Toyota and Lexus once again fin- ished atop the Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Reliability Survey, but the news was the No. 3 finisher – Buick.
The General Motors division be- came the first domestic brand to finish in the top three in more than 25 years.
The Chevrolet Cruze also finished as one of the most reliable vehicles overall.
“General Motors really deserves a lot of credit,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of auto testing.
“They’re making very dependable cars.”
Trucks are another story, Fisher said. For example, Consumer Re- ports ranked the Cadillac Escalade as the least reliable vehicle overall.
Buick, in fact, benefits from being a line-up of almost entirely cars and crossovers.
The other big surprise of the sur- vey was the decline of Honda, espe- cially the Civic.
This year marked the first time Consumers Reports failed to rec- ommend the Civic because of reli- ability issues.
Honda put the Civic through a major redesign recently and one of
the lessons of the survey is that is a common source of problems.
Fiat Chrysler’s brands performed the worst of any manufacturer. Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat and Ram took the bottom four spots, with Jeep just three slots above.
Tesla also came in near the bottom as issues with the Model X’s con- troversial falcon-wing doors drove down the company’s overall score.
The survey gathers data from more than a half million respon- dents.
This year, the entire process took place online.
“We’re able to have deeper knowl- edge and we’re able to make better
predictions,” Fisher said. The survey information is com-
bined with Consumer Reports’ own testing data, as well as crash data, to create an overall score for recom- mendations.
Problems are given different weights, so major mechanical issues count for more than minor prob- lems, such as difficulty connecting a USB cord to the sound system.
Fisher said the biggest lesson from the survey is that overall prob- lem rates are not going down. New problems, such as transmissions, are replacing older problems, such as challenges with infotainment systems.
they might not be aware of.