Consumer Reports recently unveiled its latest predicted reliability results, from the 2012 Annual Auto Survey, which found Japanese brands claimed the top seven spots in our rankings. However, it's not all bad for the domestic brands and within some vehicle segments there are standouts.
We're often asked how the domestics' reliability stacks up, especially with some people wanting to specifically buy American. (Of course, defining what is an "American" car can be a challenge these days.) The results show that there are some very reliable U.S.-branded models, but they also remind of potential risks with buying first-year models.
Below is a list of vehicles with the highest predicted reliability within their respective segments. (We have only listed models whose predicted reliability is average or better, and scored high enough in CR tests to be recommended.)
Small cars: Chevrolet Sonic
Fuel-efficient hatchbacks: Chevrolet Volt
Compact sports sedans: Cadillac CTS
Upscale cars: Chrysler 300 (V6)
Sporty cars: Ford Mustang (V6)
Large SUVs: Chevrolet Traverse
Midsized SUVs: Chevrolet Equinox (V6)/GMC Terrain (V6)
Luxury SUVs: Buick Enclave
Full-sized pickups: Chevrolet Avalanche
Other models, such as the Lincoln MKS luxury sedan and Jeep Patriot small SUV, have average or better reliability but did not do well in Consumer Reports' tests. Hence, they are not recommended. CR only recommends models that have performed well in tests conducted at its 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut, have average or better predicted reliability based on the annual survey, and perform at least adequately in government or insurance-industry crash and rollover tests, if tested.
Our reliability data are based on responses on 1.2 million vehicles owned or leased by subscribers to Consumer Reports or ConsumerReports.org.
For more details on our 2012 Annual Auto Survey, including the full list of most and least reliable new cars by vehicle type, see our complete car reliability report. Also, check out our guide to car reliability for more details on new and used car reliability, as well as owner satisfaction.