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Lexus Tops Consumer Reports Brand Ratings

Consumer Reports has bestowed its highest rating on Toyota Motor Co.’s Lexus unit. The magazine’s 2013 Car Brand Report Cards describe Lexus vehicles as quiet, plush, fuel efficient and reliable.

Consumer Reports has bestowed its highest rating on Toyota Motor Co.’s Lexus unit. The magazine’s 2013 Car Brand Report Cards describe Lexus vehicles as quiet, plush, fuel efficient and reliable.

CR ranks marques based on vehicle reliability and performance in its road test and awards the highest scores to the best. The magazine didn’t rate seven smaller makes, including Fiat, Jaguar, Porsche and Ram, for lack of adequate reliability data.

CR notes that Lexus, which scored 79, wasn’t held back by its heavy use of such technologies as hybrid drivetrains and complicated infotainment systems. Hard-to-use and malfunctioning telematics dragged down the ratings of the Ford (51) and Lincoln (50) brands this year.

The rest of the top 10 consisted of seven more Japanese marques (rated 76 to 70) and two German makes (70-69). Other European brands ranked between 64 and 56.

Among domestic carmakers, General Motors’ makes (63-54) fared best. Chrysler Group’s namesake marque scored 52, but Dodge (46) and Jeep (47) were lowest in the rankings.

Year-over-year comparisons are difficult because CR graded individual brands in 2013 after years of combining results by manufacturer. But the magazine’s Top Picks list, which selects the best model in each of 10 vehicle categories, offers some insights.

Honda returned to the magazine’s Top Picks list, which selects the best model in each of 10 vehicle categories, after a one-year absence. Honda tied with Toyota Group with three top-rated models each.

Subaru earned two top picks, including a tie with Honda for best sporty car. Audi, BMW, Subaru and Hyundai each had one best-in-category model.