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Most reliable new cars

Lexus tops our list, but electronic problems plague popular models

Published: October 2013

The Japanese dominance in car reliability is showing cracks. In the last decade, brands from Japan typically locked in the top slots in our predicted-reliability rankings, rarely letting another carmaker slip in higher than seventh or eighth place. In our latest subscriber survey, though, Audi, Volvo, and GMC secured places in the top 10.

Audi, which has shown steady improvement in recent years, moved up four places from last year, to fourth overall. Volvo jumped 13 places, to seventh. And GMC emerged as the top domestic brand, finishing ninth, three places higher than last year. Moreover, every model from Audi, GMC, and Volvo scored average or better.

That said, Japanese cars still fare better overall. Lexus, Toyota, and Acura captured the top three spots, with all Lexus and Acura models scoring above average. And all Japanese makes rank among the first 11 except for Nissan, which sank to 22nd among the 28 brands in our rankings. All Infiniti, Mazda, and Toyota models scored average or better.

At the other extreme, new and redesigned models from Ford and its upscale Lincoln brand continue to show teething pains, putting those nameplates near the bottom of the list, higher than only the niche brand Mini.

Those findings are from our 2013 Annual Auto Survey, which was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. They’re based on subscribers’ experiences with 1.1 million vehicles. We use that pool of data to compile reliability histories and predict how well new cars that are currently on sale will hold up.

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