It's no secret that MyFord Touch has had its share of problems since being introduced, but the most recent reliability survey from Consumer Reports shows just how much this infotainment system has affected Ford. Just two years ago, the automaker was in the top 10 for the institute's reliability rankings, but since then, it has tumbled to the second-lowest rung just above dead-last Jaguar. In addition to MyFord Touch, CR also attributes a handful of new products that have had issues right out of the gate.

Compiled from 1.2 million subscriber surveys, this year's auto reliability survey heavily favors Japanese automakers, with eight of the 10 spots hailing from Japan. Toyota brands grabbed the top three spots (Scion, Toyota and Lexus – in that order) with Mazda, Subaru, Honda and Acura filling the next four spots. The only non-Asian automaker cracking the top 10 was Audi at number eight.

Audi climbed a total of 18 spots from last year, and Cadillac and GMC round out this year's top gainers breaking into the top 15. Helping Cadillac's upward movement, the CTS Coupe was named the most reliable domestic car. Lincoln, Volvo and Chrysler join Ford on this year's biggest loser list.

Scroll down to watch a video and see where some of the other brands rank for reliability this year.


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Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Survey: Ford Continues Fall While Seven Japanese Brands Top List

Audi and Cadillac make major jumps in rankings


December 2012 CoverYONKERS, NY-A perfect storm of reliability problems has dropped Ford to next to last among the 28 car brands ranked in Consumer Reports 2012 Annual Auto Reliability Survey, while its luxury brand, Lincoln, placed just a notch higher. The findings were released today before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit.

Only two years ago, Ford was Detroit's poster child for reliability. It cracked the top 10 among brands in Consumer Reports predicted-reliability scores, with more than 90 percent of its models being average or better. This year the top seven spots are all held by Japanese brands.

"Ford's bumpy road can be seen in the numbers. Sixty percent of Ford-branded models and half of Lincolns were below average in predicted reliability, and none placed above average," said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

Several factors contributed to Ford's decline in Consumer Reports' reliability rankings. A few new or redesigned models, including the Explorer, Fiesta, and Focus, came out of the gate with more problems than normal. Ford has also added the MyFord/MyLincoln Touch electronic infotainment system, which has been problematic so far, to many vehicles. In addition, three historically reliable models-the Ford Escape, Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ-are not included in the analysis; the three were redesigned for 2013 and CR doesn't yet have reliability data on them.

Toyota, on the other hand, has excelled in Consumer Reports' latest ratings. Its three brands-Scion, Toyota, and Lexus-swept the top spots. Toyota is clearly setting the pace in reliability. Of the 27 models in the brand's lineup, 16 earned the highest rating. The subcompact Toyota Prius C earned Consumer Reports' top score overall. The hatchback Prius, the larger Prius V, and the new Prius plug-in were also above average.

The Toyota trio was followed by four other Japanese makes: Mazda, Subaru, Honda, and Acura, in that order. All of the models produced by the top seven brands had average or better reliability. And of the 90 Japanese models reflected in Consumer Reports' brand comparison, 86 were average or better, with 35 earning the highest rating.

Leading the Europeans, Audi had its best showing ever, moving up 18 spots to eighth place, making it easily the most reliable European make and the top non-Japanese brand.

The findings from Consumer Reports 2012 Annual Auto Survey are based on subscribers' experiences with 1.2 million vehicles. The organization uses that extensive data to predict how well new cars that are currently on sale will hold up. The complete report and rankings are available at www.ConsumerReports.org starting today, and in the December issue of Consumer Reports.

Mixed bag for domestics

Cadillac is the top U.S. brand, having moved up 14 spots this year. Its CTS coupe was the most reliable domestic car. A number of other General Motors nameplates-Buick, Chevrolet, GMC-also moved up in the ranking. The Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car continues to have above-average reliability, and the compact Chevrolet Cruze, dismal in its first year, improved to average.

Chrysler brands had a few setbacks. This year, Consumer Reports has enough data to report on some of the recently revamped Chrysler and Dodge models, and their problems have dragged the nameplates' rankings down. The Dodge Charger, for example, returns with well-below-average reliability. Other models had ups and downs. The V6 version of the Chrysler 300 sedan, with an average rating, is now the brand's most reliable model, and the V8 300 is its worst. Likewise, the V6 Jeep Grand Cherokee scores average and the V8 is now below par. The differences stem from the alternative powertrains and the extra features found in higher-priced versions. Separating its trucks into a new nameplate, Ram, didn't help Dodge's standing. And Fiat's 500 debuted with average reliability in its first year in the United States.

Japanese models are tops

Mazda is hot on the tail of the three Toyota brands, and its improvement is buoyed by the predicted-reliability score for the new 2013 CX-5 SUV, which is much better than average. And Subaru's standing improved, with its redesigned Impreza debuting with top marks and none of its models scoring below average. Honda dropped one spot in the ranking, to sixth place, but its worst vehicle, the Odyssey minivan, improved from below average to average.

Nissan and its Infiniti luxury brand performed well overall, but a few models kept them from ranking with the other Japanese nameplates. Nissan's Versa sedan, redesigned for 2012, was much worse than average, as was the large Armada SUV. The Titan pickup truck was also below par. Of the seven Infiniti models, only the convertible version of the G scored below average.

Germans brands lead Europe

All of the German luxury brands improved. Six of the seven Audis in CR's survey rated average or better, as did 10 of the 12 BMWs. But the high-end BMW 7 Series and the turbocharged six-cylinder version of the X3 SUV were much worse than average. Mercedes-Benz made a good showing, with the turbocharged, four-cylinder C250 sedan doing well in its first year and the V6 E-Class sedan moving from average to above average. But the redesigned M-Class came in below average in its first year.

Volkswagen was a mix. The redesigned Passat did well, and the CC, Eos, and diesel Jetta sedan improved. But the redesigned Beetle, four- and five-cylinder gasoline Jetta, sporty GTI, and Touareg SUV were below average. Volvo, which ranked highest among European brands last year, dropped 10 places, hurt by declining scores for the C30 hatchback and C70 convertible and a below-average showing for the aging XC90 SUV.

Consumer Reports reliability ratings do not come from the organization's experience during vehicle testing. Instead, it relies on owners to supply the Consumer Reports National Research Center with the data. Earlier this year, the organization asked subscribers to report about serious problems they've had with their vehicles in the prior 12 months. CR bases its predicted-reliability scores on the most recent three model years of data, provided the model has not been redesigned for 2013. The scores are presented as a percentage better or worse than the average of all cars.

The minimum sample size is 100 vehicles, but Consumer Reports often gets many more. Among 2012 models, the Honda CR-V drew the most responses: 2,981. Other 2012 models with more than 2,000 responses are the Hyundai Elantra sedan and the four-cylinder Toyota Camry and Subaru Outback. Some new and redesigned models were released too late to be in our survey, and redesigned 2013 models are not included in the brand's average reliability score.

Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.


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  • 220 Comments
      Basil Exposition
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder what the difference between the best car and worst car is. In the past I bet it was huge, but these days I would not be surprised if it was negligible.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        [blocked]
      Robert Fahey
      • 2 Years Ago
      Step by step, the car is becoming an iPhone instead of a drivng machine. Ironic that this nonsense began with BMW, whose priority was supposed to be driving.
        Ritchie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Robert Fahey
        That is why I drive a 1986 Mercedes 560SEL. When I paid off my 2006 Mustang GT, I went looking at new cars and did not like any of them. The 2013 5.0 was nice but I was not digging the idia of another 5 years of payments. I Sold the Mustang for 12K. bought the 560SEL already in great shape for 5,500 and put another 2,800 into it to make it perfect. I like this old W126 more than the 06 GT. Great cars. If you can find a good one, buy it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Paul Rizza
      • 2 Years Ago
      Consumer Report touts itself as an expert on quality. Don't forget that during the Toyota acceleration fiasco, the news came out that Consumer Reports automatically gave Toyota vehicles a recommended buy rating without testing all of the models.
      Andre Neves
      • 2 Years Ago
      Are people still taking Consumer Reports seriously?
      Andrew B
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am just amazed at the lady's hair in the video. Its so...big! and it kind of reminds me of Gossamer from Looney Toons.
      rc_car_nut
      • 2 Years Ago
      Consumer reports enough said.
      Dean Hammond
      • 2 Years Ago
      CR should stick to steam irons microwaves and dishwashers, because, much like the vacumm cleaners they reveiw they suck. Bunch of self entitled self labelled "pseudo experts".......................
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        VDuB
        • 2 Years Ago
        True story. Uneducated workers that want $50,000 a year.
          icemilkcoffee
          • 2 Years Ago
          @VDuB
          Actually since the 2008 '2 tier' contract, all new employees make the lower tier salary of $14/hr. And frankly $50,000 a year is not anything extravagant these days.
        Rich
        • 2 Years Ago
        I disagree, this is "what happens when you ignore the market and customers for 20 years, then expect to catch up to the Japanese within 5 years."
      Justin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Consumer Reports surveys subscribers, making it one of the most unscientific reliability studies on the market. It's customers would obviously create a lot of confirmation bias in the results, ranking the products they bought higher than ones they hadn't. It's a very very poor source and only absolute milquetoast consumers would pay any attention to it's ratings. I saw all this, btw, as a Mazda owner.
        schultzkenneth
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin
        Your sir, have the nail on the head. Consumer Reports has some of the most bias and, as you stated, unscientific reporting that I have ever seen. No person who knows the slightest thing about automobiles would buy a car based on one of CR's reports, making is basically null and void what CR ranks the manufactures at.
        GR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin
        I am going to have to disagree. Sure, the methodology of collecting the data may be unscientific, but it's actually the most valid. After all, they are asking owners of all these cars , "How is your car?" over the years. What they are doing is compiling data based on ownership experience, not some measure of initial impressions. This is why there is a huge difference between J.D. Powers and CR ratings especially on some car brands. Jaguar is a great example. Recently, J.D. Powers ranked Jaguar very high in their quality rankings, taking the #2 spot. But all they do is ask owners of cars after 3 to 6 months about their experience. They are actually just measuring "Initial Quality" rankings which are irrelevant to how a car is going to perform years down the line. Whether a car can wow us with the feel of the buttons or the cushions of the seats or even the way it drives has little to do with the durability of the parts and the reliability of the car later on. Initial perceived quality does not equal reliability. Also, CR's rankings usually show real-world validity. They say Toyotas and Hondas are reliable cars and we also see a lot of Toyotas and Hondas running around for a long time. The cars they identify as problematic in reliability also seem to have a lot of issues expressed by their owners outside of CR's publications. I have been following CR's reliability ratings for about 10 years and have seen their ratings as generally valid over the course of time. Sure, Ford has made improvements, but their new EcoBoost engines have not been reliable. Just as the Focus got decent in CR's ratings, the new engine along with MyFord Touch brought it down. CR is one of the first to pick up on this because of their method of collecting data. Call it unscientific, but if it's valid, then it's actually worthwhile.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          [blocked]
          GR
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          SVX pearlie, I don't understand your comment at all despite the numerous times I've read it. What do you mean?
        mikeybyte1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin
        Great point! If you constantly recommend Product A vs Product B to your subscribers, and then poll them on which they liked best, chances are they will go with Product A. Not just that, but as CR points out, the minimum pool is 100 responses. But then they get 2000+ for Honda, etc. So not only is your list of people skewed, so are is the product base that they are using.
        Yeah yeah
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin
        If that was true, then how do you explain Ford being rated in the top 10 two years ago and the bottom 2 now? Shouldn't the high ranking have resulted in bias in favor of Ford too under your theory? So much for that theory I guess.
        The Other Bob
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Justin
        Exactly Justin- It would be like if I read a survey of NY Times readers who said Obama's is the best candidate. Then I read a survey of Washington Times readers who said Romney is the best. Obviously the sample of the readership is different, which would influence the outcomes.
      • 2 Years Ago
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      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here come the apologists! For fŭcks sakes people, if Ford has dropped down on CR's list, there is probably a really good reason for it, and its not because your dumb ass thinks CR is biased or its just because of Ford's awful touchscreen technology, or because some other carmaker paid them off. If Ford is having legitimate teething problems because of all its new vehicles, then those problems should absolutely be noted and consumers should know what they might be facing. Like the guy in the video stated, Ford has a lot of good things going for them, and personally, they are probably my top mass-market carmaker right now, but even with that, I am not going to excuse away a drop in quality just because I like the brand. Why is it that other carmakers are able to stay at (or near) the top of these lists for literally DECADES at a time, but companies like Ford or Chevy can't put it upon themselves to top these quality lists for even a couple of years in a row?
        Yeah yeah
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        In Ford's defense, them pushing the envelope with the MyFordTouch and twin clutch automatics is the cause of their reliability problems. Toyota played it pretty safe with their new Camry for example, so it was a lot easier for them to maintain high reliability. Though years ago you do have to give credit to Toyota for pushing the envelope with hybrids, so it's not like they are never cutting edge. Just rarely. Down the road if they solve the teething problems Fords aggressive foray into newer technology could pay off.
          Famsert
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Yeah yeah
          I don't see MFT becoming a hotly demanded piece of tech in the auto industry. Ever.
        Dean Hammond
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        good post. Although flip side, is the more technolgy one loads into a car the more chance there will/ can be issues...and seriously its the way vehicles are going, the public is demanding it....will be interesting when the manufacturers at the top of this list go the same route.....
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