By on February 28, 2017

jeep 75th birthday

The automaker that can’t seem to catch a break in overall quality rankings — or more comprehensive ones — doesn’t get a reprieve in Consumer Reports‘ latest brand ranking.

In its 2017 list of the best and worst brands, which combines scores for predicted reliability, road testing, safety and owner satisfaction, a familiar German brand returned to the same podium it occupied last year. Unfortunately for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the bulk of its brands languished — once again — on the lowest steps of the pyramid.

For a second year in a row, Audi took the coveted top billing, followed by Porsche, BMW, Lexus and Subaru. Porsche moved up two spots from last year, as did BMW. Meanwhile, Subaru dropped two spots while Lexus dropped one.

The rest of the top 10 includes Kia, Mazda, Tesla, Honda and Buick. Tesla didn’t make last year’s list at all, as CR averages the results of at least two models in order to qualify the brand. It would seem that its appearance in the top 10 pushed one well-respected brand out of the upper echelon: Toyota. That automaker, generally synonymous with reliability and repeat customers, slipped from seventh place to 11th.

Even within the top 10, there’s plenty of variability among individual models. CR notes that Audi’s stellar road test scores pushed it to the top, despite other automakers scoring higher in the satisfaction and reliability fields.

“Only Porsche, BMW, and Mazda earned a recommendation on every model we tested,” stated Consumer Reports. “Audi, Honda, and Hyundai lead the other brands, with 86 percent of their tested lines being recommended.”

Subaru, Volkswagen (23rd) and Mini (24th) all dropped in rank due to reliability ratings. Mercedes-Benz fell from 14th to 20th, while Hyundai and Nissan stayed nearly static in the 12th and 22nd spots.

Among domestic makes, Ford dropped from 16th to 21st place, even though its overall score (65 out of a possible 100) only dropped a single point. The Blue Oval’s luxury marque, on the other hand, rose — Lincoln improved in both standing (17th place to 15th), and score (65 to 68 points). points). Chevrolet rose three spots and three points, ending up at 17th (with 67 points).

There was good news for Cadillac in this year’s list, as GM’s flagship brand moved up six spots to 18th and added eight points to its overall score (58 to 66). The General’s lowest-ranked brand, GMC, slotted in at number 25 with the same score as last year — 60 points.

At Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the only bright spot was the elevation of the sparse Chrysler brand, but it was the newfound dearth of models — there’s now only two — that helped its ascent. For 2017, Chrysler, now consisting of the venerable 300 and new Pacifica, ranked 19th, with a score of 66. That’s up from last year’s 26th place and 58 points.

Of course, that’s where the good news ends. At number 31, Fiat maintained its dead-last standing, though its overall score rose from 38 to 41. (The sound you hear is not champagne corks popping in Auburn Hills.) Jeep again ranked second-last, with a score that rose to points to 43. Dodge sunk from the 27th to 25th spot and saw its score drop two points to 56.

The Ram brand doesn’t make an appearance on the list.

Jeep stands to potentially improve its brand fortunes next year, thanks to new product and the elimination of two models — the Patriot and first-generation Compass — that consistently dragged it down.

While FCA scored poorly overall, it had company. Mitsubishi again ranked third-last with a score of 51, preceded by Land Rover and its score of 52.

[Image: Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles]

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113 Comments on “Audi Returns to Top of Consumer Reports Brand Ranking, FCA Returns to the Bottom...”


  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Good for Audi I guess. I think an A4 dark blue Quattro is the ultimate sedan these days. But I do believe Audi drivers have replaced BMW drivers as the self-entitled assholes of the road lately….

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      What’s this? A positive article on Volkswagen by TTAC?

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      I own an Audi and a Jeep. So I guess I must be a self-entitled A-hole when I’m driving the Audi and not when I’m driving the Jeep. I’ll never understand how any intelligent person could possibly think that a car brand has anything at all to do with people being “self entitles a-holes” or “pricks” or any other foolishness. Sorry, but the brand of car someone drives doesn’t define him/her.

      On a lighter note, based upon me being both an Audi owner and a Jeep owner, I full agree with Audi being on top of the list and FCA being at the bottom of the list.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        It is a well known phenomenon that certain makes/models have demographics that are not in line with the general public. Subaru was an example of this. So whilst not every Audi or BMW driver is a self-entitled A-hole, it is probably a disproportionately high number who are.

        I am intrigued why Audi scores high and VW low – it looks like CR doesn`t just go off reliability. I would expect the reliability of Audi and VW to be similar since Audi uses VW platforms, engines etc and are relatively unreliable

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          A lot of this can come down to post-sales warranty performance and dealer experience. VWAG may be allowing Audi dealer more leeway in terms of covering repairs, goodwill and compensation.

          VW dealers, being lower margin, may be getting shafted.

          Chrysler and Ford both made a lot of progress in CR the late 90s and early 00s by doing the same thing.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Okay, so let me guess….Subaru is a lesbian car. BMW drivers are pricks (but now replaced by Audi drivers?) Miatas are driven by gay men (and hairdressers), etc…

          Sorry, but that’s nothing but automotive stereotyping in the most stupid way possible. And it does nothing to explain people who drive more than one brand of car. Again, I must be an A-hole when in my Audi, but do I magically transform into something else completely when I drive my Jeep? The stupidity is simply astounding.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            No you of course don`t suddenly change when you change car. But someone buying a Ford Mustang or a Dodge Charger Hellcat is typically not an 80 year old granny. Conversely someone buying a Mitsubishi Mirage is not a CEO.
            Of course these are stereotypes that don`t fit most owners, but stereotypes typically have a germ of truth to them. You inability to see that some people are attracted to certain cars (remember the statistic about architects and Saabs) is equally astounding.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            So take the Mustang for example. Think it’s Millennials buying them? Or is it aging Gen Xers looking to recapture their youth? Hell, maybe even Baby Boomers…. Get your head out of the sand. That’s me being a Jeep driver. You don’t want to see my comment/reply as an Audi driver.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          “…I am intrigued why Audi scores high and VW low – it looks like CR doesn`t just go off reliability…”

          A quick Google search is all it takes to learn that CR doesn’t rely solely on reliability ratings to determine the finishing order in their ranking system. Or you can simply read the second sentence in the above article, which I’ll copy/paste the pertinent part for you: “..which combines scores for predicted reliability, road testing, safety and owner satisfaction”

          So yeah, it’s more than just reliability that put Audi at the top spot. Your average Lexus is probably very reliable too, but it’s also probably boring to drive and not very satisfying either.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Thanks for confirming the stereo type of (some) Audi drivers!

            Yeah I got that CR isn`t just on reliability. Still interesting why one brand which is slated, VW, and is the donor technology for your Audi suddenly becomes so much better. It may drive well but that hardly makes up for poor relative reliability.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            But it doesn’t have poor reliability. You are obviously biased or uninformed. Or both.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          How many Audis are made in Germany? How many VWs are made wherever the labor is cheapest? The difference between an Audi and a VW isn’t all margin.

        • 0 avatar
          frnpwrbby97

          The only platforms that modern VW’s and Audi share are the MQB which underpin the Golf, the Euro spec passat, the new Atlas, the A3 and TT, and I think the Q3 shares a platform with the mk6 golf and old Tiguan. All other models aren’t on chassis shared with lesser VW models. Not to mention they are mostly put together in plants that don’t build VW’s so it’s not really a surprise that Audi’s score would be drastically different. All it take is one brand to have better quality control over the other even though they are owned by the same group.

      • 0 avatar
        cgjeep

        Funny I have a BMW and a Jeep, both are older ones. I commute in the DC area and I got the BMW for the daily grind as I wanted to use the Jeep as the fun weekend activity vehicle with the family. But I find the Jeep much easier to commute in as nobody lets the BMW merge. People might be a little scared of the Jeep but I think it has more to do with the “typical BMW owner syndrome” .

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Not all of you, mate. Just enough to spoil the reputation. And that’s only based on my 20k+ miles a year driving. YMMV.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        I don’t think it fits, either. I see plenty of Audis on the road (including the high dollar stuff like the SQ5, S7, and R8), and their drivers don’t seem to behave any better or worse than others.

  • avatar

    Fiat were never good cars and neither has Chrysler been. It was joked that Fiat stood for Fix It Again Tony. Fiat-Chrysler is the worst of the Detroit Big 3

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Depends on how you look at the list. Chrysler had excellent road test and customer satisfaction scores.

      I’m also not understanding the graphic. I don’t understand why Volvo ranks higher than Chrysler. Chrysler blows them away on the road test and customer satisfaction, they tie them on predicted reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      davinp: You must be too young to remember the slant six Dart/Valiant. The most reliable and cost effective auto that you could buy from their era.

      During the period 1958 – 1972 they also made some very stylish ones.

      And in the era 1926 to 1976 the Imperial was considered to be an exceptional automobile. The Crown Imperial matched anything in style and luxury.

    • 0 avatar
      CarDesigner

      I would take anything CR says with a 40lb bag of salt. They have always been anti-domestic. Elevating high end German brands or Asian ones proves or shows nothing relevant. Chrysler AND Dodge still make the hands down best minivan out there. They have always shot the Dodge down, despite the fact they follow each other down the same assembly line.

      I have worked for all 4 of the Detroit makers and can tell you that CR writing has a subtle if not blatant bias against them for the last 30 years. Chrysler has made millions of cars that were good value and provided the vehicles that people wanted. CR has never made any!

      • 0 avatar
        Jagboi

        “I would take anything CR says with a 40lb bag of salt”

        Agreed. I remember a test of big luxury sedans, and they tested Infinity, Lexus, Jaguar and Cadillac. Of them all, the Jag accelerated the fastest, stopped in the shortest distance, and had the highest speed through their accident avoidance maneuver. Guess which car got the highest mark for the Performance and handling category? – Lexus, even though all their data showed it was inferior to the Jaguar. As an alternative to the Jaguar they recommended a Camry!

        I also remember a Miata being marked down because it didn’t have a back seat. Do they really think I’m so stupid I couldn’t have figured that out in the showroom? And that might just be a reason I was shopping for one?

        If it isn’t a 4 door mid size Japanese sedan it will never do well at CR. Need an F350 for towing? They really rather you bought an Accord V6 instead…

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “If it isn’t a 4 door mid size Japanese sedan it will never do well at CR”

          That’s why Audi is on top in this article, right?

          And why the Cruze is the top-rated compact car?

          And the Impala the top-rated full-sized sedan?

          And the MX-5 Miata the top sports car, despite being marked down for the nonexistent backseat?

          And the Kia Optima the top-rated midsize sedan? Kia sounds Asian and ends with “a” like Honda and Toyota so perhaps they were just confused.

          Let’s get a grip here. Yes, CR tends to have a dull utilitarian lens because of their audience. Look at their name. That’s why Jaguar is below Lexus in the brand list this year; Jag achieved a slightly higher road test score overall than Lexus but has far worse reliability ratings. Why would a consumer oriented institution recommend that?

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            Exactly, apologists treat these reviews as “skewed, therefore worthless”. I ask you, are you trying to say that FCA is supposed to be at the top of this list?

            If not, then isn’t it fair to say that FCA needs to work harder if you want folks to “Buy American”?

            Or do you believe FCA needs to do nothing, they’re just being biased in the polls?

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff Waingrow

            Excellent comment. CR emphasizes the practical, but I think they’re not that far off on most metrics. What I can’t figure out is why Audi has high ratings for electronics and VWs have uniformly low ones. Don’t they share the same supplier sources? Can anyone explain this?

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Let’s not confuse CR’s reliability rankings (which are based on feedback from owners/subscribers) with CR’s road test scores (what they evaluate).

        Take GM for instance, for years they generally haven’t performed well in road test scores but deservedly so.

        But now, CR rates a good # of GM models highly, including the excellent Impala which has one of the highest road test score CR has ever given.

        And compare Chevy’s average road test score to Toyota’s – 74 to 68.

        Or Cadillac’s to that for Lexus – 79 to 74.

        Lincoln and Jaguar also beat Lexus, and Cadillac, Lincoln and Jaguar all also have a higher road test score than Infiniti and Acura – which pretty much blows away the claim that CR is biased against domestics in favor of Asian (well, Japanese brands). Ford and Chrysler also have higher road test scores than Nissan, much less Toyota.

        A few years ago, CR compiled a list of the 10 most BORING vehicles to drive – Toyota/Lexus vehicles made up HALF the list – so CR is pretty much in line with what auto publications have stated about Toyota/Lexus generally (and which Akio Toyoda, himself, had admitted to).

        However, CR, in their overall evaluation (of which the road tests score just makes up a component), takes a holistic approach – taking things like ride comfort, interior space, intuitiveness of infotainment systems, etc. just as important as handling/performance (which is where Toyota does well) where more enthusiasts-oriented publications like Car & Driver would place a great emphasis on the latter.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          bd2, then please try and answer my question above?

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            As CR stated, Chrysler’s rankings is based off os just 2 models, the 300 and Pacifica.

            Shouldn’t be any reliability grade for the Pacifica yet and figure that Volvo, with more models, graded higher in reliability to pull up its overall score.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        The Consumer Reports ratings are generational. If you were as ancient as me, you’d remember the early 1970s when Full-sized Detroit iron was much preferred over those zippy econoboxes being imported from Japan, and foreign luxury cars were downgraded for being too expensive to buy and too expensive to fix.

        Now the engineers at CR are just old enough to remember when Japanese cars were way ahead of Detroit in the 1980s, when the domestics were having trouble transitioning from the full size, RWD V8s and V6s that had been throttled by emissions. Models like the Citation and other X-cars didn’t help.

        American cars are about equal in quality, and there’s a foreign engineering screwup/scandal for every domestic one. The bias won’t go away until there’s another turnover at CR: You never convince your opponents, you can only outlive them.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    The Merger of Fiat and Chrysler is like K-Mart merging with Sears. I’m a Mopar fan..but the only cars I have experienced any enthusiasm for the last decade are the Challenger, the Charger, the 300, and the Viper. The Viper is gone. Who knows what is going to happen to the LX cars in 2020.

    They just can’t put together a semi-reliable car. When it does break, they have no parts in stock to fix it. You can’t run a company that way. Word travels fast in the age of the Interwebs.

    • 0 avatar
      CarDesigner

      Sergio has been trimming the company down for future sale or parting out, while sucking as much money as possible to prop up Fiat and their lame cars. Never mind about Alfa anything. They will never be more than a niche player. He is one downturn away from a fire sale, because he has starved the company for product, retired, fired, or laid off the corporate knowledge base, for contractors and yes men. He has NO succession plan except to have a big gold parachute back to Italy.

      The actual Chrysler product cars, not the wanna-be Alfa-based ones are reliable and do a lot very well, unless you have PO’d attitude problem or are CR.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Bad words more than good.
      You might notice that the number of ‘votes’ any car gets falls far, far below the number sold–to the point of being statistically insignificant. Why? Because competent cars rarely get voted either way while only the haters or the lovers tend to vote. So you either get those who exaggerate the problems or those who have an unnatural lust for the brand/model and very little in-between.

      I’ve had my Renegade for 5 months now and I finally got a JDPower letter asking my viewpoint…

      … on the dealership from which I bought it.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    I don’t understand that Audi is in the top. My experiences with Audi’s
    are horrible. They use the same engines (and many other parts) as Volkswagen
    and Volkswagen is way way down.
    Can somebody explain it to me?

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I’m not sure how CR weights the various categories but Audi had very good road test and customer satisfaction scores. I think that put them in the top spot.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      Easy, the Russians must of hacked the list!

      Audi & VW manufacture beautiful, well handling & unadulterated GARBAGE! I don’t care to argue CR’s methodology, they’re wrong, this is my list;

      1. Lexus / Toyota
      2. Acura / Honda

      Everyone else

      26. Subaru
      27. Mini
      28. Audi
      29. VW

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Written like a true biased hater. Face it, the gap between those top Asian brands and the rest of the world is shrinking and in some cases has already been closed and surpassed. Toyota and Honda have had their share of problems, that much cannot be denied. I mean, seriously….Honda/Acura has been having transmission problems for the better part of the last two decades. Have you been living under a rock? Their latest transmission fiasco is with the newer 9-speed. I still wouldn’t cross a Honda or Toyota off my shopping list in the future, but I’d have realistic expectations just the same as I’d have for any other new car.

        • 0 avatar
          EAF

          Admittedly, I am biased. In my defense, that’s what wrenching on these cars does to you over time. It has made me, and every other tech I’ve ever shared a shop with, HATE VAG products!

          Granted, thanks to VAG owners who keep their cars beyond warranty, I’ve earned a lot of money. I suppose I should be greatful for “truth in engineering?” Having a conscience does suck however, and often felt bad for those on the other side of the transaction – even to my own detriment.

          I could go on and on with lists of specific examples as to why VAG is junk, including the J518 start/access module I just finished replacing on a very low mileage Q7.

          Acura, Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat…. I would suspect their low CR scores are due to transmission woes. I believe they all that ZF 9HP transmission in common.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Do you think that’s any different than any other manufacturer? For what it’ worth, I spent many years as a Toyota Tech (ASE Master and Toyota certified) and we had our share of common problems across the boards. Just ask any Toyota Tech who had a drawer in his box dedicated to nothing but replacing the headgasket on the the 3.5 V6 (2GR-FE) as well as several other of the V6 engine series.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      Vanpressburg, things change. As with Audi sometimes for the better. Personally I’ve witnessed Lexus, BMW, and MB get worse when it comes to reliability and Audi just like Porsche reliability ratings are rising. Today’s Audi is not the Audi of the late 80’s early 90’s.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        I’m on my second Audi in a row. First one was a 2011 model that I kept for five years and the second is a 2016 model that I’ve had for a year now. The 2011 never once returned to the dealer since the day I drove it off the lot. The 2016 is the same so far and it wouldn’t surprise me if it never returns to the dealer again either.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Anecdotes don`t make for data. I owned a VW too and it was fine for the 3 years I had it, doesn`t negate the mass of data showing they are below average for reliability.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Actually, it is data. Small sample size for sure, but data nonetheless.

            But as usual, you missed the point.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    “Audi’s stellar road test scores pushed it to the top, despite other automakers scoring higher in the satisfaction and reliability fields.”

    I’m gobsmacked by this. A travesty of car guy infiltration into this once rationalist publication.

    Just cancelled my subscription. Their abetting German Lease Disease is just too much. I don’t even care that I’ve wound up on the same side of the issue as CrayonDesigner’s muddleheaded rants.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      That’s pretty much always been the case for CR when it came to road test evaluations.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      I bought 3 Audis. The 99 A4 1.8T went 180K miles for my family, one clutch, the rest maintenance, sold it for $500 to a guy who drove it away. Oh, and replaced all the coil packs and the ignition module at 150k. $200 and 30 minutes very easy labor. I don’t know why everyone treats these as a big deal.
      I bought the first one for my wife. We had two 200 mile round trips every week through NE winters on I-495 – one of Massachusett’s infamous “highways of death”. The locals/commuters drive crazy. Wife did not want a truck/SUV or Jeep. At the time, that left Subaru or Audi. Don’t know if the Suby would have been any more reliable. The other two, an 02 and 04, have a combined 260k miles on them. The 2.7T engine is a real stinker though.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Being “recommended” and being “reliable” are two very different things with Consumer Reports.

    A car can have an average reliability and be “recommended”. It can also have the absolute best reliability record possible and still not get the “recommended” designation.

    It’s a mixture of how much they like the car (which is very subjective) and its reliability history according to their owner surveys.

    I would be interested to see how the brands stack up just going on a reliability ranking.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    yes, the brand known for making failure-prone timing chainsets and putting them in an inaccessible location between the engine and transmission is Consumer Reports’s darling, but the one with some electrical foibles and weak suspension parts is bottom of the barrel.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Audi’s ranking is a blend of road test score (high, and not surprising), customer satisfaction (probably high if leasing is common), safety, and predicted reliability (based off the last 3 years, which I don’t really agree with, but valid reasons to argue either way). I have mixed feelings about this. It probably serves a typical A4/328 customer well enough since they’ll probably lease and be out, but it might mislead someone into thinking that an A4 is now a fun alternative to own for 10 years vs. the Lexus ES they were leaning towards.

      One really needs to look at the annual reliability issue, they show the last 10 years.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Audi has made the leap in reliability rankings across the board, including over in Europe such as AutoBild’s rankings (VW, however, hasn’t seen the same rise).

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      I betcha those Audi/BMW’s will be bought as leases or with an extended warranty. When they get to be 6 years old or older they end up at cheap corner car lots. So the original owner wont care about a timing chain.

      A Honda/Toyota is intended to be driven 10+ years, upwards of 25 years with the 4-5th owner, much easier to work on too.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Two things.

    1.Does anyone know how CR predicts reliability?

    2. How is each category; reliability, customer satisfaction, road testing, and safety weighted?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’d like to see the exact formula for this overall CR ranking that blends the road test score, reliability ranking, and safety features to see how they generate these results. I don’t take them as Gospel, but some of the reflexive disdain for anything CR because everyone has their cherry-picked example of them dumping on their favorite brand is a bit weak.

    Here’s a useful link to their reliability methods if anyone thinks they are just winging it. This stuff could still be cooked if you really had an agenda, but I’m still going to trust this over “I’ve been around Chryslers for 25 years and can tell you they make a quality product”

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2011/10/consumer-reports-car-reliability-faq/index.htm

    BTW, they hate my 4Runner. Low road test score, bit too trucky compared to a Highlander. That amuses me, but I don’t write off CR because I know the angle they are coming from. They like the Wrangler even less, so at least they are consistent there.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Nobody in the know pays attention to CR any more. At least, not when it comes to cars.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      A lot of people must not be in the know.

      CR is the bible for millions of people when it comes to buying cars. Expect to see this “list” referenced in the mass media.

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      “Nobody in the know pays attention to CR any more. At least, not when it comes to cars.”

      Because unknown dudes posting anecdotal stories on obscure forums provides far more scientific evidence than Consumer Reports.

      Ha. Ha Ha.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Nobody in the know? That’s short-sighted. It’s a source of data…you know, information. Take it for whatever you think it’s worth. I don’t think it’s the car-buying bible, but I do find value in the data.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “Source of data”, yes. As the SOLE source of data? No. JDPower isn’t that much better. Independent third-party sites with individual reviews tend to be better at showing just what is right or wrong with any model.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “Independent third-party sites with individual reviews tend to be better”

          Such as? I’m curious what you mean by this because when I hear independent third party I tend to think CR.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Exactly. Data is data. Take it for what it’s worth. I use CR as a source, not the only source. There are so many other sources out there, but they all have their limitations. Hell, look at the forum for just about any vehicle and you’ll see all kinds of complaints about the subject vehicle. Problem there is that it’s the people with problems posting all the time and you generally don’t see posts from people who aren’t having problems with their vehicles. Obviously that’s a source of data, but it can be hugely skewed.

          The ironic thing about reliability is that even cars that are considered “bad” today are still very good overall. My Jeep is near the bottom of the list and it has had some transmission problems in the 3 years and 38,000 miles I’ve owned it. But overall it has been very good (other than the transmission problems that are more shift quality than anything else) and has never left me stranded.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Ahh… Forget CR, just buy a Chevy and call it a day!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Jeep again ranked second-last, with a score that rose to points to 43.”

    And Jeep is crying all the way to the bank.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      CR hates the Wrangler and everything it stands for through the view of their refrigerator-white tinted glasses. Of course buyers of them don’t care about what an appliance reviewer says.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        I recall a few years back when CR effectively stated the Wrangler was the worst vehicle on the road, because it wasn’t a good “family car”. They admitted it was good at what it was designed to do, but that didn’t seem important to them.

    • 0 avatar

      The metrics a Jeep buyer cares about are very different from those of the average consumer, especially when it comes to Wrangler buyers. I don’t see any publication ever convincing a Wrangler fan they made a bad decision. It’s like if a Wrangler guy tried to talk a Miata loyalist away from their baby. Different languages; not everyone speaks the same one.

      Personally I don’t get it–everyone I know with a Wrangler spends tons of cash just keeping the things running. But I don’t rock-crawl, either, so I’m an unqualified authority on their decision.

  • avatar
    tinbad

    Let’s pull out the anecdotes. From the last few (recent) cars I have owed:
    2011 Sienna limited – bought used with 60k miles, at 70k miles already needs CV boots and developed an engine oil leak – great!
    2014 Ford Fusion hybrid – bought back by Ford as a lemon.
    2014 Audi A6 3.0 – abused for 45k miles and didn’t even have to change the brake pads
    2016 Audi S6 – only had for 1 year/8k miles but great car.

    So yeah, Toyota ain’t what it used to be and the domestics (outside of trucks/BOF SUVs) are complete crap. Audi doesn’t surprise me at the top, very well build advanced cars with very few issues.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      So you had one bad experience with one domestic and you declare all domestics crap? How does your experience with a Ford (who owned up to the issue and bought it back) define the crapability of GM?

      I’d hit you with my anecdotal experience, but you don’t care.

      • 0 avatar
        tinbad

        Who says I don’t care (why don’t you tell us)? I promise I won’t be offended because I will take them for what they are: anecdotes.

        an·ec·dote
        an account regarded as unreliable or hearsay

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          My apologies on the caring part. My real issue was your declaration of crap for all domestics based on an experience with one of them.

          My anecdotes:
          1998 Mercury Mountaineer. 190,000 miles when we traded it in. Replaced a control arm (expensive). Replaced a wheel bearing.
          2000 Mercury Mystique. Sold it to my neighbor. Now has 175,000 miles. Replaced a wheel bearing and an alternator.
          2010 Mercury Mariner. 120,000 miles. Replaced an airflow sensor ($18).
          2013 Taurus. 75,000 miles. Replaced a windshield washer pump ($22).

          • 0 avatar
            dividebytube

            My used ’97 Mountaineer was also very trouble free. In my five years of ownership: brakes, tires, a rear seal, and the hood latch release.

            My used ’04 BMW 325i, on the other hand, needed new front bushings, new DISA valve, DISA seal, upper and lower intake replacement, and the CCV valve. That’s for a car that was just cresting 100k miles.

            I won’t go into my MINI experiences – argh! – so fun to drive but so frustrating to own.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “My used ’97 Mountaineer was also very trouble free. In my five years of ownership: brakes, tires, a rear seal, and the hood latch release.”

            — Sounds to me like it was expensive enough… unless you performed your own repairs. Because of where I live, such DIY is prohibited due to a very intrusive HOA (Homeowner’s Association.) Brakes and tires aren’t an issue, but the rear seal and the hood latch release shouldn’t have occurred if it were truly well-built.

            As for the BMW, things like that seem typical for the brand based on what I see in the local shops. With the Mini, there are two different owners just on the street which I live and I’ve seen them riding rollbacks far more often than I’ve seen them driven. They tend to just sit in their parking slots, looking ‘pretty’.

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      Truth be told, you did buy that Toyota used. How do you know it was not used as an underwater scuba diving vehicle, or some 16 year old kid did not take a clover leaf at 50 MPH on 2 wheels?

      That’s why used vehicles cant be declared lemons, because you never know what the previous owners did. My last used vehicle I bought had a wig in the trunk, and another had like 50 lottery ticket scratch offs under the seats.

    • 0 avatar

      Why do people always do this? YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE IS NOT A DATA SET.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Dodge sunk from 27th to 25th? Did I miss something?

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Audi, Porsche, BMW, Lexus, Subaru, Mazda, Tesla, Honda”

    It’s handy that the top eight doubles as an insufferability index as well.

  • avatar
    markogts

    I can’t trust a ranking that leads to such differences between Audi and Volkswagen or BMW and Mini. They share the same engines, frames, suppliers, QC and QA procedures…

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      I think this ranking also included how they performed on road tests and therefore recommended. An Audi probably has a tighter and stiffer sport suspension than a standard Jetta or Golf.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    re: davinp & Arthur dailey

    you’e both correct, IMO

    But even in the era of the Slant Six, Torque Flite (3-spd auto), torsion bars, and robust V8s (1960s & 1970s), Chrysler products came across as cheaper and more half-baked than GMs, or even Ford’s.

    Chrysler then = good CHEAP car.

    Chrysler now = CHEAP car

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Alls I really care about here is that glorious green on the Jeep.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Ah no problem. More people will buy Audi based on CR and get screwed. Usually they’re Realtors or Lawyers right? What the heck…

    The cinq will get cheaper – which is where it should be.

    Thanks CR.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    CR hate is always entertaining. I’m sure that if they had ranked FCA at the top by equally spurious means the folks whining in here would be singing its praises.

    Me personally…. I know CR is not perfect, but it’s information at least somewhat rooted in objectivity. Like anything else it’s just 1 point of data…. better than nothing.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    OMG the sky is falling because CR has released another survey. Despite all of the angst that some of you feel CR is what it is…a tool. It is one of a few tools along with JDP, True Delta and a few others that folks use to get some type of insight into cars and other things they use on a daily basis.

    For myself I look more at actual reliability and less at performance (to a point) when checking their surveys. I still dont really understand JDP but I look at anyway but with a lighter brush. TD is useful and hopefully will continue to grow to be an alternative to the others.

    DO I take everything these guys say as gospel…nope…However CR is very good at singling out some issues with cars and other products that I might not had looked at in the past. ANd of course they can be wrong. I gas grill I bought years ago I bought it due to it be big, new and shinny. After I bought it I saw CR say that it was a great performer.(it was) However if I had googled it and read forums the grill had rust and corrosion issues. In one year it was corroded out and accelerated when I moved to the beach.

    THat being said..I am glad they and their kind are here and will continue to improve.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Very interesting…I see the expected disdain by a lot of commenters for CR based upon its perceived bias for utilitarian vehicles rather than ones that are rewarding to drive – in other words, an overt emphasis upon practicality. This has been a knock against CR for years – why do they always just recommend a midrange Camry with the inline 4?

    But I also see a B&B commentariat that is much more inclined to reward just plain reliability over other attributes – not understanding how brands that are much more luxurious and feature-laden and thus prone to foibles than simpler models could possibly get the high ratings by CR that they have here, which reflects an emphasis upon rewarding-to-drive rather than just plain reliability…how could CR possibly recommend anything other than a midrange Camry with the inline 4 – ?

    So, kind of amusing…

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    Impressive work by Kia and Hyundai in a relatively short period of time. It wasn’t long ago that they were written off as disposable junk with a long warranty (because they needed it). I think Kia also has some great styling even for pretty mundane cars. OTOH, I am seriously considering the new Pacifica Hybrid and hoping rapid depreciation will make them great used cars buys in the next year.

    I guess a question I have is over reliability rankings. I honestly don’t think there is a car on the market that is likely to experience a serious breakdown on the road in first few years of ownership the way they used to. Ironically, the ones I can think of are Porsche and Audi, which still rank well in CR. There simply isn’t a Yugo equivalent on the market any more. Even the Fiat 500 doesn’t really scare me off, though their depreciation does.

    Are these types of articles just forcing rankings between a very narrow band of reliability from excellent to very good? Are the issues these days serious (likely to require roadside assistance) or just unpleasant shifting (Chrysler) and a hard-to-use infotainment menus (Ford)? Chrysler’s 9-speed automatic issues, for example… are they primarily complaints about the way they feel or are they actually requiring tear downs and repairs?

    Is frequency of repair balanced with the seriousness of the issues and the cost of ownership after the warranty is up? By that latter method, I would NEVER own a used late-model Porsche, BMW, or Audi based on my personal experiences but a Kia, Chrysler, or Ford doesn’t scare me off the same way.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2011/10/consumer-reports-car-reliability-faq/index.htm

      Scroll down to the header “Since the average number of problems is small for most models, is Consumer Reports overemphasizing differences that may not be important?”

      They’re being a bit slippery here. They are finding statistically significant differences but still don’t provide a meaningful answer to what the industry mean and the effect size really is.

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      I’d say South Korea as a whole has been making great strides. Look at LG and Samsung for example? They’re products have been advancing as quickly as Kia and Hyundai. Quality is getting better and better. Except for that Note 7 battery. haha

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    I still wonder how people give credence to anything CR says.

    Their data gather process is highly unscientific and they only publish conclusions; not the analysis or data itself. The data gathering is not random and has an inherent bias. CR’s data is fed by its readers; the survey is not distributed to random vehicle owners. CR’s readers are not representative of the general public and are not representative of the vehicle buying public either. CR doesn’t tell us how they arrive at their conclusions. How are different reliability issues weighted? How are vehicles with relatively small sample sizes considered to be accurate representations (I’d bet that for every sample from a domestic sedan owner that CR gets data for; they get 10 from an import again because CR’s readership fits a stereotype)? We already know that people being too stupid to figure out how to use an infotainment system counts as reliability (I’ve been in most modern makes; I’ve yet to find an infotainment system I can’t figure out in 5 minutes). Then there issues of rebadged vehicles having different scores. I just can’t trust a black box result published based on flawed data.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Unfortunately, CR isn’t bound by the peer review process or we’d be able to see their exact methods and that would interest me. It’s proprietary and they’re a bit cagey about it. The pessimistic side of me thinks this is because the average problem rate for most car makers (especially at the 3 year mark they use for this article) is probably close enough to not be a driving force for many consumers and that would make CR less relevant. The difference between the highest and lowest brands is may be noticeable, between the majority of brands? Who knows. The divergent scores for rebadged vehicles is a curious case, I’d love to see them explain that one.

      Some of your other concerns are a bit speculative, though. The reporting bias that inherently favors imports. I don’t buy that, especially when it is presented as “I’d bet that..” The strongest bias I see is of people bristling at a negative rating against a brand they like. And they don’t weigh infotainment issues as heavily as mechanical ones. Basic statistics allows for a significant difference to be detectable even with smaller sample sizes if large enough effect size and/or low variance is present.

      There is no other reasonable data source for reliability. CR can be useful, but be thoughtful and judicious when considering their results. I’m inclined to trust their 10-year reliability tables that break down by year, model, and problem area over these broad 3 year brand averages. If I’m shopping for a new 10-year keeper or a 5-yo used car, those tables are handy and the best you’re going to find.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        Agreed. I own 2 ten-year-old Hondas and I have had GM before. I have noticed most of my cars spot on with Consumer reports problem areas and positive areas.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        @30-mile fetch,

        I can easily explain the divergent scores. They’re typically not wildly different, but differences can be attributed to the types of owners a vehicle typically attracts. A Pontiac owner is more likely to drive his/her Vibe hard than a Matrix owner is. A Buick owner will adhere to recommended maintenance better than a Chevy owner, etc. Owner’s of sport vehicles (Mustang, BRZ, etc) tend to drive harder and are more knowledgeable about cars in general. They’ll report an issue that a Camcordibusion driver doesn’t even notice. Its just not consistent data collection; there’s a huge amount of subjectivity allowed. One person’s “that’s what cars do” is another person’s “this is a huge issue”.

        As an example, I had a Sedona rental van and did not care for the way the transmission functioned (shifted constantly in only mildy hilly terrain like a toddler was wrenching the lever). However I’m a car guy I realize I’m in a van with 7 adults and an engine that doesn’t generate a lot of torque; its going to need to shift so I’d never report an issue on that as “cars just do that”. But my siblings absolutely would complain about it. Who’s right? How do you normalize that data?

        Of course some concerns are speculative. When the data/process is a black box that’s all we have. My point was that specific publications attract a specific audience. I was speculating that CR receives a much larger sample set from Asian vehicles than American or European ones.

        I know they weight infotainment issues lower than mechanical ones but my point is that if its working as designed it shouldn’t count at all. Difficulty of use is not equivalent to reliability.

        There is no reasonable source for reliability data period. CR isn’t reasonable. To me CR is more of a “how do CR’s readers view reliability of automobiles?”. Bad information isn’t better than no information.

        I truly believe I could select any non-exotic vehicle for sale today and have 99% odds of drive it for 5yrs/100k without a single problem.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Those are hypotheses, not supported explanations. Good hypotheses for sure, and legitimate concerns, but when one concludes that they are true a priori they become speculation.

          I agree that bad information is worse than no information but I’m not convinced CR is bad information. I don’t like these teaser articles they do where a bunch of metrics and analyses are boiled down behind the scenes. I do find value in their longer term reliability rankings in which model year and problem area are shown, though it would be far more useful still if the color coded symbols were quantified so we could see the spread in the data.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      I find it amusing that RAM–maker of the third most popular vehicle in the U.S.–is omitted from the ranking because Consumer Reports lacks sufficient data.

      Separately, CR’s evaluation process now penalizes vehicles with rotary gear selectors unless the transmission automatically shifts to park when the engine is shut off or the driver’s door is opened. The penalties prevent CR from recommending a number of previously recommended or otherwise well-rated Chrysler, Lexus, and Mercedes vehicles.

  • avatar
    kkop

    So, after years of driving Japanese vehicles (Honda and Nissan), we now own three FCA vehicles: 2 X Ram 1500 and 1 X Dodge Challenger. Combined mileage around 240,000.

    The Rams are at least as reliable as my previous two Titans, and only the Challenger has needed non-maintenance work performed (new steering rack at 90,000 miles).

    Anecdotal I now, but I don’t really see the enormous gap that CR’s reporting implies.

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      Nissan is the black sheep of Japanese cars. They might appear to have Japanese style, but all that Renault influence has caused some reliability headaches. My friends who have owned Nissan Altimas and Sentra’s have had a lot of problems. 3x than a Toyota or Honda would have.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Agree with JohnDS. People naively equate all Japanese brands. That’s a mistake. Nissan is well below the likes of Honda, Toyota, Ford, and GM. We had three Nissan dealers and the shop managers would agree. Infiniti is even worse.

  • avatar

    Lost in the shuffle is we have yet another metric that Kia is managing to produce quality vehicles at bargain-basement bucks, and Buick is enjoying a renaissance.

    I hope the folks managing both brands take a moment today to pour a little wine; they’ve earned it.

  • avatar
    SteveMar

    I have several problems with CR’s recent changes to its scoring system, since they combined test scores with reliability and satisfaction. In the past, CR rated based on their road test and then recommended based on overall reliability. This meant that a score could test out very well and still be recommended, as longs as reliability is average or better.

    The new system works on a formula — that I do not see them disclose — that combines all of this information into one score. It assumes that every reader evaluates the importance of this information the same way. Now a car that performs worse, but has excellent reliability, can have the same score as a car that scores much higher, but has reliability that is average. Buyers may vary in the importance they give to these ratings, but CR has now taken that away from the reader with its overall score rating.

    Personally, I value CR’s road test information – they have improved the quality and caliber of their evaluations and generally are clearer on their scoring rubric. However, I have less trust in their survey information for reliability and satisfaction. As a subscriber, I have taken their surveys for years. How I evaluate a serious problem may vary from another respondent. I have seen models veer widely in their reliability based upon changes to small components – for example, reliability of in dash electronics. Yet the rest of the vehicle may be reliable in its major components. Or I may see a problem as serious, but another person considers it minor and doesn’t report it.

    I appreciate CR’s survey data but think they have made a BIG mistake in basing their overall ratings by overweighting information over which they have no control. I want to know what the publication thinks about a car, as well as whatever survey data they have. But let me determine the overall weight of these data points in developing my own overall rating/

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I agree about it being confusing. Until I can look at their list and understand why they rank Volvo higher than Ford, despite Volvo being worse in all categories, I don’t know how to interpret their ranking.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    OMG the SKY is falling because I can’t figure out who was in 3rd place last year.
    For a second year in a row, Audi took the coveted top billing, followed by Porsche, BMW, Lexus and Subaru. Porsche moved up two spots from last year, as did BMW. Meanwhile, Subaru dropped two spots while Lexus dropped one.

    Audi stays on top. Porsche moves from 4th to 2nd. BMW moves from 5th to 3rd. All good so far. Subaru dropped from 3rd to 5th and Lexus moved from 3rd to 4th. POP!


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