What’s the best car brand? That’s a mighty subjective question, but Consumer Reports aimed to once again pin down a data-driven response with results from its latest owner satisfaction survey. Once again, Tesla comes out on top and leads the pack among brands owners like the most. At the tail end of the pack is Infiniti, which didn’t receive glowing remarks from owners.
To understand the rankings, we need to first understand how CR came to its results. The publication derived the data from its owner satisfaction survey based on a few questions put to owners of 369,000 vehicle owners from the listed brands. The most important question asked of owners was, “Would they buy their vehicle again, given the chance?” Those responses from the various models sold under a brand then combine for a score, which CR further ranks based on driving, comfort, value, in-car electronics and cabin storage.
Tesla comes in first with an overall score of 88 out of 100, though Lincoln surprised us, with a second place showing and a score of 79. Ram ties for third with 76 points with cousin Chrysler, while Subaru and Hyundai tie for fourth with 75 points. Porsche rounds out the top five with 74 points.
It’s also important to recognize some brands sell way more models than others. In other words, more owners have the chance to drag down a brand like, say, Toyota since it sells more models than Tesla. For example, Hyundai sells more than five different models, but the study only received enough responses to count five specific cars in the data. Who knows how more responses would affect the rankings, so it’s best to just view this information without drawing major conclusions.
CR needed to receive a minimum number of responses from owners of a brand and specific models or they didn’t count. That’s why a number of marques, including Genesis, Acura, Land Rover and others are MIA in this study.
However, those data restrictions can also paint a pretty bleak picture. Take Cadillac and Infiniti, for example. CR only received enough responses to include two Cadillac models and three Infinitis. Yet, even with only a few cars, they rank at the bottom with scores of 59 and 48 points, respectively. In other words, there’s an opportunity for fewer models included to boost their ranking, but the majority of responses for the few cars was pretty meh.