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Lexus Named Top Car Brand

Japanese car brands, led by Toyota’s Lexus, took the top seven spots in Consumer Reports magazine’s annual quality rankings, as the top U.S. brand placed 14th out of 26 in the ratings.

Lexus received 79 out of 100 points based on the scores of its eight models, all of which the magazine recommends buying. Parent-company Toyota’s namesake line tied for fourth place with Honda’s Acura brand. Subaru, a unit of Fuji Heavy Industries that placed first among automakers last year, was second and Mazda was third.

Consumer Reports changed its ranking system this year, breaking out brands instead of ranking automakers according to collective scores for all their lines. “We feel this is more in line with how people shop,” said Rik Paul, the magazine’s automotive editor.

General Motors’s Cadillac, boosted by the CTS, was the top U.S. brand, ranking 14th. The CTS was rated above-average for reliability and called “as capable as its German rivals.” The bottom six brands in the rankings were U.S.-based: Chrysler’s Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep; Ford’s Ford and Lincoln; and GM’s Buick.

Because redesigns of Chrysler’s Dodge Ram and GM’s Chevrolet Silverado haven’t been tested, the magazine elected not to make a “best pick” among all types of pickups this year. In its place, Consumer Reports brought back the “budget car” category, choosing Hyundai’s Elantra as the best car for less than $20,000.

Honda’s Accord won the best pick for the midsized sedan category.