Our extensive survey data, combined with our technical knowledge, allows us to expertly predict the reliability of new and redesigned models.
Consumer Reports obtains its reliability data from a questionnaire that is sent to subscribers. In the questionnaire, we ask subscribers to note any problems with their cars that occurred in the past 12 months. They are asked to identify problems that they considered serious (because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime).
A typical model has about 200 to 400 samples for each model year. For some model years, typically those of older or less popular cars, we do not have a large enough sample size to provide results of statistical confidence.
There are several ways in which a savvy car buyer can still research the quality of a car.