Toyota and Lexus once again finished atop the Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Reliability Survey, but the news was the No. 3 finisher – Buick.
The General Motors division became the first domestic brand to finish in the top three in more than 25 years.
The Chevrolet Cruze also finished as one of the most reliable vehicles overall.
“General Motors really deserves a lot of credit,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of auto testing.
“They’re making very dependable cars.”
Trucks are another story, Fisher said. For example, Consumer Reports ranked the Cadillac Escalade as the least reliable vehicle overall.
Buick, in fact, benefits from being a line-up of almost entirely cars and crossovers.
The other big surprise of the survey was the decline of Honda, especially the Civic.
This year marked the first time Consumers Reports failed to recommend the Civic because of reliability issues.
Honda put the Civic through a major redesign recently and one of the lessons of the survey is that is a common source of problems.
Fiat Chrysler’s brands performed the worst of any manufacturer. Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat and Ram took the bottom four spots, with Jeep just three slots above.
Tesla also came in near the bottom as issues with the Model X’s controversial falcon-wing doors drove down the company’s overall score.
The survey gathers data from more than a half million respondents.
This year, the entire process took place online.
“We’re able to have deeper knowledge and we’re able to make better predictions,” Fisher said.
The survey information is combined with Consumer Reports’ own testing data, as well as crash data, to create an overall score for recommendations.
Problems are given different weights, so major mechanical issues count for more than minor problems, such as difficulty connecting a USB cord to the sound system.
Fisher said the biggest lesson from the survey is that overall problem rates are not going down. New problems, such as transmissions, are replacing older problems, such as challenges with infotainment systems.