When you’re looking to buy a new car, an all-new or redesigned model may sound like you’re getting something new and improved. But Consumer Reports’ annual auto reliability survey of more than 640,000 vehicles shows that sometimes better things come to those who wait.
Consumer Reports just released its exclusive new car reliability ratings covering car models from 27 different brands.
The brands to top the list this year - Toyota, Lexus and Kia. And the bottom -- Ram, GMC, and Cadillac.
General Motors was the only Detroit based automaker that slipped in the reliability ratings this year. But the good news for GM, Buick is the only US brand that made the top 10 list of most reliable vehicles.
Ford and Fiat Chrysler improved their overall performance in the ratings, despite ram’s poor showing.
Consumer Reports’ data finds that newly redesigned models are more likely to have wonky engines, jerky transmissions, or high-tech features that fail outright.
“Problems often arise when new technologies are added to today’s cars. Owners have reported problems ranging from poor shifting to complete transmission failure,” says Jake Fisher/Consumer Reports Auto Expert.
Redesigns with the biggest growing pains --the Buick LaCrosse, GMC Acadia, and Subaru Impreza. Another trouble spot in updated models- vehicle infotainment systems.
“People actually reported twice as many problems on Infotainment systems on vehicles that were new or redesigned, as opposed to vehicles that were largely carry-over from the previous year,” says Fisher.
The 2017 models that scored highest in reliability are the Kia Niro, Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86 and Lexus ES
The category scoring highest for 2018 models - Compact Hybrids and Electric Cars - with four of the top five cars being different Toyota Prius models.
Statement from Fiat Chrysler:
“Ram Truck products have performed well in quality recently as indicated by our internal measures and external measures such as J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Survey. Ram Truck is the most improved truck brand and the most improved major brand in the U.S. market in initial quality according to the 2017 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. We are proud of our Ram Truck products and encourage people to drive them - we believe that they stack up well versus the competition. Based on CR’s own data, the Ram 1500 is now recommended.
We’re not able to comment on Consumer Reports’ full study. We haven’t had access to their background data or the methods that they have used to reach their conclusions.”
Statement from General Motors:
General Motors places the utmost importance on vehicle quality and customer service. While we take this study seriously, it is one of several data sources we use to measure customer’s satisfaction with our vehicles, including our own internal data, warranty results and JD Power vehicle dependability and initial quality studies – where all GM brands have consistently ranked much higher
We're awaiting a statement from Ford