Ford F-150 top pickup, Subaru top brand in Consumer Reports rankings

Keith Laing
The Detroit News
The Ford F-150 is the only vehicle from a Detroit carmaker to be ranked top in its class by Consumer Reports.

Washington — The Ford F-150 is the only vehicle made by a Detroit manufacturer to rank top in its vehicle class in Consumer Reports’ annual Top Picks list, an influential designation for new-car shoppers. 

Subaru was the No. 1 brand overall. Only one U.S. brand — Lincoln at No. 8 — ranked in the Top 10. 

Japanese carmaker Toyota dominated the list with its models taking four of the 10 spots on the magazine's top-in-class list. Subaru took home honors in two classes. 

The organization also took away the recommended-buy designation for the Tesla Model 3 due to declining reliability. 

The magazine said the F-150 earned top marks in the highly competitive full-size pickup category, beating out tough competition from the recently redesigned Chevrolet and Dodge Ram offerings.

"It continues to be king of the pickup mountain, despite tougher competition from the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500," Consumer Reports Auto Editor Patrick Olsen, said, nothing 2019 was the second straight year and third time in four years the F-150 made the magazine's list. 

No other models from Detroit carmakers topped a class list.

Other vehicles ranked tops in their category were the Subaru Ascent, Audi A4, Toyota Yaris, Toyota Camry hybrid, Hyundai Kona, Toyota Avalon hybrid, Toyota Prius, BMW X5 and Subaru Forester. 

Consumer Reports said Subaru's overall performance in the brand rankings was 
boosted by the Ascent (an all-new model), Crosstrek and Forester SUVs sitting atop their respective categories.

"For the first time this year, number one is Subaru," Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing, said. "That does come as a bit of a surprise, because often you see very expensive, luxurious carmakers.

"Now we don't take into account value here," Fisher continued. "We are not weighting it because Subaru makes cheaper cars. But when actually you look at the reliability, when you at the owner satisfaction, when you look at how these cars test, they consistently do very well." 

In addition to the Tesla Model 3, Consumer Reports said it is no longer recommending the Chrysler 300, Acura RDX, Dodge Charger, BMW 5 Series or Volkswagen Tiguan  due to declining reliability. "All of these vehicles when we looked at the data that we got over the summer, we incorporated that, we saw a deterioration in terms of reliability," Fisher said. 

Outside of the top 10, Buick was the highest-ranking U.S. brand in 18th place. Tesla ranked 19th in the brand rankings, followed by Ford at 20, Chrysler at 22, Chevrolet at 24 and Dodge at 25. GMC was 27th and Jeep 29th. 

Consumer Reports said Chrysler and Tesla, which each fell 11 spots in the brand rankings since last year, were hurt by reliability issues. 

"Chrysler was hurt by reports from owners about problems with the in-car electronics
and transmissions in both the 300 sedan and Pacifica minivan," the magazine said. "Reliability was also an issue for Tesla, which was dragged down as the Model 3
dropped from average to below-average reliability. Model 3 owners told us that
problem areas included loose body trim and glass defects." 

A Fiat Chrysler spokesperson said in a statement: "We address all issues we see in our quality indicators, and the issues referenced by Consumer Reports have already been identified and resolved."

Fisher said Consumer Reports only considered vehicles that offer automatic emergency-braking as a standard feature for its top picks this year. 

"It's absolutely true that some of the manufacturers are now to be ineligible next year as we announce top picks," he said. "I'll give you an example, to be perfectly honest. The Subaru Impreza would likely have been a top pick if they had made that equipment standard. It's not standard. So the message and the request if you want to be considered to be a top pick next year, make that standard. So that hopefully will change the market and change some of these decisions." 

The new Ascent helped boost Subaru to  top overall brand in the annual Consumer Reports rankings.

Top picks

Midsize SUV: Subaru Ascent 

Compact luxury Car: Audi A4

Subcompact car: Toyota Yaris 

Midsize car: Toyota Camry hybrid 

Subcompact SUV: Hyundai Kona 

Large car: Toyota Avalon hybrid 

Hybrid/electric Car: Toyota Prius 

Full-size pickup: Ford F-150

Luxury SUV: BMX X5

Compact SUV: Subaru Forester 

Brand ratings

1. Subaru

2. Genesis 

3. Porsche 

4. Audi

5. Lexus 

6. Mazda

7. BMW

8. Lincoln

9. Toyota

10. Hyundai 

11. Volkswagen

12. Kia 

13. Honda 

14. Infiniti 

15. Mini 

16. Acura

17. Mercedes-Benz 

18. Buick 

19. Tesla

20. Ford 

21. Nissan 

22. Chrysler 

23. Volvo 

24. Chevrolet 

25. Dodge 

26. Cadillac 

27. GMC 

28. Alfa Romeo 

29. Jeep 

30. Mitsubishi 

31. Land Rover 

32. Jaguar 

33. Fiat

(202) 662-8735

Twitter: @Keith_Laing