Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars?
CR ranks the brands and reveals how their new models are likely to hold up
Lexus, Mazda, and Toyota are once again the most reliable brands in our annual auto reliability brand rankings, with just a slight reshuffling that saw Lexus earn the top spot and Toyota slide to number three. This year the top five are rounded out by Infiniti, which saw a significant improvement in reliability, and Buick, which moved one spot to number five this year.
Our predicted reliability score is calculated on a 0-to-100-point scale, with the average rating falling between 41 and 60 points. For a brand to be ranked, we must have sufficient survey data for two or more models.
Asian automakers are still leading reliability by a wide margin with an overall reliability average of 62 for the region. European nameplates are in second place, but trailing 18 points at 44. Although domestic brands score last, with an average of 42 across all vehicles, U.S.-based automakers had some individual standout models.
Top-ranking domestic-branded vehicles that include the Buick Envision; Chevrolet Trailblazer; Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and its twin, the GMC Sierra 2500HD; Chrysler 300; and Ford Bronco Sport, Mustang Mach-E, and Ranger.
Overall by category, cars—which includes sedans, hatchbacks, wagons, coupes, and convertibles—are most reliable, with an average predicted reliability score of 57. SUVs follow in second place with an average score of 50, while pickups and minivans both average 43.
That said, domestic automakers buck this trend, with their SUVs and pickups proving more reliable than their cars, scoring 45 and 41 respectively. In contrast, domestic cars average a slightly lower score of 38.
There are interesting insights with the reliability within electrified models this year: Compact hybrids and plug-in models are the top-scoring category, with above average overall reliability for all models. Some of the top-performing cars in this category are the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.
On the other hand, all-electric SUVs are the lowest-ranking category, with an overall reliability of below average. A popular belief is that because electric models have fewer drive components there is less that can go wrong. However, automakers continue to add new technology to these advanced models, beyond the powertrains, particularly the luxury models such as the Audi E-Tron and Tesla Model X. Members often report more problems with their in-car electronics and power equipment than with the electric drivetrain.
Among the top five brands, Lexus stands out because all of its models have average or better reliability this year, led by the long-running GX SUV, which is tied with the Chevrolet Trailblazer as the most reliable vehicle this year.
Similarly, all Mazda models scored above average except for the Mazda3, which, like last year, has average reliability.