If you buy a new car or light truck today, you can reasonably expect it to last until 2032, perhaps longer.

Put another way, the car you drive off a dealer lot in 2017, will roll to something north of 350,000 kilometres on the clock before a final trip to the auto recycler.

We know this thanks to a mountain of data from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Dennis DesRosiers, company president, says the average new car today lasts twice as long as anything built in the 1960s.  Back when the first Trudeau was prime minister, the “expected useful life of a vehicle,” says DesRosiers, was somewhere between 175,000 and 200,000 km. Today it’s 325,000-350,000 km.

Cars last longer than ever because the auto industry has invested hundreds of billions in a four-decade-long quality drive, notes DesRosiers. The results are real and quantifiable.

For instance, in 2000, only 26.1 per cent of vehicles survived 15 years of ownership. As of 2016, approximately 49.4 per cent of vehicles survived 15 years of ownership.

“This could only have happened if quality had increased substantially,” says DesRosiers in a note to clients, adding, “I would venture to guess that 60 to 70 per cent of vehicles bought today will still be on the road fifteen years from now.”

Averages can, however, be misleading. Not all car companies and car models are equal on the quality front. The latest reliability report from Consumer Reports shows a substantial gap between the most reliable brands and individual models and the least – the also rans.

Toyota, the No. 1 brand in the 2017 study, earned an average reliability score of 80 across 14 models; last-place Cadillac had an average score of 26 based on just five models.

Toyota’s least reliable model was the Tacoma pickup, while Cadillac’s was the Escalade sport-utility vehicle. Most reliable Toyota: the 86 sports car. Most reliable Cadillac: the CTS sedan.

As you ponder your next new ride, something that may be on the road for a decade and a half or more, here are the most and least reliable models from CR – and the top brands:

Top 15 brands: (1) Toyota, (2) Lexus, (3) Kia, (4) Audi, (5) BMW, (6) Subaru, (7) Infiniti, (8) Buick, (9) Honda, (10) Hyundai, (11) Nissan, (12) Mazda, (13) Porsche, (14) Mercedes-Benz, (15) Ford.

Most reliable vehicles: Kia Niro, Lexus ES, Lexus GS, Audi Q3, Toyota RAV4, Lexus IS, Toyota Prius V, Toyota Prius C, Infiniti Q70 and the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 combo.

Least reliable vehicles: Chevrolet Camaro, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Jaguar F-Pace, GMC Acadia, Fiat 500, Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, Volvo XC90, Cadillac Escalade and Tesla Model X.


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