Consumer Reports 5 Most Reliable Vehicles For 2016 Are Mostly Niche Models You Won't Buy

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
consumer reports 5 most reliable vehicles for 2016 are mostly niche models you won t

Buick grabbed much of the limelight when Consumer Reports released its 2016 reliability survey results yesterday, earning the best-ever brand ranking of any domestic marque. But atop the leaderboard, Lexus and its Toyota parent brand continued the automaker’s reign.

Not surprisingly, three of the five most reliable vehicles in America are therefore Lexus and Toyota products. With the Lexus GS and Toyota 4Runner, the top 10 list is half-filled with Toyota products. Only one vehicle in the top ten is a domestic, the eighth-ranked Chevrolet Cruze.

They may be reliable, but do Americans actually want these vehicles? We took a look at the five least reliable vehicles in America and realized that, yes, in some cases, Americans do want them. In fact, the vehicles on the least reliable list account for 2.7 percent of the U.S. new vehicle market.

When it comes to the five most reliable vehicles in Consumer Reports’ survey, less than 1 percent of the market’s buying habits are represented.


Closely related to the increasingly popular Toyota 4Runner, the Lexus GX has seen its sales fall 2 percent in a growing SUV/crossover market in 2016. The other three-quarters of Lexus’ utility vehicle lineup — flagship LX, surging new NX, most popular RX — are up 13 percent to 118,047 units this year.

U.S. sales of the extremely reliable GX460 are on track to fall below 24,000 units in 2016, the second-best year of the last decade but well off the pace from 2004, when more than 35,000 were sold.


Not launched until the third quarter of 2014, the Audi Q3 is nevertheless an entry-level Audi crossover based on an old Volkswagen Golf platform that was developed more than a decade ago. Apparently, that was more than enough time to work out the kinks.

Through three-quarters of 2016, the Audi Q3 has already produced more sales volume than in all of 2015. But in the nascent and still rather small subcompact luxury crossover category, the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA both sell more often than the Q3, America’s 68th-best-selling utility vehicle.


One of many forgotten members of a category dominated by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series, Infiniti Q70 sales have fallen 29 percent in 2016’s first nine months (to only 4,495 units) after climbing to a three-year high in 2015.

Infiniti sold more than 25,000 copies of the M, the Q70’s predeccessor, a decade ago. Reliability is not remotely enough to stir up demand for the six-year-old Q70 now.


According to Consumer Reports, the Lexus CT200h is the most reliable vehicle from the most reliable automobile brand in America.

With few changes, Lexus has sold the CT200h since 2011. Related to the now replaced third-gen Prius, the CT200h is likely to generate fewer than 10,000 U.S. sales in 2016, down from an average of nearly 16,000 over the previous half-decade.

The CT may be the most reliable Lexus, but it only accounts for 3 percent of the Lexus brand’s U.S. volume.


Consistently ranked high in Consumer Reports’ reliability surveys, the Toyota Prius grabbed the top spot in 2016 despite being the kind of all-new model that typically performs poorly in Consumer Reports’ surveys.

Yet with fuel prices low and far more competitors than the Prius faced even five years ago, sales of the new Prius are falling fast. Year-over-year, sales of the Prius are down 9 percent to 78,372 units through 2016’s first nine months. That puts the Prius on pace for slightly more than 100,000 sales in 2016, enough to be one of America’s 20 best-selling cars but still the lowest-volume year for the core member of the Prius family since 2004.

Including the C and V, total Prius family sales are on track to fall to a five-year low.

[Images: Toyota, Infiniti, Audi]

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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  • Brn Brn on Oct 25, 2016

    Our Infiniti dealer had the busiest garage of all our dealerships (worse than our Nissan dealerships, which came in second). Makes it difficult for me to believe they made anything reliable. Then there's VW....

    • See 1 previous
    • Brn Brn on Oct 25, 2016

      @Corey Lewis When I say "our Infiniti dealer", I mean the dealer owned by the company I worked for. It's dozens of dealerships over several years. Infiniti (one dealer) was on the bottom, followed by Nissan (two dealers). Even the shop supervisor wouldn't recommend a Nissan product (in private). Does it represent national averages? I can't say. It is, however, more than one data point.

  • FOG FOG on Oct 26, 2016

    Making a few purchases based on the sage advice of Consumer Reports only to have the quality of their choices fall short of terrible. I don't take them seriously regarding anything.

    • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Oct 26, 2016

      Well, *I* have no problem accepting your informational equivalent of a spat hocker.

  • Alan The Prado shouldn't have the Landcruiser name attached. It isn't a Landcruiser as much as a Tacoma or 4 Runner or a FJ Cruiser. Toyota have used the Landcruiser name as a marketing exercise for years. In Australia the RAV4 even had Landcruiser attached years ago! The Toyota Landcruiser is the Landcruiser, not a tarted up Tacoma wagon.Here a GX Prado cost about $61k before on roads, this is about $41k USD. This is a 2.8 diesel 4x4 with all the off road tricky stuff, plus AC, power windows, etc. I'm wondering if Toyota will perform the Nissan Armada treatment on it and debase the Prado. The Patrol here is actually as capable and possibly more capable than the Landcruiser off road (according to some reviews). The Armada was 'muricanised and the off road ability was reduced a lot. Who ever heard of a 2 wheel drive Patrol.Does the US need the Prado? Why not. Another option to choose from built by Toyota that is overpriced and uses old tech.My sister had a Prado Grande, I didn't think much of it. It was narrow inside and not that comfortable. Her Grand Cherokee was more comfortable and now her Toureg is even more comfortable, but you can still feel the road in the seat of your pants and ears.
  • Jeffrey No tis vehicle doen't need to come to America. The market if flooded in this segment what we need are fun affordable vehicles.
  • Nrd515 I don't really see the point of annual inspections, especially when the car is under 3 years (warranty) old. Inspections should be safety related, ONLY, none of the nonsensical CA ARB rules that end up being something like, "Your air intake doesn't have an ARB sticker on it, so you have to remove it and buy one just like it that does have the ARB sticker on it!". If the car or whatever isn't puking smoke out of it, and it doesn't make your eyes water, like an old Chevy Bel-Air I was behind on Wed did, it's fine. I was stuck in traffic behind that old car, and wow, the gasoline smell was super potent. It was in nice shape, but man, it was choking me. I was amused by the 80 something old guy driving it, he even had a hat with a feather in it, THE sign of someone you don't want to be driving anywhere near you.
  • Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg
  • ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂