Seven General Motors truck models and two Hyundai vehicles have picked up recommendations from the influential US magazine Consumer Reports after improving their scores on reliability surveys, according to Reuters.

But, Reuters added, GM’s midsize sport utility vehicles placed last in their class for reliability on the 2002 survey, and a number of European models also performed poorly, including two Jaguar saloons.

According to Reuters, Consumer Reports also said scores for some Japanese vehicles fell, including the Toyota Camry saloon, but not by a wide enough margin to lose their recommendations.

The magazine’s ratings are closely followed by car makers, and used as a reference by its four million subscribers and millions of other consumers, Reuters said.

Reuters said the magazine’s reliability scores come from 480,000 surveys filled out by Consumer Reports subscribers asking about models built between 2000 and 2002. To win a “recommended” rating, a vehicle must have reliability no more than 20% below the average of all models in the survey, Reuters added.

Consumer Reports said it was now recommending the Chevrolet Avalanche, SILVERADO and GMC Sierra pickups, as well as the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban sport utility vehicles and their GMC twins, the Yukon and Yukon XL, Reuters said.

“The GM trucks back in 1999 were particularly unreliable, and they’ve clawed their way back to average reliability,” said the director of Consumer Reports’ automotive testing David Champion, according to Reuters.

But the news was not all good for GM or Detroit’s other automakers, Reuters noted.

The news agency said GM’s midsize SUVs — the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Oldsmobile Bravada — lagged behind the competition while. DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler arm saw its Jeep Liberty win a recommendation but lost ratings for its minivans because of lower reliability scores.

According to Reuters, Ford domestic brands have just two vehicles recommended, the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable saloons.

Reuters said Ford foreign brands had mixed results; Volvo won recommendations on three models, but the Jaguar S-type and X-type saloons ranked at or near the bottom of their classes for reliability.

“Jaguar appears to be in the doldrums in terms of quality,” Champion said, according to Reuters.

The recommendations for Hyundai’s Sonata sedan and Santa Fe SUV were the first for the Korean car maker, which has been fighting a reputation for poor quality, Reuters said.

Champion told Reuters he was surprised by the decline in scores for the Camry and Nissan’s Altima, saying consumers’ top concerns were squeaks and rattles on the all-new models.