Report cards were released for 13 automakers Tuesday, and of those tested, Consumer Reports says that Subaru is at the head of the class. The automaker overtook Honda, earning the top spot on the strength of the 2012 Impreza, Legacy and Outback.

Consumer Reports bases its report cards on the performance, comfort, utility and reliability of more than 275 new 2012 vehicles. The scores are based on reliability ratings and the average of each automaker’s road test score.

Honda held first place for the last four years, but slipped to fourth place behind Mazda and Toyota. Consumer Reports says in a press release that while Honda models are still some of the most reliable on the road, they’ve been hurt by redesigned models, such as the Civic and Odyssey, which lack the quality of their predecessors.

“While Japanese automakers still hold the top five spots, their lead is shrinking,” says David Champion, senior director, Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center. “In some of Honda’s and Toyota’s recently redesigned models, cost-cutting has become more noticeable.”

Honda, however, wasn’t the only automaker who didn’t make the grade. “Also spotted wandering the halls was Ford, which dropped out of the top five,” writes Autoblog. “While Chrysler found itself with the worst grades in the class – again – the carmaker did see some results from hitting the books lately, earning it the title of second most improved behind Mazda.”

Ford dropped from fifth to 10th place as the result of reliability issues in some vehicles. Consumer Reports says that “subpar reliability of some new vehicles, due largely to the troublesome MyFord Touch infotainment system and Power-Shift automatic transmission, hurt its report-card grade.”

While Ford and Honda slipped, Toyota stayed in the top three for the fifth year in a row, thanks to the redesigned 2012 Camry. Consumer Reports says that Mazda’s success was the result of an improved Mazda3, as well as “shedding of two models that dragged down its score, the Tribute SUV and RX-8 sports car.”

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