Consumer Reports Reliability Rankings – Fiat-Chrysler Can’t Catch A Break
Admittedly, I’m not a Chrysler fan. The worst vehicle I ever owned was a Dodge Dakota, and that single vehicle turned me from a Dodge fan to a giant critic of the Chrysler product…but it isn’t really my personal experience with a Dodge Dakota that’s made me a Chrysler critic.
I’m a believer in facts and hard data, and the hard data on Chrysler (now Fiat-Chrylser) reliability has been consistently bad. Yesterday, Consumer Reports came out with their rankings and guess what: the Chrysler family (Ram, Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, and Fiat) did very poorly.
Looking at the rankings, we see that the very best brand for reliability is Lexus, followed by Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and (surprisingly) Audi. At the bottom of the list, we have Chrysler, Ford, Mercedes, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, and Fiat.
While Chevrolet and Ford are ranked nearly as low as Chrysler, the blue error bars show that Chevy (and GMC) have some vehicles that rank as “more reliable.” Ford seems to have just one or two vehicles that rank that highly, with most models falling in the “average” or “less reliable” categories.
Ram, on the other hand, is notably less reliable than Ford. The Ram 1500 seems to fall squarely in the average category, while the Ram HD trucks are the least reliable product.
Finally, it’s important to note that the new GMC 1500 is the least reliable GMC model.
What Do These Rankings Really Mean?
While it’s a mistake to dismiss Consumer Reports rankings out of hand, they’re not exactly “gospel.” Consumer Reports accumulates their data by surveying their own subscribers, and that likely results in some selection bias. If Consumer Reports says that Toyota and Lexus vehicles are the most reliable, and you’re a loyal Consumer Reports reader, you’re less likely to view problems with your Toyota or Lexus negatively. Likewise, if the magazine says that your Ram truck isn’t reliable, you’re likely to zero in on problems and note them in your survey.
Still, it’s not as if Consumer Reports data dramatically disagrees with data from JD Power. If we look at JD Power’s Initial Quality Study data for 2014, we see some similarities:
The JD Power and Consumer Reports rankings aren’t exactly the same, but we see Fiat and Jeep at the bottom of both surveys, and Lexus and Toyota near the top.
To be fair, the difference between “average” reliability and “great” or “below average” reliability is pretty small. What’s more, a lot of the “problems” have to do with infotainment systems that are hard to use, or normal growing pains that plague new models.
Still, it says here that you can’t go wrong buying a Tundra, and you ought to think awfully hard about the extended warranty on any new Fiat-Chrysler product.
Filed Under: Auto News