Consumer Reports regularly puts all of the automakers through their paces trying to determine which brands should be deemed most reliable.
And reliably, Asian brands tend to dominate the top 10 list – except this year.
Buick hatched a surprise and finished third in this year’s listing of the Most Reliable Brands behind Lexus and Toyota. The result marked the first time in three decades that a Detroit-based brand make the top 10 list.
This year, the next-highest Detroit finisher was Chevrolet, which finished 15th out of 29 brand tested by the magazine. Buick’s quality and reliability scores have been tops among General Motors brands for the past several years, but this year’s result was a bit of a surprise.
However, what wasn’t a surprise was the top of the list: Toyota and its luxury unit, Lexus, have topped the reliability list for four years in a row after this year’s result.
Asian brands captured seven of the top 10 spots this year. After the aforementioned top three of Lexus, Toyota and Buick, Audi, Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Infiniti, BMW and Honda rounded out the list, according to the magazine.
While the top three finish is laudable, Buick has an advantage that it’s other GM siblings do not which makes attaining the third-place finish a little easier.
Buick beat its past performances and leap to the top of GM’s brand portfolio because it has fewer models than the others. The Buick Enclave, Encore, Verano and Regal all scored near the top of their individual segments.
“Buick’s achievement is commendable and sure to be a wake-up call to other manufacturers,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing in a statement.
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“One reason why the brand has been able to leapfrog others in the General Motors’ stable has been its limited vehicle line-up – with none of the pickups and truck-based SUVs that have negatively impacted Cadillac and Chevrolet.”
The biggest improvement came from Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, which saw an impressive 16-place rise in its ranking.
This year’s report revealed a few other interesting wrinkles. First, Honda is struggling with its consistency. While it finished in the top 10 in the 10th spot, it could have been higher except for problems with two new models: the Pilot SUV and the Civic.
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The current model year Pilot sported Honda’s redesigned Pilot SUV scored just average while the Civic sedan scored much-worse-than-average on reliability because of problems with its power equipment and infotainment systems, Consumer Reports said.
Not surprisingly, Korean automakers Kia and Hyundai continue to improve their results – a trend that has been ongoing now for the past few years. Both brands finished in the top 10; however, and perhaps more importantly, no Kia or Hyundai models scored below average.
The Kia Forte, Optima, Soul and Sorento as well as the Hyundai Azera, Accent and Santa Fe all scored among the top in their segments.
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Another trend that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon is the performance of Fiat Chrysler brand vehicles. This year, no Fiat or Ram model scored average or better. Only the company’s Chrysler 300 sedan, Dodge Grand Caravan minivan and Jeep Patriot SUV managed an average or better score.