Sizzling Subaru, whose 15 percent U.S. sales increase was the biggest for any brand last year, got more good news last week -- this time from Consumer Reports. Meanwhile, Chrysler Group, the biggest sales loser last year among car groups, was walloped by the magazine.
Subaru and Honda tied as class leaders in the magazine's Automaker Report Cards, published in Consumer Reports' 2010 annual auto issue. Honda had earned the top rating by itself in the three previous years. Last year, Subaru was second.
The overall score for each automaker is based on the average of its vehicles' overall scores in road tests and their average predicted-reliability ratings from Consumer Reports' annual auto survey.
The magazine said that while Honda and Acura models "are the most reliable vehicles in Consumer Reports' predicted-reliability ratings," the most recent models from Honda "have not shown the same dedication to interior quality and fuel economy that earlier models did." Subaru tied Honda on the strength of its redesigned 2010 Legacy sedan and Outback wagon.
Toyota finished third, even though the magazine suspended ratings for eight of its vehicles because of recent recalls. Hyundai was fourth and Nissan and Volkswagen tied for fifth.
Chrysler ranked at the bottom, the only automaker to drop in all measures used by Consumer Reports to assess vehicles.
The magazine said most Chrysler models "have noisy, inefficient, unrefined powertrains; subpar interiors; and poor visibility."