Smaller car, fewer problems.

The Toyota Prius C compact hybrid topped Consumer Reports' list of reliable 2012 model-year vehicles, leading a group of Toyota-made cars near the top of the list.

Consumer Reports based its list on subscriber experiences with 1.2 million vehicles, though Consumer Reports allowed that some of the results were affected by the timing of new-vehicle releases. For instance, Ford, whose overall ratings dropped substantially from last year, didn't update a number of models for 2012 because they're being revamped for 2013.

Either way, Japanese automakers reigned supreme, as Toyota and its Lexus and Scion brands topped the brand-reliability list, followed by Mazda, Subaru and Honda and its Acura badge. In all, 86 of the 90 Japanese models tested had at least average reliability. The four-wheel-drive V6 Ford Explorer earned the worst score.

Consumer Reports also said that green cars are reliable, so the fears people have about the first hybrids over a decade ago should not resurface today, saying "Reliability is a high point for most hybrids." The Nissan Leaf had "an excellent showing" and the Chevrolet Volt was "above average."

Since debuting the car in the US in February, the Prius C sold 26,130 vehicles through September. That accounts for about 14 percent of all Prius sales this year. Despite how reliable Consumer Reports and its subscribers think the Prius C is, the magazine is not a fan of the car. At all.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's great how CR slammed the Prius C (unfairly IMO) in their review and now they has come out...
        imoore
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob J
        All the reason more not to take anything CR says seriously.
          skierpage
          • 2 Years Ago
          @imoore
          CR got feedback from 1.2M owners and you don't take it seriously. Whatever.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      On the one hand, CR reliability ratings usually pan out - even when there is only 1 year's worth of data. Like, if it is going to break in the long term, it will start breaking right NOW. On the other hand, they will consider excessive brake dust, glitchy microsoft MyFordTouch, or trim issues on the same level as a blown engine (X number of problems per 100 vehicles does not differentiate). Also, looking at subscribers isn't exactly scientific... That said, I have followed CR on reliability ratings, and have never had a problem car. Sure, some of that is luck and proper care, but I have never gotten anythign with a black circle, or 1/2 black circle. @2wheel... yea - that JD Power thing where it is first 90 days...., or my favorite, "Most appealing"...wtf is that?
      BipDBo
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's a lot closer now than it ever was. The reliability gap between American and Japanese cars has closed quite a lot. When Kia first came to the US, nearly every car on the lot was a lemon. They are not Toyota, but they have drmatically improved. Many of the vehicles that CR gives average or poor reliability are some of the longest lasting cars you can buy, but the bad review is due to parts with minor flaws that are not critical to the car.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Also: The all-electric Nissan Leaf has above-average predicted reliability, and the editors said it was the Nissan model with the best predicted reliability.' http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/29/hybrids-and-electric-vehicles-do-well-in-reliability-survey/
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Slightly OT, but here are German tests on the fire hazards of electric and plug in cars: http://www.torquenews.com/1075/fire-safety-test-electric-car-batteries-shows-better-safety-gasoline-cars The bottom line is that they do better than petrol cars, with plug ins rather worse than BEVs due to their having a gas tank. The only downside is that they use rather more water to put out than petrol cars, as the battery pack once it does ignite needs cooling after the blaze is extinguished to prevent re-ignition.
      boggin
      • 2 Years Ago
      CR reliability reports have no meaning. No one is listening...
      Hampton
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wait - didn't CR say that this was not a smart buy once?
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hampton
        They have several criteria on whether they recommend a car or not. Reliability is one of them, but other performance areas count - on reliability, the car has to be average, or better. If it is below average, then it is not recommended. If the car is considered unsafe, it will also fail. The suzuki samari, for example, rolled over, so they wouldn't recommend that, regardless of the reliability. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the Prius C, and if I were in the market for a small car, it would be on the short list. Just providing the rational on why it could be so reliable, but not recommended. For me, I would always test drive, but my biggest factor is reliability, cost, then does it do what I want, then the test drive. So obviously, the Prius C would be high up there.
      BipDBo
      • 2 Years Ago
      This shows the fundamental problem with CR. You cannot gauge reliability on such a new vehicle. I'm sure that the Civic hybrid seemed a very reliable car when it was this new. CR can tell you about some very minor things that may happen when the car is still new, or if the typical consumer is smart enough to figure out the infotainment system, but their reports don't show how far the odometer will turn or how many decades of service you'll get. Toyota makes good products, and there is somewhat of a correlation between initial quality and long term reliability, but these reports should be taken with a grain of salt. Almost every car that you can buy in the US today is fairly well built and should last a decent time if it is properly maintained.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        The premise that long term reliability is similar between different makes and models is fallacious. There remains huge variability in reliability and also in the cost of repairs, and cars have typical flaws which stay with them throughout their lives, with enhanced susceptibility to different modes of failure. Here is a UK ratings system by make and model: http://www.reliabilityindex.com/
        skierpage
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        The Prius C is a new car, therefore NO ONE has long-term reliability figures, calling it "fundamental problem" is meaningless exaggeration.. CR still has useful data from its subscribers.on 1.2M cars.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was not comparing US makers to Japanese, although the latter do tend to be pace setters for reliability. Ford scores very well in the reliability index I linked.
      skierpage
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Reliability is a high point for most hybrids. All but the relatively new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid proved reliable in this year’s survey. So far, electric vehicles have also been reliable. The Nissan Leaf had an excellent showing and was the most reliable Nissan in the lineup. The Chevrolet Volt has been above average in our past two surveys. And Toyota’s new Prius Plug-in earned a top reliability score in this year’s survey." Propelling your car with an electric motor is good for reliability; plugging it in is the cheapest way to move it. The twilight of the gasoline engine is at hand.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      They know this for sure because you know, it's been out for about a year. C'mon consumer reports, let's not become J.D. Powers.
      winc06
      • 2 Years Ago
      What was it? CR said Toyota was not recommended a year ago because of unreliability. What a herculean turnaround. No not by Toyota, but by CR in goosing their circulation. The only people who still believe CR is scientific and fair without bias are those that believe global warming is is a consipiracy.
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