For the third consecutive year, the top-ranked vehicle is a Toyota, with the 2012 Camry ranked as the most reliable vehicle for 2013. Previously, the Corolla ranked no. 1 with the 2009 Corolla and 2010 Corolla earning top spots in the past two CarMD rankings. The CarMD Vehicle Health Index allows consumers to statistically analyze how vehicles age, and examine real-life data on trends related to repair frequency and costs over a decade of makes and models. Sourcing the largest database of problems and repairs of vehicles on the road today, CarMD provides fact-based transparency across a wide range of vehicles, including new and used cars and trucks.
Four sedans, four compacts and two SUVs make up 2013’s top 10 list, with Nissan leading the pack with five vehicles, including the 2012 Altima (ranked no. 2), 2011 Rogue (no. 5), 2012 Rogue (no. 6), 2012 Sentra (no. 7) and 2011 Sentra (no. 9). Toyota has three cars in the top 10, including the 2012 Toyota Camry (no. 1), 2011 Toyota Corolla (no. 3) and 2011 Toyota Camry (no. 4). Hyundai has one vehicle on the list 10 – the 2010 Elantra (no. 8). Rounding out the list is the 2012 Mazda 3 (no. 10), marking the first time Mazda has had a vehicle in the top 10. Previously, Mazda’s highest ranking vehicle was the 2010 Mazda 3, which ranked no. 23 in the 2011 rankings.
(Top 10 vehicle manufacturers based on model year 2003-2013 vehicles needing repairs in the U.S. between Oct. 1, 2012 and Sept. 30, 2013, and determined by the manufacturers whose vehicles had the fewest number of CarMD repair incidents combined with the lowest cost per repair, per number of registered vehicles on the road. Sources: CarMD.com Corp., with vehicle population data provided by R.L. Polk)
Top 3 Ranked Vehicles by Category (Model Year 2003-2013) – 2013 CarMD®Vehicle Health Index Rankings & Lists.
Hyundai’s no. 1 ranking is attributable to the lowest repair incident rate combined with the second lowest average repair cost among the manufacturers.
- While Hyundai’s rating actually dropped from 0.67 in 2012 to 0.80 in 2013, it achieved its no. 1 ranking because Toyota’s rating dropped from 0.58 to 0.86.
- Hyundai had 7 vehicles in the top 100. The Hyundai Elantra and Sonata each appear twice on CarMD’s top 100 vehicles list: 2010 Elantra (no. 8), 2013 Sonata (no. 14), 2011 Sonata (no. 37) and 2009 Elantra (no. 96). Rounding out Hyundai’s top 100 vehicles are the 2010 Santa Fe (no. 32), 2012 Accent (no. 69) and 2011 Tucson (no. 93).
As no. 2 Toyota had the second lowest repair incident rating, but an above-average repair cost. Toyota’s total combined Index rating dropped from 0.58 to 0.86. No Lexus or Scion vehicles made the top 100 this year.
- Toyota had 15 vehicles in the top 100, led by the 2012 Camry. Toyota compact cars and sedans totaled 10 with Avalon Camry and Corolla vehicles listed in the top 100. As expected with age, last year’s no. 1- ranked 2010 Corolla drops to no. 27 this year while still decreasing its average repair cost from $283 to $205.
- While not as highly ranked as its cars, Toyota’s SUVs and trucks such as the 2008 FJ Cruiser (no. 75), 2010 4Runner (no. 79) and 2008 Highlander (no. 87) ranked within the top 100. Although the Sienna minivan didn’t crack the top 100 ranking, it was ranked among the top 3 minivans.
No. 3-ranked General Motors earns an overall index score of 0.91 and saw the most improvement in 2013’s rankings, moving up five spots from no. 8 and improving from last year’s 1.12 rating.
- GM’s increase is due to a combined improvement in both repair frequency and repair cost ratings. Although GM’s average repair cost increased 5 percent from $290 to $304, this is much less than the 18 percent hike in repair costs GM experienced a year ago, and the national average increase of 10 percent
- GM has a total of 11 vehicles in the top 100, including four Buicks, five Chevrolets and two GMCs. Bright spots are the 2012 GMC Sierra, which is the top-ranked vehicle in the truck category, and the 2011 Buick Lacrosse, which ranks no. 1 in the luxury vehicle category
No. 4-ranked Chrysler improved its overall index rating score from 1.23 to 0.96, moving up from no. 10 in 2012.
- Chrysler improved rankings in both repair frequency and repair cost despite an increase in average repair cost from $287 to $325 from 2012 to 2013.
- The top-ranked and only Chrysler vehicle to break the top 100 vehicles is the 2011 Chrysler 300c (no. 73).
No. 5-ranked Honda, which includes Acura and Honda, drops one spot from its no.4 ranking a year ago. Its CarMD Index ranking score improved slightly from 0.98 to 0.97, and its average repair cost remains virtually unchanged moving from $466 in 2012 to $469 in 2013. This is far better than the U.S. average, whose repair costs increased 10 percent, according to CarMD data published earlier this year.
- The top 100 list includes three Acura vehicles and nine Hondas, including the two top-ranked minivans – the 2012 and 2011 Odysseys. Honda continues to make improvements in the reliability of its minivans, as the earlier model Odysseys rank in the bottom 10 percent of vehicles rated by CarMD.
Ranked no. 6, Ford improved both its repair frequency and repair costs ratings with an overall index score moving from 1.17 to 1.04, jumping up from its no. 9 ranking in 2012.
- Ford has the most vehicles in the top 100 with 22 Fords, two Lincolns and two Mercury vehicles. Ford earned two of the top three spots in the truck category with the 2012 Ford 350 and 2012 Ford 250. Other top 100s include the 2012 Fusion (no. 12) and the 2010 Lincoln MKZ (no. 29).
- As older-model minivans such as the 2003 Ford Windstar (currently the worst-rated vehicle tracked by CarMD) drop out of the vehicle population, Ford continues to improve its scores and rank.
Ranked no. 7, Nissan drops from no. 6 in 2012.
- Nissan’s average check engine light-related repair costs rose 10 percent from $366 in 2012 to $404 in 2013, which is in line with the U.S. average that also rose 10 percent, according to CarMD data published earlier this year.
- Nissan has half of the vehicles in 2013’s top 10, the top two vehicles in the SUV category, and the no. 2-ranked sedan. Nissan’s score was hurt by poor ratings on its older model Nissan Quest minivans such as the 2006 Quest, which ranks in the bottom 1 percent of vehicles rated by CarMD.
Kia ranked no. 8 with a score of 1.56, seeing a reliability decline from 1.04 in 2012.
- Kia’s repair incidents and repair costs were both up, with average repair cost rising from $320 in 2012 to $346 in 2013 – an 8 percent increase.
- Kia now has three vehicles in the top 100, including the 2009 Sportage (no. 66) and 2009 Sorrento (no. 90).
At no. 9 with an overall Index score of 1.79, Volkswagen dropped from no. 5 in 2012 and a previous score of 0.99 (the lower the score, the better the overall ranking).
- Volkswagen does not have any vehicles listed on the top 100 this year with its 2011 Jetta just missing the list at no. 109. CarMD’s top 100 list represents the top 10 percent of all vehicles on the road today. There are many very reliable vehicles that didn’t make the top 100.
- Volkswagen’s score was hurt by older model vehicles that ranked poorly such as the 2003 GTI, which is in the bottom 1 percent of vehicles rated by CarMD. As these poorly ranked vehicles drop off the index, which analyzes 10 model years’ worth of data, it will be interesting to see the effect on Volkswagen’s ranking.
New to CarMD’s top manufacturers list is Mitsubishi at no. 10 with a total Index score of 2.84
- Mitsubishi does not have any vehicles listed on the top 100, but its top-ranked 2009 Galant is in the top 30 percent of vehicles on the road today. It is important to remember that CarMD’s top 100 list represents the top 10 percent of vehicles on the road. There are many vehicles that fall short of this list but are still considered reliable choices.
- Mitsubishi recently announced a 19.4 percent increase in sales from 2012 to 2013 while introducing several new vehicles such as the 2014 Mirage sub-compact and several new hybrids. It will be interesting to see if this impacts the company’s ranking and ratings in future CarMD Index listings.
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Common Repairs by Brand/Make (MY 1996-2013) – 2013 CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™
- Different vehicle makes tend to have a unique set of problems and common failures. The CarMD Vehicle Health Index points out common problems by brand, providing a helpful resource for vehicle owners as they maintain and repair their vehicles.
- For instance “Replace Oxygen Sensor” accounted for 28 percent of Mini repairs in 2012. Earlier this year, CarMD revealed that the no. 1 most common repair on vehicles in the U.S. is “replace O2 sensor.” O2 sensors measure the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust and tell a car’s computer when there is either too much or not enough fuel as compared with oxygen for ideal operation. If a faultyO2 sensor is not repaired, the car’s gas mileage can drop by as much as 40 percent.
- Other examples: “Replace Ignition Control Module “accounted for 26 percent of Saab repairs last year; Subaru had a tendency to require the replacement of the catalytic converter (22%); and Scion was susceptible to loose or damaged gas caps (20%).