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Ford Plunges and Toyota Soars in Consumer Reports' Reliability Survey

Toyota is selling the most reliable cars on the market – at least according to Consumer Reports' 2012 Annual Auto Reliability Survey, which saw Scion, Toyota and Lexus take the top spots as the most reliable brands. “Toyota is clearly setting the pace in reliability,” says Consumer Reports in a press release. “Of the 27 models in the brand’s lineup, 16 earned the highest rating.” Mazda, Subaru, Honda and Acura took fourth through seventh place, in that order.

Consumer Reports notes that all of the models built “by the top seven brands had average or better reliability.” Some of the highest scoring models were hybrid cars. The Toyota Prius c earned Consumer Reports’ top score, while the Prius hatchback, Prius Plug-in and the Prius v also earned above-average reliability ratings. Among the top seven brands, models like the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Impreza also stand out with better than average reliability scores.

Cadillac moved up 14 spots this year, making it the highest ranked domestic brand. Additionally, the Cadillac CTS Coupe stands out as the most reliable domestic car. Other General Motors brands also saw better performance than last year, as Buick, Chevrolet and GMC all moved up the rankings list, while the Chevrolet Volt continues to earn above average reliability scores.

In what Consumer Reports calls “a perfect storm of reliability problems,” Ford fell to the second to last spot among the 28 automotive brands evaluated. “Ford’s bumpy road can be seen in the numbers,” says Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports. “Sixty percent of Ford-branded models and half of Lincolns were below average in predicted reliability, and none placed above average.”

Consumer Reports notes that new and redesigned Ford models, which include the Explorer, Fiesta and Focus, “came out of the gate with more problems than normal.” In particular, MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch infotainment systems were cited as problematic in many Ford and Lincoln vehicles. In the past, the Ford Escape, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ earned high reliability scores. However, those recently-redesigned models were excluded from the survey because there is no reliability data yet.

Ford Spokeswoman Francesca Montini tells Edmunds, “We listen closely and value feedback on our vehicles — whether it's from customers or third parties, such as Consumer Reports. We remain absolutely committed to continuously improving and providing the highest-quality vehicles to our customers.”

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