Honda and Subaru still make the best vehicles overall, but Ford posted the largest gain, improving both its road-test and reliability scores in the past year, according to Consumer Reports annual Automakers Report Card for 2011. Ford has outpaced its cross-town rivals in reliability in recent years, and this year its average test score for all tested models rose from 66 to 70. Current offerings such as the Fusion, Flex, and Mustang have been impressive, and even the new Fiesta scores well in tests. Consumer Reports currently Recommends 71 percent of the Ford vehicles it has tested.
The Consumer Reports annual Automakers Report Card reflects the performance, comfort, utility, and reliability of more than 270 vehicles that Consumer Reports recently tested. Each automaker's overall score is based on a composite of road-test and predicted-reliability scores for all of its tested models. The road tests score is based on more than 50 tests and evaluations, covering performance, safety, fuel economy, comfort, and convenience. Reliability scores come from Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey, which included histories of 1.3 million vehicles.
Honda, Subaru, and Toyota are the top three for the third year in a row. Most of their vehicles do well in Consumer Reports tests and are relatively trouble-free.
Honda, including its Acura division, has had the best reliability record of any manufacturer and has made mostly good to outstanding vehicles. In fact, no Honda product scores less than average in reliability. Currently, Consumer Reports Recommends 76 percent of the Honda vehicles it has tested. But some new Hondas have been unimpressive, including the CR-Z and Insight hybrids, which didn't score well enough in CR's tests to be Recommended. The redesigned Odyssey, still CR's top-ranked minivan, dropped a few points in its test score, compared with the previous year.
Subaru, which has the highest average road-test score (81), makes only about a half-a-dozen models, but almost all do well in Consumer Reports road tests and have been reliability stalwarts. The Forester is a top-rated small SUV, and the Legacy, a good-performing sedan, has improved with each generation. Only one model, the sporty Impreza WRX, has below-average reliability.
Toyota, Lexus, and Scion models remain solid choices overall. Reliability remains better than average with a steadfast average test score of 74 for all tested vehicles. However, some newer Toyotas have slipped in interior fit and finish. Two Toyotas, the subcompact Yaris and the FJ Cruiser SUV, have shown superb reliability. However, these two vehicles are not Recommended because of their low roadtest scores. Consumer Reports currently Recommends 74 percent of the Toyota vehicles it has tested.
General Motors has also improved in both its average road-test and reliability scores. The newer GM models, such as Buick Enclave and LaCrosse, and the Chevrolet Equinox and Traverse have performed well in Consumer Reports tests. GM's average test score for all tested models has improved to 67 from 65 last year. But the company still fields a few lackluster cars, including some Chevrolet Impala sedan and the Colorado pickup. The below-average reliability of Cadillac and GMC models also drag down its overall score. Reliability has improved to average overall, but it's still not stellar for many models. Currently, Consumer Reports Recommends 46 percent of GM models it has tested.
If front-seat comfort, fit and finish, and driving dynamics were all that counted, European cars would rule the roost. European cars generally perform well in Consumer Reports road tests, but many have confusing controls and inconsistent reliability. Volvo is the only European make with an above average reliability score.
Volkswagen's brand reliability has improved of late, but Audi's spotty reliability brings the combined automaker's score down. If the new Jetta sedan, with its low-grade interior and mediocre fuel economy, is an indication of where Volkswagen is headed, it's going in the wrong direction. Consumer Reports Recommends 53 percent of the Volkswagen and Audi models tested.
Mercedes-Benz and BMW, with below-average reliability, are near the bottom of Consumer Reports Automakers Report Card rankings. SUVs from both carmakers, especially, had reliability problems, according to Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey, despite being good performers.
Mercedes-Benz is the only manufacturer with the dubious distinction of having year over year drops in both its average road-test (77 to 73) and reliability ratings (from average to below average). And although the BMW 1 Series has an excellent road-test score, it is hobbled by terrible reliability.
Chrysler came in last in the class, with the lowest average test score by far (50). As it overhauls its lineup, newer models, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Ram, have done better in Consumer Reports tests than older models, and Consumer Reports is encouraged from early looks at upcoming redesigns. Chrysler's reliability, which is below average, needs to improve for the automaker to be competitive. Consumer Reports currently recommends only one Chrysler model, the Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck.
Must-See on MSN
I leased a new 09 Volkswagen Passat wagon, at first I gave it very high marks for everything. Now after 25000 miles I definitely say I would not lease / purchase another Volkswagen.
The rear auto hatch has been replaced twice during 3 all day long services appointments
The 4 speed heater / air blower only works on high
After only 19000 miles all the tires were 90% ++ worn.
The dealer basically told me this was quite common and to contact the tire company. The tire company rep. said they have no records of this being a problem and then asked me why I didn't just report the problem to my dealer.
The vehicle is a very nice looking vehicle and is reasonably priced for what is included but I think the quality is definitely not there.
I've leased a dozen or so vehicles over the years, all makes and types and never once had the number of problems as with this car.
Keep in mind that new or drastically changed models will take 3-5 years in order to tabulate reliable data and therefore companies like Chrysler will not see immediate changes in the data used to make CR's recommendations.Why? That didn't stop Consumer Reports from rubber stamping recommendations for new Toyota models for years, long before there was enough data over any length of time to analyze. There was no 3-5 year wait if it was a Toyota or a Honda. At least until CR's bias became so apparent and Toyota became plagued with safety recalls. That had CR backpedalling on some of its "recommended" lists and removing previously touted Toyotas. Too late, CR's credibility, like Toyota's, went in the hopper and remains there. I wouldn't use them as a guide to buy a new chew toy for my dog let alone something as expensive as an automobile.
Interesting, CR does not recommend Chrysler minvans yet they are still the top sellers.
#1 Chrysler Town And Country
#2 Honda Odyssey
#3 Dodge Caravan
My guess is that most, if not all Chrysler and Dodge minivan owners would give CR a not recommended rating.
Does it ever dawn on anyone that when you compare the reliability of one automaker's brand with another and find it much less reliable, something has to be fundamentally wrong with the data. Most of these vehicles are basically the same and come down the very same assembly lines, have the same technology, the same features, etc
TERRY, exactly right. I've wondered the same thing. You can look at CR's reliability ratings and see two brands from the same manufacturer that roll off the same assembly line rated totally differently. You see strange and unexplainable ratings like the V6 in one car is rated above average and the same exact V6 in the car that rolls off the line right behind that one has a big black mark for unreliability. How can that be? Basically the same badge-engineered vehicles, built by the same people, on the same line but totally different ratings.
Case in point is that Consumer Reports recommends the Dodge Ram 1500 4x4, but not the 4x2 model. All Ram 1500's are built in the same factory. Other than the 4x4 model having a live front axle and a transfer case for four wheel drive, the trucks are identical. Same engine, same transmission, same electronics, same trim, assembled by the same people on the same line. Yet CR can't recommend the one that has less moving parts than the one they DO recommend, and those parts are the only thing that differentiates one from the other. Take away the 4x4 system and the two trucks would be exactly the same.
So, how can the one with MORE moving parts be more reliable? Common sense tells you it can't. Thus, Consumer Reports is a total joke. A compilation of questionable data and perhaps sample sizes that are too small to yield meaningful results. Whatever the reason, Consumer Reports has no credibility and hasn't for a long time when it comes to automobiles.
On another note, I purchased an electric range three years ago based on CR's ratings. They said this was the #1 model to buy. It's pure garbage. I don't think I could've done any worse. So much for CR's "recommended" list.
I am a Ford man
Have a Crown Vic 2005
Runs great 90,000 miles
Still has original breaks
Only thing gets done on it is
Ford in my opinion makes
a gteat product 1 of the best
if not the best cars ,ade
Keep it up Ford
& did I mention they took
no Gov handouts?