Most Reliable SUVs For 2010

Consumer Reports has published the results of its 2010 Car Reliability Survey. The survey was based on responses from 960,000 Consumer Reports readers totaling 1.3 million vehicles. Consumer Reports ranked all models for which it had a sufficient sample size. American manufacturers improved significantly in the rankings, with Ford and General Motors brands besting several of their competitors.

Ninety percent of all Fords, which include Lincoln models, were ranked to have at least average reliability. Overall, Ford ranked higher than Nissan and Mazda and was just below Lexus. General Motors’ new models such as the Cadillac SRX and Chevrolet Equinox have proved to be reliable. Older models such as the Chevrolet Suburban have improved to average reliability. The discontinuation of unreliable models from its Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn brands also helped General Motors’ overall reliability.

America’s third largest automaker, the Chrysler Group, which is now owned by the Italian company Fiat Group, did poorly in the survey. It ranked 27th, last among automakers in the survey. Many of Chryslers’ models are outdated and in need of replacement. The Chrysler Group is releasing a slew of new and updated vehicles in 2011 and 2012. Chrysler’s other makes did not fare much better with Jeep ranking 20th and Dodge ranking 24th overall.

Japanese automakers received the most top rankings in the reliability survey. Toyota and Honda each had five top ranked models. Nissan’s top selling models all got good marks. The Murano and Pathfinder models were rated average or better in predicted liability. Subaru had good overall numbers, with the non-turbo Forester receiving top marks. All models in Nissan’s Infiniti unit received rankings of average or better.

Korean SUV makers, Hyundai and Kia did well in the survey. The Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sorento were both found to have average or better reliability.

European automakers did not generally fare well in the survey. Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz were among the lowest ranked automakers overall in reliability. The Mercedes Benz GLK SUV ranked far below average. The leading edge technologies, electronics, and power equipment can make luxury vehicles more susceptible to reliability problems. However, Porsche and Volvo models were found to have average or better reliability. Volvo rose six spots to number eight. Volkswagen did better in this year’s survey than in prior years.

In the SUV categories, the winners were:

– Most reliable small SUV, Honda CRV
– Most reliable midsize SUV, Toyota FJ Cruiser
– Most reliable large SUV, Ford Flex EcoBoost
– Most reliable upscale compact SUV, Acura RDX
– Most reliable luxury SUV, Lexus LX

The Honda CR-Vs win is all the more impressive when you consider it also won J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Vehicle Reliability Study for the compact multi-activity vehicle segment.

Consumer Report’s annual auto survey is important for the industry. The magazine ranks third on the list of information sources American consumer use to purchase vehicles, behind only brand loyalty and recommendations from friends and family.

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