Subaru's overall score was aided by the excellent evaluations given to the new 2010 Subaru Legacy and 2010 Subaru Outback, even though the non-profit testing organization no longer recommends the 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX. Honda and Acura models are altogether the most reliable vehicles, CR says, but its most recent models, including the new Honda Insight, were disappointing in the areas of emergency handling and backseat space.
Hyundai and Kia were most improved, thanks to the new Genesis sedan, plus the Elantra sedan and Santa Fe crossover. The Kia Optima sedan was another high-scoring model, while CR said that the Sedona minivan is the only Kia model that's shown below-average reliability.
Consumer Reports notes that Ford (NYSE: F) vehicles now rival some Honda and Ford models for reliability, and the organization now recommends 75 percent of the new Ford models it's tested, up from 70 percent last year—punctuated by CR's high ratings for the 2010 Ford Fusion and 2010 Ford Flex. GM's overall reliability still lags, but the organization notes that a number of the automaker's newer models—like the Cadillac CTS, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Equinox, and GMC Acadia—score well.
2010 Ford FlexEnlarge Photo
2010 Volkswagen Golf TDIEnlarge Photo
Chrysler has hit rock bottom, according to CR, with even lower scores than last year and the organization saying, "Most models from the manufacturer have noisy, inefficient, unrefined powertrains; subpar interiors; and poor visibility." However Chrysler did have one Recommended vehicle this year: the new 2010 Dodge Ram—now known only by Ram—pickup.
CR has also suspended its recommendations for eight Toyota models currently affected by recall dealing with sticky accelerator pedals, though Toyota vehicles do continue to do well.
Consumer Reports points out that if performance, comfort, and safety were all that mattered, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen would have the top grades. However the Mercedes-Benz GLK320, Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit, and Volkswagen CC buck the trend and have earned excellent reliability ratings.
The results are part of Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Issue, which arrives in print March 2 or is now available on ConsumerReports.org.