Consumer Reports recently released its latest predicted reliability results in which Japanese brands claimed the top four spots in our rankings. The highest-ranked domestic brand this year is Buick, coming in at 6th place. Most other U.S brands fall much lower on the list, with the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands claiming five of the bottom seven places, and Ford ranked 23rd overall out of 28 brands. Generally speaking, this wasn't a good year for the domestics.
We're often asked how the domestics' reliability stacks up, especially with some people wanting to specifically buy American. (Of course, defining what is an "American" car can be a challenge these days.) The results show that there are some very reliable U.S.-branded cars, but they also are a reminder of potential risks that come with buying first-year models.
Below is a list of vehicles with the highest predicted reliability within their respective segments. (We have only listed models whose predicted reliability is average or better, and scored high enough in Consumer Reports tests to be recommended.)
Small cars: None
Hybrid/electric cars: Ford Fusion Hybrid
Compact luxury cars: Buick Verano
Midsized cars: Ford Fusion (1.5L)
Large cars: Buick LaCrosse (4-cyl.)
Luxury cars: Cadillac CTS
Sporty cars: Chevrolet Camaro
Small & midsized SUVs: None
Large SUVs: Chevrolet Traverse
Luxury SUVs: Buick Enclave
Full-sized pickups: None
Other models, such as the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, have average or better reliability but did not do well in Consumer Reports' tests. Hence, they are not recommended. Conversely, there are vehicles such as the Chrysler 300 and Ram 1500 with declining reliability that are bumped from the running.
Consumer Reports only recommends models that have performed well in tests conducted at its 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut, have average or better predicted reliability based on the annual survey, and perform at least adequately in government or insurance-industry crash and rollover tests, if tested.
Our reliability data are based on responses on about 1.1 million vehicles owned or leased by subscribers to Consumer Reports or ConsumerReports.org.
For more details on our 2014 Annual Auto Survey, including the full list of most and least reliable new cars by vehicle type, see our complete car reliability report. Also, check out our guide to car reliability for more details on new and used car reliability and owner satisfaction.