Consumer Reports has just published its annual Auto Issue and it has named Subaru as the top carmaker for 2012, knocking down four-year leader Honda to fourth place--behind Mazda and Toyota. This is the first time Subaru topped what Consumer Reports calls as its annual report card for car companies.
According to Consumer Reports, Subaru's score of 75--two points higher than what it earned in 2011--reflects better test scores for its redesigned models like the Impreza, Legacy and Outback over the last few years. The all-new Impreza, which Consumer Reports recently tested, also topped the small-sedan class and is the publication's 'Top Pick' for that category.
In contrast, Consumer Reports claims that Honda was affected by the redesign of several of its vehicles like the Civic and Odyssey "that didn't measure up to their predecessors."
Of the 13 manufacturers tested by Consumer Reports, Mazda showed the most dramatic improvement as it climbed to second place from last year's seventh, with its overall score improving by nine points.
On the opposite end of the stick is Ford, which dropped from fifth place in 2011 to 10th this year. According to the publication, although Ford's score improved by two points over last year's, the subpar reliability of some of its new models--due largely to its MyFord Touch infotainment system and Power-Shift automatic transmission--hurts the American carmaker's ranking.
Toyota remained in the top three for the fifth straight year, thanks to its consistent above-average reliability. Consumer Reports claimed, however, that this standing might not be for long if Toyota continues to cut corners to increase profits--something that's been observed to be practiced by other Japanese carmakers.
"While Japanese automakers still hold the top five spots, their lead is shrinking. In some of Honda's and Toyota's recently redesigned models, cost-cutting has become more noticeable," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ automotive test center.