When it comes to predicted reliability -- coming after years of gab from Detroit about how its cars don't break down anymore -- six American brands rank dead last in Consumer Reports' latest predictions on automotive reliability being released right now. At the other extreme, the best brand is Toyota's Scion.
The worst is Chrysler and its least-reliable model is the Town & Country minivan, pictured above. A third of Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge models are considered much worse than average including the new Dodge Journey crossover. Only one Chrysler product is recommended by the magazine, the Dodge Ram 1500 pickup in the four-wheel-drive version. Last year, none got the nod.
And the best: The top seven are all Japanese, led by Toyota's Scion, with the eighth a South Korean, Hyundai. Toyota and Honda dominate the reliability charts. Three of the top five models are made by Toyota, including the Lexus ES, Toyota Venza, and Toyota Yaris hatchback. Number one is the Honda Insight, pictured above right.
In the press release, Consumer Reports touts the reliability of Fords, saying it is the only Detroit maker with "world-class reliability," yet the top ranking Ford brand is Mercury at 10th, followed by Ford at 16th and Lincoln at 20th. The report lauds the Ford Flex crossover, but rips on all-wheel-drive Lincoln clones of Ford cars, the MKS, MKX and MKZ. "They are now consistently making cars with world-class reliability," said Rik Paul, automotive editor of the magazine. The Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, both built on the same platform, beat out the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry in reliability for the second year in a row.
There are vast differences between models. A new Honda Insight is 27 times less likely to have a problem than the biggest dog in the pack, the Volkswagen Touareg, Consumer Reports says.
Here's the brand ranking, best to worst: