YONKERS, NY --- The latest Consumer Reports reliability rankings are in, and for the most part, model year 2013 has been another good one for Japanese automobiles, but a lousy one for many Ford Motor Co. models.
The magazine’s closely watched results were gleaned from subscriber’s responses about their experiences with 1.1 million vehicles.
Japanese brands captured 7 of the top 10 spots in the rankings, but there was good news for Volvo, which jumped 13 places; Audi, which was the top-ranking European brand; and GMC which was the only domestic manufacturer to score in the top 10.
The rankings, starting with the best: Lexus, Toyota, Acura, Audi, Mazda, Infiniti, Volvo, Honda, GMC, Subaru.
Of the 32 Ford models in the survey, only the F-150 pickup truck with the 3.7-liter V-6 engine, was above average. Seven achieved an average score. It wasn’t just electronics problems that brought scores down. Several turbocharged V-6 models showed poor reliability. Nearly two-thirds of the Ford and Lincoln products scored much worse than average.
Not all of the Japanese brands scored well, either. Nissan sank to 22nd spot and the twin sports cars, Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S, scored below average. The BRZ helped drop Subaru to 10th place and the FR-S, for which the magazine only had two models with sufficient data, dragged Scion from first place in 2012 to 11th spot this year.
In addition, two Japanese mainstays, the 2013 Honda Accord V-6 and the 2013 Nissan Altima, scored so low that they have been dropped from the "recommended" ratings.
General Motors scored best among domestic brands, with Buick climbing 9 spots to 12th place. All Buicks except the V-6 LaCrosse scored average or better. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Camaro and Chevrolet Cruze scored below average.
Chrysler continued to struggle in the rankings. An exception was the Chrysler 300C, which scored above average after ranking as the company’s most troublesome vehicle in 2012. Three Jeep sport-utility vehicles, Grand Cherokee, Patriot and Compass, scored below average.
Among those scoring mid-pack were Germans BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Volkswagen was held down by the trouble-prone Beetle, GTI and Touareg.
Scoring worst in the rankings was BMW’s Mini brand. Rounding out the bottom 10 were Lincoln, Ford, Cadillac, Dodge, Jeep, Nissan, Hyundai, VW and Chrysler’s Ram truck.
In assessing these results, readers should note the evolving nature of owners’ complaints. Of 17 problem areas reported, the in-car electronics systems --- audio, navigation, communication and connected systems --- generated the most complaints.
Detailed results of the 2013 reliability survey are available at www.ConsumerReports.org and will be available in the December issue of Consumer Reports, which will be on newsstands Nov. 5.