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Ford Named Most Improved Carmaker by Consumer Reports

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. improved the most since last year in Consumer Reports’s annual automaker rankings, bolstered by reliability for resale value, the magazine said.

Ford received 67 points out of 100, according to results released today at the National Press Club in Washington. It didn’t provide a year-earlier comparison. Consumer Reports commended the manufacturer for the amount of room inside its vehicles, and for how they accelerate and ride.

The company’s Mustang was the No. 1 sports-car pick, placing a U.S. manufacturer at the top of that list for the first time in six years. Top picks in other categories include Honda Motor Co.’s Fit for the new category of budget cars, Hyundai Motor Co.’s Elantra for small cars and Nissan Motor Co.’s Altima for family sedans for the second year.

“Ford has really developed Mustang into a well-designed car,” Rik Paul, the magazine’s auto editor, said at a press conference. “It’s not only a good sports car, but it’s a good daily drive.”

Ford, based in Dearborn, Michigan, is the only major U.S. automaker that didn’t receive a government bailout. It ranked fifth overall following Honda, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd’s Subaru unit, Toyota Motor Corp. and Volvo Cars, the Swedish automaker that Ford sold to China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. last year.

Ford’s sales analyst George Pipas said the automaker has commanded higher prices for its vehicles so far this year, possibly at the cost of market share. The automaker has been selling vehicles for $700 to $800 more than a year earlier as industrywide prices have remained unchanged, he said, saying it’s a “good bet” Ford has lost U.S. market share by not competing on price.

Prius, RAV4

Toyota, which last week recalled 2.17 million vehicles for floor mats that may jam accelerator pedals, claimed three of the 10 top picks, the most of any automaker. Toyota’s RAV4 is the top small sport-utility vehicle, its Prius is the top environmentally friendly car for the eighth consecutive year, and its Sienna is the top family hauler.

Toyota’s Prius scored the best for fuel economy at an average 44 miles per gallon. Five vehicles -- the Cadillac Escalade, the Ford Expedition EL Eddie Bauer, the Lincoln Navigator Ultimate, the Nissan Armada SV and the Nissan Titan SV -- tied for the worst with 13 mpg.

The rankings by Yonkers, New York-based Consumer Reports influence car buyers and are published in the magazine’s annual auto issue.

Consumer Reports, published by Consumers Union, uses vehicle owner reliability surveys from 1.3 million people, government and insurance-industry crash tests and its own evaluations of how vehicles function for its ratings.

Consumer Reports Top 10 Vehicles By Category:

Budget Car: Honda Fit

Small Car: Hyundai Elantra

Family Sedan: Nissan Altima

Small SUV: Toyota RAV4

Green Car: Toyota Prius

Family SUV: Kia Sorento

Sporty Car: Ford Mustang

Sports Sedan: Infiniti G37

Family Hauler: Toyota Sienna

Pickup Truck: Chevrolet Avalanche

Highest and lowest ratings in Consumer Reports’ road tests, by
category:

Full-sized pickups:
Best: Chevrolet Avalanche LT. Worst: Nissan Titan SV

Compact Pickups:
Best: Honda Ridgeline RTS. Worst: Ford Ranger XLT

Large SUVs:
Best: Ford Flex Limited. Worst: GMC Yukon Hybrid

Luxury SUVs:
Best: Lexus RX 450h. Worst: Cadillac Escalade

Midsized SUVs:
Best: Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited. Worst: Jeep Wrangler
Unlimited Sahara

Small SUVs:
Best: Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited. Worst: Jeep Liberty Sport

Compact Sporty SUVs:
Best: Audi Q5 Premium Plus. Worst: Land Rover LR2 SE

Minivans:
Best: Honda Odyssey EX-L. Worst: Toyota Sienna LE

Four-Seat Convertibles:
Best: Volkswagen Eos Lux. Worst: Mitsubishi Eclipse GT

Sports Cars, Two-Seat and Convertibles:
Best: Porsche Boxter. Worst: Lotus Elise

Sports Cars, Sporty:
Best: Volkswagen GTI. Worst: Mitsubishi Eclipse GS

Sports Cars, High-Performance:
Best: BMW 135i. Worst: Dodge Challenger R/T

Sports Cars, High-End Best:
Porsche 911 Carrera S. Worst: Jaguar XK
Convertible

Sedans, Ultraluxury:
Best: Lexus LS 460L. Worst: Mercedes-Benz CLS500

Sedans, Luxury:
Best: Infiniti M37. Worst: Volvo S80 3.2

Sedans, Upscale:
Best: Hyundai Genesis 3.8. Worst: Buick LaCrosse CX

Sedans, Compact Sport:
Best: Infiniti G37 Journey. Worst: Saab 9-3 2.0T

Sedans, Family:
Best: Nissan Altima 3.5 SR. Worst: Chevrolet Impala LT

Sedans, Family Entry-Level:
Best: Nissan Altima 2.5 S. Worst: Mitsubishi Galant ES

Sedans, Small:
Best: Hyundai Elantra GLS. Worst: Volkswagen Jetta SE

Sedans, Subcompact:
Best: Nissan Versa 1.8 S. Worst: Chevrolet Aveo 12:24:22 PM

Wagons:
Best: Mazda5 Grand Touring. Worst: BMW 325xi

Hatchbacks/Wagons, Small:
Best: Volkswagen Golf TDI. Worst: Dodge Caliber SXY

Hatchbacks, Subcompact:
Best: Honda Fit Sport. Worst: Smart ForTwo Passion

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

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