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Which carmakers are most reliable these days?

March 18, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
With the upheaval in the car industry, it is difficult to tell which carmakers are the best. Consumer Reports and J.D. Associates are now out with their list of top automakers and cars and on each list there are some real surprises. Consumer Reports released their annual auto issue and they put two automakers at the top of the list. Consumer Reports' rankings, by the way, are calculated from extensive testing at its auto center, and on reliability based on subscribers' experiences.

Carol Lombardo says that the only kind of new car she wants to buy is a Honda. She's shopping for her fifth one.

"It's economical and it's a reliable car," said Carol. "Excellent customer service, I never had any problems."

Honda's record of reliability and its high scores at the test track are why Consumer Reports again rates it as one of the top carmakers. But Honda's fuel economy isn't keeping up with the competition. David Champion, the director of auto testing, says that there is another concern.

"In tests of some of the redesigned Honda models, we've seen that their performance really isn't as good as the old model that they replaced," explained Champion.

This year, Subaru tied with Honda with an overall score of 77 out of 100.

"That was helped by the redesigned Legacy and Outback, which performed very well in our tests," said Champion.

Hyundai, which also makes Kia, earned a score of 73, a sign of improvement from last year.

"Hyundai and Kia have come a long way recently. Their redesigned models have been excellent in our testing. Their reliability has been very good. And they also offer a long warranty," said Champion

As for American cars, Ford inched up to a 64 out of 100, the only one to improve over last year. General Motors, with a score of 57, is still second from the bottom.

"Their recently redesigned models have been excellent in our testing, but their reliability needs to improve," said Champion.

Chrysler, with a score of 46, is in last place. Consumer Reports is only recommending its Dodge Ram pickup this year.

On Thursday, J.D. Power and Associates released their study on the top cars, but their survey just covered long term dependability. There was quite a surprise when the German sports car, Porsche, roared to the top of the list. It was in the ninth place in 2009. Lincoln came in second while Buick and Lexus tied for third. Mercury and Toyota rounded out the top five.

Toyota fell two places in the J.D. Power survey and in the Consumer Reports testing, Toyota ranked number three despite the plague of recent recalls.