Consumer Reports: Honda makes the best cars

Foreign cares rate highly. Detroit car companies fare poorly in magazine's annual Automaker Report Cards.

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By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer

2008_honda_accord.03.jpg
Honda makes the best cars, on average, according to Consumer Reports. Shown here is its Accord sedan.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The best cars you can buy in the United States are made by Honda, according to Consumer Reports. The is the second year in a row the Japanese automaker has been given the distinction.

Honda (HMA) cars and trucks scored an overage of 78 out of a possible 100 points in Consumer Reports' various tests. Toyota (TM) came in second with 75 points followed by BMW, Mazda, Nissan and Volkswagen. (After rounding, Nissan and Volkswagen tied with 71 points.)

"Honda earned the top score because it builds cars that are well-rounded, have excellent reliability and perform very well," the magazine, published by the not-for-profit Consumers Union, said in an announcement.

The overall score for each carmaker is based on the average score of all its vehicles tested by the magazine, and average predicted reliability scores based on the magazine's annual surveys.

The score includes all car brands made by that company. Honda's score would include Acura and Toyota's score would include Lexus, for example. While Ford owns a controlling interest in Mazda, that brand was ranked separately since it's not a fully-owned part of Ford Motor Co.

Detroit car companies had among the lowest overall scores, but there were significant gains, the magazine said. The percentage of Ford (F, Fortune 500) vehicles to earn the magazine's recommendation jumped to 64% this year from 54% last year. 93% of Ford's vehicles have shown average or better reliability in Consumer Reports' owner surveys, a large increase from 63% last year.

General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) didn't fare as well. While the average test score of GM products rose four points to 61, the percentage of vehicles recommended dropped 6%. While many newer models, such as the company's new three-row SUVs, the Cadillac CTS and the Chevrolet Silverado have done well in testing, GM is still burdened by older models that are sub-par, the magazine said.

Chrysler has seen the percentage of its vehicles Consumer Reports recommends drop to just 14 compared to 21% last year. The magazine blamed noisy, weak engines, poor interiors, cramped seating and bad visibility in recently introduced Chrysler products.

Consumer Reports does not accept paid advertising and purchases all of the vehicles it tests anonymously from local retail auto dealers. To top of page

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