Buick Named Third Most Reliable by Consumer Reports – Here’s Why
Consumer Reports has conducted reliability reports for 35 years, and no American brand has cracked the top three — until now. The newest report ranks Buick as the third most reliable brand out of 29 car brands. Surprised? Keep reading to find out how this happened.
How the Report Works
First, let’s look at the ranking system to see how it works. Consumer Reports collects data from magazine and website subscribers. They’re asked to report any serious problems they have had with their vehicle in the past 12 months. The questionnaire lists 17 problem areas, such as audio system, brakes, and suspension. Four areas are weighted more heavily than others: major engine problems, major transmission problems, and issues with the cooling system and driveline.
The overall reliability of a brand is determined by calculating and examining the results for each model. If a brand has a small model lineup, slight changes in just one model can significantly raise or lower the overall ranking for that brand.
How Buick Placed Third
While detailed results of the survey are only available to Consumer Reports subscribers, it’s easy to deduce what happened. Buick models have been around for a while, so most of the kinks have been smoothed out. The Buick Regal was first introduced in 1973, retired in 2004, then came back in 2011. The LaCrosse was first introduced in 2004 and then redesigned in 2010. The Verano (2012) and the Encore (2013) are a bit newer, but overall, there is nothing shockingly new to the Buick model lineup that could impair performance.
By contrast, newer models and redesigned models generally have issues. Tesla is a great example. The older Tesla Model S performs well, but the new Model X has so many problems that Tesla ended up with the fifth worst ranking. The Honda Civic sedan also scored worse than average this year because of its problems with the infotainment system, pulling down Honda’s overall rank. Big risks can be rewarding, but sometimes they backfire.
How J.D. Power Ranks the Buick
Consumer Reports isn’t the only agency to speak highly of Buick; the latest J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study has similar results. Buick ranks third out of 32 nameplates, scoring above average in all three dependability categories: powertrain, body and interior, and features and accessories.
According to the company, most vehicles have problems with the navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, and the voice recognition system. Buick doesn’t have that problem; its high score in the features and accessories category is better than half of the other nameplates. Simply having reliable audio and communication technology helps Buick to achieve a high rating.
J.D. Power also ranked vehicle dependability by category. Buick received awards for the 2013 Buick Encore, 2013 Buick Verano, and 2013 Buick LaCrosse.
The Buick is a bit like the tortoise racing against the hare. While other companies are quick to introduce new and exciting vehicles — taking risks that may backfire — the Buick has older models that it upgrades each year, fixing issues as they arise, slowly but surely building them up to perfection. Just like the tortoise, Buick surprised everyone and proved that it shouldn’t be underestimated.