Purchasing a car is a long-term investment, with the expectation that the car will provide dependable transportation for years to come. But as Consumer Reports surveys’ show, not all cars will be able to withstand the test of time.
Based on the Consumer Reports 2016 Annual Auto Survey, these models are the 10 most reliable cars for 2016/2017. Based o the data collected on over half a million vehicles, these 10 cars are predicted to give their owners fewer problems than their competition.
Consumer Reports studies 17 trouble areas, from squeaky brakes and broken interior trim, to major issues, like out-of-warranty transmission repairs or trouble with four-wheel-drive systems. The severity of each type of problem is weighted to create a Predicted Reliability Score for each vehicle. That score is then combined with data collected from track testing, as well as our owner-satisfaction survey results and safety data, to calculate each test vehicle’s Overall Score.
1. Toyota Prius
The new Prius is longer, lower, and wider than the previous version. With a new platform with independent rear suspension that contributes to more responsive handling and a steadier ride. 52 mpg overall, a significant improvement over the previous generation’s 44 mpg. Colorful digital gauges dominate the dashboard and make it easier to access the infotainment features. The Prius has always been about efficiency and low running costs. The car can still drive solely on electric power, up to about 25 mph usually, and the engine is now quieter when it kicks in. But the seats are rather chintzy, tire noise is noticeable, and cabin access is not as easy because of the car’s lower stance.
2. Lexus CT 200h
This small hatchback has excellent fuel economy, but its refinement isn’t up to the Lexus standard. A 2016 freshening brought styling updates and mechanical tweaks said to improve ride comfort and noise levels. Two areas that consumer reports found to be problematic in their testing. Using the same power-train as the previous-generation Prius, the CT’s 40 mpg is 4 mpg less than the roomier Toyota’s. The CT can drive solely on electric power at low speeds. Handling is responsive and secure, but the ride is reported as being stiff and choppy. The cabin is well-assembled, with quality materials. But the rear seats are tight, cargo capacity is modest, and the view out back is limited.
3. Infiniti Q70
The Q70 sedan is very quick, with a lively 330-hp V6 and a smooth seven-speed automatic that returned 21 mpg overall in testing. A V8 and a V6 hybrid are also available for this model. Handling is quite agile, with communicative steering. The ride is firm, absorbs bumps well, however the car trails the competition in terms of plushness. The Q70 is also behind the competition in terms of cabin quietness; there is some engine noise at high revs. Featuring a very good interior quality, roomy rear seating, and easy-to-use controls are positives. Blind-spot intervention is an optional safety upgrade. An extended-length L version with a roomier rear seat is also available. Although it’s beginning to show its age, the Q70 is still competitive and typically commands lower prices than the competition.
4. Audi Q3
A tidy, compact crossover, the Q3’s main competition is with the BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA. Overall it manages to deliver a premium driving experience similar to the larger Audi Q5 but with 10 less inches. The energetic 200-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder has a conventional six-speed automatic and returned 22 mpg overall in tests. This is a quiet SUV with a firm, comfortable ride and responsive handling. The cabin is a bit simplistic looking, but does give off a sense of quality. Negatives mentioned in surveys include the tight quarters and cramped driving position. Though the controls are complicated at first, they prove logical with some familiarity. Front- and all-wheel drive models are available.
5. Lexus GX
Like its Toyota 4-Runner cousin, the GX 460 is among the few remaining old-school SUVs that use a body-on-frame design. It is very quiet and quick, yet the GX is highly capable off-road and has a high tow rating. The 4.6-liter V8 engine and six-speed automatic that gets 17 mpg overall. Handling is lumbering but ultimately secure. The ride is very comfortable, although the body tends to jostle when driving over uneven pavement. Inside, the cabin is plush and well-finished. The small third-row seat folds neatly into the floor when it’s not in use, but the side-swinging rear door can be inconvenient at times.
6. Lexus GS
The GS competes well, delivering a balanced combination of ride, handling, quietness, and roominess. Engaging to drive, with good handling and smooth ride compete well against German rivals. Its strong 3.5-liter V6 returned 21 mpg overall in tests. Rear-drive versions get an eight-speed automatic, and AWD versions get a six-speed automatic. A hybrid with a continuously variable transmission is also available. Interior space is on par for the class, and the cabin is nicely furnished. A mouse like controller works the infotainment systems. A blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert is standard.
7. Mercedes-Benz GLC
The rounded GLC replaces the GLK model. Larger dimensions improve rear-seat room, although it’s still a bit snug. Plush furnishings inside the quiet cabin prove appealing, although it also has Mercedes’ complex infotainment system. The 241-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder delivers ample power and is matched to a nine-speed automatic. Unlike other nine-speeds we’ve tried, this one usually works well. The GLC rides comfortably and handles with athleticism. Automatic emergency braking is standard, but other safety gear, such as blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert, comes in options packages. Towing capability is high for the class, and air suspension is optional.
8. Chevrolet Cruze
The redesigned 2016 Cruze possesses big car qualities such as a comfortable ride and a quiet interior. The standard engine is a 1.4-liter, four-cylinder turbo mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. A smooth start-stop feature reduces fuel use during idling; with 30 mpg overall during tests. A new 1.6-liter turbo-diesel and a hatchback version will be available later. A new infotainment system, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The rear seat is relatively roomy for the class, but the front seats are short on lower back support. A variety of advanced active safety features are available, but only on the top-trim premier version.
9. Audi Q7
Audi’s luxury three-row SUV is an impressive vehicle, and consumer reported it to be one of the best they had ever tested. It employs a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that is mated to a super smooth eight-speed automatic. That results in effortless acceleration and fuel economy of 20 mpg overall. The Q7 is very quiet, instilling a sense of tranquility. There is an underlying firmness to the ride unless you splurge for the Prestige trim and the optional air suspension, which makes it as plush as a luxury car. Handling is responsive and confidence-inspiring. The beautifully finished interior exudes luxury, with excellent seats and a vivid, high-tech digital instrument cluster. The controls prove logical with familiarity. Advanced safety systems can keep the Q7 in its lane and brake the SUV automatically in an emergency.
10. Toyota 4 Runner
Tough and ready for off-roading adventures, the truck-based 4Runner falls short of most modern SUVs. Its rough-sounding 4.0-liter V6 is powerful and reasonably fuel-efficient. But the ride is unsettled and handling is clumsy. The body leans while cornering, and the bobbing and bouncing ride chips away at driver confidence. Limited versions have a tighter suspension with somewhat better control, but at the expense of a stiffer ride. A high step-in and low ceiling affect access and driving position. The SR5’s 4WD system is part-time only. The power-retractable rear window is handy.