Consumer Reports poll: hybrids are the most reliable vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — Gasoline-electric hybrids have been the most reliable vehicles sold in the United States over the past year, while large pickup trucks and all-electric automobiles have had the worst results in the annual survey of the reliability of Consumer Reports.

Hybrids are generally tried-and-true designs with few frills, while automakers are packing glitchy electronics features into expensive new pickups and electric vehicles, according to the nonprofit group.

Hybrid technology has been around for over two decades, and even though vehicles alternate between electric and gasoline, they don’t have a lot of technology or complex multi-speed transmissions that have caused issues with other vehicles. , said Jake Fisher. , Senior Director of Automatic Testing.

“Hybrids are very conventionally built vehicles,” Fisher said. “They are aimed at practical buyers who are looking for reliable, efficient and safe vehicles, not the latest technology.”

With high gasoline prices and soaring prices for new vehicles, people are keeping their vehicles longer, so reliability and fuel economy are becoming more important to buyers, the group’s annual survey finds. . “A hybrid can provide years of trouble-free miles, and they’re a good defense against rising fuel prices,” Fisher said.

Reliability was extremely or very important to 94% of potential auto buyers, according to the survey, and 80% said the same about fuel economy, according to Consumer Reports.

Plug-in hybrids, which can travel a relatively short distance on battery power before switching to both gas and electric, don’t have the same level of reliability as hybrids, Fisher said.

It helps that most hybrids are sold by Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus, the top two brands in Consumer Reports’ rankings, released Tuesday at an Automotive Press Association meeting in Detroit.

Germany’s BMW jumped 10 places to third, while Mazda and Honda rounded out the top five.

Mercedes-Benz was the least reliable of the 24 brands in the survey, followed by Jeep, Volkswagen, GMC and Chevrolet.

Tesla, which makes the best-selling electric vehicles in the United States, moved up four spots to 19th place, although it still had quality issues, Fisher said.

Owners reported few issues with Tesla’s batteries and motors, but the company had issues with paint, fit and finish, heating and cooling, and suspension systems, Fisher said. Tesla’s Model 3 had average reliability, but the S, Y, and X were all below average.

Ford’s luxury Lincoln brand saw the biggest improvement in reliability, moving up 14 spots to rank 10th and become the only US-based brand in the top 10. The brand’s SUVs are older models that have been on sale for more years, allowing Ford to train the bugs, Fisher said.

Full-size pickups, Fisher said, have evolved into luxury vehicles with large touchscreens and multi-speed transmissions. They’re popular, so the market is competitive, with buyers looking for the latest in infotainment and other technology, he said. The investigation found issues with Ford’s F-150 trailer controller and power tailgates, while Chevrolet’s Silverado had engine issues, Fisher said.

Only seven of the 17 pickup models in this year’s survey had average or better reliability.

In theory, electric vehicles should be more reliable than internal combustion vehicles, Fisher said. But in addition to Tesla’s problems, electric vehicles from other automakers had charging and battery issues and electric drive motor issues. Of 11 electric vehicles for which Consumer Reports had adequate survey data, only four had average or better reliability.

Consumer Reports based its ranking on a survey of owners representing more than 300,000 vehicles from model years 2000 through 2022, with some new 2023 models included. The ranking is based on problems encountered with vehicles over the past year.

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