GM, Audi Improve in Latest Consumer Reports Survey; Ford, Chrysler Aren’t So Lucky

Consumer Reports’ annual report on predicted reliability shows that Ford and Lincoln have taken a dive due to predictable causes: the dual-clutch automatics and MyFord Touch/MyLincoln Touch, all of which Ford has pledged to improve with software updates. Out of 28 brands, Jeep rated 19th, Chrysler in 23rd place, Dodge was in 24th, and Ram was in 25th while Ford was 27th and Lincoln 26th.

Audi scored the best improvement, up 18 spots to number 8, just below number 6 Honda and number 7 Acura.

“In the case of Audi, it’s also how bad they were,” says Consumer Reports automotive test director, Jake Fisher.

General Motors also scored well, with Cadillac up 14 spots to number 11, GMC up 10 to number 12, Chevrolet up two to number 15 and Buick up three to number 21. Consumer Reports declined to recommend just two GM models for their predictive reliability; the Chevrolet Corvette and Buick LaCrosse, Fisher says, adding that the magazine likes the Corvette for its performance and design.

Chevrolet’s best-ranked model for reliability is the Volt, and for Buick, it’s the Enclave.

Scion is CR’s number-one most reliable brand, with the xB its “worst” model for reliability, the slow-selling xD the best. Toyota is number 2, led by the Prius C. Only 1 percent of Prius C owners reported problems, he says, while 20-percent of Ford Explorer all-wheel-drive owners reported problems.

“We don’t like the car at all,” Fisher says of the Prius C. “We don’t recommend it for the way it performs. But our readers tell us it doesn’t break.”

Lexus ranks third in a Toyota trifecta, with the CT 200h its best model and the GX its worst. Mazda is fourth, with the CX-5 best and Mazda3 Skyactiv worst, and Subaru completes the top five (Impreza sedan best/Legacy six-cylinder worst).

The last few years, Ford and Lincoln consistently scored among the highest of domestic brands, so its decline is particularly troublesome. Fisher says Ford has had a “mature” product lineup for a long time. The magazine measures reader surveys covering three model years, 2010 to 2012, and compare the latest data to that of the older model years. The Ford Mustang and Edge EcoBoost also are below average in the latest survey.

Chrysler has improved and updated so many models, Fisher says, that better quality may show up in coming years. Its V-6 versions of the Chrysler 300, Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee scored reasonably well, while the V-8s had poor quality, in part because Hemi-equipped models typically are higher-content cars with more electronic infotainment options that can go wrong, he says. For this year’s survey, the magazine measured quality of both the new, 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, plus the older 3.5-liter engine the Pentastar has replaced in those models.

With a large fleet of new and improved models, Fisher says, Chrysler’s results should start to improve in coming years. He also points to improvements BMW has made after introducing its 3.0-liter turbo six, a problem engine at first that has gotten better.

In the Consumer Reports 2012 Annual Auto Reliability Survey, Jaguar is rated dead-last, though there’s no ranking for its Land Rover brand sibling, indicating the magazine did not get enough data on the sport/utility brand to rank it. Overall, Fisher says, “Japanese automakers continue to lead,” with domestics rated just below, “but the Germans continue to catch up.”

Source: Consumer Reports

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2012 Audi A4

2012 Audi A4

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