The Best (and Worst) American Car Brands to Watch

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Domestic cars have always had a solid reputation. Most people think of American car brands as being reliable, affordable, and accessible for the average American consumer. For these reasons, brands like Ford and Chevrolet have always topped the list of best-selling domestic cars. Recently, however, other American car brands have begun to take center stage when it comes to the domestic car market.  

Have look at Consumer Reports' 2015 Car Brand Report Cards to see how the different domestic brands are fanning out recently. The report ranked the car manufacturers with an overall score, which is a combination of the brand's "road test" rating and "reliability" rating. The road test score is determined by Consumer Reports' car tests, while the reliability guide provides a predictive indicator of how the car will hold up in the long run. The results might surprise you!

Ratings in order from highest to lowest are:

Buick

Overall Score: 69
Road Test Score: 76
Reliability Rating: High

Buick has always had a reputation for affordable cars that meet broad consumer needs. Part of the company's recent success and high ratings may be attributable to more refined, sleek car designs, like that of the newer Regal models. This is the second year in a row that Buick has ranked highest among domestic brands.

GMC

Overall: 61
Road Test: 73
Reliability: Middle

GMC's reputation for producing professional-grade trucks and working vehicles still holds up. However, the carmaker might be experiencing some competition from Chevy trucks, which are also suitable for working needs. GMC still produces some of the most comfortable work rides though, and many GMC models are excellent choices for company fleet vehicles.

Lincoln

Overall: 59
Road Test: 74
Reliability: Middle

Lincolns are nice for riding to and from formal events, and for people who take a serious approach to driving. However, the company received relatively low scores due to what may be outdated electronics and display features. This is evidence that buyers are focusing more on in-board electronic amenities (especially smartphone interfaces), not just performance and safety features.

Interestingly, Cadillac also received lower overall scores due to inferior touch-screen electronic interface systems (overall 58, road test 77, low reliability rating).

Chevrolet

Overall: 59
Road Test: 71
Reliability: Middle

Chevy cars and trucks are still one of America's favorite line of workhorse vehicles. The Chevrolet line of cars and trucks still provides buyers with a broad range of choices for all types of driving needs. Ratings may be affected on account of mediocre gas mileage, but this will likely be resolved as more and more green and electric options become available.  

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Chrysler

Overall: 54
Road Test: 73
Reliability: Low

Chrysler lands low on this list due to its consistency issues. For instance, some models may be satisfactory one year but end up being sub-par the next. So it can be hard to anticipate what to expect with each year's new model. However, they still put out an impressive variety of vehicles to choose from.

Ford

Overall: 53
Road Test: 72
Reliability: Low

While driving comfort, agile handling, and good drive feel boost Ford's scores, a lack of reliability may be lowering them. For instance, some models might suffer loss of power as the car ages; however, as with any car, proper maintenance and regular check-ups can help keep these issues at bay. Through it all, Ford still remains one of America's favorite manufacturers.

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Dodge

Overall Score: 52
Road Test Score: 71
Reliability Rating:  Low

Dodge vehicles may be sacrificing renewed styling at the cost of unimproved power trains. Thus, while cars may look more futuristic from year to year, it's unclear whether handling, horsepower, and other performance factors are keeping pace with good looks. The Charger and the Durango, however, still pull ahead of the competition in terms of consumer choice.

Jeep

Overall Score: 39
Road Test Score: 59
Reliability Rating:  Lowest rating

Jeep comes in last place among domestic cars, with an overall score of 39. While Jeep still provides the rugged reliance that it's known for, factors like poor fuel economy, lack of comfort, and build design lag keep the overall score down. Despite low scores, customer loyalty remains high, especially among the off-roading crowd.

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Overall, domestic cars and American car brands are performing well; they continue to deliver the reliable, consistent products that American consumers have grown fond of. American cars still prove to be an excellent choice for many buyers, and brand loyalty remains a major selling point for domestic brands.

It's worth noting that Lexus topped the entire list with an overall score of 78, a road test score of 76 and high reliability rankings. Fiat ranked dead last with a score of 32 overall, a road test score of 55 and the lowest reliability score.

Even the best cars need regular maintenance, servicing, and repairs. Stop by Convoy Auto Repair for all your car needs. We service a wide range of vehicles, including domestic, Asian, and European brands. We also have complete car check-up packages to keep your car running reliably and smoothly, day in and day out! Questions? Call us at (858) 217-4279. Need to schedule an appointment? Set it up online.

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