SAN ANTONIO – If you’re looking for a car you can count on, Consumer Reports’ just-released vehicle reliability report suggests gas-electric hybrids and sedans are dependable choices.
Large pickups and fully electric vehicles had the poorest showing in the annual survey.
Consumer Reports asked hundreds of thousands of subscribers what problems they’d had with their 2000-2023 vehicles in the past year. That included issues with engines, transmissions, brakes, electrical systems, even the paint and trim.
“With more than 300,000 vehicles, Consumer Reports can calculate predicted reliability ratings,” said Consumer Reports’ Michael Crossen.
Toyota, Lexus and BMW were the top brands, with the German automaker coming up 10 slots from last year. Mazda and Honda rounded out the top five.
Gas-electric hybrids, increasingly popular as drivers contend with high fuel prices, made a strong showing. The survey showed they are as reliable or even better than their non-hybrid counterparts.
The most reliable car in the survey was the Toyota Corolla hybrid.
Plug-in hybrids, which can go a relatively short distance on battery power before switching to both gas and electricity, don’t have the same level of reliability as regular hybrids, Consumer Reports found.
Pickup trucks may rule the road, accounting for one out of every five vehicles sold, but they fell behind in reliability - notably full size trucks from Ford, GM, and the Toyota Tundra.
“Pickup trucks have been at the lower end of our ratings for six of the last seven years,” Crossen said. “In this year’s survey, we only have seven trucks of more than a dozen surveys that are getting between better than average to average reliability.”
The Toyota Tacoma was one of the bright spots for pickup reliability, as well as the Ford Maverick.
For tried and true reliable wheels, Consumer Reports found a car, as in a traditional sedan, may be the way to go.
“Sedan body styles have been on the road for a long time. That’s given the manufacturers a chance to work on some of those problem areas and bugs,” Crossen said. “Vehicles like trucks, minivans and SUVs have complicated systems, therefore they can be more problematic.”
Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand had the most improvement in reliability, rising 14 spots to rank 10th and become the only U.S.-based brand in the top 10.
Mercedes-Benz was the least reliable of 24 brands in the survey, followed by Jeep, Volkswagen, GMC and Chevrolet.