Reliability is an important consideration when purchasing a vehicle. Not only do reliable vehicles require less maintenance and therefore save time and money, but also they keep a higher resale value. According to Consumer Reports, 19% of new vehicles will have a reliability problem inside the first five years of ownership.
While some classes of vehicles tend to be more reliable than others, reliability can vary dramatically even within the same class. To determine the most and least reliable vehicles in each class, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed reliability ratings from Consumer Reports’ “Annual Auto Reliability Survey.” The ratings organization reviewed over the course of 16 years more than 500,000 vehicles to create a Predicted Reliability Score for the latest models. The score is based on 17 possible vehicle problems varying in severity from minor inconveniences to major flaws that often require expensive repairs.
The reliability ratings are on a 0 to 100 point scale. Of the 14 car classes reviewed by Consumer Reports, compact cars have the the widest reliability gap. While the Toyota Prius has a reliability rating of 94 — the best score of any vehicle — the least reliable compact car is the Ford Focus with a rating of only 6.
The largest difference in customer satisfaction in a single class is also between these two vehicles. While 88% of Toyota Prius owners are satisfied with their vehicle, this is true of only 55% of Ford Focus owners.
Some brands are consistently more reliable than others. Toyota and Lexus together hold the most reliable vehicle in nine of the 14 classes on this list. However, most brands have large variations in reliability between models. While the Ford Expedition is the most reliable large SUV, Ford also produces the least reliable vehicle in three of the 14 categories.
Generally, the most reliable vehicles in each class share a few common traits. While there are some exceptions, the most reliable vehicle tends to cost more than the least reliable vehicle in the same class. Also, the share of satisfied customers tends to be higher for the most reliable vehicles.
To determine the most and least reliable cars in 14 vehicle classes, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Predicted Reliability Score for each 2017 model in Consumer Reports’ “Annual Auto Reliability Survey.” The survey collected data from more than 500,000 vehicles for up to 16 model years to create a Predicted Reliability Score for each model. Satisfied owners is the share of current vehicle owners who would repeat the decision to buy their current vehicle if given the opportunity to decide again — also from Consumer Reports. Starting vehicle prices, or MSRP, are the current starting prices for the newest model year as listed on the manufacturer’s website at the time of this writing.
These are the most and least reliable cars in 14 different vehicle classes.