Yonkers, New York – Honda and Subaru have tied for building the best all-around vehicles for American drivers, according to a new report by Consumer Reports, while Chrysler stayed at the opposite end and fared worse than last year.

The report, which will be published in the April issue of Consumer Reports magazine, marks the fourth consecutive year that Honda has topped the annual list.

Honda and Subaru tied with an overall score of 77 out of 100 points. Toyota followed at 74, with recommendations for eight recalled Toyota models temporarily suspended by the magazine. Hyundai was third at 73, while Nissan and Volkswagen tied at 72.

Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia showed the most dramatic improvement, jumping to fourth place from ninth last year. The overall score is based on the average of each automaker’s overall scores in Consumer Reports’ road tests and their annual predicted reliability ratings from the Annual Auto Survey. Manufacturers are only rated if five or more of their vehicles were tested.

The magazine said that Honda continues to make many of the best all-around vehicles and overall, Honda and Acura models are the most reliable in the predictability ratings, but the most recent models from Honda have not shown the same dedication to interior quality and fuel economy that earlier models did. Despite its outstanding reliability, Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend the new Insight because of sub-par emergency handling and a compromised rear seat.

The redesigned 2010 Legacy and Outback models raised Subaru’s overall test score from 78 points to 81, helping to contribute to its tie with Honda, but the magazine no longer recommends the Impreza WRX because subscribers reported a relatively high number of problems in the latest survey, including transmission troubles. Last year, every Subaru model was recommended.

The magazine said that the past year was especially rough for American automakers, but there is good news. The reliability of some Ford models now rivals competitors from Honda and Toyota, but in testing, Ford vehicles were not always among the best performers, with only the Flex and Fusion receiving high scores. This year, 75 per cent of Ford models tested were “recommended,” up from 70 per cent last year.

New models from General Motors rank among the best in testing, although overall reliability still lags behind most of the competition, even among some of the new models. GM vehicles that scored well in testing include the Buick Enclave and LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS, GMC Acadia, and Chevrolet Equinox, Corvette, Malibu and Traverse.

Chrysler was the only automaker to drop from last year in all measures, with the magazine reporting noisy, inefficient and unrefined powertrains, sub-par interiors and poor visibility. The Ram 1500 pickup is the only Chrysler model that is recommended.

European automakers earned the highest average test scores for their ride and handling, comfortable seats, and relatively good fuel economy, but have lagged in reliability in recent years. That has begun to change, with several models from Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, Saab and Volvo attaining average or better predicted reliability.

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