How reliable is a car brand? What brands are the most reliable? What models can you trust the most? What cars provide the most satisfaction to costumers? Several entities produce reports ranking and rating the most dependable, reliable and longest-lasting car models which AUTO Connected Car news has rounded-up to help readers make better car buying decisions.
A few years ago, I interviewed a car dealer who said, “She who has the best data wins.” Unfortunately for car buyers, car dealers usually have better data than the car buyers. They know the price of every car that issold in the area and the also keep track of conditions of vehicles because they don’t want to spent the money to repair vehicles.
I was thinking, “Souldn’t it be nice if someone took a bunch of different sources for the cars with the best reliability and rankings?”
Below, you will find listings of the top rated studies and reports about vehicle reliability and dependability. Some of the producers of the research offer more detailed reports. Some data is sponsored by car dealers, one report is sponsored by consumers and other data created by services who profit from the data. Cars are very subjective in many ways, car owners have higher expectations from luxury brands, car enthusiasts buy cars because they are fast or beautiful. However, in the middle of the night on the open road in the middle of nowhere, most car buyers want the most reliable car they can afford.
Different researchers use different criteria for calculating the best and worst reliable cars.
Car Owners Can Get Satisfaction
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) scale of 0 to 100. The top rated most satisfied vehicles are from
The The ACSI report, which is based on 3,934 customer surveys.
Long Term Quality
Nick Lariviere’s and Steve Lang’s Long Term Quality Index rates cars by how long they last and data from car auctions that shows what went wrong with the vehicle and how long the owners keep their vehicles which they call Long Term Quality Index LTQI. The database includes information about 1,576,873 vehicles. This source is good place to look if you are someone who keeps a car for long periods of time and invests in maintenance.
LTQI Brand Rankings for Dependability
(Brands that are no longer made any more have been removed)
Top Best Models from LTQI:
- Toyota Sequoia 100
- Toyota Land Cruiser 100
- Lexus SC 100
- Lexus LX 100
- Lexus LS 100
- Chevrolet SSR 100
- Nissan Pickup 97.6
- Toyota Prius 97.2
- Toyota Tacoma 97.1
- BMW z3 97
- Hummer 96.1
- Chevrolet Corvette 96.6
The worst cars from LTQL has some surprising models. The following all have relability scores of zero, zip, nada for chronic reliablility issies
BMW 7 Series, BMW X6, Buick Enclave, Chevy Aveo, Chevy Cruze, Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Caliber, Dodge Journey, Fiat 500, Ford Focus, Ford Freestyle, GMC Acadia, GMC Terrain, Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, Land Rover Discovery, Land Rover Freelander, Lincoln Aviator, Lincoln LS, Mazda CX-7, Mazda Millenia, Mazda RX-8, MINI Cooper, Nissan Versa, Saturn Astra, Saturn Outlook, Smart Fortwo, Suzuki Forenza, Suki Reno, Suzuki Verona, Volkswagen CC, Volkswagen Routan and Volkswagen Tiguan,
Does the CarMD Know Which is Best?
CarMD ranks vehicle health by repair incidents, costs and OBDII port problem codes which includes repairs for 4.7 million model year 1996 to 2016 new and pre-owned vehicles in the United States from Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016. They have not reported all vehicle rankings, yet.
CarMD found that the following are the 10 brands with the lowest repair frequency over the past year:
In Search of Something Else?
Over the last 20 years, Autotrader has hosted more than 2 billion car shoppers and featured over 350 million vehicle listings on Autotrader.com. The 10 Most-Searched Cars on Autotrader include only one vehicle found on the LTQI, the Toyota Tacoma.
- Ford F-Series
- Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
- Jeep Wrangler
- RAM 1500/2500
- Chevrolet Camaro
- Toyota Tacoma
- Ford Mustang
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Chevrolet Tahoe
- Toyota Tundra
Consumer Reports Reports What Consumers Report About the Best Features fo their Cars
Consumer Reports rates reliability on information gathered from car owners on models from 2010-2017. The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey, gathered information from Consumer Reports subscribers who collectively owned or leased more than 640,000 vehicles.
Consumer Reports’ annual automotive reliability survey showed some things that all car buyers should know. When a new model or new technology comes out, there are generally problems that need to fixed. The same is true for new smartphones. It’s a takes a while to get the bugs out. CR’s survey showed that owners of first-year models had twice as many complaints about in-car electronics.
For example, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson SUV scored poorly because of transmission issues, but complaints about 2017 Tucson transmission dropped by more than half. The in-car electronics of the 2017 Civic are so improved the complaint rate was only a third of that for the 2016 version.
The only Dodge model that did not have below-average reliability was the Grand Caravan. The Charger and Challenger improved over last year, but are still below average. The new Bolt electric car is Chevrolet’s most reliable model with above average reliability. Unfortunately, GMC and Cadillac are at the bottom of Consumer Reports’ brand rankings.
Honda improved. Kia continues to make impressive strides. Hyundai dropped three places to rank 10th. Nissan had a slight gain. Consumer Reports notes that European brands remained relatively unchanged from last year.
Tehe Jaguar F-Pace, Tesla Model X and GMC Acadia are some of the it least reliable cars. Tesla 3 reliability is expected to be average
Consumer Reports Top Ten Most Reliable In Ranking Order
- Kia Niro
- Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86
- Lexus ES
- Lexus GS
- Audi Q3
- Toyota RAV4
- Lexus IS
- Toyota Prius V
- Toyota Prius C
- Infiniti Q70
Top Brands from Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports added these models for improved reilability:
Audi A3, Chrysler Pacifica, Ford F-150, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Ram 1500, Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Volkswagen Passat.
Consumer Reports no longer reccomends these models due to poor reliability:
Acura MDX, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Equinox, Chrysler 300, GMC Acadia, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-9, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Nissan Maxima, Porsche Cayenne, Subaru Impreza.
More Power to JD Power?
According to the J.D. Power 2017 Vehicle Dependability Study, Lexus and Porsche remain at the top for long-term quality based on 2014 models. The Vehicle Dependability study is based on problems per 100 vehicles
To pull all the data together when you buy a car, it’s a good idea to check at least three references. A friend of mine was considering buying anew Nissan Maxima based on features and prices. Consumer Reports no longer recommends the Maxima and LTQI rates it very poorly. He is the type of person who has been used to driving luxury car models a new Nissan Maxima would not be the best choice for him.
For me personally I bought a car that was highly discounted, well reviewed and with good satisfaction. My situation is different because I work at home.
If we were to combine many of the lists featured from multiple sources we ge these brands as top choices: Toyota, Lexus, Porsche, Honda, Buick, Chevy, GMC, Subaru, Hyundai, Kia, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. However, there is always a case where one model defies the entire brand such as with the Chrysler Pacifica Minivan that has been winning awards for months and is joy to drive. Are there any models that we missed for a great dependable car? Post your comments below