• Feb 26th 2009 at 4:29PM
  • 69
In what may be the least surprising news you read all day, Consumer Reports has released its annual 2009 Auto Issue that contains Automaker Report Cards. These report cards compile all of CR's road test data and predicted reliability ratings for all vehicles in its database, and Japanese automakers have again earned top rankings just as they have for as long as we can recall.
Honda, Subaru and Toyota came out on top after all the scores were tallied, with every single Subaru model earning a Recommended rating from CR. Honda was the brand that fared the absolute best in predicted reliability, with just its Element small SUV barely failing to make the grade as a Recommended nameplate. Toyota also fared very well in reliability testing, as we've come to expect from the world's largest automaker. European automakers managed to get a shout out for offering unmatched performance, comfort and safety along with incremental increases in overall vehicle reliability.

American automakers got their own separate report cards, which you can see by clicking here. Of the Detroit-based manufacturers, Ford came out victorious with its Flex and F-150 earning top ratings and many of the rest of its models scoring well. General Motors managed to sneak eight vehicles on the Recommended list: the new Pontiac G8, Cadillac CTS and Chevy Malibu, along with the Corvette and each of the Lambda-based CUVs. Chrysler pulled up the rear again this year among all automakers without a single vehicle earning a positive score from CR.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      My one Honda ownership experience lasted 20 months and ended with a settlement in a lemon law civil suit in 2007. It will be a long time before I own another Honda.

      I happily went back to Chrysler - yeah, you read that right.
      • 6 Years Ago
      @ Len_A

      If those people who kept buying domestic are not a loyal domestic car owners don't you think they know how to take care their cars? If you kept buying cars that is not dependable by the 3rd car you should know one or two how to take care a car. I seen many of my friends who own Japanese car they ABUSED it like crazy because they think its bullet prove and guess what yes they are. I seen old 1980s corolla being abuse like crazy and it still move I have friends who bought old accord that clock from 200K-300K and i was like OMG!! are you guys crazy? why buy a car that has high mileage? and they still driving it and still abusing it. I drove younger car with less miles and I still face many problems here and there. Sad to say I wish I bought those old Japanese cars.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Frankly, I know a few people who switched from a Detroit/Big Three car or truck to an Asian transplant, but I don't trust the opinion of any of those people, neither on their experience with GM/Ford/Chrysler, nor their opinion of their Toyota/Honda/Nissan. When these people owned a GM, Ford, or Chrysler, frankly, they didn't take care of them. In fact, a couple of them out rightly abused them - drove them hard, rarely, if ever, followed the maintenance schedule (9000, 10,000 miles and more between oil changes, never changed the air filter until it was good and clogged up, etc), rarely cleaned them beyond driving them through an automatic car wash. It was no wonder the cars gave them fits.

      Then they "got fed up" and bought a Toyota/Honda/Nissan, etc You know what? Then they start babying them. Either detailing the cars themselves, or paying someone else (sometimes me) to detail them. Taking them to the dealer and following the maintenance schedule religiously. So I can't take their "experiences" to mean much, and gawd, do they report t Consumer's Reports religiously.

      Funny thing, except for one company car that was a Chevy, I've always driven a Ford product, I've always detailed my cars and maintained them according to the schedule (or sooner than recommended) and I've never, EVER had trouble with them.

      Mind you this is only my experience, and doesn't imply anything beyond that.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What a big surprise. Most Honda/Toyota owners would rank their car top on quality even if the car had just boken down by the side of the road while they filled out their survey forms.

        • 6 Years Ago
        I'll second that. Office manager of a place I'm doing some contract work for broke the drivers-side upper rear suspension arm on her five year old Accord. She said it's the road's fault, not Honda's, because of all the chuck holes. Things is I drive my 2005 Mercury Montego over the same roads, and I'm fine. My wife drives her 2002 Ford Escape over it, and I can say the same.

        That's not to say that bad roads don't bust up cars of all makes - they do. But I find a lot of Honda and Toyota owners will make every excuse in the world when something does go wrong with their cars.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And what advantage would they have in doing that?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why? I never lie when filling out reliability surveys whether it's CR or True Delta or whereever. Since Consumer Reports readers PAY to read the results of the reliability surveys, why would they lie on the surveys? You're saying that import owners are so import crazed that they're paying money so they can lie on surveys and read reports based on lies. Clearly, the fact that the Camry and Accord are the top selling sedans is also another vast conspiracy-Honda and Toyota lovers are apparently so insane that they won't just spend money to lie on surveys, they'll spend money to buy lousy cars just to pump up Toyota and Honda's sales numbers.

        And anyways, our 13 year old Honda accord broke down exactly one time and that was in the 13th year and only because my father hadn't bothered to refill the engine coolant for half a decade. The thing even kept running afterwards, after we refilled the coolant-although it ran like crap it still ran.

        The 2002 Camry he bought to replace it has never broken down and my 2003 Camry has never broken down either. Neither did my old Civic. Do you expect Accord and Camry owners to start lying on CR surveys to make you happy?

        And anyways, Ford usually does quite well on CR reliability surveys, so apparently Ford owners are also insane people who pay to lie on surveys.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I've owned 4 Hondas in the last 9 years. I've yet to see one break down.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda builds great products...PERIOD.

      They build great automobiles
      They build great outboards
      They build great Lawn Mowers
      They build great PWCs
      They build great small engines

      Nobody can argue that point...they can try, but they *will not* succeed.

      I AM NOT saying that they are perfect and I am also NOT SAYING that they have never had problems.

      This is not a patriotic thing either. It is just an objective look at simple facts...and those fact, are that Honda builds great products.

      For the record, I drive a Canadian made Chevy Silverado...and completely love it...so I am NOT an import lover.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You forgot motorcycles...you know, what they started out with.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Best post of the thread.

        Good work should be rewarded, period.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They used to built great automobiles but for the fun "zoom-zoom" side, they let it to Mazda. One of my cousins have a Mazda 3 who reminds him how the Civic was in the 1980s with the go-kart attitude compared to today's Civic (and I miss those cool hidden healights then the 1986-89 Accord had like the late Prelude at the same era)

        And let's not forget Huyndai, 10-15 years ago they was a joke but with the progress done on the Elantra, Sonata and the arrival of the Genesis....
        • 6 Years Ago
        And they build great robots.
        Which will colonise us.

        • 6 Years Ago
        I own a Honda snow blower that has been very good to me. I also junked a three year old Honda lawn mower last year that, despite being well maintained, overheated, slipped a valve guide into the cylinder, punching a hole in the piston, scored the hell out of the cylinder wall, and seized up. A new or rebuilt engine would have cost as much as a new lawn mower with a Briggs & Straton engine, so I junked the Ohio built Honda POS, and bought a new mower and took an extended warranty out on the new mower. And no, it's not a Honda.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda does it again. They may not make THE best cars in their respective classes (though I would say that the Fit, Civic, and Odyssey should be at the top, while the Mazda 6 should have beaten the Accord in terms of interior quality and driving experience (tie for size)), but their cars are reliable as rocks.
      Chrysler? Don't even get me started.
      • 6 Years Ago
      CR is still a great source to look up reliability ratings. For enthusiasts sourced like Car and Driver might be better. Combine the info from both sources and you get a more balanced picture of the car you are researching.
      • 6 Years Ago
      People like to bash CR just b/c they don't agree w/ what CR's data shows or b/c CR doesn't review autos like the more enthusiast-oriented publications.

      Now, does that mean CR is infallible or that one should whole-heartedly accept CR's findings?

      Of course not (one should just take CR's findings as just one of a no. of sources).

      W/ regard to the reliability rankings, CR's findings aren't all that different from what are offered by JD Power or Autobild (in Germanyl Autobild probably does the most comprehensive review of reliability in the industry).

      W/ a few exceptions, one will find the usual suspects at/near the top or bottom.

      People like to say that CR favors the Japanese brands - but totally overlook the fact that Japanese brands like Nissan, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, etc. aren't rated that highly and that CR has rated certain models from Honda and Toyota low when warranted (like the V-6 powered Camry - yes, CR dissed the best selling Camry).

      Conversely, CR rated Hyundai low in the past - but over the years improved Hyundais reliability rating (aside from the minivan) to where it presently approaches that of the better Japanese-makes.

      Do people really think that CR had a bias against Hyundai (in the past) and now has a bias in favor of Hyundai, or does the more rational explanation of Hyundai's quality/reliability improving over the years make more sense?

      The same goes w/ Ford where certain Ford models are now rated by CR to be on par w/ Honda/Toyota w/ regard to reliability.

      Many people tend to think European autos are superior/better made, and yet, popular European brands like Mercedes and VW have been hit hard by CR

      It's also no coincidence that the better-rated GM products are the Buick Enclave, Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Pontiac G8 and Saturn Outlook - this pretty much coincides w/ reviews in auto publications, as well as newspapers.

      It seems to me that people indiscriminately bashing CR are doing so w/ looking closely at what CR has to say (and how it really isn't that different from other publications).

      And once again, yes, CR makes its share of mistakes, but that is why one should look at a no. of sources before making a final assessment.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What Consumers Report says don't mean a thing for me. I have no doubt they are pros Japanese. Little by little they say a good thing about the domestics but do so very reluctantly....... they have to or they would really lose credibility to their followers.
      The surveys are meaningless.

      Consumer Reports are usually contradictory to JD Power. For example JD Power prizes the Aveo, while CR says it is a miserable little car.

      Customer satisfaction is an elusive notion that has no correlation to the market share, generally speaking. It was invented and fueled by so-called experts just to allow JD Power, CR, you name it, to profit from gullible car executives.

      The only survey which has a big impact is the one from Consumer Reports . The major flaw in it is that it would have to be tested against a random sample. As most readers already know, they survey only their subscribers and since they have been singing the same anthem for the last 30 years, their own subscribers will tend to join the choir. This is called a convenience sampling method that does not add cost for CR.

      Their database could be in jeopardy if a manufacturer tell their employees to subscribe to CR. In any serious statistical study, this would be impossible since the sampling would be random.

      The huge discrepancies between JD Power and CR tends to prove this point.

      Convenience sampling:

      "Sometimes called grab or opportunity sampling, this is the method of choosing items arbitrarily and in an unstructured manner from the frame. Though almost impossible to treat rigorously, it is the method most commonly employed in many practical situations.
        • 6 Years Ago
        BTW, believing that anybody "prizes" the Aveo is seriously delusional. The only JD Powers award it ever got was the Aveo U-VA winning in India. Particularly funny is the fact that the Aveo U-VA is the last-generation Aveo, which means that the last-generation Aveo actually won an award over newer model Aveos (which are also sold in India as simply Aveos).

        Seriously, if you think winning one random award in India (where it's competing against Tata's, Maruti's, and Fiats) is evidence that JD Powers prizes the car then it explains why the Big 3 are screwed-their customers are so delusional they never had a reason to try and make better cars. Apparently you can just ignore the fact that JD Powers' website gives the Aveo their LOWEST POSSIBLE rating in every single performance and design category, in initial quality, overall mechanical quality, powertrain mechanical quality, powertrain design quality, body interior design quality, and predicted reliability so long as JD Powers' gives the last-gen Indian model an award. Talk about selectively seeing what you want to.

        Something's seriously wrong when you interpret 2-star ratings as being prized. Made that much worse by the fact that there are no 1-star ratings.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I just read your comment about how JD Power prizes the Aveo. I checked their website and only the 2005/2006 Aveo models did modestly well in their ratings. The '07 and above Aveos did quite bad according to their ratings.

        I would say modestly well equates to prizes. Check our the website and see for yourself. http://www.jdpower.com/autos/car-ratings/
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually the Aveo does horrible and not even modestly well on JD Powers' ratings because their LOWEST RATING is 2 stars. It is not actually possible to score lower than 2 stars on a JD Powers test, which already tells you something about JD Powers' ratings-they don't want to hurt any car manufacturer feelings.
        Look at the Scoring Legend and you'll see why the Aveo gets 2 stars in so many categories-they can't give it a lower score.

        And as far as contradicting Consumer Reports goes, JD Powers contradicts themselves too. When the 2008 Passat won one of their awards it got a 4 and a half star predicted reliability rating supposedly "...from historical trending for a vehicle and/or manufacturer in our Initial Quality and Vehicle Dependability Studies, Predicted Reliability is a forecast of how reliable a newer vehicle might be over time." Rather inexplicable since the 2007 Passat got 2 stars (again, the lowest possible rating) for both Initial Quality and reliability. Apparently you can predict 4 and a half star reliability from the previous year getting the lowest possible score.

        Do you know who pays JD Powers for it's survey results? Auto manufacturers. Who pays JD Powers to be able to advertise winning awards? Auto manufacturers.

        Which explains both the 2 star lowest rating, and probably the mysterious overnight Passat Predicted Reliability jump from the lowest possible score to 4 and a half stars (must have figured nobody would believe 5). Because when Volkswagen is paying you for their nice shiny award it'd be kinda mean to keep giving them that 2 star Predicted Reliability.

        And every page on their website has this nice disclaimer: "Please note that J.D. Power Consumer Center Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power and Associates awards."
        That information is probably how much money that car company wants to pay for their award, lol.
      • 6 Years Ago
      CR has had bad ratings for Detroit for as long as I can remember.

      They survey only their own subscribers. This brings the question:

      Why on Earth would a subscriber buy a GM, Ford or worse Chrysler after reading their April issues? Either they are masochist or skip reading the auto issues entirely.

      It just does not make sense that after at least 30 years of bad ratings that any intelligent subscriber would buy a made in Detroit vehicle. Please somebody, explain to me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        chconline, I can say that about the last five Ford's I've owned, and as an industrial sales rep, I drive a lot, and it's all severe duty driving.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If they do not have a statistically significant response on reliability, they will not publish a rating. Believe it or not, enough people do subscribe and buy domestics. Masochistic or optimistic, take your pick.
        • 6 Years Ago
        because even the worst cars of today are far more reliable than cars 10 years ago.

        Its just that most people don't know how to change the oil on their cars, otherwise most of the small problems cars get reported for would be ironed out by the owner.

        I also tend to agree, most people who put down others who dislike CR are ones who own cars that CR rated well, and vice versa. I hate CR either way because of what they did in the 80s.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't forget from ABC News.

      "Not a single U.S. brand was among the 41 vehicles on the group's Best Value list this year."
      • 6 Years Ago
      Chrysler needs to go ahead and show us their updated dumpster-mobiles so we can maybe stop thinking they will go bankrupt.
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