Consumer Reports’ recently announced its 2011 reliability ranking of car brands. By predicted short-term reliability, CR’s top 10 brands for model year 2011 are, in descending order:

Scion
Porsche
Acura
Honda
Infiniti
Toyota
Subaru
Volvo
Lexus
Ford.

Toyota Motor Corporation’s three car lines – Scion, Toyota, and Lexus – and Honda Motor Company’s Acura and Honda have consistently placed within top 10 lists for short-term, mid-term, and longer term reliability. Nissan’s Infiniti line is often among this very select group as well.

With regard to best cars, the Scion xD, a small hatchback, is the Scion line’s highest ranked model, the Toyota Yaris, a small sedan or hatchback, is the Toyota brand’s highest ranked model, and the Lexus LX, a large luxury SUV, is Lexus’ best. The Scion xD has a 2010 Auto Reliability Grade Point Average for the first 4 years of a perfect 4.00, as does the Yaris hatchback. The first 4-year 2010 Auto Reliability GPA of the Lexus LX is 3.67.

Acura’s best is the Acura RL, a sedan, and Honda’s best is the Honda CR-V, a small SUV. Infiniti’s best is the all-wheel-drive Infiniti G sedan. The first 4-year Auto Reliability GPA of the CR-V is 3.75; the RL and G sedan have more modest GPAs.

Porsche’s ranking by CR’s predicted short-term reliability took a jump, from 9th place for the 2010 model year to 2nd place for the 2011 model year. However, its highest rated model for 2011 was its lowest rated model for 2010, suggesting that the data for this car marque may be too thin to give stable results.

Volvo’s ranking also took a sizable leap – from 18th place to 8th place – as did Ford’s – from 16th place to 10th place. Both indicate that Ford Motor Company has been quite earnest about improving quality.

Outside the top 10, both the Hyundai line, 11th place, and the Kia line, 13th place, outranked all of the lines of General Motors Corporation and Chrysler LLC, as they did last year as well. By CR’s Rank Change from Last Year, GM’s Chevrolet line rose 3 as its Buick line fell 3.

Consumer Reports’ predicted reliability for a car brand is based on the reliability performance of the brand’s models within the 3 most recent model years. A model’s reliability is a measure of the model’s infrequency of reported serious problems.

CR’s reliability rankings are closely followed by many as they are based on an infrequency of serious problems, rather than complaints that may be on rather trivial matters.

James Benjamin Bleeker has two websites – Auto on Info at http://www.AutoOnInfo.net and Cars on Info at [http://CarsOnInfo.net] – which provide detailed auto quality information for cars and trucks sold in North America. For much of the 2000s, AutoOnInfo.net has been the dominant provider of auto reliability and durability information, some of it gathered from its own online surveys and questionnaires and some from the reliability studies of the Consumer Union and the CAA. In January of 2002, AutoOnInfo.net received the Open Directory’s Cool Site award for its data-rich tables and graphs. It is the only automobile website to have received the Open Directory award.

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