sedans, hybrids score high for reliability, evs, trucks do not: report

Hybrids and sedans score the best for reliability, while electric vehicles and pickup trucks are the most problematic. That’s based on the latest Annual Auto Reliability survey from Consumer Reports (CR) on predicted reliability for 2023 models, which also revealed that Toyota, Lexus, and BMW are the top three brands for reliability overall.

The company surveys its members about problems they’ve had with their vehicles over the previous 12 months, focusing on 17 areas including the engine, transmission, and in-car electronics. The predictions are made on information from previous model years on vehicles that haven’t been redesigned for 2023. For vehicles with insufficient data, CR analyzes previous generations, the brand’s reliability history, and other vehicles that share components.

While consumers are increasingly buying SUVs and pickups, sedans were the most reliable vehicle type in the survey. On a scale of zero to 100, the overall average predicted reliability score for sedans is 58. SUVs came second at 51, followed by minivans at 44, and pickups at 39. CR attributed the higher score due to most sedans being older models, “so automakers have had time to work out the bugs,” and noted they “also lack problem-prone features like rear-seat entertainment systems and the power sliding doors on minivans.”

Hybrids scored well for reliability, but electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) didn’t do as well. Owner complaints included battery packs, charging systems, and drive motors. EVs including the Chevrolet Bolt, Ford Mustang Mache-E, Hyundai Kona Electric, and Volkswagen ID.4 rated below-average reliability. Among PHEVs, the Toyota Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime had lower scores than their hybrid siblings, and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, a PHEV, was one of the survey’s least-reliable.

Pickup trucks have had low reliability ratings for six of the last seven years of the survey. Among those rating below-average were the redesigned Toyota Tundra, Hyundai Santa Cruz, Nissan Frontier, Jeep Gladiator, and full-size Ford and GM trucks. The Toyota Tacoma and both conventional and hybrid versions of the Ford Maverick scored above average.

Models with improved reliability ratings that now earn CR’s “Recommended” status are the Audi Q3, Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Escape Hybrid, Genesis G80 and GV70, Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Hybrid, Kia Seltos, Sorento Hybrid and Soul, Lincoln Corsair and Nautilus, Mini Cooper, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Corolla Hatchback, and Volvo S60. Those that lost their previous “Recommended” status due to declining reliability are the Ford Bronco Sport and Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Elantra and Kona, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Tundra, and Volvo XC60.

The top ten most reliable 2023 vehicles in the survey, starting from the best:

  • Toyota Corolla Hybrid
  • Lexus GX
  • Mini Cooper
  • Toyota Prius
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • Lincoln Corsair
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Subaru Crosstrek
  • BMW 3 Series
  • Toyota Prius Prime

The top ten least-reliable 2023 vehicles, starting from the worst:

  • Ford F-150 Hybrid
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Lincoln Aviator
  • Nissan Sentra
  • Ford Explorer
  • Chevrolet Bolt
  • GMC Sierra 1500
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500

CR also rated a number of the auto brands for overall reliability. Coming third behind Toyota and Lexus, BMW jumped ten spots from last year. Mazda was in second place last year but fell to fourth. Lincoln was the most-improved brand, rising 10 spots to 14th place. For the first time ever, Mercedes-Benz was last, with owners reporting problems with in-car electronics such as screens freezing or going blank, and with hardware replacement sometimes required. Brands that weren’t included in the survey because they offer too few models for sufficient data were Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mini, Mitsubishi, Polestar, Porsche, and Rivian.

On the 0 to 100 scale, most brands ranked between 41 to 60. Those above 60 were Toyota (72), Lexus (72), BMW (65), Mazda (65), and Honda (62). Those within the range were Audi (60), Subaru (59), Acura (57), Kia (54), Lincoln (54), Buick (54), Genesis (52), Hyundai (46), Volvo (45), Nissan (44), Ram (42), Cadillac (42), and Ford (41). Those below the mid-range were Tesla (40), Chevrolet (40), GMC (36), Volkswagen (31), Jeep (30) and Mercedes-Benz (24).

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