By on December 1, 2010

Thanks in part to the help of people from TTAC, TrueDelta received a record number of responses to October’s Car Reliability Survey—nearly 19,000. Updated car reliability stats have been posted to the site for 488 cars, up from 459 three month ago. There are partial results for another 370. These stats cover through the end of September 2010. Other sources of car reliability information will not cover the third quarter of 2010 until the summer or even fall of next year.

Among early 2011s, we now have full results for the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Sorento. Though in its first model year, the thoroughly redesigned Sonata has been better than average. This is not a given for Hyundai—the Genesis sedan with tech package and the Genesis Coupe both had glitchy first years. The Sorento has been about average so far.

We’ll have full results for a few more 2011s with the next update, in February. Early data on the Ford Fiesta is not good.

TrueDelta also has updated “nada-odds” and “lemon-odds” stats. These report the percentage of cars with no repairs and the percentage with 3+ repair trips in the past year, respectively. Among the covered 2010s, the Aud Q5 and Hyundai Genesis Coupe were the most likely to require repairs, and by a substantial margin. Only 35 percent of Q5 owners and 42 percent of Gen Coupe owners reported no repairs. The Jaguar XF would likely join them t the bottom if we’d had enough responses for it.

Or is the glass one-third full? Even with the worst 2010 (by this stat), your odds of a repair-free car were better than one in three. Look at much older cars, and even with the worst (the 2001 Volvo S60 and V70) your chances of a repair-free car are about one in four. This explains why, whenever a model gets a poor reliability rating, plenty of owners can honestly claim they’ve had no problems. On the other hand, with the most reliable models (Toyota Prius, Toyota Yaris, Honda Insight, Honda Fit, Honda CR-V) your chances of a repair-free car are about nine in ten.

Only among the least reliable cars (generally 8+ years old and European) are your odds of 3+ repair trips in a year greater than one in ten.

We’d like to provide these stats for all cars—just a matter of getting more owners involved.

To view the updated results:

Car Reliability Survey results


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20 Comments on “TrueDelta Updates Reliability Survey...”

  • avatar

    Cadillac needs to fix their exploding engine problem. Headlines in Detroits own backyard don’t help.

  • avatar

    Early data on the Ford Fiesta is not good.
    Where is the Fiesta built?  Ford has traditionally had teething problems at some plants (Hermosillo, I think).  The Focus suffered for that, albeit ten years ago now.

    On the other hand, with the most reliable models (Toyota Prius, Toyota Yaris, Honda Insight, Honda Fit, Honda CR-V)

    But I thought hybrids were complex and unreliable, and that Toyota and Honda’s quality was falling like a rock? (sarc) It shows what good the collective wisdom of the blogosphere is good for.

    • 0 avatar

      The Fusion, Milan and MKZ are built in Mexico, too, and they have been among Ford’s most reliable cars. There must be something else going on here.

    • 0 avatar

      From what I recall of the Focus debacle it was an issue of cost-cutting.  Perhaps, with the Fiesta being so low-margin they’ve skimped again.

    • 0 avatar

      I hope not.

      From what I’ve read, with the Focus, Ford tested the components on the European version, then made several changes to the American version, but didn’t do much additional testing. Hence, the recalls and quality problems, which were largely fixed by 2004. The European version actually has a good reputation for reliability.  

      One would hope that Ford has learned its lesson, as the original Focus was the perfect example of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The car was originally a hit, until the blizzard of recalls almost killed it.

  • avatar

    Nice work, Michael.   “Nada-odds” and “lemon-odds” are particularly useful statistics, because they offer some clue as to whether a single ownership experience is likely to be positive or negative.  Much better than coloured dots or problems-per-vehicle data, which are only relevant to fleet owners.

  • avatar

    From the comments on Hondas and Toyotas, one could be forgiven for thinking that a whole crop of lemons is now pouring forth from the factories of both companies. Mr. Baruth’s review of the 2007 Accord V-6 is more proof of that.

    Yet, whenever TrueDelta or Consumer Reports releases new survey results, both companies invariably place at or near the top.

    • 0 avatar

      In fairness to Baruth, I think the theme of his article was more to do with the Accord he drove not being all it’s cracked up to be.

    • 0 avatar

      What 86er said.  Reliability is not the same as quality, although they are related.  A car can have lousy performance, fit, finish, and interior materials, and still be trouble free.

    • 0 avatar

      Several of the comments, though, claimed that Hondas just aren’t that reliable. Which, judging by these results, is not true.

      As for fit-and-finish and performance – every mass-produced car is a series of compromises. The type of compromises depend on the price point and just how good the manufacturer is at taking care of the details.

      As a long-time Honda owner, I can say that the cars were never perfect – even during the supposed halcyon days of the late 1980s and early 1990s – but they are still among the best values out there. But the competition – particularly Hyundai and Ford – is closing the gap pretty quickly. If you had told someone to try a Ford or a Hyundai instead of a comparable Honda (or Toyota) even five years ago, most people would have laughed. Today, not so much.

  • avatar

    I find the “nada” and “lemon” odds very telling, and I really appreciate all that Michael is doing with TrueDelta (I’ve been a contributor with 4 different cars for a long time now).  However, I think the name “nada” odds is confusing given the high-visibility automotive organization of the same name: the NADA (National Auto Dealer’s Association).

    • 0 avatar

      A friend had the same issue. It is very important that I use lower case–words in lower case are never read as acronyms. I intend to imply no connection with the NADA. Just looking for a succinct way to convey that the cars required nothing in the way of repairs, and “nada” rolls right into “odds.”

  • avatar

    Re: Baruth’s Honda, that thing was a rental. A 3 year old rental? Just how good did you expect it to be?

    On the Fiesta: Ford needs to get on the stick on this one quick. There’s far too many good vehicles in that segment for anyone to take crap from anyone. I couldn’t believe they let some moron design a bottle holder into the map pocket that digs right into your calf as soon as you close the door. Even if the rest of the car was designed like the Taj Mahal that would be a deal breaker for me.

  • avatar

    How about “Peaches” rather than Nada ?

  • avatar

    Question for you: how are you classifying “repairs”?  It says that the Q5 and Hyundai required more repairs than average, but what does that mean? Eg: check engine light or unable to drive the car?

    • 0 avatar

      All reported repairs are posted to the “repair histories” section of the site. I haven’t looked closely at these two cars, but the great majority of all reported repairs are minor to moderate. Few render the car undriveable.

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