Other top performers
Following Buick was Audi at No. 4, the highest-ranked European brand. Kia came in fifth, followed by Mazda, Hyundai, Infiniti (the biggest mover, up 16 spots), BMW and Honda to round out the top 10.
Subaru, Volvo and Volkswagen all tumbled in the 2016 study. Subaru, down six spots and out of the top 10, was hurt by the 2016 Legacy and Outback falling to average, Consumer Reports said. The WRX/STI dropped to below average.
The touch-screen infotainment and climate systems were problematic for Volvo’s redesigned XC90, as the brand fell seven spots.
Every Volkswagen model besides the Tiguan had below-average reliability, Consumer Reports found, as the brand dropped nine spots.
All nine Lexus models were rated with better-than-average reliability. All but one Toyota model, the redesigned 2016 Tacoma, also were rated better-than-average reliability.
Hyundai-Kia had a strong outing, with no vehicles scoring below average in the study.
The redesigned Honda Civic, which was North American Car of the Year for 2016, hindered the brand overall with its much-worse-than-average reliability. Consumer Reports pegged the rating to problems with its power equipment and infotainment systems.
“We’re not recommending the Honda Civic because of its poor reliability,” Fisher said at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit today. “I think this must be the first time ever that Consumer Reports is not recommending a Civic because of reliability problems.”
Consumer Reports requires at least two models with sufficient data in order to be included in its brand reliability rankings, making Tesla eligible in this year’s study, thanks to the Model X.
Tesla joins the rankings
Tesla ranked No. 25 with a score of 28.
“The Model X launched with abundant problems, including frequent malfunctions of the falcon-wing doors, water leaks and infotainment and climate-control system problems,” Consumer Reports said. The Model S, however, improved to average reliability in 2016.
The rest of the Detroit 3 didn’t fare as well as Buick.
Chevrolet, the second-highest American brand, was up five spots to No. 15. Cadillac was up four spots to No. 21 while GMC dropped five spots to No. 24, hurt by its large SUVs and pickups.
Ford’s dual-clutch automatic transmissions continued to afflict the Fiesta and Focus, Consumer Reports said, as the brand dipped one spot to 18. Lincoln dropped four spots to No. 20.
Fiat Chrysler had another rough outing with the 2016 study. No Fiat or Ram vehicle received even an average reliability rating, Consumer Reports noted. Only the Chrysler 300, Dodge Grand Caravan and Jeep Patriot received an average or better score.
FCA brands landed at the bottom of the ranking, with Jeep at No. 23 (up four spots), Dodge at No. 26 (down three spots), Chrysler at No. 27 (down five spots), Fiat at No. 28 (unchanged) and Ram at No. 29 (down three spots).
FCA did not reply to requests for comment.
The survey gathered information from Consumer Reports subscribers who collectively owned or leased over half a million vehicles, covering over 300 models from the 2000-16 model years, with some 2017s included.
Editor's note: The data table with an earlier version of this report incorrectly cited the source of information.