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2011 Annual Car Reliability Survey: Most reliable American cars

Consumer Reports News: October 26, 2011 01:38 PM

Consumer Reports recently unveiled the results of its latest reliability survey, showing that Asian brands continue to occupy the top-tier, claiming nine of the top 10 spots in our rankings. However, the findings among the domestic brands are noteworthy, and there’s plenty of good news within each segment.

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.) The results show that there are some very reliable U.S.-branded models, but they also remind of potential risks 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.)

Small SUVs
Ford Escape Hybrid

Midsized SUVs

Chevrolet Equinox (V6)
GMC Terrain (V6)

Luxury SUVs

Buick Enclave (FWD)

Large SUVs
Dodge Durango

Full-sized pickups
Ford F-150 (V8, 2WD)

Family cars
Ford Fusion Hybrid

Upscale cars
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Sporty cars
Dodge Challenger

Fuel-efficient hatchbacks
Chevrolet Volt*

Small hatchbacks

Dodge Caliber

Some of these models, such as the Dodge Caliber, have above average reliability but did not do well in Consumer Reports’ tests. Hence, the Caliber is not recommended. CR 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.

* The Volt’s data is based on a sample size that just a little more than Consumer Reports’ minimum threshold of 100 cars, and most respondents had owned theirs for only a few months. Consider it an early, promising indicator.

Some categories, such as small and subcompact cars, are not represented here by the domestic brands due to lackluster performance. For example, the U.S. model that had the highest reliability ranking is the Ford Fiesta, but it came in below average.

Our reliability data are based on responses on 1.3 million vehicles owned or leased by subscribers to Consumer Reports or The survey was conducted in the spring of 2011 by Consumer Reports’ National Survey Research Center and covered model years 2002 to 2011.

Guide to car reliability and owner satisfaction
2011 Annual Car Reliability Survey: Best and worst vehicles by brand
Consumer Reports' 2011 Annual Car Reliability Survey: Ford drops, Chrysler rises, Scion leads

Mike Quincy

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