2017 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 is assembled. This year's list takes a look at all 2017 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.
10. Cadillac ATS (AWD sedan)
While the Cadillac ATS is listed as the 10th most American car on this list, it was technically tied with Cadillac's flagship CT6 Platinum with all-wheel drive. But we're giving the edge to the ATS because any ATS sedan with all-wheel drive nabbed the slot, whereas the CT6 requires both the right trim level and drivetrain to score this high.
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.
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9. Ford Taurus
The Ford Taurus is the company's biggest sedan and its most American. It's also the first of four Ford products to make the Top 10. This also bodes well for the American-ness of the Police Interceptor version.
The car's size and ranking for domestic manufacturing are only matched by its age. 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.
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8. Lincoln Navigator
After the Taurus are two more Ford products, the Lincoln Navigator and the Ford Expedition. They're two of only three traditional, body-on-frame SUVs to make the Top 10. So if you need a beefy tow vehicle, the Blue Oval is the company to check out.
Specifically speaking about the Navigator, the outgoing model analyzed by the study, and shown here, was a relatively half-hearted rebadge of the Ford Expedition. Both models also suffer from being very old. The new Navigator looks more promising, since it shares the new Expedition's aluminum body, gets sharp styling taken from the concept, and has a high-tech, plush interior all its own.
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7. Ford Expedition
The Lincoln's more affordable twin is the Ford Expedition. Since the two vehicles are mechanically and stylistically almost identical, the Expedition shares the Navigator's flaws, but with a lower-rent interior.
Like the Navigator, the next-generation model should be a better vehicle. It has some fancy aluminum construction, a 10-speed transmission, an improved interior, and loads of tech such as video streaming using the onboard WiFi.
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6. 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. Surprisingly, the Wrangler is a new addition to the list compared with last year.
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5. 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 year, too. Interestingly, though, its total domestic content score dropped one point to 82.
Also, the Corvette only achieves a hyper-patriotic score with an automatic transmission. The manual-equipped version has a score of just 75. That puts it behind an array of Hondas, a Toyota, and a Kia. But we'll give it extra American points for giving owners the freedom to actuate a clutch and shifter for themselves.
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4. Ford F-150
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 85, missing out on the top slot by half a point. 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.
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3. GMC Acadia
The GMC Acadia is one of three crossovers from General Motors that tied for most domestic content, with a score of 85.5. The other two crossovers were former platform-mates to the Acadia, but in 2017, the GMC went to a smaller platform for itself. It seems that didn't affect the domestic content score, though.
Changing over to the new platform did help the Acadia lose an impressive 700 pounds. It also managed to keep all three rows of seats reasonably comfortable, and it rides pleasantly and keeps up with traffic without issue.
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2. Chevrolet Traverse
Here is the first of the Acadia's former siblings, the Chevrolet Traverse. The outgoing model tied the new Acadia for most domestic content. It's also larger than the Acadia.
The Traverse does have an even larger version on the way with more space for passengers and cargo. Its new platform also happens to be shared with the next version of the final car on this list.
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1. Buick Enclave
At the top of the list with the Acadia and Traverse is the Buick Enclave. The outgoing model shares its platform with the Traverse. This means it's roughly as old as that Traverse. It does feature a more pleasant interior, though.
As mentioned previously, the next generation of the Enclave will be Traverse-based as well. That means it too will be roomier. Buick also says it managed to lighten the new Enclave by 400 pounds.
If you'd like to see how other makes and models stack up for American content, check out the full list at the American University website.