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Auto blogTue, 25 Feb 2014 15:29:00 EST
Consumer Reports has released its 2014 Car Brand Report Cards, with Lexus again reigning at the top and doing so with the same industry-topping score of 79 that it registered in last year's Report Cards. This year, the institute credited its lineup for being "usually quiet, comfortable, and fuel-efficient," noting it's the only brand on the list "to achieve an excellent average overall reliability score." The Car Brand Report Cars list is meant to rank the best all-around vehicles based on CR testing and reliability results tallied by subscribers it surveyed. Each brand included must have sufficient test and reliability data for at least three models, a standard which left out 11 marques including Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover and Porsche.
This 2014 Brand Report Cars edition is the first of a new format in which sub-brands have been broken out from their parent brands, with Acura using this year to move up the leaderboard into second place with a score of 75 for its "reliable, well-finished and somewhat sporty models." The top three was rounded out by Audi, climbing from eighth to third by scoring a 74 for "well-crafted interiors, nice handling and good gas mileage." Audi scored highest in the road-test portion, its improved reliability aiding its rise. The top nine was completed by Subaru, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz.
Ford and Jeep weighed in at the other end of the rankings, Jeep taking the lowest overall score in the road tests and hampered by "a mix of spotty reliability." Ford was sunk by reliability issues with its MyFord Touch infotainment system which consumers found troublesome enough to negate its cars earning "solid test scores" for being "very nice to drive." Perhaps the rumored switch from Microsoft to Blackberry's QNX for the next generation SYNC will help them out. Cadillac's score also took a hit for infotainment reasons after it was the leading US brand last year, the CUE system in the XTS dragging Cadillac to the bottom of all General Motors brands.
The Ford Motor Company has a lot of reasons to celebrate after winning eight categories in this year's Texas Auto Writers Association's annual Truck Rodeo. Most important among them, the Blue Oval's latest 2015 Ford F-150 earned the prestigious Truck of Texas award, ending the Ram 1500's two-year winning streak. The 2015 Lincoln MKC also grabbed the honor as the CUV of Texas, and Ford was named Truck Line of Texas.
FoMoCo even took trophies for best technology with its extensive use of aluminum on its latest F-Series and best commercial vehicle for the new Transit 250. It wasn't a total sweep, though, because the Jeep Grand Cherokee grabbed the title of the SUV of Texas for the fifth straight time.
This year's event put 60 auto writers in 75 pickups, SUVs and crossovers and challenged them to find the best in a plethora of categories. All of the winners are listed below, and scroll down to read the full announcements from the Texas Auto Writers Association and Ford.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is one of the world great automotive gatherings. So, it was the perfect event for Ford to give the refreshed 2015 Focus ST its world debut in front of a loving public. It even surprised us with a new diesel-powered version, as well.
The Blue Oval really put its focus on making the ST a better driver for this refresh. It left its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder alone to still pump out a respectable 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The changes like a retuned front suspension, electric power steering and improved interior made the hot hatch an even better place to spend time behind the wheel.
To prove that the Focus ST is still as potent as ever, Ford set up a one-on-one race up the Goodwood Hill. But instead of putting the two cars side-by-side, former Stig from Top Gear UK, Ben Collins, piloted the real model up the course, and his rival drove the virtual version in Gran Turismo 6. The two hot hatches set off at the same time to see whether reality could beat the virtual world, and the finish was actually extremely close. Scroll down to watch the video and find out the winner of this battle at Goodwood.