The recently released Consumer Reports Reliability Survey might come as a surprise to some. You see, Toyota topped the list, but it was their Scion sub-brand in the top slot. Toyota swept the top three, with the Scion, Toyota and then Lexus being named as the top three in terms of reliability.
A great result for Toyota. And even though this is a US-market survey, it would be unsurprising if the same results did not play out across the world.
Toyota themselves had 16 out of their 27 models earning the highest reliability rating. And even the Prius C hybrid, which had been criticized by the same magazine for having a stiff ride, noisy cabin and ‘cheap looking’ interior trim, rode home with honors, earning the magazine’s top overall reliability score. I guess their readership are not as picky as the editors clearly are.
Not Just Toyota – Other Japanese Brands Fare Well Too
Toyota was not the only Japanese auto maker to get exceptional results: Eight out of the top ten spots waved the Japanese flag. Mazda, Subaru, Honda and Honda’s premium brand Acura were listed in positions four through seven. The only non-Japanese auto makers to even crack the top ten were Audi (position number eight) and Kia (number 10).
It seems that Toyota is riding a wave of recent good news these last few days: This reliability report came out just as Toyota Executive VP Yukitoshi Funo announced that the company was on track to beat its record 9.37 million vehicles sold (set in 2007).
To put that in context, 2007 was the last year of boom before economic meltdown almost ended in the collapse of the world economy. Now, 2012 is hardly boom times all round, so Toyota is really doing a great job posting such excellent results in moderate economic times. Perhaps they will be able to hang on to the world number 1 crown despite Volkswagen’s avowed desire to dislodge them.
Figuring Out Reliability Ratings
The important thing to remember about this report is that it is essentially a survey of actual users. This data was compiled from approximately 1.2 million subscriber surveys, which means that the results are more indicative of real-world experiences than simple testing data.
Bottom line: If you are a consumer looking at buying a new car, this Consumer Reports data is going to give you the best understanding about how the car is likely to perform for you in this crucial area. And given that all modern cars can accelerate and have top speeds in excess of real world requirements, my sense is that this reliability survey is the performance data to really watch.
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