Consumer Reports has released its “automaker report cards” for 2012-MY vehicles. Subaru earned the top score in the publication’s annual report for 2012, scoring 75 points — two points higher than in 2011.

Consumer Reports said the 2012-MY Impreza was at the top of the ratings in the small sedan class and is the "Top Pick" in that category. Subaru’s average road-test score was 82, which was the highest in the analysis.

Toyota remained in the top three automakers for the fifth year in a row. Consumer Reports said the automaker’s vehicles had consistent, above-average reliability and most-achieved high test scores.

Mazda improved most among the 13 manufacturers rated by Consumer Reports. It climbed to second place from last year’s seventh and increased its overall score by nine points. An improved Mazda3, and dropping two models that dragged down its score last year, the Tribute SUV and RX-8 sports car contributed to this gain.

Honda’s rating fell two points to fourth place. The publication said Honda has been hurt by lower scores of several of its redesigned models received, for example the Civic and Odyssey, when compared to previous model-years. Honda models still scored the highest in overall reliability, though, Consumer Reports stated.

Ford’s road-test score improved by two points over last year’s, but its overall ranking dropped. Chrysler’s overall score increased eight points, making it the second most improved automaker, according to Consumer Reports. The publication added that Chrysler’s average road-test score also increased by eight points, and its overall reliability improved to average.

“GM and Chrysler are building nicer cars with each redesign. Still, their scores are dragged down by several older designs that score low in Consumer Reports testing or have reliability issues,” said David Champion, senior director, Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center. “As more new products are introduced, their fortunes could change if they can improve their overall reliability.”

Volvo earned the highest score of any European automaker, which Consumer Reports said was due to an improvement in its redesigned S60 sedan.

Volkswagen’s scores dropped, largely due to Consumer Reports’ dissatisfaction with the interiors of the Jetta and Passat. Audi’s A6 and A8 saw significant gain in Consumer Reports’ road tests. 

Mercedes-Benz’s vehicles did well in Consumer Reports’ road tests, but the publication said the reliability of the Mercedes-Benz 2012-MY S-Class sedan and GL SUV scored lower on reliability.

The publication said BMW’s vehicles also did well in road tests, but that reliability of some turbocharged Mini Coopers and the 5 Series hurt BMW’s score.

Some manufacturers were not included in Consumer Reports automaker report cards for 2012. In order to give an overall score, Consumer Reports must have both road-test data and sufficient reliability data from its Annual Auto Survey on at least four models. CR did not have sufficient data on enough models from Jaguar, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Porsche or Suzuki to calculate a score.