Most and least reliable new cars by brand

Each brand has a range of reliability in its models

Last updated: November 06, 2014 10:00 AM

If you are looking for a reliable car, don't assume that certain brands are always the best. Each manufacturer has models that offer a range of reliability, as identified in Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Survey.

When shopping for a new car, it's best to look at individual models and not make assumptions based on brand perceptions. Certainly some brands tend to be more reliable than others, but within each product range, results may and do vary. And just because a vehicle scored well in our reliability survey doesn't mean it's recommended by Consumer Reports or a good vehicle to buy.

Some models are reliable, but don't do well in our testing. One example is the Toyota Prius C, which had a high reliability rating in our latest survey, but it scores too low in our testing to be recommended. Alternatively, the sporty and fun-to-drive Subaru BRZ is a favorite among our staff and scores very high in our tests, but its reliability is now below average, so we cannot recommend it.

There are also disparities within brands. Some manufacturers have at least average reliability within all their models across the board. That is the case with seven Japanese brands. Others such as BMW and Nissan have some that score very high and others that are well below average.

Below is a list of the best and worst vehicles by brand based on predicted reliability. The predictions for cars with an asterisk ("*") are based on data for one model year only.

Make Best model Worst model
Audi Allroad*
BMW 4 Series* 320i, 328i (RWD)
Buick Verano
LaCrosse (V6)
Cadillac ATS (V6)* ATS (turbo)*
Chevrolet Equinox (4-cyl.)
Cruze (1.4T)
Chrysler Town & Country Chrysler 300
Dodge Dart (2.0L)*
Dart (1.4T)*
Fiat 500 500L*
Ford Fusion (1.5L) Fiesta
GMC Terrain (4-cyl.)
Sierra 1500 (V8, 4WD)*
Honda Civic Coupe Odyssey
Hyundai Azera Santa Fe Sport (turbo)
Infiniti QX80 Q50
Jeep Patriot Cherokee (4-cyl.)*
Kia Cadenza Optima hybrid
Lexus CT 200h
IS 250
Lincoln MKZ (V6) MKT (EcoBoost)*
Mazda Mazda6 Mazda3 (2.5L)*
Mercedes-Benz GLK (diesel)* CLA 250*
Nissan Maxima Pathfinder
Porsche Cayman* 911*
Ram 1500 (V8, 4WD) 2500 & 3500 (turbodiesel)
Scion xB FR-S*
Subaru Forester (non-turbo)* BRZ*
Toyota Prius C Avalon
Volkswagen Passat (1.8T) CC
Volvo S60 XC70

As these results show, don't judge a book by its cover and don't assume that a vehicle is now reliable based on past history or recommendations from friends. Instead, do your research before you buy your next vehicle. Check out our model overview pages to find road test scores, reliability, safety, and more.

For more details on our 2014 Annual Car Survey, see our new car reliability report. Also, check out our guide to car reliability for more details on new and used car reliability and owner satisfaction.

Jeff Bartlett

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