Consumer Reports: Some Used Vehicles More Reliable Than Similar New Vehicles

Consumer Reports’ 2011 used-car reliability survey found that Japanese automotive brands are the most trouble-free. The magazine also found 11 vehicles from the 2008 model-year that had the same or fewer number of problems compared to similar 2010 model-year vehicles in the same class.

Consumer Reports says the most trouble-free 2008 models were the Toyota FJ Cruiser and Toyota Yaris, with 11 and 12 problems per 100 vehicles, respectively. The average 2010 car had 13 problems for every 100 vehicles. The magazine says that although the FJ Cruiser and Yaris did not score well in its road tests, some of the other most reliable 2008 models, such as the Honda CR-V and Fit did, making them better overall choices for used car shoppers.

"Knowing a brand’s reputation for reliability can aid the used-car shopper, but it’s not foolproof," said David Champion, senior director, Consumer Reports Auto Test Center. "You’re buying just one model from that brand. So it’s important to check out the specific model’s reliability ratings and learn about other factors like performance and safety."

2008 Honda Ridgeline

2008 Honda Ridgeline

The magazine says that overall, used Japanese cars are the most trouble-free, with Honda and Toyota among the most reliable. Used vehicles from other major manufacturers, especially model-year 2006 and earlier vehicles, were nowhere near as reliable.

Consumer Reports’ Best of the Best (2001-2010 models):
Best Used Small Car: Honda Fit
Best Used Family Car: Toyota Prius
Best Used Upscale Car: Lexus ES
Best Used Luxury Car: Acura RL
Best Used Sport & Sporty Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata
Best Used Minivan: Toyota Sienna
Best Used Small SUV: Honda CR-V
Best Used Midsized & Large SUV: Toyota Highlander
Best Used Pickup Truck: Honda Ridgeline
Consumer Reports’ Worst of the Worst (2001-2010 models, alphabetically):

Audi A6 (2.7T, 3.0T), BMW 535i (AWD), BMW X5, Cadillac SRX (AWD), Chevrolet Astro, Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet Blazer, Chevrolet Colorado (4WD), Chevrolet Impala (V8), Chevrolet S-10 Pickup (4WD), Chevrolet Uplander, Chrysler PT Cruiser (turbo), Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, Dodge Grand Caravan, GMC Acadia (AWD), GMC Canyon (4WD), GMC S-15 Sonoma (4WD), GMC Safari, Hummer H3, Jaguar S-Type, XF, Kia Sedona, Mercedes-Benz R-Class, Mini Cooper Convertible, Pontiac G6 Coupe & Convertible, Saturn Outlook (FWD), Saturn Relay, Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible, Volkswagen Passat (V6, FWD)