Manufacturer & Vehicle Rankings
Published by CarMD, December 2015
CarMD.com Corporation, a leading provider of car repair data and solutions, is pleased to release its 2015 CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ Manufacturer & Vehicle Reliability Rankings. Unlike other industry reports and rankings that rely on subjective survey data, this is the only Index to offer an annual ranking of manufacturers and vehicles using statistically-based “check engine”-related failures and repair costs. These rankings are based on a combined average rating of fewest “check engine”-related problems and lowest repair costs for vehicles needing repairs over the past year. More than 251,000 reported in-use repairs that apply to an estimated 192 million Model Year 1996-2015 were analyzed to prepare this Index. CarMD recognizes that car maintenance and repairs are part of car ownership and reports on these findings to help consumers identify the vehicles with lower upkeep, while helping the industry stay abreast of year-over-year trends. This Index also ranks the top 100 vehicles overall, top vehicles by category and lists the most common repairs by make. Historical rankings are not necessarily indicative of future vehicle reliability.
Returning to the top spot after a one-year hiatus, Hyundai ranks no. 1, edging out Toyota (no. 2). Rounding out the top five vehicle manufacturers of 2015 are no. 3 Honda, no. 4 Ford and no. 5 Chrysler, no. 6 Kia, no. 7 General Motors, no. 8 Mazda and no. 9 Nissan. New to this year’s list of the 10 most reliable manufacturers is Volkswagen (no. 10), which ranks just above BMW, which is not on this year’s list.
The lower the Index rating, the higher reliability ranking.
(Top 10 vehicle manufacturers based on model year 1996-2015 vehicles needing repairs between Oct. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015, and determined by the manufacturers whose vehicles had the fewest percentage 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.)
For 2015, Hyundai again ranks no. 1, up from their 2014 ranking of no. 2.
- Hyundai’s Index rating score and ranking were helped by an average repair cost and low repair frequency, meaning Hyundai owners had fewer trips to the repair shop as compared with other manufacturers.
Five sedans, two compacts, one crossover, one minivan and one hybrid comprise this year’s top 10 list of most reliable vehicles, according to CarMD. The top 100 vehicles represent the best vehicles out of more than 3,800 different types of model year 1996 to 2015 vehicles on the road today, and the top 10 manufacturers represent the best out of more than 20 parent manufacturers. It is important to remember that even the 99th or 100th ranked vehicle on the list is a significant achievement, as this puts it in the top 2 percent of all vehicles being ranked.
The lower the Index rating, the higher reliability ranking.
(Top 10 vehicle manufacturers based on model year 1996-2015 vehicles needing repairs in the U.S. between Oct. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015, 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)
- Ford had the lowest average repair cost among the top 10-ranked manufacturers ($309).
- The manufacturer with the highest overall repair cost was Nissan ($430).
This marks the first year that any electric vehicle made CarMD’s list of 100 most reliable vehicles. Three electric vehicles are on the list, including the 2013 Ford C-Max (no. 33), 2014 Nissan Leaf (no. 50) and 2014 Ford C-Max (no. 82). Not all electric-only vehicles have OBD2 Data Link Connectors, but CarMD reports on those that do. While electric vehicles do not have emissions codes to retrieve, they can still have transmission and electrical codes, and related repairs.
Different vehicle makes tend to have unique sets of problems and common failures. The CarMD Vehicle Health Index points out common problems by manufacturer, providing a helpful resource for vehicle owners as they maintain and repair their vehicles.
The following is a list of the top three vehicles by category in 2015 according to CarMD, which based its ranking on the vehicles with the combined fewest and lowest cost “check engine”-related problems:
No. 1-ranked Hyundai’s ranking is credited to a lower than average repair cost and very low repair frequency, meaning Hyundai owners had fewer trips to the repair shop as compared with other manufacturers.
- Hyundai’s Vehicle Health Index rating score (0.63) is just slightly better than Toyota (0.69).
- Hyundai has five vehicles on the top 100 list: 2014 Sonata (no. 7), 2013 Tucson (no. 40), 2014 Elantra (no. 64), 2014 Accent (no. 72) and the 2012 Tucson (no. 89).
Toyota, no. 2, had the third lowest repair incident rating and a 15 percent drop in year-over-year repair cost from $480 to $411, but is edged out by Hyundai’s slightly better overall score.
- Toyota, which includes the Lexus, Scion and Toyota brands, has 22 vehicles listed in the top 100, led by the 2015 Toyota Corolla (no. 1).
- Four Lexus ES vehicles are on the top 100 list, including the 2013 ES (no.2), 2011 ES (no. 31), 2014 ES (no. 58) and 2008 ES (no. 91). For the first time since the CarMD Vehicle Health Index has been published, a Scion made the top 100 with the 2010 Scion (no. 44). The 2015 Toyota Tacoma (no. 55 overall) is listed as a reliability leader in the truck category. Last year marked the first time a hybrid made this list and this year’s list now includes six Prius vehicles.
Honda, which includes Acura and Honda makes, drops to no. 3 from its no. 1 ranking a year ago partially due to a 5 percent uptick in average repair cost from $388 in 2014 to $408 in 2015. Honda, which scored a 0.84 Index rating, edged out Chrysler, which has a 0.89 Index rating.
- The top 100 list includes 10 Hondas and four Acuras. The top-ranked Acura is the 2011 MDX (no. 30). The best-ranked Honda is the 2013 Fit (no. 5).
- Honda has a presence as a top three vehicle in the compact, minivan and crossover categories with the 2013 Fit, 2014 Odyssey and 2014 CR-V respectively.
Ranked no. 4, Ford moves up one spot from its no. 5 ranking in 2014.
- Ford has the third lowest average repair cost ($309).
- Ford has the second most vehicles in the top 100 with 14 Fords on the list. Two Lincoln vehicles also made the list this year, including the 2013 MKX (no. 61) and 2009 MKZ (no. 68).
- Ford has vehicles in the top 3 compact, crossover, electric and truck categories. The 2014 Ford Fusion is among the most reliable compacts; the 2014 F-150 and 2014 Edge top the truck and crossover categories respectively. The 2013 and 2014 Ford C-Max are among the most reliable electric vehicles on the road, according to CarMD.
Chrysler, no. 5, moves up one spot from its no. 6 ranking in 2014 helped by a decrease in “check engine” light repair incidents and a lower than average repair cost ($316) – the U.S. average is $390, according to CarMD.
- Chrysler only has one vehicle on CarMD’s 2015 100 list – the 2015 Town & Country, which ranks no. 9 overall and earns the top spot in the minivan category. The 2003 Jeep Wrangler (no. 92) also made the list.
- There are no Dodge or RAM vehicles on this year’s top 100 list.
Kia, ranked no. 6, continues to improve having moved from no. 8 in 2013 to no. 7 in 2014. Kia is helped by a low frequency of repair needs with only Hyundai and Toyota having fewer repairs per vehicle population.
- Kia’s repair costs rose only marginally (1 percent) from $365 in 2014 to $369 on average in 2015.
- Kia has five vehicles in the top 100 including: the 2015 Optima (no. 11), 2014 Soul (no. 54), 205 Soul (no. 59), 2015 Sorento (no. 74) and 2014 Sorento (no. 90).
No. 7-ranked General Motors drops three spots from no. 4 in 2014.
- GM’s drop in ranking is partially due to another 3 percent increase in average repair costs from $329 to $340.
- This year GM has 14 vehicles on the top 100 list, including one Oldsmobile, two GMCs, two Cadillacs, four Buicks and five Chevrolet makes. The 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe is among the three best large SUVs.
- GM boasts the two oldest vehicles on the top 100 list – the 2001 Oldsmobile Intrigue (no. 62) and the 2005 Chevrolet SSR (no. 81), demonstrating that as vehicles age they can still be reliable.
No 8, Mazda moves up one spot from its no. 9 ranking in 2014.
- Mazda is helped by a lower than average repair cost ($335), despite a 10 percent increase from $302 on in 2014.
- Mazda has six vehicles on the 2015 list of most reliable vehicles with bright spots being the 2014 and 2015 CX-5 compact SUV ranking no. 41 and no. 76 respectively. The Mazda 6 midsized sedan also made this year’s list with the 2014 6 (no. 82) and the 2015 6 coming in at no. 85. Also listed are the 2013 Mazda 2 (no. 94) and 2013 Mazda 5 (no.96).
Nissan, which includes Nissan and Infiniti makes, no. 9, moves down one spot from its no. 8 ranking last year.
- While Nissan does have the highest repair cost ($430), this is an 8.5 percent decrease from its $480 average repair cost in 2014.
- Nissan has three vehicles on the top 100 list this year, including the 2014 Nissan Leaf (no. 43), 2011 Nissan Quest (no. 52) and the 2014 Quest (no. 95). The Leaf is also listed among the top three electric vehicles in terms of reliability in 2015, which is the first time any electric vehicle earned a spot on the CarMD Vehicle Health Index Vehicle Rankings. Infiniti has two vehicles on the list: 2014 Q50 (no. 51) and 2013 G37 (no. 57).
No. 10 is Volkswagen, returning to the top 10 after a one-year hiatus.
- Volkswagen has two vehicles on the top 100 list for 2015, including: 2014 Passat (no. 6) and the 2014 Jetta (no. 19). Audi has one vehicle on the list: the 2014 Q5, which ranks no. 20 overall and is a top compact SUV.
- This Index reports on in-use vehicle failures and repairs as reported by each vehicle’s warning lights, self-diagnosis and corroboration of needed repairs by professional technicians. While many OBD2-related repairs affect emissions output, this Index does not currently account for manufacturer recalls or shortcomings.
If you’re interested in more info on the current state of vehicle health, download the PDF below. What you see on this page is only about 10% of all the info we have to offer – don’t miss the rest!
Common Repairs by Brand/Make (MY 1996-2015) – 2015 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 “check engine” light-related
problems and repairs by brand, providing a helpful resource for owners as they maintain
and repair their vehicles.
- For instance “Replace Oxygen Sensor” accounted for 17 percent of Mitsubishi
repairs over the past year. Earlier this year, CarMD revealed that the no. 1 most
common repair on vehicles in the U.S. is “replace O2 sensor,” accounting
for 7.55 percent of all “check engine”-related repairs last year. 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 Coil” accounted for 18 percent of
Lincoln vehicles and “Replace Catalytic Converter(s)” comprised 19 percent
of Subaru’s check engine-related trips to the shop.