Consumer Reports: Hybrids Are Very Reliable

Hybrid cars outscored other vehicle segments for reliability, according to the Consumer Reports Annual Car Reliability Survey, released on Thursday. Nine hybrid models were included in the survey of 1.4 million subscribers of Consumer Report. All the hybrids earned above-average predicted-reliability ratings.

Some consumers have expressed concerns about reliability of hybrid batteries and other components. “We haven’t actually seen that,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Division. “They all get better reliability than their regular counterparts. They seem to be very reliable.”

Consumer Reports also found that non-hybrid gas-sippers such as the Honda Fit, Scion xD, Smart ForTwo, and Toyota Yaris had few problems. Ford scored well for domestic car companies, but the top 10 most-reliable brands sold in America are all owned by Asian automakers.


  • Need2Change

    My first response is that yes hybrids are reliable — most are Toyotas, Lexuses, and Hondas. But it is interesting that the Ford Escape is also reliable.

    I think it’s too early to rate the reliability of the GM hybrids.

  • Bill Cosworth

    I think Ford and GM are building more realible cars than Toyota and Honda now.

    Certily a lot safer.

    Ford cards are 10 folds safer than toyota cars.

    The american insurance stated that a Ford focus and Toyota prius were in the same accident.

    The Focus cost $900 to fix the Toyota cost $9000.

    Volvo saftey has really helped ford.

    I tihnk americans need an attitude adjustment towards our own products because we build really good cars and we need to stop sending money and profits overseas. If you want more of a downturn in our own economy keep on buying foreign goods including foreign oil

    The joke about these “Green Folks” is they dont want to give the arabs our money well dont give the Chinese or Japinese our money either. Keep the money in our own economy so our kids will have a future.

    Ford has more cars scoring higher than Toyota on JD too.

    So that lost comment was really biased” Supprized for did better than toyota”

  • Frankmiller

    I call it consumer distorts.

    I had a neighbor who had a honda who spent 2000 a year on maintaince but said how great it was and rated it perfect.

    Where my other neighbor compained for 5 days how bad his ford was when spending 200 on an alternator.

    I think Bill is right american public is highly biased against its own products to the point its affecting there abilty to rate there own products.

    ITs almost like its bad to say anything against an asian company.

  • Cindy

    I agree why are we listing to Consumer Reports again?

    I used to work at a TV shop as a kid and they rated one TV the best and one the lowest and they both were the same TV.

    WE knew because we knew about brand re-badge and the insides were exactly the same.

    My respect for consumer reports is almost zero.

    Who writes these articles why not look at other sources blanket statements against American industry is crazey.

    I work at Apple and we used to have 100% perfect computers infact all our computers were amazing. The old apples still work where the new ones made in China are failing…

  • Gary

    LOL why is there a prius in every picture on this site.

    Is this a Big Toyota avert site.

    LOL

  • TD

    I’ve had the opposite experience as some here. I bought GM vehicles for years. I’ve probably spent about $8000 or more on non-regular maintenance on 3 GM vehicles. And some of that while still under warranty. GM and the dealer refused to cover the repair costs telling me that leaky break seals and other problems was my fault! And that total does not count all of the money GM had to eat on under-warranty repairs.

    Switched to Honda and have had to spend exactly $0 out of pocket on non-regular maintenance.

    The buy America argument doesn’t cut it any more. GM and Ford are building more cars in Mexico and Canada and importing them and Honda and Toyota are building cars in Kentucky.

  • ACAGal

    I can’t talk about hybrids, I haven’t got one…I have Volvos.

    I can say Consumer’s Reports has failed me twice. The diesel VW Rabbit was top rated by CR. It was supposed to last at least 250,000 miles. The block cracked, twice, the seat fabric failed before 70,000 miles. The reason for buying it was diesel was supposed to be cheaper than gas….it was, for about 3 months. The car was always dirty from the exhaust, stank. This was back in Jimmy Carter’s days, when we used to go to the fast food joint across from the cheapest gas station in town, to watch folks line up and fight over their places in the gas lines.
    My old American cars lasted me twice as long as that VW, and cost less to repair. I heard a guy who tests cars say, exactly what Bill said: Ford has become much safer after buying Volvo….I like my Volvos, might consider looking at Ford next time.

    The other CR failure was flooring, which happened to be the same as the builder of a new house I bought, had installed in our kitchen/familyroom. CR thought it was wonderful. It didn’t stand up to kids under the age of four, it tore when chairs were moved, pitted if silverware was dropped. I still read CR but I never use only that magazine as a source.

  • Shines

    I must disagree with Bill, Frank, Cindy and Gary.
    Most Hondas and Toyotas are more reliable than most American car company cars. Consumer Reports is fair and impartial.
    My used Camry with 103000 miles is a better car than any new American car I’ve purchased – (3 I’ve purchased new). Or any American car I’ve owned or driven.
    I’d like to be pro American car company – I tried 3 times.
    I drive American rental cars and I’ve been driving for over 35 years.
    I do believe that Ford and GM and Chrysler are getting better. I am sure some are better in inital quality than some of the Japanese. But it takes years to prove reliability.
    This site is Hybrid Cars and the best selling is Prius. The site also reviewed the new Saturn Vue 2 mode. It looks very promising.
    I am all for reliable high quality American cars. It’s just that I have been dissappointed many times. I keep hoping Ford will come out with a highly reliable, quality car that is very fuel efficient. The Escape Hybrid is very close. I’d look seriously at a sedan or a small pickup. If the new Malibu Hybrid proves reliable I will seriously consider it.

  • Anonymous

    “The Focus cost $900 to fix the Toyota cost $9000.” hence “Ford cards are 10 folds safer than toyota cars.”???

    I don’t know how can anyone make a safety claim based on crash repair cost. This is very misleading. If anything, I would support the opposite. Modern cars that have better crumble zones tend to be more costly to repair because they absorb more energy before passing on the impact to the passengers. In my opinion cars with better crumble zones are certainly much safer than “rigid” cars.

  • sean t

    Bill et al,
    There are 2 types of crash test: One is for < 15-20 km/h and one is the normal test about safety: Front, Offset and Side impact.
    The 1st type of crash is to estimate the repair cost because in this type of crash, driver/passengers are unlikely to get injured. Car insurance companies are interested in this type of test.
    The 2nd type is clear: To estimate the severity of injuries on occupants. In this type of test, who cares about repair cost as most of them will be written off. What people care in this test is the safety of occupants, not metal.
    Shouldn’t be confused b/w the 2 types.

  • Sean C.

    You stole the words right out of my mouth..”The Ford repairs cost $900, while the Toyota repairs cost $9000. Therefore, the Ford is 10X safer.” … Hahaha that’s some good reasoning skills there.

    I base my beliefs that American cars are pieces of crap off of (1) my experiences of owning American cars vs. Japanese cars, (2) non-consumer-reported reliability ratings that consistently rate Japanese made cars as being more reliable, and (3) the early years when American and Japanese car companies first started up – on Ford’s Model-T assembly lines, the faster the assembly line moved, the better. Factory workers were scolded by supervisors if they stopped the line due to car defects, because that’s the American way: produce more = make more money. On the other hand, Toyota’s founder, Kiichiro Toyoda, toured Ford’s factories and realized that wasn’t the best way to manufacture vehicles. He realized valuable time could be saved if repetitive defects were detected early on, so that the manufacturing process could be modified to remove the defects in the first place. This method produced vehicles of much higher average quality off the assembly line, thus eliminating much of the wasted time spent checking vehicles fresh off the assembly line for problems, and reducing the wasted resources associated with sending a defective vehicle back.

    Sure, that was a long time ago, but I’m willing to bet the companies’ underlying philosophies during their early years still persist today.

  • Joe

    95 Toyota 4Runner with 110,000 miles and a blown head gasket. Toyota made the worst 6 cyclinder engine from 90-95 and a lot of them had premature blown headgasket starting around 75,000 miles. I am not feeling the “Toyota oh what a feeling.” cost more 3,000.00 to fix!

  • Sean C.

    Sure, all car companies make an occassional engine that is a POS, but when it comes to all around reliability, Japanese-made wins, hands down.. My moms 94 Toyota Previa 4-cyl van has 350,000 miles on it.. And still running on the original motor (hasn’t been rebuilt either).

  • Harry Taylor

    Oh I totally agree with the folks here consumer reports get heavy donations from Toyota.

    I have owned toyota cars 2 in fact. One the transmission melted down after 110k. My toyota supera had to have the top end rebuild after 95k and the struts failed ( electronics) causing a light and they were to the tune of 1k each.

    I have owned german cars. My mercadies was OK my Audi was horrable.

    Its funny CR rates the audi better than a ford taurus but my ford taurus and ford explorer cars are so reliable they are booing because nothing fails.

    Oh and the highest millage truck without an engine rebuild is 1 million miles on a Chevy Pickup in was in the news.

    This Jap is better is so a load of crap. Trust me after owning many cars in my life.

  • zatari

    The article they were referring to was

    http://www.autoblog.com/2008/09/09/iihs-praises-ford-focus-for-cheap-crash-repairs/2

    But I tend to agree toyota prius is very unsafe.

    I had a friend hit by a dear it cost $ 5k of damage and he hit it at 24 mph he said.

    I looked at one at the LA auto show and the front end was tinfoil.

    I think the gas you save might not be worth you life in the case of this car.

  • mdensch

    My experience owning a couple of Japanese cars, a Volkswagen and Fords has been that the Japanese cars were no better in overall quality or reliability than the Fords. (The worst car I owned was a Nissan Sentra, total piece of junk. The VW wasn’t much better.) The Fords I’ve owned have been as good as if not better than the Toyota I owned.

    I only have 16,000 miles on my 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, but have experienced absolutely no problems so far.

  • Energy Saver

    I’ve bought a grill, washer, dryer, vacuum, blower, and much more based on Consumer Reports and I’ve been very pleased with the “as good as you can get” accuracy. Sure, sometimes I’m sure people get some duds that cause them to be emotionally frustrated at C.R. But that’s the exception.

    As for cars, my Toyota Camry has 294,000 miles and I’ve never had automotive repair work done. I have 3 friends with Toyotas with over 200,000 miles themselves. It’s very common. Ford…not so much. I was in a serious accident in my wife’s Honda Civic. It did great in protecting us. I’m sold. Safe. Reliable. Economic. Stylish. What’s the problem?

  • Pat

    Well, I owned two american cars twenty some years ago. One was a Pontiac Catalina, the other one was a Chevy NOVA. I think I have been lucky no big repair on them but did quit on me once in awhile. Then I bought an E 300 Mercedes Benz, I had it for 8 years averaging $2,000 a year repair. I sold it for $3,000. Now I am driving a Toyota Camry Hybrid and my wife drives a 9 years old Toyota Corolla. We used to own a 4 runner and the Sienna Van. I spend about $250 dollar on all four toyotas in the past 14 years. My wife’s Corolla still have the origianl battery and muffler on it. I can tell you my next car will be another Toyota.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    I’m not sure who subverted this discussion to oabout American -vs- Foreign cars but, I, for one, see the big thing in this article being:

    Hybrids -vs- pure ICE

    Clearly, the record for Hybrids is just as theory predicted. They don’t wear out like pure ICE powered cars do.
    - Hybrids use the electric motor to help the ICE through the tough stuff like accelerating and hill climbing
    - The electric motors in hybrids are very simple with minimal moving parts and no large temperature gradients. Therefore, they can be very reliable.
    - Batteries are pretty good as well. Auto manufacturers knew this from the experiences with the EV1, Toyota RAV4EV, etc but didn’t want anyone to know this.
    - Regenerative braking significantly reduces brake wear.

    From an auto industry perspective, this is the problem with hybrids and EVs: They don’t require sufficient after-market servicing and parts.

  • kanejk

    There seem to be people that feel we should be buying American-made vehicles, so that the cash flow doesn’t end in Japan.

    Well, I see the point-but unfortunately, American-made means it comes from an American-owned company, and let’s be honest, America is lazy when it comes to advancing technology and changing perceptions.

    If in fact Ford or Chevrolet made a hybrid worth buying-instead of a 32 mpg “hybrid”, then I’d buy it. Until that time, I’ll stick with the products that make the difference environmentally.

  • Loren

    I own a 2007 Escape hybrid it has about 50,000 mil. on it with no break down at all . I also have a 1994 Aerostar all wheel drive it has 297,000 mi. on has the same engine and trans in it and there not rebuilts that have never came out . I know Ford can make a better hybrid to get better then 32 mpg .

  • bill cosworth

    Toyota PR is very strong in this site. I think Toyota people are running this site.

    Thie one guy said that he spent less than 250 dollars on his toyota in 10 years is totaly false.

    A break job or oil changes will cost him more. So either he cant add numbers or he is just a dummie.

    I wish toyota would just go out of business they have caused so many problems for the USA and caused people to lose there jobs.

    I will allways buy american becaue I know american cars are the best.

  • Sullivas6

    Great points about ICE vs Hybrids motors. ICE requires more maintenance, whether you take proper care or neglect it. “Pay me now or pay me later.” If properly cared for an ICE engine can go a long time. I’ve driven 3 Chevey and 1 Buick up to 140K-180K, and gave up the cars only because of body work (rust) and not the engines. I now have a Hybrid and I am waiting to see how it does, but I’d be surprised if I can’t get 200K and 15 years out of it. And the best thing will be all $$$ save on gas.

    Also if you think buying GM will get you an American car, look again closely at the stickers. Last time I went shopping a year ago, the Chevy car that I liked had more foriegn parts than the comparable Toyota I looked at. Put your money toward more of what you want to see – in my case I want better gas mileage, no matter who makes it.

  • Collin

    It’s great to mind origin of product you buy and I advise everybody to prefer local products.
    However, it doesn’t mean we have to twist the truth or pretend something, it would be even counterproductive (telling our local producers “It’s OKay to produce rubbish, we’ll buy it”).
    I’m generally happy with American products, recognizing them as good quality products, but let’s be honest – as for cars, there are generally better choices.
    You can doubt CR, but you can’t doubt physical data like German ADAC reports. And they reveal that i.e. in 2004 first seven cars are “Made In Japan” (all but 1 Japanese producers). Next are Germans:
    1. Mazda
    2. Toyota
    2. Subaru
    4. Daihatsu
    5. Honda
    6. Suzuki
    7. Mitsubishi
    8. Audi
    9. BMW
    10. VW
    11. Mercedes
    12. Nissan
    ADAC makes his list according to raw data – breakdowns and wear down replacements, not on customers emotions. And there are enough Fords, Chryslers, Volvos, etc. in Germany.
    So let’s be fair, Japanese cars are good, in average much better than American

  • shane

    toyota may be building cars in te u.s. but all of the profits go to japan and there are no tariffs on them
    to make things worse they pay their employees significantly less.

  • Luke Bradley

    So ? Your own experience with 2 neighbor’s cars is hardly an argument against Consumer Report’s 1.4 million data points. I’m biased against American cars because they don’t last. That conclusion is based on my neighbors, friends, family, as well as Consumer Report’s testing. Bottom line is, I want to take my car to a mechanic as little as possible.

  • GOZZ40

    comment free professional advice, im the owner of 2004 & 2005 prius that i purchased new from longo toyota. GM and FORD will never build a hybrid as good as TOYOTA nissan OR honda PEROID…… I HAVE 248.000 THOUSAND MILES ON MY 05 PRIUS MY WIFES CAR , iVE ONLY CHANGED THE WATER PUMP WITCH WAS A TOYOTA RECALL. ALSO I HAVE THE MOST MILES ON ANY 05 PRIUS IN THE COUNTY ACCORDING TO LONGO TOYOTA ,WORLDS LARGEST TOYOTA DEALER. 248.000MILES, FIRST FRONT BRAKE JOB AT 185.000 MILES FIRST REAR BRAKE JOB AT 205.000 MILES. THE CAR HAS NEVER LEFT US STRANDED. SAFETY WISE WE GOT CUT OF BY A TRUCK WENT INTO A CONCRETE BEAM AT 70 M.P.H. ALL 9 AIRBAGS DEPLOYED WE WALKED AWAY WITHOUT A SCRATCH. ITS AS SAFE AS A TRUCK IN A ACCIDENT.YOUR CALCULATION IS WAY OFF , 900 VS 9000.00, ITS MORE LIKE 9000.00 TO FIX PRIUS & AROUND 5000.00 TO FIX FOCUS. PLUS YOU CANT COMPARE THE 2 CARS ,THERE COMPLETELY DIFFERNT. VOLVO HAS ALLWAYS BEEN AN ODDBALL. MY O4 PRIUS SAME AS 05 PRIUS EXCEPT THE 04 HAS ONLY 205.000 MILES.REMEMBER THE FOCUS COST

  • WiseConsumer

    Well this sounds like a American problem that needs to change…Not by moving companies out of the country…Thank goodness our gov’t bailed out the auto industry…Why is it past remarks about “let them go bankrupt” are now ignored!! America WAKE UP!