The 2015 Consumer Reports Reliability Study, released today, continues to show automakers using technology proven over a number of years are keeping owners from having to visit service departments.
The annual study ranks brands and individual models through subscriber surveys. And this year, there are surprises in how bad some usually reliable brands are. But the biggest loser might be Tesla, as problems with the Model S have surfaced in the survey, costing it a big accolade. Here are some highlights CR has shared today:
Top brands for 2015 include Lexus, Toyota, Audi, Mazda and Subaru – basically the same as last year. Historically reliable brands like Honda, Acura, Nissan and Infiniti are now middling or terrible. Transmission and infotainment problems dragged Nissan/Infiniti down again this year.
Honda, however, also now has transmission complaints to contend with. According to respondents, the CVT being installed in popular, non-hybrid models like the Accord and CR-V is now a sore point. All of Acura’s transmissions have problems, too. And glitches remain in the company’s infotainment systems. The popular TLX is among the least reliable cars, according to Consumer Reports.
The Tesla Model S will lose its recommendation, despite breaking the publication’s road test scoring system, because its reliability score has dropped to below average. Electrical glitches were already reported, but now CR‘s readers claim electric motor problems and even sunroof leaks.
Infotainment systems are still a generally problematic area in the survey, although BMW’s iDrive and Audi’s MMI are now among the most trouble-free and getting good marks.
Buick continues to be the most reliable domestic brand, but Fords are now much better overall since MyFord Touch and Ecoboost issues have been smoothed out over the years.
The Fiat 500L continues to tank in reliability, according to CR‘s study. Owners cited engine and transmission replacements in those vehicles as FCA’s solution to problems. Ram, Jeep and Fiat occupy the bottom of the survey.
Check out the complete rankings in the list below (CR notes that it did not include Tesla in the table because it only tested one model).