The Lexus 200CT hybrid is shown at the 2013 Auto Show in Detroit. Finicky in-car electronics continue to dog U.S. automakers.
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
Toyota Motor Co. kept its hold on the top two spots in Consumer Reports’ annual auto reliability rankings, with Lexus and Toyota coming in first and second. The brand’s youth-oriented Scion brand was one of the biggest losers, however, falling from first to 11th on bad reviews of its sporty FR-S coupe. Honda’s luxury brand Acura came in third.
Detroit didn’t fare nearly as well in the rankings, which were released Monday.
Though a three-spot jump to No. 9 by General Motors Co.’s GMC brand kept the domestic carmakers from being shut out of the top 10, most Detroit brands scored below average.
That included Jeep, which fell from 19th last year to 23rd out of 28 brands this year.
Consumer Reports relies on survey data from its subscribers to compile its rankings and predict reliability for new cars. As has been the case in recent years, finicky in-car electronics continue to be a drag on many models’ reliability ratings. Of the 17 problems areas Consumer Reports asks about in its surveys, nothing generates more complaints than electronics.
For Jeep, consumer reports said the best vehicle in terms of reliability was the Patriot small SUV, while the worst was the V-6 powered Grand Cherokee. Ratings of the Toledo-made Wrangler were split. Consumer Reports said the two-door Wrangler was average in reliability, while the four-door Wrangler Unlimited was below average.
The new Toledo-built Cherokee, which went into production in June and is just now getting to early buyers, wasn’t included in the rankings.
Chrysler Group’s highest-rated brand was Chrysler at 18, followed by Ram at 19. Both were improved, with Chrysler up five spots and Ram up six spots. Dodge was unchanged at No. 24.
Doug Betts, Chrysler’s senior vice president of quality, said the automaker continually works to improve the performance and reliability of its entire lineup.
“Some of our recently launched products perform very well, such as the 2013 Dodge Dart with a 2.0-liter engine having the highest reliability among domestic models in the survey,” he said. “However, other issues from newly launched vehicles have largely been addressed with software updates made available to customers after the survey period. We are working to develop software right the first time and on time. We look forward to reviewing the reliability data from Consumer Reports in more detail.”
Consumer Reports said the 2.0-liter Dart was one of the most reliable in the compact/subcompact segment.
Historically, the top 10 has been dominated by Japanese brands. That’s still the case, with Japanese brands holding the top three spots and seven of the top 10.
However, two European brands cracked the top 10 this year. Audi, Volkswagen’s luxury brand, ranked fourth, up four spots from last year. Swedish automaker Volvo made the biggest strides in improved reliability, jumping up 13 spots to seventh place.
The two mainstream American luxury brands ranked poorly in reliability.
Cadillac, GM’s luxury arm, fell 14 spots to No. 25 on the list. That was the biggest drop of any brand. Consumer Reports said Cadillac’s infotainment system got many complaints, particularly in the new XTS large sedan. Some of the problems may be cleared up by software updates issued after the Consumer Reports survey was finished.
In any case, Cadillac still rated higher than Lincoln, which fell one spot to 27th out of the 28 brands that were ranked.
But for Ford Motor Co., it wasn’t just Lincoln that ranked poorly. Out of the 31 Ford models included in the survey, only one — the F-150 pickup truck equipped with a 3.7-liter V-6 — was better than average. Ford also had the worst-scoring car on the list, the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid.
The company was 26th overall.
Consumer reports said Ford was plagued by continuing problems with its MyTouch electronics system, as well as complaints about rough-shifting transmissions and fuel pump trouble.
Along with its strong showing from GMC, GM also got a solid improvement from Buick, which jumped nine spots to 12th. Chevrolet was just below average at 17th, down two spots from last year.
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