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What are the top brands available today?

Consumer Reports offered their list recently, and #1 is Audi, followed by Subaru and then Lexus. It is a combination of reliability and drivability. Read about it here:

The top ten, in order, are:


The bottom 5 are:

Land Rover

I’m not the least bit surprised about the bottom five, but Audi at the top and Porsche and BMW at 5 and 6 is surprising. Another article states that CR believes the European models have had good reliability for a long time (USA Today). Note that the top ten shuffled, but all were in the top ten last year.

Anyone else surprised?

“the European models have had good reliability for a long time”

long time is relative

When I was at the Benz dealer, I saw the Porsche guys replacing engines left and right

I’m not talking about removing engines to work on them

I’m talking removing engines, and the replacement engine is right there, waiting to be installed

And that was only a few years ago

Like I said “long time” is relative

I generally have great respect for CR . . . but if I were hypothetically in the market for a luxury car, I’ll pick Lexus over Audi

Friend with a brand new Porsche 911 had to be towed back to the dealer 2-3 times until they finally changed the transmission. Not to say it could not happen to any other brands but just saying.

I also agree that “long time” is relative. I drive many miles a year and need the car to be reliable, easy to work on and not need any fancy parts. Even when my Mazda was pretty reliable, parts were not as available as other mainstream brands (even dealer had to order belts and did not have them in stock).

If Consumer Reports is standing by their ranking then I’ve lost all respect for them. They can no longer be taken seriously when it comes to automobiles. I’ve had my doubts about them in the past but now I’m doubting my judgement no more.

Surprising honda seems to have fallen so far down the list.

I no longer use the overall rating that CU uses. The European makes are OK for a short period, like 4-5 years. After that, expensive repairs and reliability issues usually render the uneconomic to own.

I only use the repair experience over the long haul, like 8-10 years. When buying a car for the long haul you have to look at parts availability and costs. Repairing a 10 year old Audi or VW will cost a lot more than a Toyota or Honda.

The resale value of Japanese cars reflects the expected remaining economic life of the vehicle that buyers are looking for.

They also said the Hyundai Elantra was “unacceptable” for a number of years because of crash test result. No one took notice and the car sold like hot cakes.

I still use CR results when buying appliances, electronics and other consumer items.

I have subscribed to Consumer Reports for about 50 years and have read the publication for 60 years. Over that time period, I have seen CR test more upscale things from automobiles to lawnmowers to refrigerators, televisions and washing machines. Now Consumer Reports surveys its subscribers to assemble reliability data. I wonder if a purchaser of a BMW. or an Audi really wants to admit on a survey or otherwise that his or her expensive purchase has a problem. I think about back in 1970 when my first wife and I were in graduate school and living in married student housing. I was driving a bottom of the line 1965 Rambler. The university allowed new faculty to live in married student housing for a year while they sought out more permanent housing. A new chemistry professor and his wife lived in the building where I resided. This couple owned a,BMW and every time it rained, he had to wipe out the ignition system to start the engine on his BMW. One morning we were having a terrible downpour. He was frantically trying to dry out the ignition of the BMW and his wife was screaming at him from inside the car that she would be late to work. I took pity on them and offered them a ride in my Rambler which they accepted. I,dropped the chemistry prof’s wife off at her place of work, then took my wife to her class and then took the chem Prof to his building. On the way there,he proceeded to tell me how well engineered his BMW was and how poorly engineered my Rambler was. I finally said something to the effect that no matter how cold it got, the Rambler always started. When I moved to campus, it was 95 degrees and I was pulling a UHaul trailer loaded with all my worldly possessions, but the Rambler didn’t overheat. I said,“That’s what I call good automotive engineering”. The chemistry prof replied, “You wouldn’t appreciate a fine automobile”. " Probably not", I responded. “But I sure hate to walk in the rain”. As I said earlier, I,wonder if people who buy the expensive Audi and Porsche automobiles really don’t admit to problems with their cars on the CR survey. By the same token, I wonder if people who buy lesser brands are more apt to report problems. I noticed that the 2006_Chevrolet Uplander is one vehicle to avoid. Yet, I owned one,which we sold to our son. That Uplander now has,160,000 miles, has never had any major problems and is very reliable.

Have to wonder what the actual numbers are. Are certain parts ranked higher then others.

Some years ago GM was ranking their dealers based on Customer Service and Sales. What they didn’t tell the consumer was that Sales accounted for 90% of the rating. So a dealer with a 90% rating could mean they achieved 90 in Sales…but a 0 in Customer Service. The same thing could be applied here. CU rated the drivability much higher then reliability.

Open your eyes ,look around ,listen to the grapevine ,then pick the car you want ,even todays worst are better then some of the best years ago (never listen to a teenager on the internet giving purchasing advice ) .

@Triedaq I’ve never met anyone who owned a “bad” BMW. That type of owners are so enamored with their wheels that they have great difficulty admitting it might be a crappy car.

I once met a contractor who sang the praises of his Audi. He loved the car but budgeted “$1000 per year” more than for his wife’s car just for maintenance. His shop foreman took car of all repairs.

Volvo owners are probably the most in love with their cars. Objectivity flies out of the window when an owner says his car is a “moral” car. Neither the Swedes who build them or the Chinese owners of the company profess to be more “moral” than Toyota or Ford.

The Queen of England is oblivious to any shortcoming of Land Rovers; she has her own live-in mechanics.

“Volvo owners are probably the most in love with their cars. Objectivity flies out of the window…”

I guess that my objectivity causes me to be the exception to the rule. I acknowledged that my Volvo was a problem-plagued POS when I owned it, and I held onto it for 7 miserable years only because I couldn’t afford to replace it for that period of time.

The biggest disruption to my life during that 7 year period was that I was unable to take trips that required more than one small suitcase. The Volvo’s trunk–which was rather large–was filled, almost to capacity, with cases of oil and trans fluid, as well as spare parts and tools, and as a result, only a very small suitcase would fit back there.

@Docnick University campuses are full of faculty, particularly young faculty, who stretch their budgets to drive expensive prestige cars. On the campus where I had spent my working years, we have faculty who drive Audi, Porsche, Volvo, Mercedes Benz, and the town doesn’t even have dealerships for these makes. The nearest dealers for these cars are 55_miles away. I drove the same Oldsmobile Cutlass to work from 1978 until I retired in 2011. I would have walked as,we lived only 2 miles,away, but the roads are busy and. there are no sidewalks. I had colleagues that made fun of me driving the car after it was 15 years old, but it always got me to work. @“Ed Frugal” has nothing on me.

Agreed that long term is relative but lets not forget something CR has been guilty of for years.
That’s “import bias”.


One big exception . . . CR loves the Ford Fusion, and has always recommended it

But maybe you’re right, because the Fusion is built in Mexico

On the other hand, probably half the imports they love so much are built in the US

Kind of makes the whole “domestic versus import” discussion moot, doesn’t it?

The story doesn’t tell us how the scores are weighted. If the weighting is 50/50, then the Land Rover reliability is a believable 39 and Lexus reliability is highest at 78. Again, that is believable. If anyone has a CR subscription, see if the tell you what the weighting is and if you don’t mind, share it with us.

Of all the people who I know that drive luxury brands, most are leasing them because they do not have faith that the car would be any good after 36K miles. Also, you get to know about the issues with the luxury car when the get rid of it.

Saw a friend who had a luxury brand and kept telling me I should get one and how it is not expensive to maintain and very reliable. Well. low and behold, now he now has bought a Prius and confesses that the luxury brand was a money pit.

Looking at the new CR “Overall Score”, it’s a weighted average of test score, reliability, safety, and owner satisfaction. They also more heavily weight low scores, so poor performers in one area get kicked lower on the list. No formula is given. I like that it combines those areas, and penalizes low scores. That’s my approach: what cars do well in all areas.

But what if they “do well in all areas” for the duration of the new car warranty only

And then they fall flat on their face and become a bottomless money pit :fearful:

Quite a few vehicles fit that description

That’s where the reliability rating comes in. You’ll appreciate the example they gave : “…the Mercedes-Benz C300 is one of the top performers in our road test, but when we factor in its much-worse-than-average reliability, it can no longer be considered for recommendation.”

One of CR’s recommended used cars back in the late 1950s was the 1954 and 1955 Cadillacs and the Oldsmobiles of the same years., These cars were apparently quite reliable. On the other hand, the Ford products of that time period took a beating on the reliability. In the early 1960s, the AMC Ramblers did well in reliability. Back then, however, a mechanic I knew and did work around his shop cutting the grass advised me to stick with Chevys and Fords. The parts were more readily available and cheaper and the mechanics knew all the problems and how to deal with them. My guess is that the cost of ownership back then of a used Chevy or Ford was probably less than the Cadillac or Oldsmobile.