Though we don’t have a [sub] for Consumer Reports‘ members-only data, their latest reliability survey summary has enough interesting tidbits to warrant a mention. Based on their subscriber base’s 1.4m autos, and using only data available for at least 100 examples of a given model, the survey is one of the better indicators of reliability out there (although when it comes to this topic there is no gospel). If nothing else, it’s hard to argue that CR’s reliability results aren’t influential, so sales are definitely at stake. The results? All Toyota/Lexus/Scion received ratings of “average” or better, an improvement over last year when CR found Camry V6, Tundra V8 4WD, and the Lexus GS AWD to be lacking. Honda/Acura and Subaru also showed extremely well where complete data was available, and Hyundai/Kia models were average or better except for Sedona and Entourage. Hybrids also scored surprisingly well, with nine gas-electrics scoring above average. But CR is making the biggest fuss over Ford, which they say is “on par” with the Japanese firms on all but a few truck-based models. The rest of the Detroit firms? Not quite so much.
General Motors is a mixed bag. Among the bright spots is the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu; in its first year, the four-cylinder version is better than average and the V6 is average. The Buick Lucerne with a V8 and the Pontiac G6 with a four-cylinder are above average, and the Chevrolet Avalanche has improved to average.
But a quarter of GM models are still well below average in reliability. Some that didn’t fare well are fairly new designs that did well in our testing, such as the Cadillac CTS and the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook SUV triplets. Chrysler trails the pack. Almost two-thirds of its products rate below average for reliability. The redesigned 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans earned low scores, as did the Chrysler Sebring V6 and Dodge Avenger sedans and the Jeep Liberty SUV. The Sebring Convertible has the worst score: 283 percent worse than average. The only above-average models are the Dodge Caliber hatchback and Jeep Patriot SUV.