Best and worst auto models of 2009 by car maker

2009 Annual Auto Reliability Survey: Best and worst models by car maker
 BMW 328i
It is easy to assume that certain automakers build only reliable cars and others don’t, however, nearly every manufacturer have their share of winners and losers in our annual reliability survey. Each company and even brand product portfolio runs a spectrum of reliability performance, with its own best and worst examples. For some, the range can span from much better than average to much worse than average, whereas other may be centered around average. The key lesson from scanning the data within an automaker is not to make assumptions.

For example, the best Toyota Motor Company model in our reliability survey is the Lexus SC—its predicted reliability score is the second highest out of over 300 vehicles, but the worst is the Lexus GS (AWD), which scores in the bottom 10 percent, and receives a much worse than average rating, and is not recommended in our testing. While it is true that Lexus models tend to be reliable and test well, this is not the case for all Lexus vehicles.
The greatest disparity comes from Volkswagen. The VW Golf (aka Rabbit) is one of the most reliable small cars you can buy, but the Volkswagen Touareg has the lowest predicted reliability score in our 2009 Annual Auto Survey.

In most cases, the best model for reliability is a recommended model and the worst is not. However, Honda’s top reliable vehicle in our survey, the Honda Insight, is not recommended due to low scores in our testing. The least reliable Honda vehicle is the Acura RL, but it has an average reliability score and is recommended. Honda is one of the more consistent manufacturers and has no model that scored below average in reliability.

The two more reliable General Motors products are from two brands that are leaving the GM umbrella. The Saturn Aura (4-cyl.) is newly recommended this year and the Pontiac Vibe will be phased out in the coming months.

Below are the best and worst models in reliability. Models with an * are based on data of one model year only.

Best: BMW 328i (RWD)
Worst: BMW 535i (AWD)*

Best: Jeep Patriot
Worst: Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan

Best: Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan (4-cyl.)
Worst: Ford F-250 (turbodiesel, 4WD)*

General Motors
Best: Chevrolet Malibu (V6)
Worst: Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon (4WD)

Best: Honda Insight*
Worst: Acura RL

Best: Hyundai Tucson
Worst: Kia Sedona

Best: Mazda3 sedan
Worst: Mazda CX-7

Best: Mercedes-Benz GLK*
Worst: Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (turbodiesel)*

Best: Infiniti M35 (RWD)
Worst: Nissan Versa sedan*

Best: Subaru Impreza Outback Sport
Worst: Subaru Impreza WRX*

Best: Lexus SC*
Worst: Lexus GS (AWD)

Best: Volkswagen Golf (Rabbit)
Worst: Volkswagen Touareg*

Best: Volvo S40 (FWD)*
Worst: Volvo XC90 (V8)*

The main take away from this information is don’t judge a book by its cover. Avoid assumptions and do your research before you buy your next vehicle. It takes just a few minutes to browse the model overview pages, or use the interactive new car selector tool, which sorts and filters by the parameters that matter most to you.

Either path will reveal Consumer Reports recommended models that did well in our road tests, score average or better in reliability, and performs at least adequately if included in government or insurance industry safety tests.


  1. Very useful post .Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Good post. Thank you for sharing.

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