2018 Kogod Made in America Auto Index
Although we generally distinguish nationality of a car based on the company that made it, it's actually tricky to tell how "American" a car is or where it actually originated. After all, there are quite a few Mercedes, Hyundais, and other foreign brands assembled here.
To bring clarity, the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, DC, does an annual survey of the auto industry to determine the most American car models. The school analyzes not just the parts content of the vehicle, but where it's developed, where the company is based, and where the car and key components such as the engine and transmission are assembled. This year's list takes a look at all 2018 models, and the most American cars all come from companies that are American, with one Italo-American exception. Click on to see the Top 10.
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10. Chevrolet Camaro (2.0L I4)
We kick off the list with an American classic, the Chevrolet Camaro. Oddly enough, though, it's not one of the rumbling muscular V8 models, but rather the one with the turbocharged four-cylinder.
The Camaro brings in a domestic content score of 78.5, which technically puts it tied with the next car on this list, as well as the GMC Acadia that would appear below it. The Acadia dropped significantly, as it was tied for first last year.
9. Cadillac ATS
Next up is a car that shares its platform and its base engine with the four-cylinder Camaro, the Cadillac ATS. Of course the Cadillac has a fancier interior and the availability of four doors. It also fared better than last year, as now the two-wheel-drive versions score as high as the all-wheel-drive iteration.
Besides the red, white, and blue blood coursing through the ATS, it also has excellent sporting ability. It combines healthy engines with superb handling. We just hope that Cadillac finally has the infotainment sorted out.
8. Ford Explorer
From the Chevy and Cadillac we move to the first product from Ford Motor Company, the Ford Explorer. The Explorer is actually also tied with the last two vehicles. All versions of the Explorer net the score, so we're giving it an edge, here.
The Explorer has been around without more than mild updates for quite a while, but Ford has big plans for it. There's an ST version reportedly in the works that will likely appear on the new rear-drive platform shared with the upcoming Lincoln Aviator. Ford also has teased a hybrid version in the form of a new police cruiser.
7. Lincoln MKC
A smaller, more luxurious crossover SUV beats out the Explorer in domestic content. It's the Lincoln MKC. The Ford Escape-based crossover has a score of 80.5, and has it tied with two other vehicles on this list.
Our experience has found it to be quiet and comfortable, and it comes with a couple of gutsy turbocharged four-cylinder engines. It seems to be selling well, too, and it or its successor is reported to get a much cooler name soon: Corsair.
6. Ford Taurus
The Ford Taurus is the company's biggest sedan and its most American. It moves up from its 9th-place finish last year to be the 6th-most American car this year. And with a score of 80.5, it's even more American than the Explorer that shares its platform. It also is tied with the Lincoln MKC and another vehicle that follows.
While big and American, the Taurus is getting pretty old. The Taurus hasn't seen a major redesign since its introduction roughly seven years ago, and it shows inside and out. Still, it can be fairly entertaining in SHO guise with its 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6. If you want one, don't dally, because Ford has made it clear that it's moving away from sedans. As such the Taurus likely isn't long for this world.
5. Jeep Wrangler
It doesn't get much more American than the Jeep Wrangler, right? Styling from the US Army's military Jeeps built for WWII, four-wheel drive and solid axles to help you find freedom anywhere, and a removable top and doors to enjoy it all make this quintessentially American.
But as you may have guessed by its position on the list, there are more American machines. The Toledo-built truck likely would have been ranked higher, but because Fiat-Chrysler is partially headquartered in Europe, it loses some points. This is the second year in a row the Wrangler has appeared on the list.
4. Lincoln Continental
After the brief stop at Mopar, we come right back to FoMoCo for the Lincoln Continental. The flagship sedan with the iconic name also packs the highest score for American-ness yet of 82.5.
The big stylish sedan comes with nifty door handles and is available with endlessly adjustable seats and a 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6. Its future is a bit unclear, but if it sticks around, it sounds like it will have even more presence with potential rear suicide doors.
3. Ford F-150 (5.0L V8 and 4x4 2.7L V6 models)America's best-selling pickup truck last year is also the one with the most American content. The Ford F-150 pulls down a domestic content score of 82.5 tying it with the Lincoln Continental. It's also the only pickup to make the Top 10. We like the truck and found it to feel reasonably nimble for a full-size pickup, and both the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 and 5.0-liter V8s are good matches, though the former doesn't score as well for domestic content. The new diesel is sweet, too, though that engine is built in England.
2. Chevrolet Volt
It turns out you can have a green car that's red, white and blue, too. The Chevy Volt is a half-point higher than the F-150, and could hardly be more antithetical to the big Ford pickup.
Although it hasn't changed a whole lot since it was introduced for the 2016 model year, Chevy has rolled out a few updates. One of the big ones is the fact that you can get the Volt with a charging system that cuts recharge time in half.
1. Chevrolet Corvette (automatic transmission)
The Bowling Green, Ky.-built Chevrolet Corvette is no stranger to the Kogod Auto Index Top 10. The American sports car took fifth place last two years. But this year, it finally takes the top spot, bringing in a domestic content score of 83.5.
Also, the Corvette only achieves a hyper-patriotic score with an automatic transmission. The manual-equipped version has a score of just 76.5. It still ranks high, though even the Honda Odyssey and Ridgeline slip ahead of that version. But we'll give it extra American points for giving owners the freedom to actuate a clutch and shifter for themselves.