Yonkers, New York – A new test of eight Chrysler vehicles by Consumer Reports shows that the automaker’s cars are getting better, but the level of improvement varies considerably.

The most improvement was noted on the Dodge Durango and Charger. Both the V6 and V8 versions of the Durango tested received “Very Good” road test scores, which makes them comparable with the redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer, but they still scored well below such rivals as the Toyota Highlander and Chevrolet Traverse. The Charger Rallye also received a “Very Good” road test score and ranks close to the Ford Taurus and Buick LaCrosse.

The refreshed Town & Country minivan earned a “Very Good” score, and its road test score also improved considerably.

“It’s clear that Chrysler is on the right path, but they still have a long way to go,” said David Champion, senior director of the Auto Test Center. “We see major improvements for models that have had a significant redesign. When Chrysler invests the time and money in a true redesign, the result has been a much more competitive model.”

The testers said they were “unimpressed” by the 200, Avenger, Compass, Journey and Patriot, and said they were mediocre vehicles overall that scored at or near the bottom of their categories, despite some improvements.

According to Consumer Reports’ annual auto surveys, most of Chrysler’s models have suffered from below-averaged reliability, and the company has consistently logged the lowest average road test score in the magazine’s yearly automaker report cards. Over the past three years, only one vehicle, the Dodge Ram 1500, has made the “recommended” list.

All of the tested vehicles were updated by Chrysler for 2011. Consumer Reports has yet to test the updated Chrysler 300C and Dodge Challenger, and the new Fiat 500.

The report will appear in the August issue of the magazine.

Connect with Autos.ca