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Car reliability survey surprises

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

The latest auto reliability ratings from Consumer Reports revealed that two European and one U.S. brand cracked the top 10 list in reliability that is typically filled with Japanese car brands. At the same time, a lower-production car took the top model spot, while some popular models scored so poorly to earn a recommendation.

Audi, Volvo and GMC all cracked the top 10 in the Consumer Reports 2013 Annual Auto Reliability Rankings, placing fourth, seventh and ninth, respectively. Every model from those brands (for which the magazine has data) scored average or better in reliability. Audi, the highest rated European manufacturer, moved up four places this year from eighth to fourth, while Volvo leapfrogged 13 places from 20th last year to seventh this year. GMC was the top-scoring U.S. brand, moving up three spots from 12th last year to ninth this year.

Japanese brands took the other seven spots in the top 10, including Lexus, Toyota and Acura in the top three in that order.

The 2014 Subaru Forester, which had been on sale only a short time before the survey was conducted, received the top predicted-reliability score. The 2013 Honda Accord V6 and the 2013 Nissan Altima received scores too low to earn the group's recommendation. This came as a surprise even to Consumer Reports, which had expected that both cars would have average reliability or better.

Consumer Reports calculated its rating based on survey responses from its subscribers experiences with 1.1 million vehicles.

If you own one of these models, do you find they are reliable?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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November 05, 2013 at 10:39 am

I am driving a 2002 Honda Accord EX with 267K on it. It runs like a dream. It is only a 4 cyl. I get 30 mpg consistently. No major issues. Thinking I need to start shopping because it won't last forever but not willing to give up yet.

November 05, 2013 at 10:37 am

Consumer Reports bases these reliability ratings on surveys from consumers. Generally consumers are not objective and have bias, why not score them based on actual testing where vehicles are given to a group of consumer/testers without them being required to pay out big bucks to buy or lease and impress friends. If I brought an expensive vehicle(Audi, Lexus, Acura, etc) I would tend to rate it highly as I want to justify the expense and to protect my ego. Examples Audi with VW basics acura which many models have accords basics and lexus with camry's etc. I don't know how they can rate the Forester which is a new model and they even admit a short availability time, how can you rate it #1 in dependability. This "consumer report" should be only a portion of your research when looking to buy a vehicle.

Harry Gunderson
November 05, 2013 at 10:33 am

Our Honda Odyssey had 201 thousand miles, still runs great, looks good inside and out. Love the room, versatility and ease getting in and out!

November 05, 2013 at 10:25 am

Still driving our 1999 Lincoln Towncar bought new in August 1999, still looks like new inside and outside, never any major problems and stil gets 26 miles per gallon on trips, did get more until they put the ethenol in the gas. Ford products for us have always been a cut above.

November 05, 2013 at 10:21 am

I have a 2002 Nissan Maxima SW, 245K and still sounds great. Not to mention the leather interior looks almost like new. Amazing car, I'm hoping to hit 300K!

November 05, 2013 at 10:15 am

Best car I ever owned was my 1987 Honda accord. I bought it used for $400.00 with 137,000 miles on it. I sold it 7 years later for $400.00 with 187,000 miles on it. It always started ( an issue here in Vermont ) drove and handled like a dream and I had very few problems with it. I'm nearly 67 now and I know I'll never again have another car as reliable as that one.

November 05, 2013 at 10:06 am

We have a 1992 Jeep Cherokee with 315K on it and still rolling. The body will drop before this car. (We live in Michigan)

November 05, 2013 at 9:58 am

My Ford F-250 has over 395,000 miles on it. Original engine and trans. I am still driving it to this day with no major issues other than regular maintenance.

November 05, 2013 at 9:45 am

My 2001 Buick is the best car I've owned and it has over 100 thousand miles. Runs great and starts every time with no hesitation !

November 05, 2013 at 9:43 am

I'm driving a 2001 Buick with over 100 thousand miles and it is still rock solid.