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Personal Finance > Autos

Consumer Reports: Most reliable cars
Sedans from VW, Mercedes, BMW fare poorly while Japanese models take the top spots.
November 8, 2004: 6:01 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - European sedans may have many wonderful attributes. Reliability, however, is not among them, according to the latest Consumer Reports reliability survey.

Small cars
These models earned ratings Most and Least reliable in Consumer Reports' 2004 reliability survey.
Most reliable Least reliable 
Toyota Corolla Volkswagen Golf (turbo) 
Scion xB Volkswagen Jetta (turbo) 
Honda Civic Volkswagen New Beetle 
Subaru Impreza  
Toyota Echo  
Mitsubishi Lancer (except Evo)  
 Source:  Consumer Reports

Of the 11 sedans with the lowest predicted reliability, according to the survey, 10 were from European brands including Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and BMW. Most Volkswagen models were rated far below average for reliability. The all-wheel drive Volkswagen Passat received the lowest reliability rating of any vehicle in the survey.

A spokesman for Volkswagen of America did not deny that the company's products have had problems.

"We are obviously aware of some of these issues," he said.

The company has been working to track and correct reliability problems, he said, adding that customers should see results in upcoming redesigned 2005 versions of several of its cars.

Of the 32 car models with the highest reliability ratings, 29 were from Japan-based manufacturers. Toyota, with 16, and Honda, with 7, had the most vehicles with top reliability ratings. South Korean automaker Hyundai's Sonata earned a top spot in the ratings this year, a first for that manufacturer.

The Toyota Prius and Honda Civic gas/electric hybrid cars both were both listed among the most reliable vehicles.

The only cars from an American manufacturer to earn top scores were the Buick Regal, which has been discontinued for 2005, and non-supercharged versions of the Pontiac Grand Prix.

Among SUVs, Japanese brands monopolized the top spots. The Toyota Land Cruiser and Mitsubishi Endeavor were among the most reliable, according to the survey

These models earned ratings Most and Least reliable in Consumer Reports' 2004 reliability survey.
Most reliable Least reliable 
Lexus IS300 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 
Acura RL (previous version) Jaguar S-Type 
Toyota Camry (4-cyl.) BMW 7 Series 
Toyota Avalon Jaguar X-Type 
Lexus LS430 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 
Lexus GS300/GS430 (previous versions) Mercedes-Benz C-Class (V6) 
Buick Regal (discontinued) Volvo S60 (AWD) 
Pontiac Grand Prix Saab 9-3 
Hyundai Sonata Pontiac Grand Prix (supercharged) 
Infiniti G35 (AWD) Volkswagen Passat (AWD) 
 BMW 5 Series 
 Source:  Consumer Reports

The Toyota Tundra was the only pick-up truck to earn a top rating in the survey. The new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks both scored above-average. The redesigned Ford F-150, which had been among that company's most reliable products, slipped in the ratings this year.

The survey included responses from the owners of 810,000 vehicles. The survey was conducted in the spring of 2004 and covered 1997 to 2004 models. The ratings are based on the number of problems per 100 vehicles in the survey.

The reliability ratings form part of the data used to determine which models are recommended by Consumer Reports. Other factors include government crash and rollover tests and performance in Consumer Reports' own auto tests.  Top of page

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