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Consumer Reports: Most reliable cars '06

Nissan, Hyundai have models in both the highest and lowest ranks; hybrids do well.

October 27, 2005; Posted: 10:22 a.m. EDT (1422 GMT)


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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Consumers can't just put their faith in a trusted brand name when it comes to looking for a new car.

Nissan and Hyundai had models in both the highest and lowest rankings of Consumer Reports predicted-reliability survey this year, according to the magazine.

Nissan's luxury brand, Infiniti, had two of the most reliable models -- the Infiniti M35 and M45. But four Nissan cars -- the Nissan Quest, Armada and Titan and and Infiniti QX56 -- landed on the list of worst for predicted reliability. (Click on car names for vehicle details and images.)

For Hyundai, Consumer Reports predicted, the Hyundai Tucson SUV will likely have poor reliability, while theSanta Fe SUV and and the Elantra should have average reliability. Reliability for the newly redesigned Sonata remains unknown.

"The message to consumers is clear: You can't gauge reliability based only on a nameplate. Some automakers do have a better track record but individual models -- especially newer ones -- can have some problems," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center, in a statement. "New-car buyers should always check our reliability rating for the model they're buying."

Of the 31 cars that earned the top rating, only two were from U.S.-based manufacturers -- the remaining 29 vehicles were from Japanese automakers, and none represented European brands. Almost half of the top 31 -- 15 vehicles -- were manufactured by Toyota.

Of the vehicles with the worst reliability, 22 were from U.S.-based manufacturers, 20 from European brands, four from Japanese makers and two from South Korean companies.

Hybrid models turned in above-average results, despite their complex mechanical drivetrains. Hybrids use both gasoline engines and electric motors that run on batteries charged by the gasoline engine.

Consumer Reports surveyed the owners of more than a million vehicles. Owners were surveyed through the magazine's Web site and through surveys mailed to subscribers. To calculate predicted reliability for 2006 model-year vehicles, the magazine averaged overall reliability scores for the last three model years, provided that the vehicle remained substantially unchanged over that time. For vehicles that were new or substantially redesigned during that time, data from the just one or two years was used.

Best predicted reliability:

(As calculated by Consumer Reports)

Small cars:

Toyota Echo

Honda Civic (2005)

Toyota Prius

Honda Civic Hybrid (2005)

Toyota Corolla

Subaru Impreza (non-turbo)

Sporty cars/Convertibles Coupes

Honda S2000

Mazda MX-5 Miata (2005)

Lexus SC430

Chevrolet Monte Carlo (2005)


Lexus GS300/GS430*

Infiniti M35/M45*

Lexus IS300 (2005)

Honda Accord Hybrid*

Toyota Camry

Honda Accord 4-cyl.

Lexus LS430


Toyota Matrix


(None rated "Best")

Small SUVs

Toyota Rav4 (2005)

Honda CR-V

Honda Element

Subaru Forester

Mercury Mariner*

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mid-sized SUVs

Lexus RX400h (hybrid)*

Toyota Highlander

Toyota 4Runner (V-8)

Infiniti FX35

Large SUVs

Toyota Land Cruiser

Pick-up trucks

Honda Ridgeline*

Toyota Tundra

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