The Consumer Reports annual Auto Reliability Survey lists Toyota Motor Corporation as the automaker to beat when it comes to solidly-built cars. This year’s ranking shows that the Japanese giant’s fortunes seem to have rubbed off on its investment partners.
The Lexus brand grabbed the top spot in the survey, with Toyota coming in at second. Mazda was the surprise manufacturer cornering the third position, jumping nine spots over the previous year. Subaru edged up two positions to finish fourth. The Japanese automaker had announced a five percent stake in Mazda last year, and it has held a 16 percent stake in Subaru parent firm Subaru Corporation since 2008.
The ranking does shuffle from year to year according to Consumer Reports, but “Toyota and Lexus are really kind of in another realm compared to the other automakers,” stated the director of auto testing for Consumer Reports Jake Fisher, said at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit earlier this month.
What is the secret behind Toyota’s consistency? Fisher said it comes down to the same thing that affects all the manufacturers in its survey: More updates and complex technology leads to more problems with reliability. Toyota prefers to keep its product updates simple and does not try to do too many things at once with all-new or refreshed models. For reference, Fisher pointed to the ages of the models Consumer Reports rated as the most reliable, more than half of which were launched in 2015 or earlier.
The most reliable car in the list is the Lexus GX which has been selling in its current generation since 2010. It was followed by the Toyota Prius which was last updated in 2012, the Toyota Prius Prime (2017), Mazda MX5 Miata (2016), Toyota Corolla sedan (2014), Lexus NX (2015), Toyota Prius (2016), Honda Fit (2015), Kia Sedona (2015), with the Toyota Highlander (2014) bringing up the rear.
Consumer Reports sends an annual questionnaire to its subscribers from where it derives new-car reliability ratings. The responses in the latest survey spanned more than 500,000 vehicles across 300 models between the 2000 to 2018 model years.