The automotive industry is notoriously tough. Considering that an automotive purchase is among a consumer’s most important buys, are purchases that are high-impact and high-involvement, and that there are hundreds of different choices, each sale is important.
Manufacturers compete for not only sales, but also for top rankings by organizations such as J.D. Powers, Car & Driver, and Edmund. Among the most popular ranking reports on vehicles is the one done for consumers by independent testing organization, Consumer Reports.
To compile the report, the team at Consumer Reports test drives and evaluates multiple attributes of more than 250 different vehicles. To be a top tier pick, the cars must score well in road tests, crash tests, owner satisfaction, and have better predicted reliability. Key safety features are also important. Top picks must have forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. These are safety features which have been proven to save lives.
This year six Japanese brands are among the top-10: Subaru, Mazda, BMW, Honda, Lexus, Audi, Porsche, Mini, Toyota, and Infiniti.
- Best overall, best overall mainstream, best road test score mainstream, and best road test score overall: Subaru
- Best reliability: Mazda
- Best American overall: Buick
- Worst overall: Jeep
- Worst road test score: Mitsubishi
The top EV pick this year is the electric Ford Mustang Mach-E, a first-year electric vehicle with a base price of $44,000. The Ford EV beat out Tesla as being more reliable, practical, quieter, and less complicated than Tesla Model 3.
Among U.S. manufacturers are Buick as the highest-charting brand (in 11th place), followed by Chrysler (13th), Dodge (16th). Dead last on the list was Jeep which had significant reliability issues with its Gladiator pickup truck.
This year’s winners by category include:
- Electric vehicle: Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Small SUV: Subaru Forester
- Midsized sedan: Honda Accord
- Compact pickup truck: Honda Ridgeline
- Subcompact SUV: Nissan Rogue Sport
- Two-row SUV: Toyota RAV4 Prime
- Three-row SUV: Kia Telluride
- Luxury midsized SUV: Lexus RX
- Small car: Nissan Sentra
- Hybrid: Toyota Prius
Did your vehicle make the list?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Show Consumer Reports’ rankings: https://www.consumerreports.org/media-room/press-releases/2022/02/mainstream-auto-brands-beat-luxury-names-in-cr-2022-rankings/
- Show the video of car rankings: https://youtu.be/wQ_fHOmo0aY
- Discuss how companies can use the report in their marketing.
- What should companies that didn’t make the top list do to promote their vehicles?
- Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
- Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for a category of automobiles.
Source: Best cars of the year: 10 top picks of 2022. Consumer Reports.