4 of the World's Most Reliable Cars

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Consumer Reports' 2010 reliability study contained good news for both Ford ( F) and General Motors.

Like several recent evaluations -- including J.D. Power's 2010 Initial Quality study -- the Consumer Reports study buttresses the perception that finally, U.S. automakers have figured out that they can produce quality vehicles and drivers are eager to purchase them, like the Ford Flex, below.
Ford Flex

Consumer Reports notes that "a large share of GM's models are now rated average or better" and that "while some GM nameplates had been among the bottom brands in past years, they now rank above some major European competitors."

Meanwhile, "Ford continues to be the most reliable American automaker" and " Chrysler remained the lowest-ranked manufacturer in our survey." Only one vehicle, the Dodge Ram 1500, deemed worthy of a recommendation.

Among foreign manufacturers, "the major Asian brands are still doing well overall," the magazine said. Also, "while European reliability had shown improvement in recent years, momentum seems to have stalled."

The study is based on an annual survey of subscribers to Consumer Reports and Consumer Reports.org.

Read on for the top four most reliable cars.

Cadillac DTS

The Cadillac DTS is a full-size luxury sedan, the largest sedan General Motors offers. (One version is the presidential car used by Barack Obama.) The price starts at $46,280. In the first nine months of 2010, GM sold 13,987 of them.

Consumer Reports adds the DTS to its list of newly recommended models with improved reliability. According to the magazine, "Cadillac made the biggest improvement among GM brands, climbing seven places from last year's ranking."

GM's reliability has also been helped by two recent developments. First, GM "shed troublesome cars" when it shut down Hummer, Pontiac and Saturn. Secondly, "many of GM's recent introductions, such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, Buick LaCrosse V6 (FWD) and Cadillac SRX, are proving reliable from the get go," Consumer Reports said.

Toyota Yaris

The Toyota ( TM) Yaris was cited as the best small car. The Yaris starts at $12,855. Through September, Toyota had sold 31,793 of them.

"Despite massive and troubling safety recalls that impacted Toyota owners in 2009 and 2010, Toyota products including the Scion and Lexus remained among the most reliable," Consumer Reports said, noting that only two models, both from Lexus, are below average and that the redesigned 2010 Prius fell to average.

Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Ford Fusion (V6, four wheel drive) top the list of family cars. In the first three quarters of 2010, Ford sold 161,581 Fusions. The price starts at $19,695.

Consumer Reports said that Ford's "quality renaissance has been led by the Fusion, a design that has been very reliable since its debut five years ago."

Part of the reason for Ford's recent success, the magazine said, has been the practice of improving existing products "for years on end, which gets around the bugs that often plague a new vehicle or major redesigns. Some new Fords and Lincolns have struggled in their first years out of the gate."

Honda CR-V

The Honda ( HMC) CR-V tops the list of small SUVs. It starts at $21,695.

"Honda remained a top automaker, with all Hondas and Acuras scoring average or better," Consumer Reports said. A negative was that problems with rear brake pads helped drop the Acura TSX and the four-cylinder Honda Accord to an average ranking. Still, in the overall rankings, Acura and Honda ranked third and fourth respectively, trailing only Scion and Porsche.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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