The latest episode of Talking Cars highlights what's up and what's down in Consumer Reports' eagerly-awaited 2013 Auto Reliability Survey. We welcome a special guest: Anita Lam, the gifted statistician who crunches the numbers, joins podcast regulars Auto Test Director Jake Fisher and Senior Auto Engineer Tom Mutchler.
This year's survey brings some surprises. While the usual suspects take the top three slots (Lexus, Toyota, Acura), Audi comes in fourth when ranking brands for reliability, beating out many Japanese nameplates. Over 600 survey respondents provided data for the Tesla Model S, an amazing number for the expensive electric luxury hatchback. And some big-selling Japanese mid-sized sedans show their Achilles' heel.
Other findings are less surprising but no less newsworthy. Ford continues to struggle to reliably launch new models. High-tech entertainment systems from Cadillac, Ford, and Honda (!) prove troublesome.
Wrapping up the show, we discuss our policy that drops recommendations for vehicles that score "Poor" in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety small-overlap front crash test.
Look for another episode of Talking Cars next week as we catch up on some recent test results, including the much-publicized comparison of the Lexus IS and Infiniti Q50.
We'll also talk about the "low"-priced Mercedes-Benz CLA and answer some YouTube car shopping questions.
Talking Cars Episode 15 - Toyota Corolla
Talking Cars Episode 14 - GM is on a roll
Talking Cars Episode 13 - Chevrolet Silverado vs. Ram 1500
Talking Cars Episode 12 - Have American cars really gotten better?
Talking Cars Episode 11 - Ford C-Max, Mazda3, and other fuel-efficient cars
Talking Cars Episode 10 - Track time with Fiat 500 Abarth and Ford Focus ST
Talking Cars Episode 9 - High-scoring Impala, Ram, and Santa Fe
Talking Cars Episode 8 - Our auto experts get fast, furious, and technical
Talking Cars Episode 7 - Tesla battery swap, diesels, and some disappointing test results
Talking Cars Episode 6 - Rapid-fire reader questions
Talking Cars Episode 5 - Life with the Tesla Model S
Talking Cars Episode 4 - Roadsters and the latest test cars, plus answer reader questions
Talking Cars Episode 3 - Tesla, small SUVs, and a sideways track tour
Talking Cars Episode 2 - Highlights from the New York Auto Show
Talking Cars Episode 1 - Car buying advice