Consumer Reports Names Most Reliable Cars of 2011
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What changed? Three new or redesigned models — the Explorer, Fiesta, and Focus — had below-average reliability in their first year. We have often found that new or revamped models have more problems in their first year than in subsequent model years. Ford's problems underscore our advice to hold off buying a new car in its first year.
Other highlights from the survey:
• As Ford's star has fallen, Chrysler's has risen. Jeep has moved up seven spots to become the most reliable domestic brand, and all its models for which we have sufficient data scored average in predicted reliability. Chrysler and Dodge moved up 12 and three spots in ranking, respectively.
• Japanese brands dominate our survey's upper echelons and took the top nine spots. They were led by Scion, Lexus, Acura, Mazda, Honda, and Toyota.
• Jaguar, Porsche, and Audi are at the bottom among brands for which we have sufficient data.
• Many hybrids are proving extremely reliable. The top two models in our survey are the Lexus CT 200h and Honda CR-Z. The Toyota Prius was among the top models, rebounding from brake problems that plagued the current design.
• Family sedans hold up well overall and are led by the Ford Fusion Hybrid. All of the models for which we have data have at least average reliability. In contrast, only one minivan makes that cut: The front-wheel-drive Toyota Sienna is average.
• Heavy-duty, three-quarter-ton pickups are among the most problematic vehicles. With the exception of the turbodiesel Ford F-250, they all scored below average.
For full reliability charts and predicted reliability on hundreds of 2012 models, plus a list of what's up and what's down, visit ConsumerReports.org.