After 40 years of reporting on car reliability, Consumer Reports magazine has issued its first list of 10 best and 10 worst used cars. The magazine has also expanded its frequency-of-repair charts to report on cars going back eight years, instead of six to give buyers of used cars even more reliability history.
The frequency-of-repair charts in this year’s annual April auto issue are based on a year’s worth of information about car trouble (from April 1993 to March 1994) provided by Consumer Reports readers, and include 252 models. The charts cover 16 trouble spots: engine, cooling, fuel, ignition, automatic transmission, manual transmission, clutch, electrical, air-conditioning, suspension, brakes, exhaust, body rust, paint/trim, body integrity and hardware.
Based on the reliability scores generated by data from more than 580,000 autos — from sedans to minivans, pickups and sports utility vehicles — Consumer Reports engineers and statisticians also issued a list of the 10 best and worst cars from 1987 to 1993 that should prove useful to anyone shopping for a used car. Cars were ranked according to the number of times they were in the top or bottom 10 in terms of reliability.
The Honda Accord topped the list as the most reliable car — it was in the top 10 in six of the seven model years. The Lexus LS400 was in the top 10 every year since it was introduced in 1990. In contrast, the Ford Bronco was judged the worst, making it to the bottom 10 list six out of seven years.
Hyundai has been making very unreliable cars, and its models head the problem list for almost every trouble spot. If Consumer Reports auto experts had more data, they believe the Hyundai Excel would most likely have been on the list for all years surveyed.CONSUMER REPORTS, Consumer Reports magazine