By on October 31, 2013

2013-Lexus-LS-460-3

If reliability is the No. 1 trait your next car must have, you may then opt to visit your nearest Lexus dealership before considering anything from the Ford dealership across the street as far as Consumer Reports is concerned.

Lexus, Toyota and Acura dominate the consumer magazine’s Top 10 in reliability for 2013, with a total of seven Japanese automakers taking almost all of the marbles; the only non-Japanese makes to make the Top 10 were Audi (No. 4), Volvo (No. 7) and GMC (No. 9).

Meanwhile, Ford was pushed into the No. 26 slot after being stranded in the 27th position last year. Lincoln fell back to No. 27 on reliability, with BMW’s MINI in dead last on the side of the road. Reasons for both Ford and Lincoln being where they are include complaints about the automaker’s MyFordTouch system, and problems with their EcoBoost engine.

If you’re at the Toyota dealership, however, Consumer Reports recommends anything but the Camry, Prius v or RAV4. The magazine retracted its recommendations for the trio due to poor results in crash testing as conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a decision the publication doesn’t take lightly according to Consumer Reports Director of Auto Testing Jake Fisher:

Honestly, we don’t take this lightly, but virtually every vehicle now in the family sedan category has been tested and the only one that has gotten a ‘poor’ is the Camry. At this point, we don’t feel we can continue to recommend people buy a Camry when there’s other good choices out there that do better on the test.

That said, there may be hope for redemption regarding the Camry: Toyota’s engineers have gone over the car’s failings, and will retest with IIHS in December.

Fisher also said that with 50 vehicles tested by the IIHS, his publication has enough data to begin weeding out any vehicle with a “poor” rating. Thus, expect to see more recommendations retracted on some cars the next time you head to the newsstand to pick up the latest issue of Consumer Reports.

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175 Comments on “Lexus No. 1 in Reliability, Ford Near Bottom...”


  • avatar
    Spartan

    “I don’t know how to work this infotainment system on a car that I went to the dealer and test drove then bought knowing I didn’t know how to work it. It’s unreliable!”

    Somebody call the Waaaaambulance! Someone’s taken on entirely too much cheese with their whine.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      The problems with MyFordTouch are well-known and are not simply a case of “user error”. Countless professional reviews of Ford vehicles have mentioned problems with bugs, freezing, screen response, and just general awfulness. Even if Ford introduced a flawless revision to the system today, it’d still take a couple of years for it to show up in the rankings.

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        I could have told you that when they went with microsoft.

        Lots have companies have “partnered” with Microsoft. Only Citrix is still is business. That might tell you something.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Lets be clear though. Sync, which also utilized Microsoft, (the one with just a simple 3 line text display) works really well. Its MyFordTouch that’s buggy.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            And MyTouch was developed internally by Ford — or possibly outsourced, but not to Microsoft.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            So what you’re saying is that the DOS interface is bug-free but the Windows one is all FUBAR?

            Sounds about right. ;)

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Yuppers. My employer has a number of 2010-ish Escapes with Sync (non touch). They interface with mine and my coworkers smartphones beautifully.

            Part of why Sync works so well is that it has ACTUAL BUTTONS.

        • 0 avatar
          johnny_5.0

          There was a lengthy and well written article about the MyFordTouch development process that I read which I’m having trouble digging up on Google. IIRC the short version was basically that Microsoft built Sync, by the end of the contract Ford owned the code, and then Ford outsourced MyFordTouch to some 3rd party software company (not Microsoft), and much teeth gnashing ensued.

    • 0 avatar

      If I was in charge of Ford, Sync would be better than Uconnect Touch and the EGOboost Motors would be supercharged V6 or V8 with an option for a regular naturally aspirated V8.

      My uncle wrote a book about Ford years ago and I warned him then that they were on the wrong path.

      Soon as those idiots sold Jaguar I knew it was over.

      barnesandnoble.com/w/ford-regaining-their-competitive-edge-carl-g-smith/1013724462?ean=9780595470105

      • 0 avatar
        Spartan

        Well it’s a good thing you aren’t in charge, now isn’t it? CAFE won’t allow you to do anything remotely close to what you’re suggesting in regards to engines and contrary to what you may think, not everyone is addicted to power and don’t want to visit a fuel station once every 3 days.

        No one cares about your uncle’s book nor do we care to visit the link.

      • 0 avatar
        AlternateReality

        Speaking of EGOboost…

      • 0 avatar
        Compaq Deskpro

        I think it was over as soon as they started with the turbos. They could do no wrong in 2010-2011. Eventually consumers will catch on that turbo = 150,000 miles of life.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Lol

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        I don’t know if I agree with BTS on killing off ECO (not EGO) boost, I guess I don’t see the harm in putting a V8 in a large sedan. They can’t possibly sell enough full sized sedans, or even bigger mid-sizers like the XTS, where offering a NA V8 would hurt them. Ford sells a ton of Focii/Fiesta’, they surely offsets the 20-30,000 people who would buy a V8 sedan, per year?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Turbocharging is vastly more reliable than the last round of CAFE catch up in the 80s for starters (although I agree completely that superchargers are by design more reliable).

        Turbos are great for EPA test cycles and when the vehicle is hauling a single person back and forth to work, which is how many Americans drive. Where they don’t deliver, as any Ford EcoBoost truck owner has found out, is under load (e.g. towing or cargo hauling). When the turbo is spooled up economy drops like a rock to 1970′s grade MPG.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          The Ecoboost 3.5 in the F150 is very sensitive to driver habits. The “Canadian Truck King Challenge” tested virtually every 1/2 ton together empty, 1,000 lb load, and 6,100-6,900 lb trailers and this is roughly how the mpg came out for averages:
          1. Ram 3.0 Diesel = 20.9
          2. Ram 3.6 V6 = 18.3
          3. Tacoma 4.0 = 16.9
          4. F150 EB 3.5 = 16.4
          5. F150 3.7 V6 = 15.9
          6. GM 5.3 V8 = 15.8
          7. F150 5.0 V8 = 15.7
          8. GM 6.2 V8 = 15.5
          9. Ram 5.7 V8 = 14.3
          10. Tundra 5.7 V8 = 14.0

          The EB 3.5 is a competitor with the Ram 5.7, Tundra 5.7, and GM 6.2 and it does provide better mpg than those engines.
          The VM diesel has the best mpg but the torque curve when compared to the EB is a lot narrower. For many truck buyers a normally aspirated V6 would meet all of their needs but most would argue that such a purchase would put their man card in jeopardy.
          The VM Motori 3.0 splits the difference between the NA V6′s and gassers in power but gives superior mpg.

          http://canadiantruckkingchallenge.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/mycarma_ctkc_lightduty_onroad_resultssummary1.pdf

    • 0 avatar
      bollockitis

      It’s not just MFT though. Ford has had problems with engines, transmissions, and electrical systems. I would say those are probably the top three problems consumers would prefer to avoid.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        Aside from a few fires (what’s a few engine fires, between friends?) I’m not aware of any engine issues.

        What I *am* aware of is manufacturers, as a whole, gaming the outdated EPA system to deliver to most of us unrealistic real-world EPA estimates, which is garbage. Example 1: my 2013 Chevy Equinox with the 2.4l four banger engine that hardly gets the EPA’s estimate for CITY driving in mixed driving, and rarely, if ever, hits the EPA’s mixed driving expectations when on a tank of gas that’s 90% highway.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Having had a number of rentals with both the basic Sync and MyFordTouch I can say Sync, developed with Microsoft, is five nines reliable and baboon proof.

      MyFordTouch goes way beyond user problems. Black screen of death, failed device syncing (that Ford Sync does flawlessly) system reboots that last for minutes when trying to do simple tasks like turn on the AC. It’s gotten better, but MyFordTouch has more bugs than a cut rate Manhattan hotel. It goes way beyond I don’t know how to use it.

      BUT – does that make a car inherently unreliable? What are real problems?

      For a TTAC reader they will throw condemnation at a BMW eating lower control arms every 30K miles because the average TTAC reader knows what to feel for and what it sounds like. The person complaining about black screens of death on MyFordTouch wouldn’t be able to identify a warped rotor, let alone a front suspension clunk if their life depended on it.

      TTAC has run a couple of stories about how CR methodology is less than perfect, but it is pretty good.

      I’ve said many times when buying a car the CR color dots are a single report, a single data point to be used in the buying decision. Buyers have countless surveys, IHS, fuellly, government sites, Edmunds, R L Polk, JD Power, TrueCar and countless other resources. I for one look at the CR dots and review, but use that as on point of research in a broader decision.

      There methods are no where near perfect, but they are pretty good.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @APaGttH

        I have on my desk here a September 2013 issue of Consumer Reports and I have absolutely NO IDEA where ANY of these “reliability” markings are coming from. NO IDEA.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @APaGttH – I do agree that CR is not perfect but they do a decent job. One should cross reference CR with JD Power data as well as other survey sites like Vincentric and TrueDelta.
        I don’t put much stock in their driving tests but again, those tests should be used as one more piece of the purchase puzzle.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Did all the owner-blaming VW fans suddenly switch over to Fords or something?

      You think Lexus and other high-ranked automakers don’t have an infotainment system?

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    So having the highest number of recalls is not weighed in?

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      CR goes solely by survey results. If a consumer didn’t consider the recall to be a “major repair”, then it won’t get picked up by the survey, and therefore not show up in the rankings.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        So CR is just a compliation of the same people that make over inflated claim of turbo-4 cars getting 40 mpg on the internet?

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          So how long have you been a CR member Norm?? :)

        • 0 avatar
          LectroByte

          LOL. Norm you now own this site.

        • 0 avatar
          tuffjuff

          @Norm

          Sounds kind’ve like it. People who buy a car tend to think more highly of it than others (they clearly thought it was a good/better/best vehicle, or they wouldn’t have bought it) and may be less likely to be critical of their vehicles.

          That said, if somebody is too stupid to use the infotainment system in their particular brand of car, should that really make the entire vehicle be considered “unreliable?” With that kind of mentality, the only thing that seems unreliable here is Consumer Reports themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      bollockitis

      That would be a very bad idea. If recalls were counted, then automakers would be even more reluctant to perform voluntary recalls, which could mean that consumers get the short end of the stick. Recalls shouldn’t count. Automakers should be praised for fixing problems rather than pretending they don’t exist.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        I hope they don’ rank baby sits the way they ranks cars. Sure wouldn’t want my baby in feature-filled car seat that is not safe because of a recall.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Recalls are for safety-related items. They aren’t a measure of reliability, but of what is usually a design flaw that is often corrected preemptively, even if virtually no one was affected by it.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          So if Toyota and Honda lead in safety recalls due to poor designs, knowly they’d get caught at some point, what else is Toyonda designing poorly, knowingly they can get away with? Are class action suits included in CR data? Honda got caught last week paying up in a class action suit with V6 engines they said were normal to consume one quart of oil per 1,000 miles. Warranties were extended and documented repairs repaid, but no complimentary quarts of a oil to current owners who might of kept an eye on oil levels. From 2006 on up to new 2013, untitled Accord Crosstours were covered. So they knew they had a problem but used up the old stock first?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Recalls aren’t always about poor design. A good design can pass through inspection with production flaws that are hard to detect.
            People go on and on about the size of recalls but recall size is based upon the ability to isolate the problem batch or product run of a faulty item coupled with risk of it failing. If only a few flaws are found but they can’t isolate it down to a batch they will recall everything even though the absolute risk or chance of every unit failing is rather low.
            Recalls are only for safety problems.

            Examples of vehicles not facing recalls but have had reliability issues would be the Pentastar V6 and its “tick”. Recalls are NHTSA mandated.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        I don’t know that recalls are that big of a deal to your average car owner. I owned a Ford product that had crazy driveability issues in hot weather, would stall and not restart, and was never recalled. Something about an engine computer located too close to the exhaust manifold.
        I owned a Nissan that was recalled over something about wiper blades. Guess which brand got my repeat business?

      • 0 avatar

        I think TrueDelta has a fairly productive recall count criteria embedded into its “visits” metric. If recall is included into the routine service, then it does not count. Otherwise, it does. This way the count reflects the customer facing issue and the use disruption.

        For the record, my Lexus had 2 recalls and frankly I forgot about them until this thread. Even had to review the records. One was the completely bogus SUA witchhunt, the other was actually a serious issue: a poorly tightened fuel pressure sensor could spring a leak (but apparently it did not in my case). If I were in CR survey, I would not count the 1st against Toyota — since it was a blatant persecution by the GM-owning government — but I would the 2nd (although it would not count in TD rank since it were rolled into a service).

    • 0 avatar
      IndianaDriver

      Strange thing to me is how Consumer Reports can stop recommending a vehicle like the Rav4, but still rank it as one of the most reliable. See this link showing the top 3 in reliability for each category:

      http://finance.yahoo.com/news/top-performing-models-consumer-reports-164714411.html

      For small SUV reliability, CR ranks as follows:
      1. Subaru Forester (non-turbo)
      2. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
      3. Toyota Rav4

      Why even rank a vehicle, if you’re not going to recommend it.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Reliability data comes from the survey. It isn’t an opinion, but a collection of statistical data from survey respondents.

        In addition to conducting a survey, CR also tests cars and recommends them based upon whether they like them. But CR won’t recommend a car that has below-average reliability or a poor crash test result, even if they liked driving it.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Exactly. The Yaris is utterly reliable and I believe recommended but o. their ten worst car list from a driving stand point. Ditto the Prius C which they loathed. their road tests – but the survey data is separate and they aggregate.

          The data is only from subscribers of CR, not all auto owners – which one can argue taints the well. But it is a good data set overall. TTAC did a series of stories on the flaws in CR – they aren’t perfect by any means,

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            CR only uses subscibers for surveys? Isn’t that like buying a vote? Do they have to submit their VIN?

            Sounds like the Church of Consumer Reports!

          • 0 avatar
            sirwired

            Norm: Huh? Buying votes? What on earth are you talking about?

            Since the primary audience for the survey is subscribers, it makes sense that subscribers are going to be the ones surveyed, as they’ll make the best sample pool for what a “typical subscriber” buys and thinks about their car.

          • 0 avatar
            tuffjuff

            @sirwired

            What does it say, then, that the typical subscriber pool apparently can’t figure out how to push a button on a touch screen, which is then listed as a problem with “reliability” and held against a vehicle?

          • 0 avatar

            New for 2012 Yaris seems pretty decent. It’s not an M3 of course, not even MINI, but I see little difference with e.g. Fiesta or even Mazda 2.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        IIRC, the reason CR wouldn’t recommend the RAV4 had nothing to do with reliability. It was because the way the spare tire was externally mounted, it would result in expensive body damage after the rear collision impact test.

        • 0 avatar

          You got it backwards: they got rid of the external spare for 2012 RAV4 and the 2013 lost its recommended status. The reason was the IIHS as stated. The myth of extensive damage due to spare was just a myth and collision insurance rates were always same. The spare was too high to make a difference unless the RAV was rear-ended by an F-250, in which case the spare again made little different.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      No – all the surveys, even Karesh’s “ignores” safety recalls in the data.

      I guess the argument is the flaw is being fixed for free and in most cases pro-actively. Also many recalls are actually really minor stuff – I know 5 or 6 years ago the Civic was “recalled” because of a wrong or missing page (can’t remember which) in the owner’s manual. However this wrong information could impact “safety” so they did a recall action.

      Again – none of those methodologies are perfect, CR is pretty good – but it is a single set of data and reviews in a growing sea of other data and reviews.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        And Tundra owners never thought their frames would snap in two after the spare tire holder rusted and dropped the tire? Toyota owners never asked if they cannot use a drain tube to route water away from the electrical system what else is at question with this car?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding recalls. Reports of failures in a component are investigated and a recall is issued if warranted. It could be only 1% of a particular component is defective but a recall will be issues for 100% of them.
        More companies are going to shared components which can contribute to a massive recall if the individual component isn’t batched.

  • avatar

    Reliabilty is overrated nowadays. 1 vs 1.4 dealer visits a year is nothing. And if you go for Lexus you’ll get stuck with something like that ill-looking machine pictured. I’ll take a Fusion, Focus or Fiesta anyday and then light a candle to my favorite saint for protection :).

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Boom! Exactly! The Darth Car that never dies.

      Reliability can be a curse, too. Nancy Pelosi is reliable. So is Al Sharpton.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      It’s not just how many times you visit, but how much you pay each time. Most cars now are very reliable, so it’s true that the differences aren’t huge. But it still matters, and matters more for some than others. If it came down to a Lexus vs. a Ford, then it depends on the model. Anything offered with their dual clutch transmission? I’d probably go Lexus. Compact fun? A Fiesta would be nice? Cross-vers or SUVs? I’ll go get a bus pass…

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      This. Exactly this. Look at the 10 most unreliable car list – really none of them are inherently bad on that list.

      Look at the B, C and D segments, pony/compact sport, compact and midsize SUV/CUV – there really isn’t a dog among them.

      Is the Chrysler 200 as nice as a Ford Fusion? Of course not – but is the Chrylser 200 (especially with the Pentastar 6) a inherently bad, unreliable car? Nope – it is pretty nice, class uncompetitive is a long way away from crap box.

      Is the 2013 Corolla S as nice as a Cruze LT? Again, not even close. But the Corolla isn’t inherently a bad car.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      I totally agree. However, these consumer reports are part of the reason for that so they are a good idea ;-)

  • avatar
    jmo

    Lexus, Toyota and Acura swept the top three spots in the 2013 rankings and Japanese brands took seven of the top 10 places. But Germany’s Audi took fourth

    So Audi is more reliable than Honda?

    • 0 avatar

      Good question. Your little catch goes to show that the difference in reliabilty right now is so minimal that it’s really almost insignificant. I truly believe we’re getting to the point that the discussion is losing relevance. In other words, CR played an important role in the industry, but the industry was up to the challenge. I think as time goes by this kind of report, except for that rare outlier, will be questioned more and more.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      The difference might be negligible, but for me, that was the biggest news in this post: that Audi is apparently now reliable.

      Good for them; I am glad to see it.

      I do wonder how owner’s bias affects these ratings. If an owner *thinks* their car is reliable, would that cause them to ignore little things that an owner with a known unreliable brand vehicle might report?

      • 0 avatar

        “I do wonder how owner’s bias affects these ratings. If an owner *thinks* their car is reliable, would that cause them to ignore little things that an owner with a known unreliable brand vehicle might report?”

        From what I hear in my own, private life, and from what people in the business have told me over time, this is huge. People tend to think that problems in cars from perceived as reliable brands are of their own making or unique to them, while if the same thing happens with a car from a considered as non-reliable brand, they blame the car, the company and see it as confirmation of their fears or biases.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          That is a valid point. Guys loyal to a brand will down rate a problem. I know a few guys who say their Ram HD’s are completely reliable but I stopped by one day to pickup my kids and he had the rear brakes completely apart and was saying he had this ongoing issue with them. I’ve known others without brand loyalty and complained more quickly. My brother used to have only Dodge and Ford company trucks but when they switched to Chevy, he complained about everything. 3 company trucks later and he has realized that there isn’t a huge difference in durability.
          Some models have weak spots or odd traits and that has existed for as long as I care to remember.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Isn’t there a report done (not as highly publicized) which details reliability for 5-year old models based on recalls, repair costs and other details? I would be interested in seeing those numbers more than headline survey results, myself.

        • 0 avatar
          th009

          truedelta.com has a lot more data available than CR does.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            That’s n absurd statement.

            I like Mike, and wish him nothing but good fortune, but there’s no way in hell he has 1.1 million detailed responses from actual owners, providing feedback by vehicle component category, from the motor to transmission to electrical & cooling systems, brakes, exhaust, body integrity, etc.

            Consumer Reports has the largest sample size and statistically meaningful pool of data of any entity that digests and produces vehicle reliability imformation, on an itemized basis, by far.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “If an owner *thinks* their car is reliable, would that cause them to ignore little things that an owner with a known unreliable brand vehicle might report?”

        The survey provides a list of items and asks whether there were problems with those specific areas.

        The respondents aren’t asked whether they have a gut feeling that their cars are reliable.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Well IMAG, I think you’re on to something. Generally speaking I think owners of German cars see reliability not the same as owners of Japanese cars. This is just my personal observation but I worked with guys who would take their German cars in ( BMW, VW) for serious work to be done ( non-maintenance related) two-three times per year but they didn’t see it as a big deal and they would say their car is dead-on reliable.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Respondents aren’t asked if their cars are reliable.

          The survey lists a number of components, and asks whether there were problems or repairs concerning those items.

          • 0 avatar
            Carrera

            Of course PCH, I am not debating that. I do those surveys pretty much every year. It was just a side note about how people think of their vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Fair enough. I’m just pointing out those attitudes shouldn’t influence the results of the JD Power or Consumer Reports surveys, given the nature of the questions being asked.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            Consumer Reports asks respondents to distinguish “minor” from “major” problems, and that is the basis of introducing some subjectivity. Karesh had written about that a few time here.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Consumer Reports asks respondents to distinguish ‘minor’ from ‘major’ problems”

            No, it doesn’t. CR has various categories, including “engine, major” and “engine, minor”, and defines what each of those mean.

            CR provides the list. The respondent provides a yes or no response to each of the categories:
            ________

            Engine, major: Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

            Engine, minor: Oil leaks, accessory belts and pulleys, engine mounts, engine knock or ping.

            Engine, cooling: Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

            Transmission (and clutch), major: Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

            Transmission (and clutch), minor: Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

            Drive system: Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

            Fuel system: Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

            Electrical: Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

            Climate system: Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

            Suspension: Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

            Brakes: Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

            Exhaust: Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

            Paint/trim: Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

            Body integrity: Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

            Body hardware: Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

            Power equipment and accessories: Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

            Audio system (excluding aftermarket systems): Radio, speakers, antenna, CD or DVD player; GPS, iPod & MP3 interface; communication system (e.g. ONSTAR, Bluetooth), backup camera/sensors.
            ______

            http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/04/reliability-histories/index.htm

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Thanks Pch101, for setting forth CR’s objective data set parameters when culling responses from 1.1 million respondents ANNUALLY.

            CR may not be perfect in providing reliability ratings, but they’re far & away the best out there, for credible short & long term reliability data, by a country mile.

            They have also ranked recent domestic cars well ahead of certain “foreign” ones, gushing over & giving a 95 score to the new Impala, based on road test impressions, raring the Chrysler 300 ahead of Japanese & Korean rivals, rating the Jeep Grand Cherokee highly, while ripping the Acura RXL to shreds, and no longer recommending the Toyota Camry based on middling reliability & poor crash test results.

            Finally, it is so old & worn out to hear the Ford apologists try and excuse Ford’s 3rd from last place finish and Lincoln’s 2nd from last place finish in reliability rankings on MyFordTouch & MyLincolnTouch, when every Ford product with an ecoboost motor earned a poor motor reliability rating, many Ford transmissions were rated unreliable, as were cooling systems & body hardware integrity & fit/finish.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    So an entire car company’s product line is unreliable all because a small group of people don’t know how to or can’t figure out how the My Ford, (Lincoln) Touch system operates, so all the cars they build are unreliable pieces of junk. I spent 30 years in the car business and believe me I know what unreliable really is. Today’s cars, Ford included are about as trouble free as cars have ever been and for this misinformation by Consumer Reports against Ford to be spread like this is totally uncalled for and boarders on criminal. Anyone who believes this report I have a bridge for sale in New York.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      First, the ecoBoost problems certainly aren’t “user error”.

      Have you ever taken a CR reliability survey? They ask “Has your car had a major problem in the last 12 months. If so, to which systems?” They don’t “skew” the results based on deciding which answers are “worthy” of hitting the ratings and rankings, and which ones shouldn’t; they’d just get accused of bias.

      Also, the problems with MyFordTouch are VERY well-known, and are not just user error; the professional reviews of pretty much every Ford released since the system came out have called out problems with responsiveness, system freezes, and bugs. If I’m driving down the road and suddenly the radio kicks out and I can’t adjust cabin temp, yeah, I’m going to call that a “major” problem.

    • 0 avatar
      AlternateReality

      Ford has a definite problem. Before you try to let that bridge go, you might want to visit your local Ford showroom where you’ll find a sea of vehicles with mismatched panels inside and out, bad paint and finishing, badges askew, and other seemingly minor quality bugs that nevertheless have no place on a modern automobile.

      Christ, if GM can get these things right on Daewoos slapped together by the UAW, why can’t Ford? And nevermind that pesky little recurring fire problem Ford has with the 1.6 EB.

      Ford took a calculated risk with investing in a slew of new technologies over the past five years, at the notable expense of quality and reliability. I hope the company turns things around, but I am not optimistic.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        “Ford has a definite problem. Before you try to let that bridge go, you might want to visit your local Ford showroom where you’ll find a sea of vehicles with mismatched panels inside and out, bad paint and finishing, badges askew, and other seemingly minor quality bugs that nevertheless have no place on a modern automobile.”

        Sounds like the Land Rover I saw on the weekend. The Supercharged badge on the back was off by about 10 degrees from level. But hey, it’s a status symbol!

      • 0 avatar
        schmitt trigger

        ‘Ford has a definite problem. Before you try to let that bridge go…”

        The Brooklyn Bridge is not my cup of tea, but I might consider buying/leasing the Eiffel Tower.
        At the right price, of course

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @AlternateReality – I agree. When I read about all of these problems I am happy I went with a end of year 2010 F150 with 5.4 and basic Sync system. The only problem I’ve had is bubbling of the chrome on the grill which was replaced under warranty. I’ve had good luck with it and I really like the truck but that does not mean I’m going to go out and blindly buy another Ford product without doing some research.
        My wife and I both own 2010 vehicles purchased new, my truck purchased in the fall of 2010 and my wife’s Sienna in early winter of 2009. Both vehicles have been good but when it is time to replace them, CR will be one of my references.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Who died and made CR king?

    • 0 avatar
      yesthatsteve

      One-eyed man, land of the blind, etc. etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Millions of people use Consumer Reports as a reference when shopping for a new (or used) car. Automakers ignore CR survey results at their own peril. Every automaker has a high level team analyzing the latest CR reliability report and tens of millions of dollars are being spent rectify all possible shortcomings.

      As you read this Ford’s Human Resources/Benefits people are noticing that white collar employee prescriptions for Prilosec and Xanax have jumped in the last few days. Those prescriptions will keep getting refilled until those quality ratings go up.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Manufacturers seem to be taking it pretty seriously.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Yet more evidence that Consumer Reports used sound scientific statistical sampling methodology, and that they carry a massive amount of credibility amongst consumers, as evidenced by the fact that manufacturers literally redesign, refresh and even completely overhaul vehicles that are barely into their lifecycle, ala Honda and the recently redesigned Civic as just one of many examples, when CR slam those vehicles.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    This is all based on who fills out their survey, right? I wonder, since they’ve been recommending Toyotas and Hondas strongly for 25 years, doesn’t that imply that their avid readership (IE, those most likely to respond to their survey) have been following said recommendations for a long time and are perhaps somewhat biased towards those breeds of car?

    I also wonder at the current popularity of Audi. You have to drive 125 miles to find an Audi dealer from where I live, but yet I see more and more of them on the streets. I’ve always had a policy of not buying a make where there was not a dealership present, just in case. Maybe I’m a weirdo.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Audi’s are more reliable than Hondas and as the B&B will tell you Honda’s never break down. So, no need for a local dealerships.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I thought they fixed themselves?

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Only CJ’s does!

          I note that Mazda was more highly ranked than some other, more famous Japanese companies. And they offer better dynamics and styling. Wow the full package.

          • 0 avatar
            ttacfan

            They also rust like cars from 20 years ago, which is a concern if you live where I live and tend to hang onto a car beyond it’s 5th birthday.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            Certainly in the 70s and 80s. Maybe you didn’t get the memo all cars are pretty much the same for longevity now, the ratings just split hairs.

            My 2001 Lexus still shines not a spot of body rust 12 years on. I park it next to our 8 year old Subaru, it still shines too. We live outside Boston plenty of salt here.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      This is basically it. They have a self-selected response group.

      As soon as the “new” 2014 Corolla starts showing up at the dealerships, sporting the exact same 132-hp engine they introduced back in 2006, these folks will show up to buy it.

      Are these engines reliable? Yeah – I mean, it’s basically impossible to make an 8-year-old engine design that’s been built in probably the tens of millions by now, unreliable.

      Does this model work for them? Yes, although choosing to sell a car that is maybe a couple of percentage points more reliable at a time when the reliability delta between makes is vanishingly small – but probably 50% less innovative and 50% more boring to drive – doesn’t on the face of it sound that brilliant.

    • 0 avatar
      bollockitis

      Not exactly. If they have a adequate sample size and are asking unbiased questions regarding reliability, personal biases wouldn’t account for much. On the other hand, for more subjective measures, like owner satisfaction, then yes, the survey might be slightly skewed toward CR’s typically recommended vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Their highest rated vehicles for owner satisfaction are invariably split between the hybrid smugmobiles (which CR loves) and V8 muscle cars (which CR loves to lecture about.)

        Their 5 most satisfying cars this year, leaving out the $80,000 models with barely any responses, were, in order, the Volt, Challenger, Charger, Mustang, and Camry Hybrid.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    It also apparently depends on one’s definition of reliable. If a vehicle starts, runs, and gets me where I need to go each and every day, then I would call it reliable. This would be regardless of whether the A/C, radio, etc. worked or not. C/R’s question “Has your car had a major problem in the last 12 months?”, should be restated, or they should refer to the survey as a “Ranking of Problems”. Personally, I don’t pay much attention to C/R.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      You might change your mind if your A/C went out in summer in Phoenix. Or if your defroster went out in the winter, or the stereo didn’t work in your commuter vehicle.

      My ’60′s car doesn’t have an AC, defrost, or stereo, but if my new car had issues like that, I wouldn’t be impressed. The benchmark these days is higher than “doesn’t leave me by the side of the road.”

      • 0 avatar
        Higheriq

        My point was about how C/R’s question is interpreted. My interpretation is one thing, and your interpretation is different. But you raised another question: what defines a “major” problem? Everyone’s definition of “major” is likely also different.

    • 0 avatar
      Tinker

      I’d call an AC failure “Major”. Here in central Texas, you need the AC 11 months out of the year.

      And if your car ran fine but all four fenders dropped off, you’d call that major, too, I bet. If your new car had seatbelt failure? Or went bong-bong-bong as you directed it down the road? Or your seat reclined absolutely flat, so you were left looking at your rear seat passengers knees, you would probably find that a concern. Yes? So body work or interior can be a severe problem

    • 0 avatar
      bollockitis

      In my experience, CR’s reliability ratings have been the only ones to consistently reflect the real world. But I think it’s pointless to rank an entire lineup based upon the poor showing of just a few models.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Starting is the definition of reliable 10 years down the line.

      For new car money I expect everything to work. I’m not making payments on $30,000 to sweat with the windows down because the climate control touchscreen crashed again.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      If I have to take my car in for a repair it’s unreliable. I’ll cut you some slack if I can fix it myself for free.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        fredtal, that is really hard to do these days unless you have all the diagnostic gear and access to the diagnostic codes.

        To wit: my wife’s three sisters each purchased a 2014 Grand Cherokee earlier this year and each experienced a myriad of problems. The problems have been widely publicized and resulted in a recall of the 2014 GC.

        In order to diagnose what was wrong, each GC had to be left at the dealer overnight so they could do a cold start with the diagnostic gear plugged in, because the diagnostic codes do not stay in the VIC or the OBDII system once the car is turned off.

        What makes matters worse is when the VIC and the OBDII reflect no error codes while the malfunctions and glitches are happening plain as day, or only while driving and using a certain firmware routine.

        • 0 avatar
          fredtal

          I agree. The back of my drivers seat came undone. I glued it back on. If I had to take it in to have it fixed and they charged me $100 then I would of considered it a problem.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Maybe they will stop wasting time with microscopic turbo engines?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Since most folks now have a smartphone of one kind or another, how come these on-board infotainment systems have not yet become redundant and obsolete?

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      …Because in a growing number of states, it’s illegal to use a smartphone while your car is moving – ?

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      The latest infotainment systems work in tandem with the smartphone rather than providing redundant functionality. A good one will allow you to leave your smartphone in your pocket while allowing you to make and receive calls and texts, access different and constantly changing and new media sources (aka apps). All done without ever taking your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      Still needed to control all of the vehicle’s features, even if the entertainment and navigation were left to the smartphone (ideally with output duplicated on the larger in-dash touchscreen).

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    As with almost every survey or statistic, you have to take them with a grain of salt. First, imagine what type of person is a CR member in the first place, they are the ones voting, and that’s the perspective reflected in the rankings. Then imagine how many of them are non-car-guy types who cannot adequately understand the difference between a major problem and minor issue that the dealership just fixes for them without explanation. Most people don’t really know diddly about cars in the first place. Then of course the generalized hype that always affects peoples opinions, ie the intense hatred of VW products due to problems that occurred on the VW someone owned a decade or so ago. Then as has been mentioned numerous times, even the worst reliable car is only slightly worse than the best one these days.

    Most of these rankings are based on cars that are less than 3 yrs old with lower mileage. The true test of reliability is what happens at 100k or 10 yrs. Most car owners, especially of expensive brands like Audi, don’t keep their cars, they lease them or trade them in before the warranty expires. I firmly believe this is why Audi has been ranking so highly lately, they have priced them to the stratosphere so everyone leases them and then of course any problems are fixed by the dealer while they drive another new Audi loaner. When the Ford has a problem they have to take a dealership shuttle to get dropped off at work. That definitely skews perspective.

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      Speaking of which, I can’t seem to find where VW, Mercedes, and Porsche ranked in these listings in any of the numerous press releases published about this in the past couple of days. I guess we gotta subscribe to Consumer Reports to find out.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      mnm4ever -

      Actually, the percentage of Audis leased versus purchased is substantially lower than for BMW and Mercedes. As one dealer friend of mine recently said to me: if Audi were to get competitive with leases like BMW and Mercedes they would probably be able to sell 40-50% more cars.

      The problem is: Audi cannot deliver another 40-50% to the US at the moment because they’re capacity limited, so there’s no need to subsidize leases considering they have one of the fastest turn rates in the industry right now.

      I think Audi has a few things going for it: one, the cars have genuinely become more reliable, especially since the B8 and C7 series vehicles started appearing in 2009. Two, the dealership experience has improved substantially and customers are treated well (for the most part). Three, Audi has been much more proactive with regard to common failure items in the past few years than they ever were. Case in point is the extended warranty they put out for failing cam followers/cam shafts, coil packs, and PCVs on some of the 2.0T models. They also moved very quickly after a batch of bad water pumps made it into various 3.0T and 3.2 V6s, and in replacing bad steering modules/racks in some of the new 2013 models with the electromechanical steering units.

      They have also changed how they deploy new technologies – and I think this is key to reliability: they no longer throw the kitchen sink of new technologies into a brand new model, they phase them in over time. Case in point with Audi was how they have phased in several technologies over the course of the B8 A4 lifecycle instead of doing it all up front:

      1. Drive Select adaptive suspension
      2. 8-speed tiptronic transmission
      3. Redesigned 2.0TFSI engine
      4. Electromechanical steering
      5. MMI upgrade
      6. LED tail lamps
      7. New HVAC components

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @hreardon — interesting points, I do not disagree with you. I think Audi has definitely become more reliable. But so has VW, in about the same short time period, because VAG has made the same corporate improvements in quality control for both brands. But consumers are less likely to forgive VW than Audi for past issues. Why? I say 2 reasons: First, Audi is an aspirational brand that attracts badge buyers. They just dropped $50k (or $500/mo) on a new Audi and bragged to coworkers about it so they aren’t going to talk about what a pain in the a$$ it is to take it to dealer to fix stupid problems. Second, even without leases, I bet a good percentage of buyers trade their car in before it gets out of warranty. Oh, and VW dealers treat customers like crap, so Audi has the edge there too.

        But I still say the VAG brands have more reliability issues than products from Toyota or Honda, especially over the long haul. Less people will be willing to buy an Audi or VW with 100k+ miles than a Honda or Toyota because at that point the factory isn’t there helping out when that new technology fails, or even when something dumb like the headliner gives out (which happened to me a few weeks ago on my VW).

        • 0 avatar
          LeeK

          “Oh, and VW dealers treat customers like crap”

          I see this repeated over and over again, yet I don’t know if there is anything to substantiate it in regards to hard evidence like JD Power surveys. I’ve got seven straight years of experience with my VWs, and the dealer service has been no better or worse than my experiences with Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Ford, and BMW service departments. Maybe I’m just lucky.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            Of the 5 different VW dealers I have dealt with, one was great, one was OK, the other 3 sucked. Not knowledgeable, not helpful, over-priced, high pressure, lying, etc. VW isn’t alone, I used to HATE Honda dealers worse than any of them. But recently I have found two that were excellent. I think VW gets a worse rap because they had a lot of issues with past product, so you tended to spend a lot of time and money there, and they were not even nice about it. I spent a decent amount of time and money at my Land Rover dealer but they were so nice, it was like hanging out with my buddies at a ski lodge.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Actually as an Audi owner in the circumstances you describe, I am MORE critical of my car than say a 25k Midsize. My Audi is double the price, therefore it should be twice as good. I have had no problems yet during ownership, the car is quite reliable, and is quite frankly the best car in the world.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            “and is quite frankly the best car in the world” — Yea, no bias there right??

            So which $50k Audi do you have that deserves such high regard? The R8 is the only one I could place so high but its definitely not $50k. And how long have you had it? Anything under 3 yrs doesn’t really count in the circumstances I described. And really… TWICE as good?? No way there is double the value and quality between say a Accord and an A6.

            But hey, I am just picking on Audi because it’s an easy target. I like Audi products, always have, even in the dark ages when they really had reliability issues. VAG products provide a unique combination of benefits that is hard to replicate, which is why they sell. I proudly drive a GTI, purchased used too, not leased and well out of warranty. It has been very reliable as well, it is my 3rd VW in a lifetime and the other 2 weren’t that reliable. Didn’t stop me from getting another one because I trust they fixed a lot of the problems from the past. But I hold no fantasies that it will last me 200k without major issue like my Honda. I accept the fact that if I keep it for the long haul it will require more maintenance and repairs than my wife’s Toyota. And it certainly isn’t the “best car in the world”, its not even the best car in its segment. It has its strengths and weaknesses, and I like its strengths enough to deal with the weaknesses. Many other buyers might not feel the same way, and that’s why the CR surveys are not the last word in accuracy.

          • 0 avatar
            rgil627il

            diaff waste of space.

  • avatar
    old fart

    The front end of that Lexus pictured reminds me of some sort of Japanese anime.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’m curious to know what these Egoboost issues are, I thought it was Fords transmission that had been goofing up.

    With the infotainment system goofing up though theres an easy fix to that, rip it out and let me buy a car without it, I don’t want a huge laggy vibrant screen to my right when I’m driving.

  • avatar
    carguy

    While in car entrainment systems should work, I think they need to be separated from the rest of the liability survey. It a very different thing if someone doesn’t like the user interface to their GPS or if the engine or transmission fails.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      You say that, but the out-of-warranty cost to replace some of these highly integrated “infotainment” systems now will come dangerously close to a transmission repair. That $2000 markup over a non-GPS car will reflect itself when you buy it, AND when you fix it.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Here’s my question, can’t I the out of warranty owner just rip it out?

        • 0 avatar
          LectroByte

          Syntax error, does not compute. Avoid Ford, stick with the GM products you desire.

        • 0 avatar
          kvndoom

          Let’s go back to the “old tech new tech” article the other day… most of these systems now can’t be upgraded or replaced with off-the-shelf stuff.

          Back in the day all you had to do was call Crutchfield and order a kit. Now “serious dash modification” is the norm, and that’s ONLY if taking the radio out doesn’t disable half the other functionality in the car as well.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I get so tired of the “it’s all a big Japanese conspiracy” with Consumer Reports from Big 3 fanboys.

    If it’s all just bias from car owners, how do you explain Honda dropping in reliability rankings? Or if it’s bias from the CR staff, how do you explain them savaging Toyota for their crash ratings to the point where they rank their most popular models as unacceptable?

    Other quality surveys like True Delta have shown similar results to Consumer Reports.

    I’m sure every quality survey is going to be imperfect, but I love these people that want to call Consumer Reports methodology and evidence flawed because their best friend’s cousin owned a Dodge and it hasn’t had any major problems. If Consumer Reports is completely wrong on their findings, please show me a real study that proves otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I don’t believe its a conspiracy but I do believe CR and the like are somewhat biased. I would believe them more if they would make their raw data/notes available say after the issue with the review is released.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        But explain to me their bias and why it’s there? I’m honestly asking because I want to know.

        The common excuse I’ve heard is that because Consumer Reports is taking a survey, people might “lie” about the repair history because they think a Japanese brand is more reliable than a domestic, so they overlook problems. I just don’t buy that at all.

        The survey questions asked aren’t “how do you feel about this car” it’s “what specific repairs have been made and list them”. Is someone who’s a big fan of Honda or Toyota really going to not list the repairs whereas a Ford or Chevy owner is?

        I just don’t buy it that people are going to “cover up” problems on a car brand. And if the survey were to be tainted by survey bias, I would think it would run the exact opposite, with such high expectations of Toyota not being met vs someone buying what is perceived as lesser quality Big 3 product but it exceeding quality expectations.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          To be quite honest I don’t read their magazine enough to give you specific instances, but I do hear over and over CR says Toyonda, and I just shake my head and wonder how could say the current Camry as old and contented as it is always win over say a new billion dollar model such as Fusion or when the last gen Malibu was redesigned. I’m all for letting data support an argument, so why not publish the raw data after an issue is done being sold? That’s just my perspective.

          • 0 avatar
            carlisimo

            Mostly because the data is all they have that’s uniquely theirs – they’d lose their competitive advantage by letting other people use it to write their own articles.

            And as we’re seeing, they don’t recommend Toyonda when those cars aren’t any good. Their review of the new IS250 is scathing, for example. They aren’t unrecommending it because of a crash test, but because it’s bad at pretty much everything.

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          For what it’s worth I filled out the survey for the 15 or so years that I was a Consumer Reports subscriber. First you identify what kind of car you own (make, model, year) then the survey breaks down different aspects of the vehicle and asks if and what kind of problems you have had. You repeat this process for a second or third car.

          The survey basically asks you to relate fairly specific repair issues as well as satisfaction with fairly specific aspects of the vehicle. Unless you make a real concerted effort you pretty much end up producing a fairly accurate representation of you ownership experience.

          As an aside, CR subscribers tend to be somewhat anal retentive, better than average education, good citizen types looking for good value for their money. There is really no incentive for participants or CR to try to skew the survey results.

          Overall the survey should produce a fairly accurate representation of car ownership experience based on a large survey size. If you don’t like the results, fine, but it is foolish to dismiss the CR survey as deeply flawed of biased.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            When you fill out the survey, does it matter how old you car happens to be or do they expect new?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            They ask you the model year and how long you’ve had it. You can fill out a survey on vehicles going back 10 model years. This year, I filled out the data on my 2003 F-150 for the heck of it as well as the data on the current models I have.

            The Charger had been flawless for me and I let that show in the survey.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Kluttz

        I am biased toward more dependable cars, too. That’s why I have a Civic.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    Reliable cars are nigh always reliably boring.

    Just a universal law.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    I consider myself an enthusiast and I subscribe to CR. I typically use their recommendations to investigate my next purchase. This is very useful when considering used cars. I have strayed from their recommendations and regretted it.

    CR also lead me wrong when they recommended the new (at the time) Dodge Intrepid. The next year they dropped it from the list but I was stuck for several years afterward.

    So, in making a decision about a purchase, I look to CR, Car and Driver, and friends who may own the make/model I am looking at. Heck, I might even look at TTAC-but I have never caught “Panther Lust”.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I’ve subscribed to CR since I first joined the Air Force in 1965 at age 18. I continue to subscribe to CR today, but I only use them as a GUIDE, not the gospel.

      What I buy has to work for me, warts and all.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Few here actually lust after Panthers. The Panther Appreciation Society merely recognizes the utility, longevity and comfort those vehicles provide. It’s like people who talk about how great the Toyota Hilux pickup is. No one really lusts for them, but many appreciate what they have to offer.

      • 0 avatar
        Panther Platform

        As a Panther owner and card carrying member of the Panther Appreciation Society I can attest that most of us have lost the ability to lust after anything!

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “most of us have lost the ability to lust after anything!”

          Ain’t that the truth!

          I have to admit that if I needed a large, roomy sedan and I had the money, my choice would be an M-B S-Class.

          In second place for me is the LS460.

          The reality is that I need a truck so MY version of a roomy, comfortable Panther has to be a Tundra 5.7, by default.

          I have no regrets about selling the ’92 Towncar since I had already replaced about everything that could be replaced to keep it running. I’m too old to do that again.

          And if I should ever have the money to buy an S-Class, I’ll be too old to enjoy it.

          • 0 avatar
            Panther Platform

            I recently threw in the towel and got rid of my money pit Lincoln Mark VIII, but at least I have the Panther (03 Mercury Grand Marquis LSE with console shifter, bucket seats, dual exhaust, and more aggressive gearing). It’s a comfortable car, but doesn’t float and handles reasonably well. If loving a big comfortable car with a big engine is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Panther Platform –
            “It’s a comfortable car, but doesn’t float and handles reasonably well. If loving a big comfortable car with a big engine is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”
            Add reasonable price to that list. I completely agree.

            I think stupid regulations have killed the large affordable sedan. Hence, the large affordable crew cab pickup has come into its own and has its own cohort of fans and haters.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Actually, in the desert Southwest where rust is non-existent, these large hulking, lumbering sedans of old, the Crown Vic, Mercury Marquis, and Lincoln Towncar, remain very popular.

            Mostly old codgers are seen driving them, and driving them in style.

            What kills these classics in many cases is the upkeep, and the 10% Ethanol gas mandated by the state government.

            Get around these old Panthers in any Big Box parking lot where their owners all seem to congregate, and you can smell the ethanol eating through their fuel lines.

            All older cars have this problem because they’re not designed to run on Ethanol and their fuel lines deteriorate faster with ethanol gas.

            The result can often be fatal for car and occupants. There have been plenty of examples where cars died a fiery death because of underhood fires, even while driving.

            To prevent this, I recently helped a buddy replace the rubber portions of his fuel line on a 1989 Camry.

            It was pretty involved and very time consuming, since standard replacement parts are no longer economically or readily available. And alcohol resistant fuel lines are expensive, much of the time only sold in 30″ pre-cut lengths.

            I hate to see these classics go. I also hated to see the huge yank tanks like the ’76 Eldorado go, but times they are a’changing.

            Better hold on to one until you can no longer afford it.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I’m not a journalist, so I don’t know if it’s against the rules to actually look at the source article but:
    Ford’s problems don’t end with the MyTouch systems. Several models with its EcoBoost turbocharged V6 engines have landed on the bottom reliability rung as well. The problems may have more to do with components that go with the engine, such as the fuel pump or the rough-shifting transmission, than the engine itself. Regardless, almost two-thirds of the 34 Fords and Lincolns in our survey got scores that were much worse than average.

  • avatar
    Atum

    This is kind of late; the reliability results came along on Monday. But nevertheless, these new rankings stunned me like crazy. I mean, the Accord V6 has below average reliability, and so does the Scion FR-S. I’m glad they’re taking the small overlap crash test into whether cars can be recommended or not; safety is important for a lot of people.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    I still think recall information and current techinical service bulletins should be included in the survey as they are public knowledge. Why not make your source a one stop source including the recall, tsb’s and a test drive unless an agenda is trying to be forced?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’m actually going to give you a vote of agreement here.

      I don’t know if I’d alter my reliability ratings because of it, but I do think that Truedelta, CR, JD Power, and like should include recall and TSB information in their overall “profile” of a vehicle as it could reasonably make a difference in a person’s shopping decision.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Most recalls replace and repair items that haven’t failed, and that may very well never fail. Generally speaking, the recalled items are fixed because the possibility of failure may lead to possible safety issues in the future, not because there were many people who were previously affected by them.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I already said that I don’t think I would alter reliability ratings because of recalls or TSBs. Those should deal with actual failures.

          However, I do think the majority of consumers would find a compilation of that type of information useful when they are making shopping decisions, and I don’t know how many average shoppers know how to access that kind of stuff on their own. I’m not sure that ignoring their existence is proper consumer advocacy.

          Statistically, very few people will be involved in a serious auto accident, but these publications include safety scores in their profiles of vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I agree that recalls and the type of recalls should be listed but I don’t think it should be tallied into the ratings.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    All I know is that the Ford Extended warranty I bought almost two years ago is up about 20% in price. This is the “Basic” warranty which covers the drivetrain and the “real” stuff, not the doo-dads. So I’m thinking they have some real issues on their cars, not just misprogrammed gps or whatnot.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Jim, those extended warranties remain a crapshoot. I bought one for my wife’s 2012 Grand Cherokee, based solely on Chrysler’s long standing reputation for building crapcars, and haven’t had to use it yet.

      We’re past the magic 3yr/36K factory coverage now, so we’ll see if we have to use it before we trade the GC at the end of 2014 for a new 2015 ‘something’ for her.

  • avatar
    Tostik

    What ever you think about CR, – and I’m not a fan – I was surprised by Volvo moving up 13 numbers to #7, ahead of Honda and Subaru. I know Volvo is one of the car brands that bounce around on these surveys. In 2011 Volvo finished first in a German customer satisfaction survey by JD Powers, then in 2012 they finished #8 in the same survey. Hard to figure???

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    Reliability almost seems like a moot point in 2013.

    Still, I’m not sure a Ford versus Lexus comparison is all that valid. Maybe a better question to consider is Lincoln versus Lexus?

    I could almost see an MKZ over an ES350, almost, ignoring resale values, but the rest of the Lincoln line-up leaves me cold compared to the Lexus equivalants. The Lexus LS seems aspirational, as do the GS entries. Can’t say the same for the Lincoln Taurus or any of their others.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    When one looks at JD Power, they list problems as per 100 units. Statistically 130 problems per 100 isn’t all that much different than 140 problems per 100 but a shop rate of 110 dollars an hour makes a few extra repairs significant unless you happen to be Jay Leno.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    Why do people on this thread compare Lexus to Ford? If you’re to make a valid comparison then do so correctly.


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