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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 2:47 pm

As a mechanic for over 45 years, I can honestly say that everyone has had their share of winners and losers over the years.

November 05, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Lost faith in Consumer Reports years ago. They've been wrong so often, I lost count.

David S.
November 05, 2013 at 2:28 pm

There are only 3 domestics I would ever consider owning:

Ford Ranger
Ford F-150 Raptor (the expensive one - but can't afford)
1969 Pontiac GTO (an excellent muscle car)

Otherwise, I have owned an Acura (great car) and currently own a Toyota and am happy. I think there was a "slump" in the 1980's regarding the US made market (the reliability really "tanked" then)but they have since gotten better but am still not completely sold on the domestic market. To each their own.

November 05, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Are these the same cars and trucks that we are going to be reading about in 3-5 years have been recalled due to poor quality or something. I no longer trust anything that Consumer Reports says or does. 120,000+ miles on my 2009 Impala without a problem.

November 05, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I've had 2 cars since 1987, both Acuras. The first, an Integra, I traded in at 150K. I'm driving a 1998 Acura CL that I bought with 130K, and I just turned 190K. Nothing more than routine maintenance

November 05, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Nice to see that a car that's been on the market for two months can get a top predicted reliability score. If you aren't happy with a 2014 model of any make, there have to be serious problems. The metrics for this "survey" sound suspect as best.

November 05, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I have also owned a Triumph TR6, my two seater. Nearly forgot to include it in my original comment. It was a fun car, but the repairs were constant, and it became a rust bucket.

November 05, 2013 at 12:15 pm

What I have noticed with all the vehicles I have driven and owned, the domestic North American cars tend to last longer. Foreign cars after 100000 miles require expensive up-keep, compared to domestic cars. I have owned a Fiat , Chevy , Ford, Audi, VW,
Mazda, Pontiac, GMC, and a Saturn. I am sure there are foreign vehicles that last, but to make a general statement that foreign vehicles are more reliable is over stated.
I like foreign cars but will stick with North American cars for my buck.

November 05, 2013 at 11:58 am

We are a Lexus family. I have never had any problems on my lexus... except regular maintance. I have a 02 Lexus LS 430 with 165,000 miles and a 08 Lexus Ls 460 with 55,000 miles. The regular maintaince is high... but no further repairs are necessary... so Look at all the money I save.

November 05, 2013 at 11:39 am

After having Hondas in my early 20's I have been a FORD girl ever since. Many Fords over the past 20 years and have loved them all. Great company doing great things and making a profit to boot! Love the Focus BTW. Best small car in my opinion.