By Eric Beech
WASHINGTON Feb 25 U.S. electric luxury car
Tesla Model S was named by Consumer Reports magazine on Tuesday
as its overall top pick for 2014, while Japanese models took
just five of the top 10 spots, their worst showing in the
18-year history of the annual rankings.
The Ram 1500 was named the top pickup truck, the first time
a Chrysler model has cracked the top picks list since 1998.
In a separate ranking of brands, however, Detroit automakers had
the four lowest scores of 23 brands rated.
South Korean automaker Hyundai, and German
brands BMW and Volkswagen's Audi had
models topping the 10 Consumer Reports vehicle categories.
"The competition in the marketplace has grown fierce. There
was a time when a handful of brands dominated our top picks
list, but in recent years we've seen a more diverse group make
the cut," Rik Paul, Consumer Reports' automotive editor, said in
The top picks were chosen from more than 260 vehicles tested
by Consumer Reports for reliability, safety and road-test
The battery-powered Tesla Model S was chosen best overall
for its "exceptional performance and its many impressive
technological innovations," Consumer Reports said, noting it was
"pricey" at $89,650.
California-based Tesla Motors Inc, which was
founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2003, said it
expects to deliver about 35,000 of the model this year. By
comparison, the best-selling car in the United States last year,
the Toyota Camry, sold about 408,000 in 2013.
Consumer Reports hasn't named a best overall since a Lexus
model took the top honors in 2010.
Honda and Subaru were the only automakers
with more than one model in this year's top picks. Honda's
Accord won best midsize sedan, and its Odyssey was named top
minivan. The best compact car went to Subaru's Impreza, and its
Forester model was picked as the top small SUV.
Toyota's Prius hybrid, with its 44 miles-per-gallon
overall fuel efficiency, was named best green car for the 11th
DETROIT BRANDS WORST
The Audi A6 took top honors in the luxury car rankings for
the second year in a row, while the BMW 328i was chosen best
sports sedan, also for a second straight year.
Japanese automakers, which historically have taken more than
70 percent of the top picks, managed to win only five of the 10
categories, the worst showing since Consumer Reports began
publishing the list in 1997.
Consumer Reports also released its annual report card on car
brands. It rates each manufacturer's individual brands, with a
composite score based on reliability and road testing.
Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand, came out on top for the second
straight year, with a score of 79. Honda's Acura was second with
75, followed by Audi with 74.
Consumer Reports said of Lexus: "Its models are usually
quiet, comfortable, and fuel efficient, and they're among the
most reliable cars made."
Subaru and Toyota tied for the fourth spot. Mazda, Honda,
Infiniti, Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz and BMW rounded
out the top 10.
Detroit-based manufacturers fared poorly in this ranking,
with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Jeep tying Ford for
worst of the 23 brands listed. Consumer Reports said both Jeep
and Ford models had reliability problems.
Fiat Chrysler's Dodge and General Motors Co's
Cadillac were also among the four lowest-scoring brands.
GM's Buick and GMC tied for 12th, the highest rating for
Consumer Reports said it didn't have brand report cards for
Fiat, Tata Motors Ltd's Jaguar and Land Rover brands,
Ford's Lincoln, BMW's Mini, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Fiat Chrysler's
Ram, Toyota's Scion, Daimler's Smart and Tesla because of a lack