are designed to replicate head-on crashes when a vehicle’s front corner collides with an oncoming vehicle’s front corner at a slight angle. NHTSA’s tests use a moving barrier (simulating an oncoming vehicle) hitting the vehicle being tested. The agency has also completed tests to demonstrate the procedures produce consistent, repeatable results. And it says it is developing an advanced frontal crash dummy, called THOR, to potentially make more human-like measurements for predicting injury in the head, chest, hip, and leg areas.

NHTSA says that it and IIHS have been closely monitoring each other’s work in frontal crashes and that future test procedures pursued by the agency will complement the procedures used by IIHS.

Automakers feel pressure to do well on both the IIHS and the government tests, making the IIHS tests “almost a de facto government standard” alongside NHTSA’s, said Tom Baloga, a recently retired engineering vice president for BMW.

IIHS’ tests are “sometimes tougher than NHTSA tests,” says Dan Ryan, Mazda’s public and government affairs chief. But Mazda’s cars as they’re updated are designed to perform well in them, he says. IIHS does “a very good job publicizing the results so a lot of people see them. So it’s become a priority to do well.”

2013 Consumers Report Top 10 Picks – Honda dominates in 3 categories.

Washington — Seven Japanese automakers led by Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. topped Consumer Reports’ annual auto rankings of 26 brands. Fourteenth place was the best that any Detroit automaker fared.

The magazine unveiled its influential 2013 annual auto ratings issue Tuesday in Washington, saying Toyota’s Lexus unit was the top overall brand, with all of its vehicles recommended. It was followed by Subaru and Mazda, which tied for second; and Toyota and Acura, which tied for fourth.

All U.S. brands were in the bottom half of the rankings. Fewer than half were recommended by the magazine, and most were from General Motors Co.’s GMC and Chevrolet brands.

And for the first time since at least 2008, Consumer Reports choose no U.S. vehicles among its top 10 picks. The magazine chose not to pick a top pickup because redesigns of Chrysler’s Dodge Ram — Truck of the Year at the Detroit auto show last month — and GM’s Chevrolet Silverado haven’t been tested.

“The Big Three are in big transition right now,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports. “They are coming out with all of these brand-new models, which are far improved … but when you come out with new models and new powertrains, you end up with reliability woes. And they are struck with some of those old models that were designed years ago that really aren’t up to snuff.”

The highest-ranked U.S. brand was GM’s Cadillac unit, which tied Hyundai for 14th out of 26 brands. Cadillac’s standing came largely on the strength of the CTS. GMC and Chevrolet were in a three-way tie with Volvo for the No. 17 spot; Buick was 21st.

GM spokesman Klaus-Peter Martin said, “While there is more work to do, we believe that we are on a good track as a manufacturer,” he said, noting GM “improved in all of the Consumer Reports reliability and test scores.”

Ford Motor Co.’s Ford brand was ranked No. 23, followed by Lincoln at 24. The Dearborn automaker had just five of 16 models tested that were recommended.

Consumer Reports said Ford’s rankings were dragged down by MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch control interfaces that the magazine says are difficult to use. It also criticized some new manual transmissions and EcoBoost engines that didn’t meet performance expectations.

“That’s unfortunate, because many of Ford’s new models ride and handle as well as European luxury cars costing much more. And Ford’s latest hybrids, the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max, are impressive,” Fisher said.

Ford said other surveys show it is making progress. “J.D. Power and other third-party results validate our own internal metrics showing isolated areas for improvement — primarily with MyFord Touch and PowerShift automatic transmissions,” the automaker said.

The Chrysler brand was in the 22nd spot. Its Jeep and Dodge lines were at the bottom of the rankings, at No. 25 and No. 26. Chrysler had three recommended models. The only recommended Dodge is the Durango SUV; the only recommended Jeep is the Grand Cherokee.

“Although we are moving in the right direction, we’ll be the first to acknowledge that we need to improve faster,” said Doug Betts, senior vice president for quality at Chrysler Group. “We’re aggressively upgrading our product lineup.”

The magazine for the first time ranked individual auto brands rather than the overall automaker. Ratings are based on feedback from 1.2 million owners, Consumer Reports testing and other factors.

Top Cars

Consumer Reports’ 2013 top pics by category:

Midsize sedan Honda Accord
Budget Car Hyundai Elantra
Compact Car Subaru Impreza
Green Car Toyota Prius
Luxury Car Audi A6
Minivan Honda Odyssey
Sports sedan BMW 328i
Sports car Scion FR-S
Sports car Subaru BRZ
Small SUV Honda CR-V
Midsize SUV Toyota Highlander
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