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When it comes to consumer brand loyalty, everyone seems to have an opinion. And in the case of auto manufacturing, loyalty is hard-fought and easily lost. But for many brand loyalists, it would take more than a few recalls and customer service disasters, or MPG discrepancies to abandon their favorite emblem. This might be due to history with the brand, appeal of the model or features offered; plus, a variety of other factors. But one of the most important considerations is a vehicle’s reliability.
The automotive industry is one that’s been and will continue to be highly competitive, especially as technology continues to expand and capabilities are one-upped with the next model version that comes out. It’s a constant race to see who will come back on top.
When it comes to what drivers value most from their vehicle, reliability tops the list year after year, model after model.
Most Reliable Cars by Brand in 2016
There are brands immediately associated with vehicle reliability, but then there are others who have struggled through different model years to eventually rise to the top.
Lexus has three of the seven models that made Consumer Reports’ Top 10 List for most reliable cars. The Lexus CT 200h, Lexus GX, and the Lexus GS all get accolades for their responsive and secure handling. The GS is also noted for its quiet ride and roomy interior. As a longtime luxury favorite, the Lexus doesn’t disappoint when it comes to dependability.
As with Lexus, Toyota is pretty conservative when it comes to its design and manufacturing. The brand sticks with what works and what consumers rely on them for: quality, consistency, safety, and its legendary lean manufacturing process (Toyota Production System). While less flashy than some of its competitors, its value remains high throughout the years, due to its reliability across the board.
Buick’s exterior has been upgraded as highlighted in their “Is That a Buick?” commercials, but it’s also overcome some of its previous problems to climb the ranks and be in the number three spot as one of the most reliable car brands in the market today (as listed by Consumer Reports).
The Audi Q3 and Audi Q7 models both make the list of ten most reliable cars headed into 2017. However, the luxury exterior of these vehicles is overshadowed by the responsive handling and advanced safety systems, such as automatic emergency brakes and lane assistance, which keeps it at the top of the list year after year.
In 2016, Kia was named the number one brand by J.D. Power for new model reliability. This accomplishment made it the first non-luxury brand to top the list since 1989. It was only a matter of time, since in 2015, Kia came ranked number two, but it’s a far shift from a decade ago when they dwelled in the basement of the rankings. The brand’s resurgence is largely attributed to the hire of chief designer Peter Schreyer, a German-born engineer and automobile designer made famous by his contributions to the influential Audi TT.
Least Reliable Cars by Brand in 2016
Even brands that have been popular for years can hit a rut and start to see consumers’ trust start to diminish, whether due to poorly made, new models, industry scandal, or just overall unreliability they’ve never been able to escape.
Lincoln has had a steady decline in reliability rankings over the past few years due to many of its models having below average reliability. Namely, the MyLincoln Touch was the contention of many reliability issues a few years ago without being fully ironed out, which was a turnoff for many consumers.
Cadillac is known for its boxy-looking exteriors, which doesn’t equate to a smooth ride or flexible handling. For example, as big of a statement the Cadillac Escalade makes on the outside, it still ranks worst in class for its reliability and has other features (lack of comfort and space) that placed this model on the list of least reliable cars by Consumer Reports.
The Volkswagen Jetta used to be one of America’s top-selling vehicles with drivers drawn to the compact zippiness of this brand’s model. However, when Volkswagen faced an emissions cheating scandal in 2015, its reputation quickly began to sink, which has hurt an already dwindling reliability among the public due to problems with their powertrains.
Jeep brand models are known for their fun, off-roading driving capabilities, best suited for adventure-seeking drivers. But it has still received poor quality rating year after year due to consumer reviews. The Jeep Wrangler, in particular, comes with limitations such as a jerky ride and poor handling that doesn’t put it at the top of any reliability lists (the in-dash passenger grab bars are there for a reason).
GMC vehicles have a large-and-in-charge presence, but their trucks and large SUVs are typically on the least reliable vehicle list. The GMC Yukon, specifically, made the list of 10 least reliable cars on the list produced by Consumer Reports for lack of efficiency and handling.
When it comes to your vehicle, it’s important to not only have a brand you can count on, but repair coverage that’s reliable as well. Regardless of the type of vehicle you prefer or its known reliability on the road, it’s inevitable for your vehicle to need a part replacement or repair at some point.
Make sure you have what you need in place to avoid paying steep costs to get your vehicle fixed. Manufacturer warranties expire, but cars will often live on, which makes a vehicle service contract a helpful option to provide the coverage you need. Learn more about the benefits of a vehicle service contract and get your free quote today.