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Consumer Reports 2021 Automotive Report Card

Consumer Reports 2021 Automotive Report Card

Consumer Reports just released their 2021 automotive brand report card, which ranks the brands by their overall score determined by Consumer Reports.  Since you need a membership to Consumer Reports in order to view the rankings, I thought you might appreciate my summary below.

A number of brands saw significant movement from last year.  Big moves can usually be attributed to changes in predicted reliability for individual models within a brand’s lineup.

Consumer Reports determines reliability by asking their members in surveys to report on problems they’ve experienced with their vehicles.

Understanding the Chart

The chart below ranks each brand by their overall score, which is determined by the following factors:

  • Road test results (CR conducts 50 tests and evaluations)
  • Predicted reliability (determined from owner feedback on 17 trouble areas)
  • Owner satisfaction (based on member response if they would buy the same vehicle again)
  • Safety (crash test results plus bonus points if safety equipment is standard)

The chart also shows the change in the ranking from 2020.  This is where you will see the significant changes with certain brands.

Brand Ranking



By Consumer Reports’ grading and testing criteria, a brand must have at least two models tested by CR in order to be ranked.  For this year, they did not test any Fiat, Ram or Maserati models.  Hence, those brands are not represented here.

Of those tested, here are my key observations:

  • Mazda, BMW and Subaru are firmly in the top three with Mazda and BMW making good gains from last year.
  • Honda, Dodge, Chrysler and Buick made nice gains from last year.  The Dodge and Chrysler gains are a surprise, as they have consistently been plagued with quality and reliability issues.
  • Genesis, Kia and Lincoln took some big hits.  I suspect the new models from those brands may be feeling some early growing pains.
  • Other than Buick, the remaining General Motors brands are hovering in the bottom third of the rankings.  Cadillac is showing signs of life, but the quality and design issues of the full-sized pickups and having a crossover that improperly uses the Blazer name are likely causes.  Just kidding about the Blazer.  Not really.
  • Alfa Romeo and Land Rover just can’t seem to get out of the basement.  I read a recent article that stated Land Rover’s CEO feels they lose 100,000 sales/year due to the perception of poor quality and reliability.  Sadly, their owners’ responses seem to take that perception to reality.

Supporting the Hobby

Even though I try to focus on the collector car hobby and/or fun used vehicles, it is important to look to the future as brands that struggle with new vehicle issues can affect the value of older models. Of course, some of you may be considering a new car purchase, so this information may prove helpful.  This is the intent of Vehicle Nanny, and certainly helps nurture the automotive interests of budding car enthusiasts.

In addition to sharing information like this, I am providing ongoing support of automotive programs designed to inspire and educate young car enthusiasts through the sale of items in the Vehicle Nanny Merchandise Store.  All proceeds go directly to the Hagerty Automotive Youth Program, so I hope you can find a fun item for yourself that also supports our budding car enthusiasts.

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