The automotive marketing industry has created so many ways to rank cars today that is seems that just about every car tops some sort of & ldquo;Best of & rdquo; list. With all of the emphasis placed on vehicle ratings, one might think that these awards and recognitions are the sole basis that people use when determining which car to buy. However, consumer research has shown that to not necessarily be the case.
Understanding What Consumers Want
To understand what people value most in cars, one has to understand why most people drive them. Auto makers try and inundate consumers with bells and whistles, putting more and more advanced features into their products that are geared towards entertainment, performance, synchronization with media devices, and other modern conveniences. But car buying trends, for the most part, tend to still show that most consumers still view their cars as simply a way to get from point A to point B. That shouldn & rsquo;t make it too surprising then to learn that Consumer Reports research shows that safety and quality rank ahead of performance and design in the factors that people value the most when buying cars. This appears to show that the general thinking of the car-buying public is that new features, while novel, will sooner or later become standard, and are therefore not what & rsquo;s considered the most important factor in their car-buying decisions.
While the ability to download a Pandora playlist or have your car recommend driving routes or nearby restaurants is certainly nice, those features can & rsquo;t overcome the basic need for drivers to be able to know that when they turn the key in their cars & rsquo; ignition every morning, the car will start. Thus, the necessity for the car to provide basic transportation needs makes reliability one of the most important factors when buying a car. It shouldn & rsquo;t be a surprise, then, that the cars making the list of the Top 10 Reliable Cars 2013 aren & rsquo;t necessarily the newest, most advertised models of their respective manufacturers & rsquo; lines.
The Top 10 Reliable Cars 2013
While there are number of different publications that detail vehicle reliability, most all use the same measures in assigning their rankings: frequency of repairs, and the types of problems reported by owners. So while those vehicles that constantly require servicing will of course score lower, so will those vehicles that may not have the same volume of repair visits, but whose required repairs are typically extensive and costly.
The Top 10 Reliable Cars 2013 list reveals some interesting information about what factors go into consumers determining vehicle reliability. The list itself is as follows:
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Lexus IS
- Volvo S40
- Nissan Micra
- Volvo V40 (estate)
- Jaguar X-Type
- BMW MINI
- Peugeot 106
- BMW E36 3-series
That list may surprise many in that most of those vehicles are not among the foremost featured in manufacturers & rsquo; ad campaigns or on display in vehicle showrooms. Many are no longer in active production. But a closer look at common traits that each of those vehicles share may reveal some interesting information regarding what consumers want in their vehicles.
- Features: Each of the models listed in the Top 10 Reliable Cars 2013 list are considered to be among the base or entry level models of their manufacturers & rsquo; respective brands. Most won & rsquo;t be overloaded with the newest technologies and features offered by manufacturers, as those are typically included in higher-end models in an effort to increase the sales of those vehicles. From that, what can be determined is that drivers don & rsquo;t necessarily equate reliability with comfort. It also helps to show what brands are trusted, as consumers will often buy into the brand that they trust but not at the highest level of vehicle available.
- Performance: Each of the vehicles listed above consistently receives or received high rankings in terms if vehicle performance. Particular models like the Volvo S40 and the BMW E36 were heralded for their engine performance being comparable to that of the V6 models of higher end vehicles. Each vehicles engine was considered to be durable and to have an extended engine life, with some expected to go well beyond 250,000 miles. Those vehicles listed on Top 10 Reliable Cars 2013 list that are no longer in active production do have legacies that continue on in the vehicle lines that they inspired and are currently using updated models of the engines or chassis that those original vehicles introduced.
- Popularity: All of the vehicles on the Top 10 Reliable Cars 2013 list are among the highest selling lines in their manufacturers & rsquo; respective fleets, while those that are no longer in production shared that distinction during their run, and still yield high used car sales numbers. What that shows is that despite the lack of advanced manufacturer features in many, their reputation for reliability and durability, along with their lower prices compared to the other models offered by their manufacturers, make them extremely popular with consumers.
Auto Reliability Standards Today
Auto manufacturers are well aware of this information, as they monitor the automotive market closely to pinpoint consumer demand and purchasing trends. And as trends have shown over the years that consumers, in general, value reliability over advanced features, auto makers have begun to take notice, focusing on creating more reliable vehicles that can be depended upon to maintain high performance standards for longer periods of time than their predecessors.
Auto makers have every incentive to this. Ever since vehicle warranties became an industry standard in the early 1980s, the automotive industry has had to adjust its thinking to account for the free repairs that are offered during the initial years of a vehicle & rsquo;s lifetime. Today & rsquo;s warranties for vehicles average about 3-5 years in length or cover the costs or repairs up to between 36,000-50,000 miles. Knowing that they & rsquo;ll be footing the bill for those initial repairs has caused manufacturers to focus on creating more reliable vehicles that can stand up to the stress of the regular use that drivers typically demand of them. For the auto maker, the extra resources dedicated to improving vehicle quality are usually well made up for in the revenue saved from having to provide free initial repairs.
As the overall dependability of vehicles has increased, consumers have slowly shown the willingness to open their wallets to buy more high-end options. That & rsquo;s evidenced by the appearance of luxury auto brands like Lexus and BMW in the Top 10 Reliable Cars 2013 list. As this trend continues, one may expect to see more higher-priced, feature-filled vehicles appear on these consumer reliability lists in the future.
Revealing The Pros And Cons Of The Top Reliable Cars
As the automobile industry becomes flooded with more and more competition, car manufacturers are looking for different ways to improve brand imaging and increase sales. One of the best ways to do this is to improve the quality of the product. Manufacturers have been striving to produce a more reliable and dependable vehicle that will eliminate the need for repairs in the car's early years. Since manufacturer's warranties are responsible for paying the cost of repairs for the first few years after the car is purchased, car manufacturers make it a priority to ensure their cars will have a minimal amount of repairs needed during the time period when the warranty is active.
This movement toward decreasing the cost of repairs during the first few years of the car's life benefits both manufacturers and motorists alike. Car buyers win by investing in a well-made vehicle that they can depend on. Motorists understand that by purchasing a car listed as one of the most reliable cars made, they don't have to worry about their car breaking down or suffering from any car issues during the first few years after purchase.
How do you measure reliability?
Although it may be difficult to objectively rate a car on its reliability, there are certain criteria that are researched when determining whether or not a vehicle is considered dependable.
- Cost of Repairs: One way to measure reliability is to compare the average repair cost of each car model over a specified period of time. The models with the least amount of repair needed, will rate higher on the reliability list.
- Safety: Many people consider their car to be reliable if they can trust that it will protect them in the case an accident should occur. Comparing and contrasting the various safety features is also a measure of dependability in a car.
- Maintenance: It is important to keep in mind that no car is reliable unless it is taken in for routine car maintenance.
Presenting the Top Ten Most Reliable Cars…
The pros and cons top 10 reliable cars are, in no particular order:
- Honda Accord: This mid-sized sedan is well equipped with innovative features and amazing fuel efficiency. The Accord boasts 30 mpg overall with 40 mpg on the highway. The 2013 Honda Accord has plenty of leg room and is rated as one of the best in its class for pleasurable driving. With great safety features and customizable options, it's no wonder this Honda has become popular as one of the most reliable cars on the road.
- Lexus ES 350: This car comes standard with environmentally-friendly features, including synthetic leather seating. A navigational system, auto display, and smartphone connectivity are additional features that make the Lexus rise to the top of the reliability list. The Lexus ES 350 has amazing safety features, including 10 air bags, Smart Stop technology, traction and stability control, and a free year of Lexus Safety Connect. If you should get into an accident, the Automatic Collision Notification will result in a prompt response.
- Lexus LS 460: With incredible technological upgrades from previous years, the Lexus LS 460 comes equipped with a Safety Connect Service that offers pedestrian detection, Land Keep Assist System, and Driver Monitor System. The Intelligent High-Beam Headlights and Advanced Parking Guidance make this car a reliable vehicle to own.
- Honda Civic: Not only is the Honda Civic dependable and reliable, but affordable as well. While it is quite a bit smaller than most family vehicles, it can comfortably fit four to five passengers. Great fuel efficiency is another reason why this is a great pick for families.
- Toyota Camry: The Camry is at the top of the list when it comes to mid-sized vehicles purchased. With the innovative blind-spot information system and cross-traffic alert feature make the new Camry safer to drive than ever before.
- Nissan Maxima: The Nissan Maxima has you protected in the case of an accident with six standard airbags including side, front, and roof mounted. High performance and innovative technology makes driving this car reliable and fun.
- Volvo V40: The Volvo V40 is the station wagon in the line of Volvo vehicles. Not only has it been rated as a safe car to drive, the Volvo is reliable and dependable.
- Hyundai Sonata: The Sonata has one of the longest manufacturer warranties available, with either 10 years or 100,000 miles of protection on the powertrain.
- Toyota Prius: If you are looking for an environmentally friendly vehicle with a low cost of operation, a Toyota Prius is for you. Although it costs a little more upfront upon purchase, this hybrid model will quickly pay for itself in money saved at the pump.
- Hyundai Elantra: If you are looking for a reliable car that is affordable as well, the Hyundai Elantra is the answer. This subcompact vehicle is roomier than other small cars, and gets competitive gas mileage. With a responsive powertrain and nimble handling, the passengers in this car are safe from harm.