Scion was tops in the Consumer Reports annual reliability study released on Thursday, followed by Acura and Honda, as the results showed continued strength by Japanese brands and increasing quality from Ford.
Toyota, a longtime mainstay near the top of the rankings, was fourth and was trailed by its luxury division, Lexus.
Lincoln had the best showing of any domestic nameplate, ranking 11th. General Motors checked in with an 18th-place by its venerable Buick brand. Chrysler had a dismal showing, with its highest brand, Jeep, not appearing until the 28th spot.
Overall, Ford's quality is nearly on par with import rivals Toyota and Honda, though its products remain a bit bland, said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' auto-test division. GM, on the other hand, offers sexier models, but its quality is a bit off, he said.
"If you could merge the two--and I'm not saying you should--you could really get the best of both worlds," Champion quipped at a luncheon in downtown Detroit.
Toyota, which has been buffeted by declining sales this year and high gas prices, didn't regain its automatic "recommend" status from the magazine, though several of its models--including the V6 version of the Camry--rebounded to get at least "average" ratings.
Champion left open the door that the Japanese giant could grab the automatic status again. Honda and Subaru currently have recommendation, and he said Hyundai is poised to get it.
Fuel-sippers performed well, with the Toyota Prius, and hybrid versions of the Toyota Camry, the Nissan Altima, the Toyota Highlander, the Ford Escape and the Mercury Mariner all were among cars rated above-average in reliability.
Consumer Reports got 1.4 million responses to its annual survey this year.
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