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How car reliability varies by vehicle type

George Kennedy
How car reliability varies by vehicle type

Fuel-efficient wagons, alt-fuel vehicles and small luxury SUVs are the most reliable vehicle types, according to our 2014 Annual Auto Survey, which is based on our subscribers' experiences with more than a million vehicles. Compact cars, subcompact cars, and pickup trucks are among the least reliable. (See our complete report on car reliability.)

All six wagons, 18 of 20 electric/hybrid vehicles, and all 12 luxury compact SUVs have average or above-average predicted reliability. Pickups are at the bottom of the list, with only eight reliable models out of 22, which shows that trucks don't always live up to their sturdy image. Only five of the nine subcompact cars were reliable. See how the other vehicle categories fare below based on their average predicted reliability score (percent better or worse than the average car).

Vehicle Type Average predicted reliability score
Wagons 36
Hybrids/Electric Cars 21
Luxury copmact SUVs 18
Midsized cars 14
Coupes & convertibles 12
Luxury mid/large cars 10
Minivans 8
Large SUVs 3

Large cars

Sporty cars 0
Luxury mid/large SUVs -5
Small SUVs -9
Luxury compact cars -10
Midsize SUVs -18
Compact Cars -19
Subcompact cars -27
Pickup trucks -32

When it comes to buying a new car, you do not need to spend top dollar. But it does pay to do your research and find the model that meets Consumer Reports' stringent requirements to be recommended and suits your budget.

For more details on our 2014 Annual Auto Survey, including the full list of most and least reliable new cars by vehicle type, see our complete car reliability report. Also, check out our guide to car reliability for more details on new and used car reliability.

George Kennedy

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