Consumer Reports' Reliability Results

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Though we don’t have a [sub] for Consumer Reports‘ members-only data, their latest reliability survey summary has enough interesting tidbits to warrant a mention. Based on their subscriber base’s 1.4m autos, and using only data available for at least 100 examples of a given model, the survey is one of the better indicators of reliability out there (although when it comes to this topic there is no gospel). If nothing else, it’s hard to argue that CR’s reliability results aren’t influential, so sales are definitely at stake. The results? All Toyota/Lexus/Scion received ratings of “average” or better, an improvement over last year when CR found Camry V6, Tundra V8 4WD, and the Lexus GS AWD to be lacking. Honda/Acura and Subaru also showed extremely well where complete data was available, and Hyundai/Kia models were average or better except for Sedona and Entourage. Hybrids also scored surprisingly well, with nine gas-electrics scoring above average. But CR is making the biggest fuss over Ford, which they say is “on par” with the Japanese firms on all but a few truck-based models. The rest of the Detroit firms? Not quite so much.

General Motors is a mixed bag. Among the bright spots is the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu; in its first year, the four-cylinder version is better than average and the V6 is average. The Buick Lucerne with a V8 and the Pontiac G6 with a four-cylinder are above average, and the Chevrolet Avalanche has improved to average.

But a quarter of GM models are still well below average in reliability. Some that didn’t fare well are fairly new designs that did well in our testing, such as the Cadillac CTS and the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook SUV triplets. Chrysler trails the pack. Almost two-thirds of its products rate below average for reliability. The redesigned 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans earned low scores, as did the Chrysler Sebring V6 and Dodge Avenger sedans and the Jeep Liberty SUV. The Sebring Convertible has the worst score: 283 percent worse than average. The only above-average models are the Dodge Caliber hatchback and Jeep Patriot SUV.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Pch101 Pch101 on Oct 30, 2009
    When the same basic answers from three different sources all line up, you begin to think that they are all on to something. Absolutely. (And you may as well add JD Power to that list.) The domestic drum beaters have one hell of a time explaining that degree of consistency. Based upon the current numbers, CR is surveying about 9/10th's of one percent of all of the passenger cars in the US today. That's a vastly greater percentage than the proportion of respondents of any other survey that you'll find, of any kind. Nielsen measures the television viewing habits of Americans with about 1250 households. A typical political poll for national US issues will be based upon perhaps 1,000-1,500 people, to cover a base of about 120 million voters. Nobody makes the outlandish claims of "uselessness" about these that are being made here about CR. Nobody does a larger survey than Consumer Reports. It covers more respondents, by far, than any other survey in the business. If GM and Chrysler want to disprove it, then let them step up to the plate by having them disclose their records of reported repairs, and repairs requested by consumers that they have denied. Since they wish to argue equality, let them prove it. Of course, they won't, because the truth would just make things look worse for them.
  • Geeber Geeber on Oct 30, 2009

    Pch101, If GM and Chrysler had put as much energy into improving their vehicle development and quality processes as they do complaining, they would be ranked first in all of the surveys. Same for VW.

  • Probert A few mega packs would probably have served as decent backup.
  • Lou_BC Lead sleds. Now-a-days GM would just use Bondo.
  • Jrhurren This is a great series. Thanks Corey
  • Tane94 Not as stylish as the Soul which it is replacing but a practical shape and bonus points for EV only.
  • Ronin What is the magical white swan event in the foreseeable future that will suddenly reverse the trend?Success tends to follow success, and likewise failure. The perception, other than among true believers, is that e-cars are a lost cause. Neither government fiat, nor government bribery, nor even the promise of superior virtue among one's peers have been enough to push past the early adapter curve. Either the bust-out is right now for e-cars, or it doesn't happen. Marketing 101.Even subtle language-manipulation, such as deeming those possessing common sense as suffering from some sort of vague anxiety (eg, "range anxiety") has not been enough to induce people to care.Twenty years from now funny AI-generated comedians will make fun of the '20s, and their obsession with theose silly half-forgotten EVs. They will point out that, yes, EVs actually ran on electricity generated by such organic fuels as coal and natural gas after all, and then they will perform synthesized laughter at us.