Three of the 10 least reliable vehicles for sale come from General Motors’ Chevrolet brand, while six of the 10 most reliable rides come from Toyota Motor – three Toyota brand models and three from Toyota’s premium brand, Lexus
But in Consumer Reports latest Auto Reliability Study, Mazda Motor has the most reliable vehicle in the industry this year and the Mazda brand has three models ranked among the top 10. Still, as has been the cast for most of the last few decades, the Lexus brand is ranked first overall.
Truth is, this latest CR study is more of what we’ve seen for years and years. Asian brands dominate the list of most reliable vehicles, Europeans tend to offer a mixed bag on reliability, one that shames car companies demanding premium pricing in almost all segments, and Detroit-based automakers struggle mightily, period. In a nutshell, the CR reliability survey is more of the same.
Alas, GM’s Cadillac brand is ranked dead last at No. 30 out of 30 ranked brands, while Fiat Chrysler’s Alfa Romeo is only slightly better at No. 29. For Detroit’s car companies, it’s all quite embarrassing but par for the course.
Detroit’s mainstream brands, in particular, continue to lag the industry on reliability, even as brands such as Hyundai, Kia and Mazda demonstrate that aspiring brands with the latest technology and innovative designs can also be reliable.
That said, it’s hard to understand why Honda’s Acura luxury brand is ranked 28th and its most important model, the MDX SUV (sport-utility vehicle) is now rated the brands least reliable vehicle. And why is the Honda brand now ranked outside the top 10, at No. 12? Shameful for a brand that trades on a reputation for quality and durability.
By the same token, how is it possible that the Volkswagen is ranked 27th and the Atlas SUV is that brand’s worst vehicle in terms of reliability, with the Tiguan SUV also performing badly?
At the other end, Mazda’s MX-5 Miata roadster is the MOST reliable car in the study. Interestingly, Toyota’s Prius Prime plug-in shows that carmakers can make reliable electrified models, while the Toyota Prius hybrid is also exceptionally reliable. The Prius Prime is ranked No. 2 overall, while the Prius is No. 3.
CR’s Auto Reliability Survey is not the final word in this area, but it is useful in that it is based on U.S. data collected from the organization’s members about their experiences with more than 400,000 vehicles.
As has been the case for decades, Japanese brands, led by Lexus, Mazda, and Toyota, in that order, continue to be the best for new car reliability, notes the survey, while Subaru is No. 7. Genesis, Hyundai and Kia, in that order, ranked in the top 10 among brands. All three are part of the Hyundai Motor conglomerate from South Korea. CR, in fact, says that Hyundai Motor has closed the reliability gap with the broader Japanese brands.
Tesla’s fan base, loyal and loud, will surely bemoan the latest results. Tesla as a brand is still ranked in the bottom third, with the Model 3 struggling and the Model X ranked among the least reliable vehicles in the industry.
Still, Jake Fisher who directs CR’s auto testing, says that improvements now allow CR to recommend both the Tesla Model 3 and S.
For GM, which now seems in the doldrums, busy downsizing and leaving markets and struggling to make good on its promised electrification strategy, the results for its Chevrolet mainstream brand and Cadillac are alarming. Chevrolet is ranked 25th out of 30 brands, with the redesigned 2019 Silverado 1500 rated below average for reliability – along with Chevy’s Camaro sporty car, Colorado midsize pickup and Traverse SUV.
Meantime, Ford is in the middle of the pack at No. 16, though the F-150 pickup is ranked well below average due to transmission issues, body hardware, and drive system problems. Lincoln, Ford’s disappointing premium brand, is ranked No. 15.
As for the Germans, Audi is ranked No. 14, which is nothing short of horrific for a luxury brand. Worse, however, is BMW at No. 17. Worse, still, is Mercedes-Benz at No. 21. All three call on customers to pay top dollar for vehicles which are below average performers in terms of reliability.
Finally, Volvo. Ranked No. 24, Volvo’s XC90 SUV and S90 sedan remain below average. Another result that should leave this aspiring premium brand red-faced. There really is no excuse for this.
Here are the 30 brands ranked in Consumer Reports 2019 Auto Reliability Survey:
- Alfa Romeo
Top 10 Most Reliable
- Mazda MX-5 Miata
- Toyota Prius Prime
- Toyota Prius
- Lexus GX
- Hyundai Kona
- Mazda CX-3
- Lexus NX
- Toyota 4Runner
- Mazda CX-9
- Lexus GS
Top 10 Least Reliable
- Chevrolet Colorado
- Chevrolet Camaro
- Jeep Wrangler
- Alfa Romeo Giulia
- Volkswagen Atla
- Volkswagen Tiguan
- Acura MDX
- Tesla Model X
- Chrysler Pacifica
- Chevrolet Traverse