When Luxury Takes a Toll on Car Reliability

Some luxury manufacturers made gains in our brand reports this year, but that doesn't mean that buying a prestigious nameplate ensures better reliability. In fact, when we compared mainstream and luxury versions of similar vehicles, we found that paying more doesn't automatically result in a more reliable vehicle. That underscores the need to base your car-buying decision on the model rather than on brand prestige.

In some cases, luxury vehicles are nicely dressed versions of more mainstream models but with additional features. In such cases, the smartest choice is to buy a well-equipped version of that mainstream model, which can deliver an upscale driving experience without the premium price or greater reliability risks.

Here we compare pairs of models—a mainstream and a luxury version of the same vehicle—highlighting our car reliability survey findings.

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