Auto News for Oct. 25 – Buick – A First in 30 Years

 lexus_ux_concept

Buick Avista Concept front view shown in lacquer jewel red finish

 

 Consumer Reports has released its latest look at vehicle reliability. Here are the top ten for 2017:

Lexus

Toyota

Buick

Audi

Kia

Mazda

Hyundai

Infiniti

BMW

Honda

On the other end of the list were:

Tesla

Dodge

Chrysler

Fiat

Ram

 Toyota and Lexus topped the list of the most reliable brands again. CR said Toyota uses tried-and-true methods to build its vehicles, taking a conservative, evolutionary approach that makes them more reliable.

 Buick moves into the top three brands this year, the first brand from Detroit to place in the top three in 30 years. CR said Buick’s core product line is mature, with most problems having been ironed out. But, it added, Buick has introduced several new vehicles, which could have an impact on future brand performance.

 Infiniti is the biggest mover this year, jumping 16 places to crack the top 10. It has a small model lineup, so slight improvements in reliability can result in big brand gains.

 Three brands dropped significantly: Subaru, Volvo, and Volkswagen. They also have small model lineups, so one or two models suffering a drop in reliability had big repercussions for each brand.

 Subaru dropped out of the top 10 because of multiple problems in the Legacy sedan and Outback wagon, which now have average reliability. The drop was compounded by the WRX/STi falling to below average reliability.

 Honda took a tumble in the ratings, falling two slots and barely making it into the top ten. CR cited reliability problems with the redesigned Civic and Pilot. The Pilot received just an average reliability rating. The Civic’s infotainment system dragged the nameplate down along with engine problems. In February, Honda recalled 42,000 Civics for potential engine failure in the 2.0-liter four cylinder power plant.

 Tesla’s Model S has improved to average reliability, which now makes the electric car one of CR’s recommended models. But its new Model X SUV has been plagued with malfunctions, including its complex Falcon-wing doors and Tesla finished 25th out of 29 brands. Tesla responded that it has fixed many of the problems since CR conducted its consumer survey. Both vehicles can be upgraded to include Tesla’s optional semi-autonomous Autopilot software, which can allow the car to maintain lane position, speed, and following distances on its own.  “Consumer Reports has serious concerns about how some automakers, including Tesla, have designed, deployed, and marketed semi-autonomous technology. We believe automakers need to clearly communicate what these systems can and cannot do.”

 Consumer Reports said Ford, which placed 18th in the survey, continues to have problems with its nine-speed automatic transmissions, especially in the Ford Focus compact car and Fiesta subcompact.

 No Hyundai or Kia model finished below average reliability wise.

 The bottom line in all this is clear. CR said brands that stick with proven components fair better in its study than those with all new everything. It noted that Toyota and Lexus sometime lag other makers in the introduction of new technology and infotainment equipment, but their systems have proven more reliable.

  Elsewhere:

 A survey conducted for Hankook Tires reveals our Election Day driving plans. Nearly one third (29%) of Americans drive a red or a blue car, but just like the nation, they’re split on whether this color choice matches their political affiliation. Sixty-five percent of likely voters will drive to their polling place. Thirty-eight percent rated potholes as the top road hazard followed by animals in the road. And keep in mind, whether your candidate wins or not, 15% of Americans say they’d like to have a current or former president in the car on a road trip!

 Honda said its Fuel Cell Sedan, the Clarity, has received an EPA range rating of 366 miles and a fuel economy rating of 68 miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent. The Clarity will appear later this year in a dozen fuel cell vehicle dealerships in California.

 

 

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