Car quality rankings help buyers


Bad news for the Ford Motor Company -- Consumer Reports' just-released reliability rankings of new cars shows Ford has dropped to near the bottom of the list. Of 28 makes, only Jaguar does worse. But Consumer Reports found other automakers are delivering less trouble-prone vehicles.

Go to buy a new car and you want one that stays out of the repair shop. You've got a good chance with Toyota. Consumer Reports says it's the most reliable carmaker out there. The findings are based on subscribers' experience with more than a million vehicles.

Rik Paul with Consumer Reports said, "Toyota's three brands, Scion, Toyota, and Lexus, finished first, second, and third for reliability."

Those three automakers were followed by Mazda, Subaru, Honda and Acura -- all Japanese brands. Ford's reliability, in sharp contrast, dropped way down this year.

"Just two years ago, more than 90 percent of Fords were average or better for reliability," Paul said. "But in the last couple of years, they've released some new or redesigned models that have had more problems than normal."

These models include the Explorer, the Fiesta and the Focus. Also problematic is Ford's relatively new electronic infotainment system.

Paul said, "General Motors did better in our latest rankings. Cadillac was the top US brand, and its CTS coupe was the most reliable domestic car."

The most reliable car of all is the Toyota Prius C. In fact, all the Priuses have above-average reliability.

"When the Toyota Prius was released 12 years ago, there was a lot of skepticism about how well it would hold up," Paul said. "But we're finding that most hybrids and electric vehicles are proving very reliable."

As for Ford, Consumer Reports is waiting to see how well the cars it redesigned for 2013 will hold up -- the Ford Escape, the Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ. These three were too new to be included in this year's reliability analysis.

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