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Lexus, Toyota Best (Again) in Consumer Reports' 2018 Car Reliability Survey

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Consumer Reports has released its 2018 Car Reliability Survey and familiar names lead the way once again, with Lexus and Toyota sitting at the top of the charts – the sixth straight year the  brands have done so. In 2017 Toyota had actually outranked its luxury division to claim top spot, but Lexus regained the title this year.

Right behind them sits the biggest upward mover in the ranking of most reliable vehicles, Mazda. In 2017 the Japanese automaker managed only 12th spot on the CR list.

The top five is rounded out by Subaru (up two spots to 4th) and Kia (down two spots from 3rd place in 2017).

For its survey, Consumer Reports gathers data from 500,000 vehicle owners and tabulates the number of complaints received; the lower the number of complaints, the higher the score.

2019 Mazda CX-3
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2019 Mazda CX-3

A mild surprise in 2018 is the relatively low ranking of Hyundai’s luxury banner, Genesis. Its admittedly small lineup consistently wins awards for the excellence of design and performance of its models, but this year some reported issues with the G90 big sedan weighted down its results. Also eye-opening is the solid 9th-place showing for MINI; in 2017 it wasn’t even on the list, due to insufficient data (as in, it had sold too few units in the U.S. for Consumer Reports to collect enough data in its survey).

Meanwhile the second-biggest climber in the 2018 rankings is Acura, Honda’s luxury marque. It climbed six spots, from 19th overall in 2017 to 13th this year. In the process it surpassed Honda on the list, which actually fell this year from 9th to 15th.

Inversely, the biggest drop on Consumer Reports’ 2018 reliability ranking was experienced by Buick, which last year had climbed sharply into 8th spot. It falls a humbling 11 places this year to sit 19th.

2019 Acura MDX
Photo: Acura
2019 Acura MDX

And which are the least reliable brands for 2018, according to Consumer Reports? Dead last, in a bit of a surprise, is Volvo; it fell 6 spots in comparison with 2017 to sit 29th, and what’s worse its score placed it well behind the next worst performer. That would be Cadillac (down 1 from 2017); just ahead of it sit Tesla (down 6 at 27th) and RAM (down 1).

If we haven’t mentioned the German brands yet in looking at the top and bottom ends of the 2018 reliability rankings, it’s because they all sit firmly in the middle. Audi performed best and sits in 7th spot, followed by BMW in 8th, Porsche in 11th, Volkswagen in 16th and Mercedes-Benz in 17th.

2019 Audi Q3
Photo: Audi
2019 Audi Q3

Here are the full car brand rankings for 2018, with their respective scores:
1. Lexus – 78
2. Toyota – 76
3. Mazda – 69
4. Subaru – 65
5. Kia – 61
6. INFINITI – 61
7. Audi – 60
8. BMW – 58
9. MINI – 57
10. Hyundai – 57
11. Porsche – 54
12. Genesis – 52
13. Acura – 51
13. Nissan – 51
15. Honda – 50
16. Volkswagen – 47
17. Mercedes-Benz – 47
18. Ford – 45
19. Buick – 44
20. Lincoln – 43
21. Dodge – 40
22. Jeep – 40
23. Chevrolet – 39
24. Chrysler – 38
25. GMC – 37
26. RAM – 34
27. Tesla – 32
28. Cadillac – 32
29. Volvo - 22

* Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mitsubishi and smart were left out of the survey because of insufficient data.

What about the best and worst vehicles in terms of reliability? Consumer Reports this year identified the following models:

10 most reliable cars of 2018
Lexus GX - Specifications for the 2018 GX
Toyota Prius c - Our review of the 2018 Prius c
Toyota Prius Prime - Our review of the 2018 Prius Prime
Mazda MX-5 Miata - Our First Drive review of the 2019 MX-5
Toyota Corolla - Our First Drive review of the 2019 Corolla Hatchback - Specifications for the 2018 Corolla
Lexus NX - Our review of the 2018 NX - Specifications for the 2018 NX
Toyota Prius - Specifications for the 2018 Prius
Honda Fit - Our review of the 2018 Fit - Specifications for the 2019 Fit
Kia Sedona - Specifications for the 2018 Sedona
Toyota Highlander - Specifications for the 2018 Highlander

10 least reliable vehicles of 2018
Honda Odyssey - Our First Drive review of the 2018 Odyssey - Specifications for the 2018 Odyssey
Volkswagen Atlas - Our review of the 2018 Atlas - Specifications for the 2018 Atlas - 10 reasons to buy the 2018 Atlas! - The 2018 Atlas,'s Midsize SUV of the Year
Buick Enclave - Our review of the 2018 Enclave - Specifications for the 2018 Enclave
Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD
Kia Cadenza
Chevrolet Traverse - Specifications for the 2018 Traverse
Honda Clarity - Our review of the 2018 Clarity - Specifications for the 2018 Clarity
Cadillac ATS
Tesla Model X
RAM 3500

For comparison’s sake, check out J.D. Power’s latest Vehicle Dependability Study.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2019 Subaru Crosstrek