10 Most/Least Reliable Cars

According to the always controversial ConsumerReports, these are the 10 most and least reliable cars by class.

Small Cars
Best: Honda Fit
Worst: Chevrolet Cobalt

Family Cars
Best: Honda Accord Hybrid (this is slightly better than the 4 cyl Accord)
Worst: Volkswagen Passat

Upscale/Large Cars
Best: Lexus ES350
Worst: Jaguar X-Type

Luxury Cars
Best: 2006 Lexus LS
Worst: Cadillac STS

Sporty Cars
Best: Lexus SC
Worst: Pontiac Solstice

Best: Pontiac Vibe (the Toyota Matrix is essentially the same car)
Worst: Buick Terraza

Small SUV
Best: Toyota FJ Cruiser (though we’ve never though of this as being particularly small)
Worst: Kia Sportage

Midsized SUV
Best: Toyota Highlander Hybrid (slighly better than the regular Highlander)
Worst: Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Large SUVs
Best: Toyota Land Cruiser
Worst: Nissan Armada

Pickup Trucks
Best: Subaru Baja (this is hardly a truck!)
Worst: Nissan Titan

….annnnnd FIGHT! — BEN POPKEN

[via Five Cent Nickle]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Falconfire says:

    Consumer Reports is a load of crap and has been for years.

    There is your fight for you.

  2. LTS! says:

    Oh Ben… you just need to post this drivel don’t you.

    Best Wagon/Minivan? C’mon! Because when I was comparison shopping I picked the Vibe and Odyssey.. no doubt.

    Subaru Baja.. a truck. Wahoo! Look at all the 4×8 sheets of plywood you are sticking in there.


  3. Falconfire says:

    here is my next question, how the hell can you compare the FIT a car thats been out for years in Japan, to the Cobalt which is relitivly brand new still. How do you figure out the reliability of a 2 year old new platform when most of the bugs haven’t even been worked out of it yet.

  4. Jennifer42 says:

    They’re comparing models, not platforms. I’m sure I don’t want to be the experimenter who discovers the ‘bugs.’

  5. B52HVet says:

    7/10 go to Toyota..2 to Honda…

    Even though it looks like the General got the worst of it, at least they spread the beating around.

    Consumer Reports is the biggest load of whitewashed advertising I’ve ever seen. I doubt the staff could be any further up Toyota’s ass. For Shame.

  6. dulcamara says:

    The lexus SC is not a sporty, sport-like, or quasi-sporty car.

  7. TheUpMyAssPlayers says:

    New car? Why pay through the nose. I adore my 1990 Dodge Shadow, it’s maintenance free apart from a halfshaft replacement is great in the snow and Still gets 24 miles to the gallon after 17 years. Used cars are the way to go if you pick the right one.

  8. thrillhouse says:

    Right. I saw this report a week or so ago and was not impressed with the idea of a “predicted reliability ratings” report. Thats right, predicted. Thats how you get reliability ratings for unproven cars. Theoretically, on paper, this car could possibly be the best, maybe.

    I’m interested in how there is a gap between the Vibe and the Matrix (same car). Also, 3 Cooper Minis on the graph – one good, one bad, one indifferent. And no, the Subaru Baja is not a truck. I’ve watched people try to haul things in it. They themselves will tell you that it is infact not a truck.

    I do trust CR for product reviews, but their automotive dept. leaves something to be desired. In the meantime, I’ll keep driving my unreliable American cars that spend less time in the shop than my co-workers’ Hondas and Toyotas. Thanks, CR!

  9. Pelagius says:

    The Pontiac Vibe is also a big winner in the “Best Car Named After a Sex Toy” division.

  10. Leto says:

    The Fit is Go!!

  11. ckilgore says:

    Ok – so if this is all a load of shit how does one really pick a reliable car? I have been casually shopping around for a while and I am totally overwhelmed by reviews, articles, etc. Every car out there is going to have someone with a horror story and a biggest fan and I can’t personally seem to aggregate it all.

  12. It’s a sad sad state of affairs, but if you’ve ever seen a GM assembly plant in Michigan, a Toyota plant in Canada or Japan, a Honda Plant in Ohio, Canada or Japan, and a Nissan Plant in Tennessee or Mexico…you’d never think twice about only buying Honda or Toyota.

    All the design work in the world isn’t going to help your car if your manufacturing/assembly facilities are plagued with shoddy workmanship.

    As for those looking for a reliable car, talk to your friendly neighborhood mechanic. He can tell you which cars come in all the time, and which ones he rarely sees…that is if you trust him.

  13. thrillhouse says:

    christy – there are pleanty of ratings and reviews that are actually based on a car’s reliability over a few years – not some guys prediction. JD Power just released one. Everyone has horror stories, so don’t listen to those.

  14. paddle2thesea says:

    FWIW, on the Vibe/Matrix discrepancy, the vehicles may not be entirely identical. I owned a Prizm, the first of the GM/Toyota twins, which was essentially a Corolla. The Prizm did, however, have some Delco parts in it, like a Delco alternator that was notoriously prone to failure (my alternator quit at 90K miles).

  15. jacques says:

    I bought a Mini used. It’s had as many problems as any other used car I’ve bought, except that repairs for it are thrice as expensive due to being owned by BMW. I dunno if it’s just the dealer near me trying to bend me over each time, but it runs almost $60 for an oil change, and close to $150 for an “oil service”, which is of course recommended. Forget the 50,000 service or crap like that.

    Gotta remember next time to factor in the cost of standard repairs and oil change into the price.

  16. He says:

    Buy based on resale value if you want a reliable car.

    And can anybody explain the CR hating beyond their tendency to pick Japanese cars as being good? Is there any indication they’re getting paid? Are they usually dead wrong? Was there some scandal I missed?

  17. Falconfire says:

    “It’s a sad sad state of affairs, but if you’ve ever seen a GM assembly plant in Michigan, a Toyota plant in Canada or Japan, a Honda Plant in Ohio, Canada or Japan, and a Nissan Plant in Tennessee or Mexico…you’d never think twice about only buying Honda or Toyota.”

    Having seen just about all the American ones listed here as well as Saturns plant for a college project on design and manufacturing, I can tell you straight out your full of shit.

  18. RogueSophist says:

    I’m confused. Beyond the “predicted reliability” ratings (based on a variety of factors, including manufacturer reliability across models, etc.), I’ve found the CR reliability ratings (as contained in the annual automobile issue) to be empirically sound (based on combined repair statistics), reasonably detailed (the charts separate reliability by drivetrain, electrical, and a dozen other categories), and quite helpful over the years.

    People seem to believe in CR bias toward Japanese cars. Call me unconvinced.

  19. synergy says:

    I don’t disagree with this although I haven’t read reviews. You never know if they’ve got an in with someone or someone’s getting paid off or something. You can just compare the numbers from manufacturer and of course some anecdotal although that can also be flawed since I’ve known people to be brand loyal despite them being a piece of crap. In my experience Toyatas and Hondas do perform and last longer.

  20. spinachdip says:

    People seem to believe in CR bias toward Japanese cars. Call me unconvinced.

    That’s probably because reliability is biased toward Japanese cars.

  21. Uurp says:

    Ask your tow-truck driver which models give him the most business.

  22. Trae says:

    So… I drive mediocre vehicles as they are neither the best nor the worst.


    Well, there are worse things to get as news. :P

  23. mellie3 says:

    Oh, puh-lease. CR is not on the take. I think we’d know by now if they were taking bribes. They don’t even take *ads.*

  24. InvisibleEcho says:

    From what I understand, JD Power gets their data from consumers opinions and reviews, and compiles their stats from there. I’m not entirely sure if they really do their own testing or how diverse their own testing is. I know that Consumer Reports does their own testing as well as get their stats from consumers as it would be impossible to test all these cars for the span of time they report on. Not only that, but CR states themselves that they take no free items from any company for testing. They have to go out and buy them retail and such in order to test them. Speaking about the Import bias in their car reviews, I notice that the Nissan Titan shows terrible for reliability, and that the articles for cars that are essentially the same (Ford Ranger, Mazda B-series, Vibe/Corolla) also tend to be the same. As in the same article is posted with a “This car is just like this other car, so here’s what we wrote about it” disclaimer in it. So I’m not really sure about the import bias although I do notice that they seem to LOVE Toyota automobiles. Absolutely love em. Although they don’t recommend the Yaris. Most of the cars on the Worst list here don’t seem to be domestics. So what exactly is the deal, then?

    Ssince I have been shopping for another car ever since a poor decision to purchase a used Kia 4 years ago, I have read literally thousands of reviews and built up a little list of observations.

    I know a lot of cars advertise JD Power ratings for Initial Quality. That’s a period of 90 days. I’m pretty people drive a car for longer than that. I don’t see a lot of advertisements for cars that get better long-term quality for JD Power. paddle2thesea also brings up a good point is that it’s not always about the engineering of a product – the parts that are used to make it can break down just as easily. I’ve been told not to buy GM from friends who have relatives that work in the auto parts suppliers industry – and I still like Cobalts. Don’t know if I would buy one any longer though.

    Also, since I have read so many customer feedback reviews, I have noticed that they are generally poorly written, biased in some method or another and typically look like they have been fashioned without even owning the car in question. So I have to wonder about a list of statistics compiled from user/customer data. Granted, there’s no other really effective way to rate so many items for so many years, but I’m leaning more towards reporting agencies that at least an attempt to rate and test a product on their own.

    The commenter crayonshinobi also brings up a good point in that mechanics can tell you the type of cars that people bring in, but of course you’d be better off going to a popular general repair shop over any specialized shops. I’ve flatly been told to buy a Honda or Toyota, and that’s it. I still shop around (I’m leaning towards Subarus myself) but seems like most people are in agreement about the general trends of cars today. The Ford Focus, even though slightly outdated, is listed as a long term recommendation from CR.

    And no, everyone is right. The SC430 is not a sports car, and the Baja is not a truck.