2006 Annual Car Reliability Survey
Check out Consumer Reports' survey to see if your vehicle made the list.
Our 2006 Annual Car Reliability Survey, the largest of its kind, gathered responses on about 1.3 million vehicles from Consumer Reports and ConsumerReports.org subscribers. These results underpin the most comprehensive reliability data you will find anywhere.
Such a large survey response—30 percent more than in 2005—allows us to provide reliability data on some very recently introduced models, such as the Honda Fit, the redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe, and the Lexus ES350. We can also report on some expensive and low-volume models like the Mercedes-Benz SL and the Porsche 911.
Predicted reliability for 2007 models is our forecast of how well the models that are currently on sale are likely to hold up, based on how they've done in the past. It's based on the reported overall reliability Ratings for the past three model years (2004 to 2006) if the model hasn't changed significantly for 2007. One or two years of reliability data may be used if a model was new or has been redesigned in that period.
Here we give you the first look at our new predicted reliability Ratings for new cars based on this survey, and the models that we expect to be the most and least reliable.
The difference between the best and worst models is striking. For example, the least-reliable vehicle in our survey, the redesigned for 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV, is likely to have 10 times as many problems as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which debuted the same year. Here are some highlights from our survey:
- Several new and redesigned models were very reliable, countering the trend of most models' having more problems in the first year of a new design. Especially notable are some new U.S. models. The Lincoln Zephyr, introduced in 2006, was the second most reliable upscale sedan after the 2007 Lexus ES350. The Zephyr's platform mates, the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, also new for 2006, scored slightly better than V6 versions of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS both scored above average in their first year.
- Above-average first-year reliability for the new Subaru Tribeca makes Subaru the only automaker to have its entire lineup of cars recommended by Consumer Reports. All Subaru's except the WRX STi have better-than-average predicted reliability. The STi is average. Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, does not have a single model reliable enough to be recommended.
- Nissan's reliability has improved somewhat. Last year, the Quest, Armada, Titan, and especially the Infiniti QX56, all built at Nissan's Canton, Miss. factory, had the worst reliability in our survey. This year, while the predicted reliability of the Armada and QX56 are still about 135 percent worse than the average vehicle, they had half as many problems as they did in last year's survey. The Quest, while still much worse than average this year, had fewer problems than minivans from General Motors.
- Of the 47 vehicles on the most-reliable list, 39 were from Japanese automakers. Six came from the domestic automakers, and one each came from South Korea and Europe. Twenty-one Toyota vehicles earned top ratings. Honda had 11 vehicles at the top of our ratings. Ford, General Motors, and Subaru each had three, Mitsubishi and Nissan each had two, while Hyundai and Mini each had one.
- Of the 45 least reliable models, 19 were European, 20 were from U.S. manufacturers, 5 were Japanese, and 1 was South Korean. General Motors had 12, Mercedes-Benz had 8, Ford and Nissan each had 5, Chrysler and Volkswagen each had 3, BMW and Jaguar each had 2, while Kia, Land Rover, Porsche, Saab, and Volvo each had 1.
In most categories, the best vehicles have much-better-than-average predicted reliability. A few exceptions are among minivans and sporty cars, where the best vehicles rated only better than average. In all categories except small cars, the worst vehicles rated much worse than average. The worst small cars had worse than average predicted reliability. Below is a rundown of how cars fared in each category.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
To help car buyers find trustworthy vehicles, Consumer Reports conducts an extensive reliability survey of its approximately 6.7 million magazine and online subscribers every year. We ask them about any serious problems they have had with their vehicles in the preceding 12 months.
This wealth of responses helps us build comprehensive Reliability History charts for vehicles covering ten model years from 1997 to 2006. They show how well older models are holding up and what types of problems they have had. For new car buyers, we use the Reliability History data to determine our Predicted Reliability Ratings for 2007 models.
Best & worst models
These 2007 models earned the highest and lowest predicted-reliability ratings, based on CR's 2006 reliability survey. Models marked with (2006) have been redesigned for 2007. Models with * use data based on one model year only.
Vehicles listed in scoring order, starting with the best score.
SMALL CARS: Honda Fit*, Toyota Yaris*, Honda Civic Hybrid*, Toyota Corolla.
FAMILY CARS: Honda Accord Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Honda Accord (4-cyl.), Ford Fusion*, Mercury Milan*.
UPSCALE/LARGE CARS: Lexus ES350*, Lincoln Zephyr*, Hyundai Azera*, Acura TSX, Acura TL.
LUXURY CARS: Lexus LS (2006), Infiniti M*.
Lexus SC, Toyota Camry Solara (4-cyl.), Subaru Impreza WRX, Honda S2000, Mitsubishi Eclipse*, Mini Cooper Hatchback (2006).
WAGONS/MINIVANS: Pontiac Vibe, Scion xB, Toyota Matrix, Toyota Sienna.
SMALL SUVS: Toyota FJ Cruiser*, Honda Element, Honda CR-V (2006), Toyota RAV4*, Mitsubishi Outlander (2006)*, Subaru Forester .
MIDSIZED SUVS: Toyota Highlander Hybrid*, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Lexus RX400h (hybrid)*, Acura MDX (2006).
LARGE SUVS: Toyota Land Cruiser, Lexus LX, Toyota Sequoia, Chevrolet Tahoe*, GMC Yukon*.
PICKUP TRUCKS: Subaru Baja, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier (V6).
Vehicles listed in scoring order, starting with the worst score.
SMALL CARS: Chevrolet Cobalt, Nissan Sentra (2006), Volkswagen Jetta (5-cyl.), Chevrolet Aveo.
FAMILY CARS: Volkswagen Passat (4-cyl.)*
UPSCALE/LARGE CARS: Jaguar X-Type, Chrysler 300 (V8), Saab 9-3.
LUXURY CARS: Cadillac STS (V8), Mercedes-Benz S-Class (2006), Mercedes-Benz CLS*, Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar S-Type.
Pontiac Solstice*, Mercedes-Benz SL, Mercedes-Benz CLK, Mercedes-Benz SLK (V6), Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911, Carrera, Ford Mustang (V6).
WAGONS/MINIVANS: Buick Terraza, Chevrolet Uplander, Saturn Relay, Nissan Quest.
SMALL SUVS: Kia Sportage.
MIDSIZED SUVS: Mercedes-Benz M-Class*, Land Rover LR3 (V8), Cadillac SRX (V8), Mercedes-Benz R-Class*, Volkswagen Touareg, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hummer H3*, BMW X5 (V8, 2006), Volvo XC90 (6 & V8), Ford Explorer (V8), Mercury Mountaineer (V8).
LARGE SUVS: Nissan Armada, Infiniti QX56, Lincoln Navigator, Hummer H2.
PICKUP TRUCKS: Nissan Titan, Ford F-250 (TurboDiesel), Dodge Dakota (4WD), Cadillac Escalade EXT (2006).
The full Ratings and recommendations for more than 200 vehicles, along with the latest information on thousands of other products and services, are available to ConsumerReports.org subscribers. Find out how to subscribe today.