SUMMARY:
Top Manufacturers

For the second consecutive year, Toyota is the no. 1 manufacturer in the U.S., based on a ranking derived from the fewest percentage of “check engine”-related problems and lowest average repair cost. Toyota earns the top spot with the lowest Index rating of 0.58, which is an improvement from its 0.67 rating in 2011 (the lower the rating, the better the overall ranking). Rounding out the top five vehicle manufacturers of 2012 are No. 2 Hyundai, No. 3 BMW, No. 4 Honda and No. 5 Volkswagen. Domestic manufacturers dropped out of the top five, with Ford moving from no. 4 to no. 9 and GM dropping from no. 5 to no. 8.
 
 
Overall, most of today's vehicle manufacturers continue to improve reliability.

 

  • Toyota and Hyundai each held their spots as the top two ranked manufacturers, with Toyota's Index rating score improving from 0.65 to a record low 0.58, helped by lower repair incidents.
  • Hyundai's score improved from 0.85 to 0.67, which is the exact score that earned Toyota the no. 1-ranked manufacturer spot in 2011.
  • Honda, Volkswagen, Nissan, Kia and Chrysler also earned better overall index rating scores in 2012.

 

 

Hyundai had the lowest average repair cost among the top 10-ranked manufacturers ($271.86).

The manufacturer with the highest overall repair cost was BMW ($502.48); however BMW had a very low repair incidence rate, contributing to its no. 3 ranking among the top vehicle manufacturers for 2012.

No. 1-ranked Toyota's average repair cost rose 17.5% from $417.37 to $490.72, which was offset by a decrease in repair incidents.

 

 

Domestic manufacturers dropped out of the top 5 with Ford moving from no. 4 to no. 9 and GM decreasing from no. 5 to no. 8 in the overall manufacturer rankings.

 

  • Both GM and Ford experienced a slight drop in repair incidents, but an increase in average repair costs. GM's average cost for “check engine” repairs rose from $245.47 in 2011 to $290.50 in 2012. Ford's average repair costs increased from $240.68 to $340.96.
  • However, several domestic vehicles stood out. The 2008 Ford Taurus ranked no. 1 in the Sedan category and no. 2 overall, beating out historical quality stalwarts Camry and Accord. The 2011 Chevrolet Impala ranked no. 9 overall. And Ford trucks swept all three of the top spots in the Truck category.

 

 

 

In 2011 luxury brands generally hurt their parent company's score, with Buick and Infiniti the only outliers.
However, Audi, Buick, Infiniti and Lexus helped their parent manufacturers' overall scores this year. Led by the 2007 ES350 (first in the Luxury category), Lexus' rating improved yearover- year, and helped Toyota earn the top ranking for the second year in a row. Conversely, Acura, Cadillac and Lincoln hurt their parent brand's overall Index rating in 2012.
 
Sourcing the largest database of problems and repairs of vehicles on the road today, CarMD is able to provide fact-based transparency into a wide range of vehicles, including a combination of new and used cars and trucks. CarMD provides the only Index that allows consumers to statistically analyze how vehicles age, and see reallife data on trends related to repair frequency and costs for a decade of makes and models. New to the top 100 list this year are BMW, Dodge, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini and Pontiac.

Four sedans, two compacts, two wagons, one SUV and a luxury vehicle make up this year's top 10 list, with Toyota leading the pack with three vehicles (two Toyotas and one Lexus), including the no. 1 ranked 2010 Toyota Corolla. Subaru and Honda each have two vehicles in the top 10, followed by Ford, Hyundai and Chevrolet with one each. Seven of the top 10 vehicles are not only new to the top 10 list this year, but also new to the top 100 as well.

The CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ also ranks the top three vehicles by category: Compact, Minivan, Sedan, Full-Sized SUV, Wagon/Crossover SUV, Truck and Luxury. This year marks the first time that a manufacturer earned all three of the top spots in their respective category, and it happened not once – but twice.
 

 

TOP 10 MOST RELIABLE VEHICLES

 


 

 

The top 100 most reliable vehicles represent the best vehicles from nearly 3,000 different registered vehicle types on the road today.

 

  • It is important to remember that even the 99th or 100th ranked vehicle on this list is a significant achievement, ranking in the top 5% of all vehicles on the road today.
  • Thanks to on-board diagnostic technology and improved vehicle quality, the days of avoiding one brand of vehicle because of lesser reliability are in the past. The worst car on the list today is still more reliable than cars were 20 years ago.

 

The top 100 vehicles were more evenly spread between brands in 2012 as compared with the previous year.
Last year, 73% of the top 100 vehicles came from the top 5 ranked manufacturers.

 

 

 

This year marks the first time that a manufacturer WAGON/CROSSOVER SUV TRUCK earned all of the top spots in their respective category, and it happened not once – but twice.

 

  • Subaru swept the Wagon/Crossover SUV category with its 2010 Forester (no. 6 overall and no. 1 in its category), 2010 Outback and 2011 Forester.
  • Ford earned all three top spots in the Truck category with its 2008 Ranger, 2009 F150 and 2008 F150.

 

Two of the most well-known and established domestic vehicle brands beat out their competitors. The 2010 Chrysler Town & Country and 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan ranked no. 1 and no. 2 respectively among minivans and the 2008 Ford Taurus took the no. 1 spot for sedans.

 

 

 

The top two ranked hybrid vehicles on the list come from Toyota. The 2009 and 2008 Prius rank no. 70 and no. 80 respectively. While the repair incidents for the Prius remain very low, its average repair cost is over $700, demonstrating how an extended warranty can make sense for hybrid shoppers as these vehicles age.

 

 

 

Strong scores on older vehicles demonstrate that as manufacturers improve vehicle longevity, it’s possible to have a healthy vehicle for 10+ years.

 

Some of the oldest vehicles in the top 100 are the no. 31-ranked 2005 Lexus ES 330, no. 59-ranked 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis, no. 93-ranked 2003 Subaru Legacy, no. 98-ranked 2004 Mercedes-Benz E Class and no. 99-ranked 2004 Toyota Camry Solara.

 

Subaru’s vehicles stood out for longevity; its 2003 Legacy and 2006 Outback are among the older vehicles in the top 100. With Subaru owners holding onto their vehicles longer than most, this explains why the most common repair on Subaru vehicles is “Replace Catalytic Converter” – a part that fails only after extensive wear and tear.

 

 

 

Different vehicle makes tend to have unique sets of problems and common failures. The CarMD Vehicle Health Index points out common problems by manufacturer, providing a helpful resource for vehicle owners as they maintain and repair their vehicles. (Details shown on pages 18-35).
 

 

Top 3 Ranked Vehicles by Category (MY2002 – 2012) – November 2012 CarMD® Vehicle Health Index Rankings & Lists. Top 3 Ranked Vehicles by category; based on combined fewest and lowest cost “check engine”-related problems (Model Year 2002-2012):

 



 
No. 1 Toyota, which includes Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands, had a very low incident rating (0.477) and low cost ranking.
  • Toyota had 18 vehicles in the top 100, led by the 2010 Corolla. Other top-ranking Toyota vehicles include the 2008 Toyota Yaris (no. 2), 2009 Toyota Camry (no. 13), 2007 Toyota 4Runner (no. 18) and the 2009 Toyota Matrix (no. 25). Toyota has long been known for making reliable, solid compact cars and sedans, but the addition of the Matrix and Yaris to the top 100 list show the brand is making a mark in the crossover/compact SUV category.
  • Toyota achieves the no. 1 ranking despite recent recalls such as the unintended acceleration problem, which was ruled by the DOT to be a sticky gas pedal, unrelated to the vehicles’ computer. Toyota’s failure to take responsibility early and get in front of the issue was the problem. Not the vehicle.

 

Hyundai’s No. 2 ranking is attributable to the lowest average repair costs of any manufacturer and low Sonata and Santa Fe model scores, each appearing twice on the top 100 list: 2010 Sonata (no. 8), 2011 Santa Fe (no. 14), 2009 Sonata (no. 49) and 2009 Santa Fe (no. 74). Hyundai’s rise to the top tier of manufacturers can really be traced back to their engineering. Their vehicles are designed with Service and maintenance taken into consideration. This leads to lower average repair costs and greatly helps their scoring.
  • New to the top 100 list this year is the Genesis luxury sedan, whose 2010 model landed at no. 36.
  • While its CarMD Index scores continue to improve, Hyundai is still outranked by Toyota this year because Toyota has a lower percentage of incidents per number of vehicles on the road.

 

BMW debuted on the CarMD Manufacturer and Vehicle reliability rankings this year as the no. 3-ranked manufacturer. Previously, BMW did not meet CarMD’s minimum requirement for vehicle population, but with the sales growth of Mini, the manufacturer now qualifies. BMW includes Mini in its calculations.
  • Top-ranked BMWs include the 2008 5 Series (no. 65), 2008 3 Series (no. 78) and 2007 5 Series (no. 86).
  • The 2008 Mini Cooper ranks no. 60 on the CarMD top 100.

 

No. 4 ranked Honda’s overall manufacturer Index ranking fell from no. 3 to 4 due to a slightly higher score of 0.98.
  • Honda is led by the 2009 Pilot, which ranks no. 4 in the top 100 vehicles, as well as no. 1 in the full-sized SUV category. Over the past two years, the Pilot has earned solid scores and led the SUV category.
  • Poor scores on the 2003 and 2004 Odyssey, which are in the bottom 10th percent of all vehicles ranked by CarMD, hurt Honda’s ranking the most. But newer Odyssey vans are much improved with the 2010 Honda Odyssey ranked no. 33 overall and the second best ranked vehicle in the Minivan category.

 

Ranked no. 5 Volkswagen enters the top five this year with an overall CarMD Index score of 0.99.
  • VW improved its overall Index score rating from 1.38 and moved four spots up from no. 9 in 2011.
  • VW is led by the Jetta, which was listed four times in the top 100, including 2010 (no. 15); 2008 (no. 38); 2007 (no. 43) and the 2009 Jetta (no. 45). This enduring 6th generation model dates back to 1979 – before on-board computers were standard on vehicles.
  • VW includes luxury brand Audi in its rating. The 2008 Audi A4 missed the top 100 list by a slim margin, coming in at no. 104.

 

No. 6-ranked Nissan moves up from last year’s no. 7 spot with an overall score of 1.00.
  • Nissan includes Infiniti, which significantly helped Nissan’s overall Index score and ranking. The G35 appears three times in the top 100 and the 2006 G35 earned a spot as the no. 3 ranked luxury vehicle.
  • The top-ranked Nissan is the 2007 Versa (no. 41) thanks to a very low average repair cost.

 

Kia ranked no. 7 with a score of 1.04, and moved up from no. 8 in 2011.
  • Kia’s average repair cost is up from $257.73 in 2011 to $320.08 in 2012, but repair incidences remain unchanged.
  • Kia now has two vehicles in the top 100, including the 2011 Kia Sorento (no. 17) and the 2009 Rio (no. 76). The Kia Sorento has seen vast improvements in its rating since first-generation. For instance, the 2003 Kia Sorento ranks in the no. 1112 spot, while its second-generation counterpart is in the top 20.

 

No. 8-ranked GM earns an overall index score of 1.12 and falls from its no. 5 spot in the top five.
  • GM’s decline in ranking is due in large part to an 18% increase in average repair costs.
  • Bright spots are the 2011 Chevrolet Impala, which ranks no. 9 among most reliable vehicles on the road today, and the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu at no. 11.
  • Buick continues to help its GM parent brand with the 2007 LaCrosse ranked in the top 100 at no. 88.

 

Ford, along with Honda and GM, declined in overall CarMD Index score and rating, dropping from no. 4 in 2011 to no. 9.
  • Ford’s overall score and ranking were hurt by older model minivans such as the 2002 Ford Windstar, which ranks among the bottom 1% of all vehicles on the road. But Ford strengths in SUVs swept the entire category
  • The 2008 Taurus broke through in both rankings, taking the no. 1 in the Sedan category and no. 2 overall.

 

Chrysler improved its overall index rating score from 1.97 to 1.23, holding steady at no. 10.
  • Chrysler saw a slight increase in average repair incidents and costs since 2011, but introduced three vehicles to the top 100 list: 2010 Town + Country (no. 21), 2010 300 (no. 48) and the 2009 Town + Country (no. 67).

 

No.1-ranked manufacturer Toyota accounts for two of the top 10 ranked vehicles model year 2002 to 2012 and 18 of the top 100 vehicles (16 Toyota-branded vehicles and 2 Lexus vehicles).
  • The no. 1 ranked 2010 Toyota Corolla, had the lowest combined repair incidents and lowest average repair costs per number of registered vehicles, and the best CarMD Index rating of 0.80.
    – It should be noted; however, that the no.1-ranked vehicle on the 2011 Index was the 2009 Toyota Corolla, which has fallen off the top 100 list due to a recent increase in average repair cost from only $45.84 in 2011 to $232.50.
  • Other top-ranking Toyota vehicles include the 2009 Toyota Camry (no. 13) and the 2007 Toyota 4Runner (no. 18).
  • The top-ranked Lexus vehicles are the 2007 Lexus ES350 (no. 7 overall and no. 1 among luxury vehicles) and the 2005 ES330 (no. 31 overall and no. 2 in the luxury category).
  • Scion fell short of making the top 100 list with the highest ranking Scion being the 2004 xB, which ranked no. 204.

 

Ford has 15 vehicles in the top 100; including one in the top 10 (Ford had 13 vehicles in the top 100 in 2011).
  • Ford is led by the no. 2-ranked 2008 Ford Taurus, which has a very low average repair cost of $141.17 per incident.
  • The Ford Escape appears twice on the top 100 list, including the 2008 Escape (no. 23) and 2010 Escape (no. 26).
  • Other top-ranking Ford vehicles include the 2008 Expedition (no. 24); and the 2008 and 2007 Edge that rank no. 34 and no. 35 respectively.
  • Additionally, Ford took the top three spots among the CarMD list of top trucks, led by the 2008 Ranger, 2009 F150 and 2008 F150.

 

Subaru has 11 vehicles in the top 100, including two in the top 10. The brand also earned all three of the top-ranked vehicles in the Wagon/Crossover SUV category.
  • The 2010 Subaru Forester ranked no. 6 and the 2010 Outback ranked no. 10.
  • Subaru’s vehicles stood out for longevity; its 2003 Legacy and 2006 Outback are among the older vehicles in the top 100. With Subaru owners holding onto their vehicles longer than most, this explains why the most common repair on Subaru vehicles is “Replace Catalytic Converter” – a part that fails only after extensive wear and tear.

 

Chevrolet ranks fourth among manufacturers with the most vehicles in the top 100 with nine.
  • Its 2011 Chevrolet Impala ranks no. 9 among most reliable vehicles.
  • 2010 was a good year for Chevrolet, as six of the top 100 vehicles are model year 2010 Chevy vehicles: Malibu (no. 11), Cobalt (no. 27), Traverse (no. 53), Equinox (no. 63), Camaro (no. 64) and Silverado (no. 92).

 

Rounding out the brands with the most vehicles in the top 100 is Honda with six overall.
  • In 2011, Honda had four vehicles in the top 10. However, this year, Honda had only two of the top 10: the 2009 Pilot (no. 4 overall and no. 1 in the Full-Sized SUV category) and 2009 Accord (no. 5 overall and no. 2 in the Sedan category).
  • Honda was hurt by its Acura brand, which did not have any vehicles listed in the top 100. The highest ranking Acura was the 2006 TSX (no. 159).
  • Older-model vehicles that had both a high number of problems and high repair costs hurt Honda’s 2012 ranking. These include the 2003 and 2004 Odyssey as well as the 2003 Civic and 2002 CR-V, all of which fall in the bottom 5% of vehicles on the road today.