Mixed Year for Brands from Detroit 3; FCA jumps and Buick falls the most in CR’s rankings
Consumer Reports’ prediction of new-car reliability is a key element of CR’s Overall Score, which is a holistic measure of a vehicle’s quality designed to make it easy for consumers to quickly find the best cars, SUVs, and trucks to suit their needs. The score also includes road-test performance, owner satisfaction survey results, whether a vehicle comes with key safety systems, and results from crash tests, if applicable. This year there are 20 models with reliability ratings that improved enough to lift their Overall Scores to enable them to be “CR Recommended.”
Overall, there was a lot of reshuffling among the brands in CR’s latest predicted new-car reliability rankings, with mixed results for domestics. But reliability for some key models from Detroit has risen over the past year, allowing CR to “Recommend” them. Those vehicles include some carry-over models such as the Buick Enclave, Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, Ford Fusion, Ford Mustang, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Lincoln MKZ.
Brands from Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) had the most upward mobility of all domestics in CR’s rankings. Dodge vaulted 13 spots to number 8 out of 30 brands partly due to the “Above-Average” reliability rating of the Dodge Challenger and Grand Caravan. The Durango remains “Worse-than-Average.” Chrysler, which has only two models in its lineup, rose seven spots to number 19. While the Chrysler 300 continued to be “Better-than-Average,” the Pacifica minivan remains “Below-Average.” Jeep fell three positions to 26th, with mixed results. The Grand Cherokee and Compass are “Average”, while the Cherokee and Renegade have “Below-Average” reliability. The redesigned for 2018 Wrangler is still “Well-Below Average”.
GMC inches up two spots to number 22 due to average or above reliability for the Acadia, Terrain, Yukon, and Yukon XL. The redesigned 2019 Sierra 1500 pickup has “Below-Average” reliability, as does the Canyon, a smaller pickup.
Other GM brands saw their place in the rankings fall from last year. Buick, which had recently been among the top 10 brands for reliability, continued to slide, dropping five spots to 18th place—this year’s biggest decline among domestics. However, the Regal is the only Buick model with below average predicted reliability. Chevrolet is down three places to number 25, in part because the redesigned 2019 Silverado 1500 had “Below Average” reliability, as did the Camaro, Colorado, and Traverse. Cadillac is again the worst-performing of all brands, dropping two spots to number 30.
Ford ranks number 16, unchanged from last year. The re-introduced Ranger had “Above-Average” reliability, and the Mustang finally improved to “Average.” However, the F-150 dropped to “Well-Below Average” due to minor transmission issues, body hardware, and drive system problems. Lincoln dropped four spots to number 15 due in part to the “Below Average” reliability of the Nautilus.
Volkswagen, Audi, BMW take big slides in rough year for Europe
Volkswagen sank nine places to number 27 in the rankings. The Atlas and the Tiguan continued to have much-worse-than-average reliability. Issues with the two SUVs include power equipment, in-car electronics, and fuel system.
Other European automakers also lost ground. Usually solid Audi took a steep tumble, dropping seven spots to number 14 due to a number of problematic new or redesigned 2019 models. BMW also slid seven positions, coming in at 17. The redesigned 3 Series and X5 are “Well-Below-Average.” The 21st ranked Mercedes-Benz only fell by one spot, with most of its models having “Average Reliability.”
Porsche was a bright spot for Europe, leaping five places to nab the number four spot in the rankings. And Volvo edged up two to claim the number 24 spot. The XC90 SUV and S90 sedan remained “Below Average” for reliability, while the XC60 is “Average” and the new for 2019 XC40 is” Above Average.”
Lexus back on top, Mazda advances into the top three in another banner year for Asia
Lexus and Mazda take the top two spots, respectively, in CR’s predicted new-car reliability rankings, while Toyota fell to third place. The lone blemish from any of the top three brands is the Lexus LS, which has much-worse-than-average reliability due to reported problems including minor transmission, brakes, and noises and leaks.
Genesis held firm at the number 5 spot. The new G70, and the G80 have “Above Average” reliability, while the G90 is “Average.” Hyundai is parked nearby at number 6, with all of the models in CR’s rating receiving “Average” reliability or better. Kia remains in the top 10, falling one spot to number 9.
Honda rose slightly, edging up to the number 12 slot, even though its redesigned models did not perform well for reliability. The Passport and the Odyssey are both “Below Average.” The Infiniti brand rose four spots to number 13, as the redesigned QX50 has “Average” reliability. Nissan edged up one place to 11th overall, buoyed by the “Well Above Average” redesigned Altima.
The news wasn’t all good for Asia. Acura, Honda’s luxury brand, steeply declined nine spots to 28th place after struggling with many new transmission changes in the past few years. The MDX and the redesigned 2019 RDX have “Well Below Average” reliability. Subaru also slipped, falling back five to number 7. The new Ascent and the redesigned 2019 Forester both have “Average” reliability. Problems include in-car electronics systems, such as the radio and music interface and display screen going blank.
For more information on CR’s annual #CRCarReliability survey, visit CR.org/reliability or follow Consumer Reports on Facebook at facebook.com/consumerreports and on Twitter @consumerreports.
About Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey
The latest Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey, gathered information from Consumer Reports members who collectively owned or leased over 400,000 vehicles, from model years 2000 to 2019. The survey, which is the largest of its kind, covers more than 300 models. More information can be found at www.CR.org.