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Lexus tops Consumer Reports brand list, Fiat Chrysler hits bottom

Buick maintains its lead among all domestic brands for the second year in a row, thanks to high reliability and road-test scores.

Lexus has again topped Consumer Reports' overall brand rankings, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' marques continued to sit at the bottom of the list.

The ranking is based on the average predicted reliability and road-test scores across each manufacturer's entire lineup, providing a broad look at experiences with various brands.

The magazine credits very good road-test performance and solid across-the-board reliability scores for keeping Lexus on top. Mazda was second on the list, while Toyota, Audi and Subaru rounded out the top five.

"Buick's improved reliability helped it take top honors among all domestic brands for the second year running," CR noted in a blog post. "In addition, it moved up several spots in our overall rankings, even passing Honda."

The magazine blamed "teething problems" for killing Mercedes-Benz' scores in the latest comparison, with reliability drops for several models and the "low-scoring and unreliable" new CLA.

"Acura and Infiniti also fell from grace. Acura's once-stellar reliability has declined in recent years, and the unimpressive RLX redesign fell short in our tests," the authors added. "Infiniti is an example of how one low-scoring and unreliable model—here, the new Q50—can hurt a carmaker with a small lineup."

The Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Fiat brands all scored near the bottom, thanks to poor reliability and low road-test scores. Fiat Chrysler replaced its quality chief in October, after both Consumer Reports and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criticized the company, however the existing lineup has continued to receive low scores.

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