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Consumer Reports recently released their 2009 listing of the most and least reliable cars. Whenever these rankings come out, I look at them with a bit of morbid curiosity. I’m mostly interested in seeing how far down the list the domestic carmakers
Looking at overall brand reliability, Japanese imports clearly rule the roost, whereas domestic brands are generally well down the list. Here’s the rundown:
Of course, these rankings are based on the average predicted reliability ratings of all models for each brand. It’s thus important to keep a couple of things in mind here…
First, the reliability ratings might not be entirely accurate, as there isn’t a whole lot to go on when making predictions for new models. In some cases, these predictions are based on data from just a single year.
Second, companies at the high end aren’t immune from producing a dud, whereas some at the low end actually have a decent model or two. For example, the Toyota Tundra is (slightly) below average despite coming from the 3rd best maker, whereas the Dodge Caliber is (again, slightly) above average despite coming from the 3rd worst maker.
CR points out that, “as a group, inexpensive small cars and midsized family sedans are the most reliable.” They also made clear that the difference between the best and worst models is dramatic. In fact, the Volkswagen Touareg (worst) is 27 times more likely to have problems than the top-ranked Honda Insight.
Interestingly, five of the top eight most reliable family cars were hybrids. The NY Times “Wheels” blog inquired about this surprising (at least to some) result, but CR held their ground.