Judging the reliability of anything that is relatively new is always a challenge. It’s very difficult to determine something’s longevity when, in all reality, it hasn’t been around that long. Finding the product’s mark for dependability becomes a painstaking task of surveys, mechanical tests, computer diagnoses and a whole bunch of other stuff that we’re all glad we don’t have to take part in. The only thing we need to do is sign the check and drive it off the lot. However, since we won’t let all this valuable testing go to waste, here’s what the experts at Consumer Reports, J.D. Power & Associate, Car and Driver and Edmunds have come up with as the most reliable hybrid cars.
For the first…well, ever…Consumer Reports has picked a new leader in the hybrid reliability market. The Honda Insight has leapfrogged over the reigning champion Prius to take control of the reigns as hybrid reliability leader. Of course, this only goes for newer models (’10-’11), but time will tell if this is a move to unseat the champ or just a flash in the pan. While the J.D. Power reliability studies still list the Prius on top, the Insight isn’t far behind with a score of 9 out of 10 in the Vehicle Dependability Studies (VDS). It is also cheaper and, surprisingly, offers a higher fuel economy than that of the previous leader.
Speaking of the previous leader, you didn’t really expect this one to fall that far, did you? Despite the Consumer Reports ranking of Insight-1, Prius-2, the Toyota still manages to be the only hybrid to garnish a perfect 10 score in the J.D. Power VDS. That speaks more for the track record of the Prius than anything else. The Insight may be on the climb, but the Prius isn’t performing a backslide. It’s still reliable, functional, and offers the second-best fuel economy in the hybrid class. “When gas prices go back up, you’ll wish you had one.” (New York Times)
“Ford has done the most it could to recast the Fusion as a competitive family sedan by rectifying its few flaws. The Fusion is well rounded and has an air of sophistication to its ride and handling. The hybrid version is the crown jewel of the family.” (Consumer Reports) It offers all the same comforts and amenities that won the standard Fusion so many awards. The one drawback to this one is the price, and the fact that it can get high fast with options. However, the Fusion remains one of the leading sedans on the market in terms of reliability and consumer satisfaction.
Try not to focus on the sub-par hybrid fuel efficiency and you’ll be looking at one of the best performing hybrids on the market with the Camry. It received 8 out of 10 in the J.D. Power studies, and it has the advantage of being built by the industry’s hybrid trendsetter. Price isn’t bad for what you’ll be getting, especially on the performance side. “If you want to be green but don’t want to announce it to other road users, then the Camry hybrid makes sense.” (Car and Driver)
The Altima Hybrid gets a low spot on the list not for its reliability standards, which are average, but for its decidedly below-average performance. “It’s attractive enough, both inside and out, but it’s somewhat unrefined powertrain, numb steering, and tight suspension hold it back.” (Motor Trend) It received a 6 out of 10 in the J.D. Power studies, which doesn’t give it a whole lot of push to catch up to competitors in sales. Not to mention, it’s priced near what you’d pay for the significantly more upscale. However, it does offer an attractive interior and appealing style, but very poor fuel efficiency for a hybrid (33/33mpg).