2013 American Top Picks: The best cars born in the USA
Following annual tradition, we present the 2013 American Top Picks—the best choices for the car buyer who wants to buy from an American brand.
While this year's "official" Top Pick list includes no models from domestic brands, it does have several vehicles built in the United States. But we recognize that many shoppers favor a model from the Detroit 3 automakers, regardless of where it is manufactured.
A couple flag-waving American models that made this list last year, lost eligibility for 2013: the Ford Mustang GT and the Chevrolet Avalanche. Unfortunately, the GT's reliability fell below average and the Avalanche has been discontinued. The Top Pick pickup truck category also took a break this year since we haven't tested the extensively updated Ram 1500 (formerly known as "Dodge") or the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra. Crowning a Top Pick truck without having tested those two just wouldn't cut it.
Visit our Annual Auto Issue special section for quick access to the latest Ratings, articles, and videos.
But we can shine the spotlight our top American choices in the 2013 Top Pick categories and the top-scoring domestic-branded models in Consumer Reports testing.
The requirement that Top Picks have average-or-better reliability, according to our Annual Auto Survey, has limited the inclusion for some high-scoring cars. Models like the Ford Fusion are too new for that information to be available. Others, such as the Dodge Caravan, have reliability that is too low to make the cut.
|Category||Meets all criteria||Top-scoring|
|Budget car||Chevrolet Sonic LT sedan||Chevrolet Sonic LT sedan|
|Compact car||Chevrolet Cruze Eco||Ford Focus SFE|
|Midsized sedan||None||Ford Fusion Hybrid|
|Green car||Chevrolet Volt||Ford C-Max hybrid|
|Small SUV||None||Ford Escape Titanium|
|Midsized SUV||Chevrolet Traverse||Chevrolet Traverse|
|Sports sedan||Cadillac CTS||Cadillac CTS|
|Luxury car||Chrysler 300||Chrysler 300|
|Sports car||Ford Mustang V6||Chevrolet Corvette Z06|
|Minivan||None||Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan|
Let's explain the choices...
Budget car: Easy pick here: the Chevrolet Sonic LT sedan with its base 1.8-liter engine scores well—beating the Ford Fiesta sedan we tested—and was reliable in its first year. But the Sonic's goodness depends on how you option it. Although the Sonic LTZ hatchback we tested looks sporty, we were unimpressed by the 1.4-liter turbo/six-speed manual drivetrain and the hatch lacks the sedan's huge trunk.
Compact car: The Ford Focus SE, with the SFE ("Super Fuel Economy") package, scored really well in our tests, but first-year reliability has been lousy. That makes our pick the Chevrolet Cruze Eco, a well-finished car that's a benchmark of quietness in this class. First-year Cruze reliability issues have been worked out. The Dodge Dart doesn't score close, with its impressive ride and handling sabotaged by lackluster powertrains and uncomfortable front seats.
Midsized sedan: The Ford Fusion Hybrid is easily our top-scoring domestic midsized sedan. But we don't know if the 2013 redesign will be reliable yet. (Hopefully it is, but other recent Ford new product launches have been troublesome. Plus, anecdotally, our three tested Fusions had build quality issues.) The Chevrolet Malibu is a decent car, assuming you skip the Eco light-hybrid version, but we don't have reliability for that 2013 redesign, either. Chrysler just isn't playing in this class with their uncompetitive Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger.