Top Cars:  Made In America

Made in America: 9 Cars and Trucks Built in the U.S.

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author photo by Jessica Shea Choksey August 2016

In the U.S., Labor Day weekend is fast approaching.  It’s a time when many of us will not go to work in honor of all those Americans who did go to work. Enjoy it, if you can!  There will be parades and celebrations and more than a few political figures out on the stump talking about “American-made” and the importance of home-grown manufacturing.

A recent Autotrader study showed that 55% of in-market car shoppers polled feel that buying "American-made" is an important factor in their car-buying decision. For some buyers, it's about supporting the U.S. economy and protecting jobs here at home, while for others it's about perceived quality or just tradition. But what exactly does "American-made" mean? 75% of shoppers polled in Autotrader's study associated Ford with "American-made" while 65% associated Chevrolet with that term. However, according to American University's Kogod School of Business, "American-made" doesn't define a vehicle as being 100 percent homegrown. It may be assembled stateside, but certain parts of the vehicle may still be coming from far off places.

To that end, Kogod's 2016 Made in America Auto Index evaluates the exact domestic content of vehicles sold in the U.S., and determines how much of an impact a particular model makes on the U.S. automobile industry's economic vitality and offers the greatest commercial benefits to the country. This knowledge empowers consumers to make sounder decisions that align with their individual priorities. If buying "American-made" is important to you, here are nine vehicles with Kogod scores of 70.00 or higher (out of 100) for total domestic content.

These cars and trucks are not necessarily the "most" American-made because compiling that list would mean a lot of duplicates. For example, all versions of the F-Series pickup or the Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, Cadillac Escalade and varieties of the GMC Yukon. Honestly, the bulk of the list at the top of any most-American ranking would be all General Motors cars and trucks and a handful of Fords. Rather than a hard ranking, we chose cars with a score of 70.00 or higher but gave priority to cars that are also very appealing overall. We also looked for ways to make the list diverse so as to appeal to the widest range of shoppers.

2016 Acura RDX

2016 Acura RDX - East Liberty, Ohio

There may be no small luxury SUV more complete than the Acura RDX. Touting an attractive exterior design, impressive power and performance, respectable fuel economy and an upscale, feature rich interior, the RDX seems to have it all. And a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system makes it an excellent choice for cold weather climates. The RDX is motivated by a capable 279-horsepower 3.5 liter V6 tied to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Assembled in East Liberty, Ohio, the Acura RDX has a Kogod score of 76.00 and a starting price of $35,370.

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2016 Cadillac Escalade

2016 Cadillac Escalade - Arlington, Texas

In the large luxury SUV category, the Cadillac Escalade reigns as the premier status symbol. Often associated with celebrities and Hollywood bling, this high-end chariot is equal parts opulence, power and comfort. Its plush and quiet cabin is loaded with creature comforts and the latest tech features. Its gigantic 6.2-liter V8 produces 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, giving the Escalade 8,300 pounds of towing capacity. Energy channels to the rear wheels or all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. Built in Arlington, Texas, the Escalade has a Kogod score of 82.5 and a base MSRP of $72,970.

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2016 Chevrolet Malibu

2016 Chevrolet Malibu - Kansas City, Kan.

The Chevrolet Malibu is a decidedly strong contender in the midsize sedan segment. Fully redesigned for 2016, the Malibu brings an eye-catching design, excellent use of interior space and a long list of standard and available features. The Malibu's smooth and refined ride is ideal for daily commuting or weekend family outings. Propulsion comes from one of two responsive turbocharged engines -- a 160 hp 1.5-liter 4-cylinder or a 250-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. Made in Kansas City, Kansas, the Malibu has a Kogod score of 82.5 and a base price of $21,625.

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2016 Ford F-150

2016 Ford F-150 - Dearborn, Mich.

Rugged, capable and strong, the Ford F-150 is a quintessential pickup truck on the American landscape. With its all-aluminum body and an expansive lineup of powerful and efficient engines, the F-150 is a star in the areas of payload, tow rating and fuel economy, making it the work truck of choice for many. Aside from its performance attributes, the F-150 also delivers a spacious and comfortable cab loaded with technology and upscale amenities. So much so, you'll forget you're sitting in a pickup truck. Manufactured primarily in Dearborn, Michigan, the F-150 has a Kogod score of 85.00 and a starting price of $26,540.

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2016 Honda Accord

2016 Honda Accord - Marysville, Ohio

Generally regarded as the most bulletproof offering in the midsize sedan segment (and possibly any segment), the Honda Accord has consistently been the top choice among family car buyers for years. Defined by Honda-caliber reliability, the Accord offers a spacious and comfortable interior with good quality materials and all the right standard features. Ride and handling are superbly balanced and the engine lineup is efficient and well-powered. For 2016, the Accord receives suspension and technology upgrades, making it even more appealing than before. Built in Marysville, Ohio, the Accord has a Kogod score of 81.00 and a starting price of $22,205.

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2016 Jeep Cherokee

2016 Jeep Cherokee - Toledo, Ohio

When you think Jeep, you think off-road prowess and trail-rated toughness. The Jeep Cherokee is no different, evoking images of adventures in the wilderness. But there's another side to the Cherokee that's refined and upscale, ideal for the daily commute and tooling around civilized society. Inside, this midsize SUV is spacious, comfortable and offers a number of advanced technology features. And its quality ride on normal roads is smooth and quiet. The two engine choices are a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 184 hp and a 3.2-liter V6 producing 271 hp. Both engines connect to a 9-speed automatic transmission. Made in Toledo, Ohio, the Cherokee has a Kogod score of 78.5 and a base price of $23,595.

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2016 Lincoln Navigator

2016 Lincoln Navigator - Louisville, Ky.

A strong choice in the full-size luxury SUV segment, the Lincoln Navigator is aimed at buyers in need of lots of 3-row passenger room, a high level of comfort and the ability to tow a boat to the tune of 9,000 pounds. Fit for an executive, this high-end utility is loaded with upscale amenities and offers a plush ride for any distance of travel. Your passengers will thoroughly enjoy the Navigator's first class accommodations. Power is derived from a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine outputting 380 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque to either the rear wheels or all four. Assembled in Louisville, Kentucky, the Navigator has a Kogod score of 76.00 and starts at $63,195.

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2016 Toyota Camry

2016 Toyota Camry - Georgetown, Ky.

The Toyota Camry has always been a top choice among midsize family sedans thanks to its straightforward, no-nonsense design inside and out. The Camry's airy interior provides plenty of headroom and legroom, even in the rear seat. An impressive list of standard equipment is furthered by an extensive roster of optional amenities and tech features. On the road, the Camry offers a refined ride and a quiet demeanor. Power comes from either a 178-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine or a more spirited 268-hp 3.5-liter V6. Built in Georgetown, Kentucky, the Camry has a Kogod score of 78.5 and a base MSRP of $23,070.

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2016 Toyota Tundra

2016 Toyota Tundra - San Antonio, Texas

This full-size pickup is both a capable work truck and a well-heeled off-roader. The Tundra's various cab configurations are spacious with high quality interior materials and loaded with cutting-edge technology features. Under the hood is a choice of one of two potent V8 engines: a 4.6-liter making 310 hp and a 5.7-liter producing 381 hp. Energy channels through a 6-speed automatic transmission to either the rear wheels or a well-engineered 4-wheel-drive system. Max towing capacity is stout, ranging between 9,800 and 10,500 pounds. Made in San Antonio, Texas, the Tundra has a Kogod score of 73.5 and a starting price of $29,140.

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These are nine models with high Kogod scores but there are many other vehicles that are still made in America, but contain a higher percentage of imported parts. Four examples would be the Kia Sorento, Nissan Titan, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Subaru Legacy/Outback. For more information and a comprehensive listing of vehicles with their content data, please visit http://kogodbusiness.com/reports/auto-index/.

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Made in America: 9 Cars and Trucks Built in the U.S. - Autotrader