All-electric Chevy Bolt honored in Consumer Reports rankings

The all-electric Chevrolet Bolt was named one of the top 10 vehicles of this year in Consumer Reports' annual car rankings, released Thursday. However, Chevrolet and most other Detroit-based names finished in the bottom half of the ranking of 34 automotive brands.

The Bolt—first sold as a 2017 model—was honored in part for being the first affordable all-electric car with sufficient range to allay worries about running out of battery power between charging stations. 

"We put the Bolt through our battery of rigorous tests and drove it thousands of miles both at our test track and on public roads," said Jake Fisher, CR director of automotive testing. "With the ability to go up to 250 miles on a charge, the Bolt is a good option for someone who might never have considered an EV before."

The CR top 10 featured a best pick in each of 10 categories, including "compact green car," topped by the Bolt. Of the 10 categories, Toyota had four winners, particularly because of superior reliability and advanced safety equipment, the CR engineers said.

Chevrolet was the only other brand with more than one winner. In addition to the Bolt, Impala won the large sedan category.

To make the top 10 list, a vehicle must excel in the magazine's road testing, have strong predicted reliability and owner satisfaction and strong safety ratings. The full list of winners is in Consumer Reports' April auto issue. Models that are not in the top 10 can still make the CR recommended list, and the number of recommended vehicles within a company figures into its overall brand rankings.

Here is a closer look at the Consumer Reports ranking of brands:

  • Genesis, the luxury brand of Hyundai just begun in 2015, edged out Audi for the top spot. However, CR noted that with eight vehicles to only two for Genesis, Audi had a tougher achievement to make every one of its vehicles a recommended model.
  • Following Audi, BMW, Lexus and Porsche rounded out the top five, repeating their perennial high placement in these rankings.
  • Chrysler jumped four spots from last year, to number 11. That made it the highest Detroit-based brand with the others all at 17 or below. CR said much of the Chrysler gain resulted from the reliability and owner satisfaction of the Pacifica minivan.
  • Jeep, which, like Chrysler, is a brand of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, finished 33rd out of 34. Jeep was one of 10 brands that had none of its vehicles make the recommended list.

For more, subscribers can access the full list of brand rankings on Consumers Reports' website.  

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    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.