Surprisingly, the “most American” vehicles probably aren’t what you think they are. Even the top five vehicles are a mix of crossovers, vans, trucks, and sedans from various manufacturers. If you care about local jobs or the environmental impact of long-distance supply chains, you owe it to yourself to take a look at the top vehicles on the American Made Index.
The current auto market is confusing when a Chevy Silverado is made in Mexico, a Chrysler 300 is overseen by an Italian company, and a Volvo S60 is a Chinese-owned Swedish design assembled in South Carolina. What even is an American made vehicle? Fortunately Cars.com annually produces the American Made Index survey to find the most American made vehicles. The Index gives us a ranking based on the percentage of U.S. made parts, the number of man-hours of U.S. workers assembling it, the place of manufacture for the engine and transmission, and any other country where at least one-third of the equipment originated.
We’ve pointed out before the reasons you should buy a Jeep Cherokee, and a high percentage of American parts content is one of those reasons. There’s many other reasons to love it too, from the comfortable interior and confident on-road manners, to the advanced all-wheel drive system and extreme off-road capability. It’s also one of the most affordable SUVs when new, making the Cherokee a stellar value on the used market. Whether you’re pro-union or just support American jobs, get it done with a Cherokee. It’s 72 percent American parts, and the engine, transmission, chassis, and body panels are made in the U.S. and assembled in Belvidere, Illinois.
Need a people mover? Despite the trend of crossovers and SUVs, there’s still no better way to transport eight or more people in comfort and efficiency than a minivan. The Odyssey has tons of storage, the ability to fit three cars seats in the middle row, and rear seats that stow flat into the floor when you pull one loop on the back of the seat. The inside stays cool with three climate zones, while the exterior looks cool with LED headlights and taillights. Honda’s trusty 3.5-liter V6 sits under the short hood, delivering more power than their 86 sports car. The Ody is 75 percent American parts, but some of the major components are built overseas, so it takes second place behind the Cherokee.
The Ridgeline is a truck that’s not exactly a truck, and also one of the highest rated trucks. Built on the same chassis as the Odyssey above, the Ridgeline packs a tough package onto a car and minivan chassis. This means it won’t tow massive loads like your heavy duty trucks, but Honda knows most buyers won’t do that anyway and builds the truck the 80 percent needs. With front-wheel drive and V6 fuel efficiency, it’s the truck you’ll love to daily drive, and reviewers even state it handles like an Accord. Since it’s a North American only model, most parts are made locally. With a shortened supply chain, the Ridgeline is possibly the most environmentally friendly truck on the market. Like the Odyssey, it’s 75 percent American parts, built in the same factory in Alabama.
#4 Ford Taurus
Twenty-five years ago, the Taurus was the best-selling car in the U.S. Our buying tastes have moved on from sedans to crossovers, but the Taurus still matters. It’s smaller than the Crown Victoria it replaced, but has the same interior space and gets better gas mileage, which is why police departments around the country love the Taurus. The SHO version packs a big EcoBoost V6 punch with 365 horsepower, making for a stealthy muscle sedan. Taurus is 61 percent American parts, but the big ones, the engine, transmission, chassis, and body parts are built in the USA, along with the R&D and high number of workers at the Chicago, Illinois assembly plant.
Here’s something different. The Volt has one of the most unique hybrid designs anywhere. Unlike most hybrids that use the electric battery and motor to assist the gas engine, the Volt swaps things around and uses the gas engine as a generator to charge the battery for the electric motor. It works too, as the Volt’s 106 MPG-e rating exceeds even the plug-in Prius‘s 95 MPG-e. With the battery drained, you’ll still average 42 MPG, impressive for a sedan of this size. You’ll love the upscale interior too, and it’s unbelievably quiet. If you live in Michigan, “shop local” by checking out the Detroit-built Volt. Due to global sources for the electric motors and batteries, the Volt is 66 percent American parts, but it makes the list by scoring well in other categories.
Interested in the rest of the top 10 most American vehicles? These five round out the American Made Index:
#6 Honda Pilot – The largest Honda SUV is built in Lincoln, Alabama.
#7 Acura MDX – Honda rounds out four of the top ten list with the excellent SUV built in East Liberty, Ohio.
#8 Ford Explorer – Ford’s large crossover puts people to work in Chicago, Illinois.
#9 Ford F-150 – Unsurprisingly, the best-selling vehicle in the USA is on this list, manufactured in Claycomo, Missouri, and Dearborn, Michigan.
#10 Chevrolet Corvette – “America’s Sports Car” is made in Bowling Green, Kentucky.