Japanese cars get top marks

WASHINGTON — Consumer Reports has named Japanese automakers Honda, Subaru and Toyota as the best all-around car makers for the third year in a row in its annual auto issue.

The influential magazine said Monday that Ford Motor Co. made the largest year-to-year gain in its review. The ratings are based on the magazine’s average road tests and predicted reliability scores and are closely watched by car buyers.

Honda Motor Co. had the best overall score of 74 out of 100 points in the Consumer Reports’ ranking. Honda was followed by Subaru with 73 points and Toyota Motor Corp. with 71 points. Volvo was fourth with 68 points, followed closely by Ford and Hyundai.

Chrysler Group LLC had the worst ranking among the car makers with 43 points. Mercedes-Benz, BMW and General Motors were also near the bottom.

In its ranking of carmakers, Consumer Reports said Honda had the best reliability record of any company and it recommended about three-quarters of the Honda vehicles it has tested. Subaru had the highest road-test score and the magazine credited the company for making dependable all-wheel-drive vehicles with simple controls.

Toyota, which has dealt with massive safety recalls, fared well in the magazine’s top picks for 2011 across 10 different vehicle segments. Toyota had the most with three picks (RAV4 small SUV, Sienna minivan and Prius hybrid). The magazine also recognized the Honda Fit budget car, Hyundai Elantra small car, Nissan Altima family sedan, Kia Sorento family SUV, Ford Mustang sports car, Infiniti G37 sports sedan and Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck.

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