The Most and Least Satisfying Car Brands in America

Car-buyer satisfaction falls for a third consecutive year. Find out which manufacturer got especially negative marks from drivers.

Car-buyer satisfaction has fallen for a third consecutive year — a year riddled with vehicle recalls.

Satisfaction fell 3.7 percent to a score of 79 out of 100, according to the latest data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, an independent national benchmark of consumer experiences with products and services. This ACSI report is based on a survey of more than 4,200 consumers during the second quarter of this year.

Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder, states in a news release:

“While it is true that all cars are now much better than they were 10 to 20 years ago, it is alarming that so many of them have quality problems. The number of recalls is at an all-time high. This should not happen with modern manufacturing technology and has negative consequences for driver safety, costs and customer satisfaction.”

Lexus, a luxury nameplate manufactured by Toyota, stands out this year as the only car to earn the highest score of 84, putting it atop both the overall and luxury nameplate lists. Among mass-market vehicles, Subaru and Toyota tied for the highest score of 82 (which also was achieved by the luxury nameplate BMW).

This year’s lowest scores go largely to Fiat Chrysler nameplates. On ACSI’s overall vehicle list, four of the six worst-scoring nameplates are manufactured by Fiat Chrysler: Dodge (76), Jeep (75), Chrysler (74) and Fiat (73).

In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, Fiat Chrysler states:

“While we haven’t seen the results of this year’s ACSI survey, Fiat has done very well recently in similar studies that measure customer satisfaction and vehicle quality.

The company also notes that several Fiat models earned top honors in the 2015 J.D. Power U.S. APEAL Study and Strategic Vision’s 20th annual Total Quality Index.

The cars that scored above average are:

Automobiles and light vehicles

  • Lexus (Toyota)
  • Acura (Honda)
  • Lincoln (Ford)
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • BMW
  • Subaru
  • Toyota
  • Hyundai
  • Buick (GM)
  • Cadillac (GM)
  • Honda
  • Mazda
  • Volkswagen

Luxury vehicles

  • Lexus (Toyota)
  • Acura (Honda)
  • Lincoln (Ford)
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • BMW
  • Cadillac (GM)

Mass market vehicles

  • Subaru
  • Toyota
  • Hyundai
  • Buick (GM)
  • Honda
  • Mazda
  • Volkswagen

Did your car’s nameplate make the list? Let us know what you think about which did or didn’t score well — leave a comment below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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