2008 'Most Reliable' Cars also Save Gas


Fuel efficient cars won’t just help you save more on gas than standard vehicles, they’re more reliable too.

Nine various hybrid models in the Consumer Reports' 2008 Car Reliability Survey earned above-average predicted reliability ratings.  The top-rated hybrids include the Toyota Prius (Stock Quote: TM), Toyota Camry Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Lexus GS450h Hybrid, Lexus RX400h Hybrid.

“If you’re looking for a fuel efficient car, there’s now extra assurance that these things are going to hold up,” says Rik Paul, automotive editor at Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports received automotive feedback from 1.4 million subscribers for this year's rankings, a record. Their data indicated a slight comeback for some European models, improving to “average reliability.”
“Overall European cars have been down below domestics in terms of reliability,” says Paul. “This year they have edged up above the domestics for the first time in years.”

Europeans autos leading the way include the Mercedes (Stock Quote: DAI) family—which has had some problems over the past few years—the C-Class sedan, the sporty SL, and the ML350 SUV received average-reliability rankings.  BMW also shows progress. Most versions of the 3 Series and some 5 Series models are average or better. The 6 Series also improved to above average.

Among domestic vehicles, Ford (Stock Quote: F) ranks number one for predicted-reliability.  The survey finds nearly all Ford models are now average or better, except some trucks.  General Motors (Stock Quote: GM) follows with some standouts of its own.  The newly redesigned four-cylinder Chevrolet Malibu scores better than average. The Buick Lucerne with a V8 and the Pontiac G6 with a four-cylinder are also above average. The Chevrolet Avalanche has improved to average.

The top prize in overall predicted-reliability goes to the Scion XD from the Toyota family. It had 80% fewer problems than an average vehicle in the survey.  In fact Asian models stole nearly every top rating. Out of the 47 models that got the highest scores, 40 are Asian, with Toyota and Honda (Stock Quote: HMC) at the top. “Asia is the dominant automakers in terms of reliability. They’re definitely doing something right,” says Paul.

The car with the least predicted-reliability, according to the survey, is the Chrysler Sebring convertible. It was 283% worse on average, with more problems than the average car surveyed.  Land Rover Range Rover, Dodge Avenger, Nissan Versa, Porsche Cayenne and Jeep Grand Cherokee were among other vehicles with the least reliability.

Catch more of Farnoosh’s advice on Real Simple. Real Life. on TLC, Friday nights at 8 p.m.

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