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Hyundai Ranked Best by CarMD in Overall Reliability; Toyota Drops

In a boost to a quality reputation that has been battered recently by a top executive being dismissed and a series of recalls, Hyundai has come out on top in the 2013 CarMD Vehicle Health Index Manufacturer Reliability Rankings in spite of its quality slipping a little bit.


As I first reported back in mid-November, Hyundai's chief technology officer resigned in the wake of increasing vehicle recalls around the globe, especially in the vital United States market where the brand in the last decade has developed a hard-earned reputation for quality that could slowly be slipping away. But, in my opinion, independent third-party verification of the brand's reliability could help right that reputation.

The CarMD Vehicle Health Index ranks the top 10 manufacturers, top 100 vehicles overall, top vehicles by category and the most common repairs by make. This year’s Index is based on more than 151,000 specific repairs performed on model year 2003 to 2013 vehicles from Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013. Current and archived indices are available at the corporate website.

One fly in the ointment, though, is Hyundai's quality actually slipped a little compared to 2013 but Toyota's slipped a lot more. Hyundai had been second to the Japanese manufacturer the previous two years. In my opinion, Hyundai still has some work to do, especially with Ford, Chrysler and GM quality improving.

As CarMD determined, Hyundai’s "rating actually dropped from 0.67 in 2012 to 0.80 in 2013, [but] it achieved its no. 1 ranking because Toyota’s rating dropped from 0.58 to 0.86. While both Hyundai and Toyota vehicles had more trips to the repair shop and higher year-over-year average invoices per repairs this past year, Hyundai owners saw less impact. Half of the top 10 manufacturers (Hyundai, Toyota, Nissan, Kia and Volkswagen) experienced a drop in reliability rating, with more frequent visits to the repair shop and increased average repair costs."

“Hyundai strives to provide our customers with a worry-free car ownership experience by offering a lineup of vehicles that deliver on both quality and reliability, backed by the most competitive protection program in the business,” said Erwin Raphael, director, Engineering and Quality, Hyundai Motor America. “Earning the first place title in CarMD’S Vehicle Health Index Report proves that our recipe for combining high value vehicles with long-term vehicle protection is a success.”

According to CarMD, Hyundai’s no. 1 ranking is attributable to the lowest repair incident rate combined with the second lowest average repair cost among the manufacturers.(GM has the lowest repair cost.) Hyundai had 7 vehicles in the top 100. The Hyundai Elantra and Sonata each appear twice on CarMD’s top 100 vehicles list: 2010 Elantra (no. 8), 2013 Sonata (no. 14), 2011 Sonata (no. 37) and 2009 Elantra (no. 96). Rounding out Hyundai’s top 100 vehicles are the 2010 Santa Fe (no. 32), 2012 Accent (no. 69) and 2011 Tucson (no. 93).

The Top 5 manufacturers for reliability are:

  1. Hyundai (which improved from no. 2 last year)
  2. Toyota (which dropped from no. 1 last year)
  3. General Motors (which improved from no. 8 last year)
  4. Chrysler (which improved from no. 10 last year)
  5. Honda. (which dropped from no. 4 last year)

The Top 5 most reliable vehicles are:

  1. 2012 Toyota Camry
  2. 2012 Nissan Altima
  3. 2011 Toyota Corolla
  4. 2011 Toyota Camry
  5. 2011 Nissan Rogue

The 2010 Hyundai Elantra came in no. 8.

The Hyundai Accent recently won a reliability award. The 2013 Hyundai Accent SE was named one of the 10 most reliable cars under $25,000 according to Consumer Reports. This good but reliable sub-compact was the only Korean car to make the list.

The CarMD Vehicle Health Index reveals common problems and repairs by brand, providing a resource for vehicle owners as they maintain and repair their vehicles. “Replace Oxygen Sensor” accounted for 21.6 percent of Suzuki repairs and 13.75 percent of Hyundai repairs over the past year. In April, CarMD revealed that the no. 1 most common repair is “replace O2 sensor,” accounting for 8.31 percent of all check engine-related repairs last year. O2 sensors measure the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust and tell a car’s computer when there is either too much or not enough fuel mixed with oxygen for ideal operation. If a faulty O2 sensor is not repaired, the car’s gas mileage can drop by as much as 40 percent.

Drivers can see a list of common problems and repair costs by year, make and model with the free online CarMD Vehicle Health ScoreCard tool.