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Yearly Consumer Reports predicts the short-term reliability of motor vehicle models for the new model year. This predicted reliability is based on the infrequency of serious problems in the three preceding model years, as reported in a survey of its subscribers.

When data are lacking or insufficient for one or more model years, the predicted short-term reliability is based on fewer than the last three model years. In some instances, it is based on only one year – primarily when a model is new or newly redesigned.

By the reliability predictions for model year 2011, CR’s TopĀ  consumer reports Ten small cars are listed below. The list omits all models whose reliability prediction is based on only one year.

Consumer Reports’ Top 10 Small Cars

The Toyota Yaris, a sedan or 2-door or 4-door hatchback
The Honda Fit, a 4-door hatchback
Toyota Motor Corporation’s Scion xD, a 4-door hatchback
The Honda Civic coupe
The Honda Civic sedan
Toyota’s Scion xB, a boxy wagon
The non-turbo Subaru Impreza, a sedan or wagon
The Mazda3 sedan
The Toyota Corolla, a sedan
The Hyundai Elantra wagon
CR’s next 5 are also of noteworthy reliability. They are:

The Toyota Matrix, a wagon
The Mazda3 hatchback
The Nissan Sentra
The Suzuki SX4, a sedan, a 4-door hatchback or wagon
The Ford Focus sedan.
Of the Top 10, Toyota Motor Corporation accounts for 4, Honda Motor Company for 3, and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (Subaru), Mazda Motor Corporation, and Hyundai Motor Company each account for one.

Below are the 2010 Auto Reliability GPAs, based on last year’s survey, of the above best. In most instances, the GPAs are based on more than the three most-recent model years, and may be a preferable guide for those consumers planning an intermediate- or long-term ownership.

Toyota Yaris/Echo: a perfect 4.00 over a 9-year data history
Honda Fit: 4.00 over 3 years
Scion xD: 4.00 over 2 years
Honda Civic coupe: N/A
Honda Civic sedan: 3.75 over 10 years
Scion xB: 3.78 over 5 years
Non-turbo Subaru wagon: 3.02 over 9 years
Mazda3 sedan: 3.33 over 6 years
Toyota Corolla: 3.81 over 10 years
Hyundai Elantra sedan and wagon: 2.38 over 10 years
Toyota Matrix: 3.40 over 7 years
Mazda3 hatchback: N/A
Nissan Sentra: 2.00 over 9 years
Suzuki SX4: 3.00 over 2 years
Ford Focus sedan: 2.38 over 10 years.
Consumer Reports’ 2010 survey provides data on 1.3 million vehicles. As it queries for serious problems, it is highly regarded by many consumers who plan to purchase a used, as well as new, vehicle. Reliability ratings for used cars based on its 2010 survey will out in very late 2010 and early and mid 2011, if past publication history holds in the present.

CR’s current predictions of short-term reliability for model year 2011 are based on model years 2008, 2009, and 2010.

James Benjamin Bleeker has a B.A. from Carleton College in mathematics, a J.D. from Northwestern University, and an M.S. from the University of Minnesota in mathematics. He has practiced law, and taught Introductory Statistics, Calculus III, Business Calculus, Finite Math, College Algebra, Introductory and Intermediate Algebra and Foundations at various universities and colleges. He currently has two websites – Auto on Info at and Cars on Info at [] – which provide detailed auto quality information for cars and trucks sold in North America. For much of the 2000s, has been the dominant provider of auto reliability and durability information, some of it gathered from its own online surveys and questionnaires and some from the reliability studies of the Consumer Union and CAA. In January of 2002, received the Open Directory’s Cool Site award for its data-rich tables and graphs. It is the only automobile website to have received the Open Directory award.


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