How car reliability varies by vehicle type

Fuel-efficient wagons, gas-sipping hybrids and gas-less electric cars are the most reliable vehicle types according to our 2013 Annual Auto Survey, which is based on our subscribers' experiences with 1.1 million vehicles. Sporty cars, subcompact cars, and midsized SUVs are among the least reliable.

All 10 wagons, all six compact pickups, and 18 out of 21 hybrid and electric cars have average or above-average predicted reliability. Just three Fords in the latter category are not reliable. Sporty cars are at the bottom of the list with only seven reliable models out of 19, which shows that paying a high price doesn't guarantee a good car.  Only eight out of 27 midsized SUVs were reliable. See how the other vehicle categories fare below based on their average predicted reliability score (percent better or worse than the average car).

Vehicle Type Average predicted reliability score
Wagons 33
Compact pickups 26
Hybrids/electric cars 10
Compact sports cars 8
Luxury cars 7
Small SUVs 0
Large/upscale cars 0
Minivans -2
Compact cars -3
Luxury compact SUVs -3
Full-sized pickups -4
Large SUVs -8
Luxury SUVs -8
Midsized cars -11
Coupes/convertibles -11
Midsized SUVs -13
Subcompact cars -19
Sporty cars -27

When it comes to buying a new car, you do not need to spend top dollar. But it does pay to do your research and find the model that meets Consumer Reports' stringent requirements to be recommended and suits your budget.

For more details on our 2013 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.

Liza Barth

More from Consumer Reports:
Consumer Reports' top scoring cars
Best & worst new cars
Guide to the best small SUVs

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