Guest Post: TrueDelta Reliability Update

Michael Karesh
by Michael Karesh
guest post truedelta reliability update

Car reliability has improved dramatically since the 1990s, much less the dreadful 1970s and 1980s. But is it yet safe to buy a redesigned car in its first model year? Or do early buyers still serve as unpaid beta testers?

TrueDelta updates its reliability stats quarterly in part because this allows us to report on redesigned cars sooner. The latest update includes owner experiences through the end of June 2013 (scores elsewhere are about 14 months behind).

Among models that were redesigned or refreshed last fall, can you guess which group scored well, which has had a few problems, and which earned some (now rare) unhappy faces?

Group 1: Audi A4 (and related models), Honda Accord, Lexus RX, Nissan Pathfinder / Infiniti JX

Group 2: Acura RDX, Buick Enclave / Chevrolet Traverse / GMC Acadia, Dodge Dart, Ford Escape, Ford Fusion, Mazda CX-5, Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ

Group 3: Ford C-MAX, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Altima

Even in the unhappy group, most of the reported repairs involve minor problems (e.g. a vibration-prone mirror in the CX-5, a chirping fuel pump in the FR-S, and flaky power tailgate latches in two Fords). Few cars have serious problems during the warranty period.

This update also already includes the 2014 CX-5. It scored about the same as the 2013. Initial data on the 2014 Mazda6 and Subaru Forester suggest that both have enjoyed a smoother start than the CX-5.

The most consistently reliable model in the survey continues to be the Honda CR-V. Also worth noting: the current BMW 3-Series and 5-Series seem much more reliable than their predecessors, at least so far.

The next update, in November, will include more solid results for the early 2014s. The more people participate, the more models we can cover (for the past 15 model years) and the more precise these stats will be.

To view over 600 updated repair trips per year stats:

Car Reliability Survey results

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, a provider of car reliability, real-world fuel economy, and price comparison information.

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3 of 107 comments
  • Romanjetfighter Romanjetfighter on Sep 16, 2013

    I don't really care about fixable issues post-warranty anymore. I care about fit and finish. I hate creaking and rattling. My 4 year old Camry's doors creak when I hit bumps, the whole transmission tunnel covering groans when I lean on the armrest, the IP creaks when I push to open a compartment, etc. How on earth do you fix that without taking it completely apart?

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Sep 17, 2013

    The quality of motor vehicles has indeed improved over the past 20 years, especially the US manufactured vehicles from the Big 3. A lot of this has to do with competition. Even globally outside of the US vehicles are shipped around the world from many countries and the quality of a vehicle is significant for a company to sell. I do agree with Vulpine that vehicles aren't designed to go much further than 200 000km or 10 years. They are designed to be recycled. It isn't only motor vehicle quality that has improved, most items we use within our households have improved. Much of this improvement is due to the reduction of humans involved in the design and manufacturing process. Computers, the end all and be all of our modern society. IC's are in most everything we use from a toaster to measuring oxygen levels in our intakes.

    • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Sep 17, 2013

      Don't think you can say that 10 years is a design parameter. My station car is 21 years old and spent its entire life outside. Given to me by my mother, it only has 130K on it, but it is a very high cycle car. The first half of its life it was used nearly daily for only a few miles a day. Such use brings out the end-of-life for odd parts, like the springs in the driver door handle (inside and out), the ignition lock, etc.

  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.
  • SCE to AUX One data point: my rental '23 Model 3 had good build quality, but still not as good as my Hyundais.Test mule aside, perhaps the build quality of the CT will be good in 2027.