Consumer Reports best cars of 2012

February 28, 2012 1:32:35 PM PST
Walking into a Subaru dealership, you definitely have some good cars to choose from.

Subaru now tops Consumer Reports' list of "who makes the best cars", replacing Honda.

"Subaru's Impreza is our Top Pick in small cars. And we now recommend all of the Subarus we've tested," said Rik Paul.

That includes the Outback, Forester, and Legacy.

Each year Consumer Reports gives automakers a "report card," grading them on reliability and performance.

"For performance, we conduct more than 50 tests on every car at our Auto Track - including braking and emergency handling," adds Paul.

Consumer Reports named Mazda the second best automaker, a dramatic improvement. Its reliability has gotten better. And the Mazda 3, along with other Mazda's, are fun to drive.

Toyota maintains its third place spot, with quality cars like the redesigned Camry.

Honda has slipped to fourth place. Its redesigned Civic and Odyssey are disappointments.

"Honda has cut costs on some recently redesigned models, sometimes getting rid of handy features and using cheaper materials. Sometimes their braking and handling performance has also gone down," says Paul.

Chrysler is still in last place but scoring higher than before.

"We've seen big improvements in many of Chrysler's redesigned models, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300. Chrysler's score could go up even further as it revamps its cars," adds Paul.

General Motors and Ford did better in Consumer Reports' auto scorecard than Chrysler, but only slightly. Out of 13 carmakers, Ford came in tenth and General Motors twelfth.

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