and Lexus build the most reliable cars, according to Consumer Reports. Mercedes-Benz and Jeep bring up the rear.
CR released its annual auto reliability rankings, and there were some predictable results and some surprises mixed into the list.
Consumer Reports’ approach is unique
Consumer Reports’ rankings differ from most automotive reliability studies because CR polls its own members. This has advantages and disadvantages.
Laws give automakers the right to opt-out of studies in some states, but the nature of CR’s surveys gets around that problem. Tesla
which famously refuses to participate in many quality studies, appears in CR’s results.
But only a certain kind of consumer subscribes to a publication that exists to study reliability and sound buying decisions. That may leave some brands overrepresented, and others nearly absent from CR’s poll.
The magazine asks its members to report problems they’ve had with their cars in the last 12 months. It only reports results for cars from model years 2000 through 2023. This year, it studied more than 300,000 individual vehicles.
Domestic brands trailing
“Asian automakers are still leading reliability by a wide margin with an overall reliability average score of 59 for the region, on a scale of 0-100,” CR says. Seven of the 10 most reliable brands came from Asia. “European automakers are in second place at 51, while domestic brands trail both with an average score of 40.”
The study found that cars — sedans, hatchbacks, and coupes in CR’s calculus — are the most reliable type of passenger vehicle, with an average score of 58. SUVs came in second at 51, followed by minivans at 44. Pickups came in last at 39.
However, owners often ask more from their trucks, using them to haul and tow heavy loads and travel off paved roads. Since they take more abuse, we should expect more problems with them.
Interestingly, hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) outperformed traditional gas-powered cars even though, with two power sources, they are more mechanically complex. Hybrid and PHEV cars posted an average score of 78. Hybrid and PHEV SUVs averaged 65.
Major shifts from last year’s results
Some automakers saw dramatic changes in their ranking compared with last year.
leapt 10 places to post the third-best score overall, but that wasn’t the biggest improvement. Ford’s
Lincoln luxury marque jumped 14 spots. After finishing in last place last year, Lincoln placed in the top 10 this year.
Chevrolet dropped 10 places.
Subscribers of Consumer Reports did not own enough cars from some automakers to produce sufficient data. The Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mini, Mitsubishi
brands were all absent from the survey.
Score (0-100 point scale)
This story originally ran on KBB.com.