2010 Lincoln MKZ
2009 Lexus ES 350
2009 Acura TL
Honda, Toyota, Acura and Lexus all have deservedly solid reputations for reliability and quality. But according to Consumer Reports' latest Reliability Survey, the brands at the head of the class are Ford and Lincoln--at least when it comes to the core volume models. Asian brands on the whole still come out on top, however.
The survey, which took responses from 1.4 million vehicle owners or lessors, found the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan to beat out all family sedans for reliability, including the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The Lincoln MKZ likewise trumped the Acura TL and Lexus ES.
It's not just the Fusion/Milan and MKZ that are at the top of the list, though--roughly 90% of Ford's vehicles come out average or better for reliability according to the study. Some vehicles, like the all-wheel drive versions of the Lincoln MKS, MKX and MKZ, scored below average, however.
The title for least reliable vehicle goes to Volkswagen this year, for the Touareg, which is 27 times more likely to have a problem than the Honda Insight, which topped the charts for reliability. Toyota and Honda still come out well on the overall results--Asian carmakers in general do, in fact, taking 36 of the 48 top spots, with Toyota leading at 18, Honda with eight, Nissan at four, and Hyundai/Kia and Subaru with three top spots each.
There are a number of trends in the results too, with small cars in particular scoring well--fully 20 of the 37 small cars surveyed were above-average in predicted reliability. Some of the front-runners include the Scion xD and Volkswagen Golf.
Nationally, Ford was the heavy-hitter for the U.S., though GM came through with its newer models. Twenty of the 48 cars in the survey meet average or better reliability marks. Chrysler, on the other hand, has over a third of its products at "much worse than average." Japan is strong as usual with Honda and Toyota leading the way, while Korean brands Hyundai and Kia proved their consistent improvement is still paying dividends, with only two models--the Kia Sedona and Sorento--scoring below average.
Despite Volkswagen's horrific Touareg results, European carmakers on the whole are doing well, with Mercedes-Benz the strongest. BMW's results are "mixed" and VW and Audi are best characterized as on the comeback trail, though VW's Golf and CC rank highly. Porsche's only low spot is the Boxster, which is now below average, while the Cayenne--which shares much of its platform with the disastrous Touareg--rises to average.
Consumer Reports' metric for the reliability judgment is based on a statistical analysis of the number of problems likely to occur with any given model currently on sale. That model is formed from the reports of the 1.4 million subscribers' responses.