10 Vehicles With World-Class Dependability

Toyota again dominates Consumer Reports’ used car reliability ratings in 2017, while Honda falls behind.
  • (Image source: Stephen Nesbit)

    Year after year, Toyota Motor Corp. dominates Consumer Reports reliability ratings, and 2017 is no exception.

    This year, all of Toyota’s models received above average reliability ratings from the vehicle owners surveyed by Consumer Reports. What’s more, Toyota’s luxury division, Lexus, also received a near-perfect report card.

    Consumer Reports engineers believe that Toyota’s repeated dominance of its ratings is attributable to the automaker’s use of tried-and-true technology.

    “Every Camry is a progression of previous Camrys,” Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumers Union, told Design News in an interview last year. “If you take one apart, you’ll find components that go back for generations.”

    Lest that sound like a simple a formula, however, it’s worth noting that competitors have generally been unable to match those reliability results. Honda came very close for a few years, but has more recently fallen behind. This year, none of Honda’s models received “much better than average” forecasts for 2017.

    Here, we offer a peek at 10 of the best models, according to Consumer Reports’ annual reliability ratings. From Toyota and Lexus to Buick and Audi, following are some of the auto industry’s best.   



  • The Buick Verano luxury compact has posted a “much better than average” (less than 1%) overall problem rate in three of the four models years from 2012 to 2015, according to Consumer Reports. It had some minor hiccups in its electrical and climate systems in 2012, but those glitches have been fixed in recent years. (Image source: Buick)

  • The Lexus ES full-size luxury sedan continues to be one of the most reliable vehicles on the road in 2017, according to Consumer Reports. It has gone eight consecutive years -- from 2009 through 2016 model years -- posting a “much better than average” overall rating. What’s more, every sub-system on the 2016 car received a top rating in the CR owners survey. (Image source: Lexus)

  • The popular Toyota Corolla compact sedan has earned an overall reliability rating of “much better than average” in seven of the past eight years, by Consumer Reports rakings. The only exception was back in 2009, when it was declared "better than average.” (Image source: Toyota)

  • The Prius hybrid was virtually perfect from 2009 through 2016, earning the highest reliability ratings from Consumer Reports in all of those years. Problems rates were less than 1% in all 17 sub-system categories in 2016. It exhibited minor glitches with power equipment and paint/trim in 2009, but Toyota quickly solved those problems. (Image source: Toyota)

  • Hyundai’s Azera mid-size has exhibited impressive reliability numbers, earning a “much better than average” rating in two of its last three rated years by Consumer Reports. The Azera did have some problems with its transmission in 2014, but all of other categories have been average or above. (Image source: Hyundai)

  • The mid-size Lexus GS luxury sedan only has three years worth of ratings, but its report card was near perfect in all three. Problem rates were less than 1% in 15 of Consumer Reports’  17 categories in 2015. (Image source: Lexus)

  • Toyota’s Camry sedan has been a giant seller for many years, and with good reason. The Camry has had an overall reliability rating of “much better than average” in all of the past eight years, according to Consumer Reports. Its only real glitch was for in-car electronics in 2015, but that was quickly remedied in 2016. (Image source: Toyota)

  • Toyota’s 4Runner sport utility vehicle has earned top reliability ratings from Consumer Reports in six of the last seven model years. The SUV’s only glitches were for brakes (2010) and in-car electronics (2014). (Image source: Toyota)

  • In seven of the last eight years, the Lexus RX luxury crossover has posted problem rates of less than 1% in almost every Consumer Reports category. The lone exception was its fuel system, which exhibited a miniscule drop-off in 2016. (Image source: Lexus)

  • The Audi Q3 compact crossover was virtually perfect in every category in 2015-16, the only two years when data was available. Consumer Reports’ new-car prediction for 2017: “much better than average” reliability. (Image source: Audi)







Senior technical editor Chuck Murray has been writing about technology for 33 years. He joined Design News in 1987, and has covered electronics, automation, fluid power, and autos.

April 12, 2017


Interesting that you put Toyota on top when your publication is north american and aimed at north american engineers. Toyotas are designed and engineered in Japan and most expensive parts are from Japan. WIth a $86 billion trade deficit with Japan I don't think this helps.

I would drive American if they build cars that was large on the inside. Check the distance from the B pillar to the steering wheel. I currently drive a Prius (20 inches B pillar to the steering wheel). I traded a Cooper (24 inches B pillar to the steering wheel) for the Prius. When America builds a car I can get into I will buy it.

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