If you are asking Santa to bring you a new car this year, you probably have a particular style, a color and certain features in mind. But before you put your final request in that North Pole letter, we’d suggest that you take a look at the Consumer Reports’ list of 10 Most Reliable Cars from their recent Annual Auto Reliability Survey. They also name this year’s picks for the 10 Least Reliable Cars.
In their survey, Consumer Reports gathers data on 300 models and a half million vehicles. This is what they look for:
“Our survey takes a deep dive into the numerous things that can go wrong with a vehicle. We study 17 trouble areas, from nuisances—such as squeaky brakes and broken interior trim—to major bummers, like out-of-warranty transmission repairs or trouble with four-wheel-drive systems. We weight the severity of each type of problem to create a Predicted Reliability Score for each vehicle. That score is then combined with data collected from our track testing, as well as our owner-satisfaction survey results and safety data, to calculate each test vehicle’s Overall Score.”
Of course, if you are car shopping, we’d also recommend that you factor safety ratings in your purchase decision. For safety. we recommend the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Loss Data Institute ratings. They test a vehicle’s crashworthiness — “how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash. It also rates vehicles for front crash prevention, systems that warn the driver or brake automatically to avoid or mitigate a frontal collision.” You can check out their Top Safety Picks by year from 2006 through to 2017.
See more results of the CR Reliability Survey, along with some general trends. They also offer a great Guide to Car Reliability with more useful information, such as reliability by car type, used car reliability and owner satisfaction. Some of the information is freely available but some requires a subscription – and if you don’t want to subscribe for a full year, they also offer a month by month option, which could be handy if you are researching a car, home electronics, or any other pricey purchases this season.