As of late October of last year, Consumer Reports has consolidated a ranking of the most reliable car brands, and out of this manifest of holy manufacturers defending themselves from depreciation came some interesting conclusions. While there were some leaps (and falls) for some brands, others stayed the same.
For the #4 contender Audi, staying put in the top 5 is hardly something to complain about. Consider while consulting this list the amount of cars each manufacturer produces can affect its ranking. For instance, if you make 10 cars where nine of them are reliable, the one weak link will bring down your whole reliability rating, almost like a GPA.
Most Reliable Car Brands:
Toyota and Lexus have been trading blows for the top of the podium for a couple of years, and 2017 saw Toyota rise to the top, which is impressive considering it has the second biggest lineup behind Chevrolet. It’s most reliable car is the Toyota 86, where trailing behind as Toyota’s least reliable vehicle is the Tacoma. It’s quite unorthodox to have a sports car with a relatively high compression engine as your most reliable horse, while a truck is taking the brunt of manufacturer shunts. Lexus placed second overall, with the GX being it’s least reliable vehicle, and the ES being the most reliable.
Kia muscled it’s way into contention last year, overtaking Audi and Buick for the bottom step of the podium (3rd) behind Lexus. Despite its stellar reviews across the scrutiny of Car and Driver, USNews and Kelly Blue Book, last year’s Kia Sportage earned its spot as the least reliable vehicle of the Korea-based manufacturer’s lineup. The most reliable Kia is the Niro, a hybrid hatchback that claimed a titanic fuel efficiency rating of 76.6 MPG when it completed a road trip from coast to coast across the USA.
BMW vaulted four spots from it’s 9th place in 2016, up into 5th place for last year. Surprisingly, BMW’s own eco-friendly car, the i3 didn’t fair as well as the Kia Niro, and dug its grave as the least reliable BMW. The sportier 2-Series, as it turns out, is the most reliable pony in the German manufacturer’s stable. With a lineup comprised of just six vehicles, BMW’s ability to climb the ladder of reliability is impressive.
Subaru was even more successful than BMW at escaping the doldrums of purgatory, reaching 6th place from all the way down in 11th, which is where it was for 2016. It’s most reliable vehicle is what you’d expect considering what Toyota model ended up being the most reliable vehicle. The Subaru BRZ is basically the same car as the 86, so it makes sense that both would be reliable. Subaru’s most unreliable car, however, was earned by the Impreza.
Also showing improvement from 2016 is Infiniti, which went from 8th to 7th on the list of most reliable car brands. In a rather stark controversy, Infiniti’s sedan lineup claimed both the least reliable and most reliable, the Q50 and Q70, respectively. Nissan’s luxury brand seems to be having trouble getting that sedan formula just right, unless they plan on people paying more money for a more reliable vehicle.
Honda is often hailed as the most reliable car on the road, but according to Consumer Reports’ ranking this could not be further from the truth. Honda sits in 9th place, up from 10th in 2016, while it’s luxury brand Acura pouts all the way down in 19th. Unfortunately for Honda, it’s attempt to break into the realm of trucks seems to have been thwarted by its very own Ridgeline, as that is the Japanese manufacturer’s least reliable vehicle. The CR-V sits comfortably as the most reliable vehicle, which is good news as the CR-V is a practical, affordable car.
Working up from the bottom of that same ranking we can see some dismal results. While some have begun a slow crawl up the ranking, others have fallen quite a few places. For example Acura, while near the middle of the list in 19th, has dropped seven places since 2016. Some other surprises await the bottom of the list, like Volvo being bumped four places down to 23rd. For other brands, things appear bleak at best.
Treading water at the bottom of the well is Cadillac, which dropped six places since 2016. It’s least reliable vehicle slot fell to the Escalade, while the most reliable Cadillac is the CTS series. That’s a good thing for all of the sports sedan enthusiasts out there, but for those who enjoy taking up eight parking spots at a time and three lanes of highway, it’s a different engine note they’re hearing.
Unfortunately for one of the best truck manufactures of all time, GMC has barely beat out Cadillac as the brand that has achieved second worst reliability. For those of you who drive an Acadia, the news isn’t particularly good as its the least reliable of GMC’s lineup. However, those Sierra 2500HD drivers are singing high praises.
Dodge and Ram placed in 24th and 25th, respectively. Ram’s 3500 and 1500 earned least and most reliable cars of their lineups, respectively. Meanwhile the larger side of Dodge’s stable, including the Journey and Grand Caravan, placed in both of those spots, the former being its least reliable.
It’s a hard fact to face, but Volvo unfortunately doesn’t seem to be a very reliable brand, floating all the way down in 23rd place. It seems to do everything else so well, is the frustrating part. It makes practical, safe vehicles with a lot of features including impressive power plants and drivetrains. The XC90 is what you want to watch out for when shopping for a Volvo, while the V60 appears to be the safest choice.
Ford is right in the middle of the list, and Lincoln is far behind in 22nd, after moving down two places behind Tesla. Lincoln has a small lineup as it is, so this isn’t a good sign. It’s least reliable vehicle is the MKX, while it’s most reliable is the MKZ.
While not terribly high on the list, Chrysler has achieved an amazing feat of soaring from the bottom of the list, ten places to 17th, which is the most places gained out of all the manufacturers. Hopefully Chrysler can keep up this momentum. It’s least reliable car is the 300, while the Pacific is its most reliable car.
It’s important to keep in mind that this ranking was based on a survey conducted by Consumer Reports, and that everyone’s experience will be different. The best way to find out if the car you’re looking for is reliable or not is to check if there are any recalls, and use resources on the internet like Car Complaints to find out what owners have experienced so far.
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