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Which brand car is best?

Consumer Reports Says This Car Brand is the Best in 2023

While BMW’s design department has faced considerable scrutiny in recent years, that hasn’t stopped the brand from leaving a positive impression on buyers. For 2023, the German automaker is the best car brand according to Consumer Reports. An improved interface and better reliability rankings have helped propel the Bavarian brand to the top spot over Subaru, Mini, and Lexus.

A green 2023 BMW M440 xDrive Convertible drives down a road

Improved iDrive functionality helps propel BMW up the Consumer Reports list

One of the key features helping make BMW the best car brand according to this Consumer Reports list is its revised iDrive infotainment display. As some may remember, the old system included a finicky gesture-based control system. For those who didn’t want to do a Harry Potter impression just to change audio settings, there were several menus to navigate.

The new system ditches those gesture controls for a voice-activated system. In addition, natural language processing allows the system to learn different voices and speech patterns to become more intuitive over time.

Other improvements include simplified menu layouts and the presence of physical buttons. That’s more than we can say for brands like VW and Mercedes-Benz, both of which slipped in the 2023 Consumer Reports ranking.

Owner satisfaction plays a role in making BMW the best car brand according to Consumer Reports

The BMW M5 helped make BMW the best car brand according to Consumer Reports

Hybrids Are More Reliable Than Electric Cars, According to Consumer Reports


Also factored when creating the top automotive brands list are consumer surveys. BMW consistently ranks high for customer satisfaction, proving that recent changes are bringing the brand back to its former glory

Currently, BMW’s lineup includes both high-end luxury vehicles and rowdy sports cars, two things the brand has become known for. Intermixed are affordable and dynamic luxury cars and crossovers that are gaining popularity for their well-rounded appeal. This versatile lineup appeals to a wide range of buyers, and those buyers are loving the experiences provided by the new BMW offerings.

BMW reliability improvements make them a Consumer Reports best car brand

A major factor in Consumer Reports’ top brands ranking is reported reliability. This is an area where BMW has traditionally struggled. However, the brand’s new models earn high marks here as well, helping propel the German outfit from third to first in the overall ranking.

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Subaru falls to second

Subaru owners are incredibly loyal and its vehicles have a reputation for both safety and reliability. However, BMW’s focus on simplified in-car tech have put it above the Japanese automaker in 2023.

In addition, Consumer Reports likes the vast lineup of hybrid and plug-in hybrid options in the BMW family. This is an area where Subaru is currently falling behind, though we expect that to change in the near future.

Other brands making gains

Other notable brands climbing the Consumer Reports list are Tesla and Lincoln. Both of these brands saw marked gains in both reliability and customer satisfaction, helping move them away from the bottom. However, Genesis made the biggest strides forward in 2023. The fresh-faced luxury car brand jumped a whopping 12 spots over its 2022 ranking. They now sit seventh on the Consumer Reports list, just behind Honda and Toyota.

How the Consumer Reports ranking is decided

There are several factors affecting how Consumer Reports ranks automotive brands. Road testing, safety technology, and efficiency are large factors. Also considered are reliability and customer satisfaction, both areas where BMW currently excels.

Scandi style: 8 best Swedish car brands

This way for quiet brilliance. Sweden’s distinctive approach to design — all minimalism and form-follows-function excellence — extends to a striking range of motoring marques. Go-on-forever estates from safety pioneers Volvo and jet fighter influences on Saab saloons led the way, now joined by jaw-dropping supercars of jaw-twisting Koenigsegg and class-leading electric cars from Polestar. Not to mention idealistic electric citycars. And just who is it that produces a huge 16-litre V8? Read on for our pick of the top eight Swedish car brands.

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8 best Swedish car brands


Long the purveyor of super-reliable, safety-first saloons and estates with styling resembling the average house brick, Volvo has reinvented itself as the very epitome of Scandi-cool. Exteriors now boast sharp, stripped-back design with subtle flair and panache, while inside there’s a distinct air of mid-century modern. Volvo’s XC60 and XC90 are among the best of contemporary SUVs. Now owned by Chinese giant Geely.


Spun off from Volvo, and once the name of the company’s racing and tuning arm, Polestar specialises in super-slick, design-led electric cars with the aim of carbon neutral manufacture. First off was the sleek carbon fibre Polestar 1 coupe, followed by the Polestar 2, a good-looking family hatchback that’s won many fans, for the extent of its electric range, its distinctively Swedish clean-cut design and — perhaps most of all — because it’s not a Tesla.

Lynk & Co

Sounds like a jewellery brand, founded in Gothenburg in 2016 as newest, fashion-led Swedish car brand, with major Geely involvement. Sales are mostly in China, with some European countries added to internet-only buying model for blinged-up SUVs and crossovers, such as Lynk & Co 01. Many share Volvo platforms. Subscription plans are aimed at changing the way we use cars. World Touring Car Championship success has raised profile.


Crazy name, crazier cars. For a remarkable 28 years, Koenigsegg have hand-produced a variety of highly distinctive supercars and won a dedicated worldwide fanbase far beyond the tiny production numbers. Current models include the Regera, which the company claims is the world’s fastest hybrid with a top speed of 250 mph, the track-oriented Jesko boasting a 5-litre V8 and the four-seater Gemera hybrid, an unlikely supercar for all the family.


Bespoke maker of sometimes outrageous projects — Audi RS6 DTM put down 900 bhp on ice, Volvo T6 Roadster named Hot Rod of the Year — Caresto have most recently won praise for their gorgeous Caresto P1800 GTe, an all-electric restomod based on 1960s Volvo P1800. Even more adventurously, Caresto’s K2 Supersports Car is a one-off mid-engined hypercar with dramatic design based on unique monocoque in carbon fibre. Koenigsegg watch out.

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Electric mobility for all was the stated aim of Uniti when this far-sighted company was launched in 2016 by entrepreneur Lewis Horne. Futuristic design of fully-electric Uniti One citycar features 1+1 configuration, with passenger sitting behind the driver, rather like on a Renault Twizy. Optimistic plans call for carbon neutral production. Will you see a Uniti One in your local supermarket car park sometime soon? The company remains optimistic.


Okay, not quite a car brand, but who could ignore a massive 16-litre V8? Scania’s huge engines are unlikely to be in a family runabout anytime soon, chances are you’ll have heard them in one of the many Scania trucks, among the world’s most highly regarded. If you’re a regular on the buses you might also have had the pleasure of a Scania chassis, on luxury coaches made with Dutch firm Van Hool. And perhaps consider that V8 for your next dragster?


We weren’t going to get through our appreciation of Sweden’s best motoring marques without Saab, even if this fine brand is, after repeated financial crises, currently dormant. Roots were in aircraft manufacture — where the badge lives on — and that’s reflected in cockpit style interiors of classic Saab 900s of the 1990s, GM ownership led to less desirable rebodied Vauxhalls, adventurous 2013 edition of Saab 9-3 was final model, can we be the first to hope for a resuscitation, please?

Who Makes the Best Cars? Subaru Is Now The Top Mainstream Brand Winner

Which car brand makes the best cars? According to Consumer Reports, Subaru is now the best non-luxury automaker in 2023. Check out the new ranking report here.

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Who makes the best cars you can buy today? A new ranking from Consumer Reports now has Subaru as the best mainstream (non-luxury) lineup of vehicles for 2023. Last year, Subaru was the best brand overall among all automakers. This year, Subaru dropped a spot, and BMW is now the best overall, but Subaru won the best mainstream car brand.

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Subaru is still tops in the Consumer Reports annual report card, ranking thirty-two car brands to claim the best mainstream brand title in 2023. Subaru scores ahead of its main rivals Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundais, and even luxury brand Lexus.

2023 Subaru Forester

photo credit: Patrick Subaru

Subaru has a top mainstream brand score of 79, followed by Mini (79), Honda (77), Toyota (76), Mazda (75), Kia (73), Hyundai (71), Dodge (68), Volkswagen (64), and Nissan (63) round out the top 10 best car brands.

What do the scores tell new car shoppers?

Each car brand’s overall score for individual models is based on four key factors: the road test, reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety. Subaru’s lineup has eight Consumer Reports recommended models now. Top picks are the 2023 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Ascent, Impreza, Legacy, BRZ, and Solterra.

2023 Subaru Forester

photo credit: Schumacher Subaru

The 2023 Forester gets even more honors and is a top-10 car of 2023 and the best overall in its small SUV class. You can read the complete report here.

CR says, «This is Forester’s 10th consecutive appearance as a Top Pick, underscoring how well this small SUV has honed its winning formula over time. Key to its appeal is the basic design, crafted to provide solid crash protection, a spacious cabin, a generous cargo area, and terrific outward visibility. The shape provides excellent access, with tall, wide-opening doors and hip-height seats. The controls are simple to use and easy to reach. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder and CVT yield 28 mpg, among the best in its class. Handling is responsive, and the ride is supple. In addition, Subaru’s EyeSight suite of safety features benefits from a wider field of view and updated software for 2023.»

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What sets the Subaru brand apart?

In addition to getting the highest road test scores, reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety, all Subaru vehicles come standard with the brand’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive. In addition, the Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and Ascent have 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the SUVs have X-Mode for additional all-weather performance, and Forester and Outback now have the rugged Wilderness trim levels for outdoor enthusiasts.

What do owners say?

Seventy-nine percent of 2023 Forester owners answered «definitely yes» to the question asked by the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey «Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had to do it all over again?» Seventy percent of 2023 Outback owners said they would buy the exact vehicle again.

In addition to getting the highest road-test scores, reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety, Subaru vehicles are affordable, get the best fuel efficiency of any gas-powered lineup, and retain their value better than other brands. As a result, the 2023 Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and other all-wheel-drive models help the automaker score the number one mainstream car brand in the 2023 Consumer Reports annual report card of «Which Car Brands Make the Best Vehicles?»

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report, where he covers all of the Japanese automaker’s models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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