Consumer Reports: The Most Reliable Cars

Reliability is one of the most important requirements for consumers purchasing a new car. Most people want a car that not only looks good and has the latest features, but is dependable day in and day out. To determine a vehicle's reliability, you need to collect data from drivers over a period of time. Every year, Consumer Reports sends the Auto Reliability Survey to its subscribers for this purpose. The survey is strictly followed in the industry as consumers look to the magazine for recommendations. According to Consumer Reports' latest survey, Lexus, Toyota, and Buick are the most reliable brands based on their conservative approach to new technology. 

Lexus came in first with the CT 200H, and Toyota in second with the Prius, in terms of reliability. GM's Buick is the first domestic brand to be included in the top 3 since the 1980s, followed by Audi and Kia, rounding out the top 5 brands. The top performers were chosen based on survey responses from about 500,000 Consumer Reports' subscribers from the 2000-2017 model years. It appears as though the winners all have something in common: they conservatively add new technology over time instead of overhauling the systems all at once. Both Lexus and Buick, for example, used tried-and-true methods from previous vehicles when introducing a new automobile. When brands try to make too many big changes, they tend to fall short.

Based on their Annual Auto Reliability Survey, CR has some advice for anyone in the market for a new vehicle. First, don't shop solely by brand name. Within each brand, reliability varies widely. For example, Ford's Expedition earns higher reliability ratings compared to the low-scoring Focus or Fiesta. Secondly, wait a year or two before buying a new model. It can take years for automakers to fix problems and work out the kinks on new or redesigned models. Additionally, when a car model is new, it can mean new parts or new systems with new problems. For example, last year's transmissions or less sophisticated infotainment systems often fare better than complicated new ones.

CR points out some reliability trends to keep an eye on, including the predictability of Toyota and Lexus. Toyota continues to turn out reliable vehicles, taking a conservative, evolutionary approach. Buick's core product line is mature, and most problems have been ironed out. Subaru dropped out of the top 10 based on difficulties with the Legacy Sedan and the Outback Wagon. CR also has concerns with some automakers, such as Tesla, with design, deployment, and marketing of semi-autonomous technology. They want automakers to communicate what these systems can and cannot do clearly.

Along with using Consumer Reports' latest survey, AAA's Auto Buying Service can help you make an informed decision on your next vehicle purchase. Our specialists will search to find you the most reliable vehicle at the best available price. Unlike a dealership, AAA's Auto Buying Service does all the work for you. We are dedicated to making your car buying experience easy and enjoyable. Call us today at 1-866-710-6226. 


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