The Denver Post
Toyota tops Consumer Reports’ auto-reliability rankings
DET ROIT» Toyota Motor Co. is continuing its reign at the top of Consumer Reports’ reliability rankings, a reward for its conservative approach to new technology.
The Toyota brand came in first in this year’s rankings, followed by the company’s luxury Lexus brand. It’s the fifth year in a row that a Toyota brand has topped the survey. Kia, Audi and BMW rounded out the top five.
Cadillac, GMC, Ram, Dodge and Volvo got the poorest reliability scores, dinged by buyers’ problems with their infotainment systems and transmissions.
Consumer Reports predicts reliability of 2018 vehicles based on a survey of its subscribers, who owned or leased 640,000 vehicles from the 2000-2017 model years. Consumer Reports forecasts how a model will perform based on recent data for that model. The magazine gives more weight to mechanical and safety issues than minor problems like wind noise.
The magazine’s rankings are closely watched in the industry, since many buyers seek advice from Consumer Reports.
Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of auto testing, says Toyota’s strategy of adding new technology gradually — instead of all at once — helps make its vehicles more reliable. Toyota’s new Camry sedan, for example, has an eightspeed transmission that was first tested on the Highlander SUV.
Consumer Reports found that the Kia Niro hybrid, which went on sale this year, was the most reliable vehicle in its entire survey.
General Motors Co. didn’t fare well overall, but its new Chevrolet Bolt electric car had above-average reliability. In its debut on the list, Tesla Inc.’s Model 3 sedan got an “average” reliability score. The car isn’t widely available yet, but the magazine based its ranking on responses for the company’s Model S sedan, which has above-average reliability.
“There’s a lot of stuff that’s not in electric cars. They’re simpler,” Fisher said.