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Best New Cars For 2016 – Many new car buyers told Consumer Reports that concerns about reliability and improvement are the reasons they do not consider buying used vehicles.
In a recent buyer behavior survey, reliability issues are the more common reason to want to buy a new car than other factors – like wanting the latest features or security technologies – among drivers who say they’re just in the market of a new car.
“Many come to this perception that new cars will break even less, though that’s not the case,” said Ed Kim, VP of industry analysis at automotive consulting firm AutoPacific. “Consumers are wary of what they consider to be used car repair costs.”
CR annual car reliability surveys have shown that some new cars are far from trouble free – especially those cars in their first year of production.
For example, in his first two years of modeling, the Model X Tesla was the most unreliable car in CR 2017 reliability survey. The owner complained about the broken air conditioner and the “falcon” door swinging over the unreliable. Similarly, the owner of the first Jaguar F-Pace SUV had problems with front differential leaks and frozen infotainment screens.
“It is wrong to assume that buying a new car will mean ending the reliability problem,” said Jake Fisher, CR automotive testing director. “With over half a million vehicles rated in the Consumer Reports annual survey, we can help predict models that are likely to have problems.”
CR obtained his reliability data from the Annual Questionnaire emailed to members of Consumer Reports. Overall, we received responses to over 640,000 vehicles in our latest survey. Learn more about our reliability survey.
What the New Car Buyers want
To survey our buyer behavior, Consumer Reports conducted a nationwide online representative survey this spring of 2,009 licensed American drivers (18 years and older) who said they plan to buy vehicles that cost $ 5,000 or more in the next two years.
Drivers who say they are in the market only for a new car to CR that they want to avoid the maintenance and repair issues they associate with used cars:
• 51 percent said they wanted a new vehicle guarantee.
• 46 percent said they did not want to be bothered with repairing and maintaining a used vehicle.
• 44 percent said they were worried about the cost of maintaining the used vehicle.
• 43 percent said they were worried about the damage.
It is important to buy based on the latest data, rather than the perception or reputation of the model, as some previously reliable models may develop problems after redesign.
For example, until the 2016 model year, the Subaru Impreza has an outstanding ranking in our reliability survey. But after the 2017 redesign, reliability fell below the average. About 20 percent of 2017 Impreza owners have problems with rearview cameras, frozen screen displays, and unpaired phones, but less than 3 percent of Impreza 2016 owners have such problems.
Other vehicles – such as Buick LaCrosse and GMC Acadia 2017 – have the same pains. In our survey, many owners reported problems with the new LaCrosse eight-speed transmission, while there were hardly any problems with longer transmission cars.
These examples also underscore that the final year of production for the model generation tends to be the most reliable, since the automaker has had many years to make improvements. And also, the first year of production tends to be the most risky, because the cars and assemblies are new.
How to Buy a Reliable Car
So, what do car buyers avoid risking? First, check how the vehicle scores in CR reliability assessment, Fisher said. If this is a new or redesigned model, consider the overall history of the brand – or wait several years for the car to have a proven track record of reliability. Other options include renting or buying a reliable used car that is still under warranty.
According to Kim, one reason the rental is so popular is because the new car usually remains under warranty for the entire lease term.
“We have heard many times in the focus group that there is a perception, ‘If I rent out, I do not have to deal with this problem,'” he said. Rent often includes prepaid care and roadside assistance, and some brands will even take the car from your home or workplace if necessary. This adds convenience and limits the cost of car ownership to a certain budget – eliminating
Used cars today often have benefits that rival a new car – including full guarantees, free lending vehicles, and prepaid care, which can provide calm for those who should be careful about buying used cars.
Kim said he had a good experience when he recently bought a used vehicle under warranty for his own family. “Every time there is a warranty repair, they always give us a loan,” he said.
Even if used cars are under warranty, CR recommends that buyers always have used cars they consider inspected by independent, trusted mechanics, even if the dealer says they have undergone a full inspection. Buyers must also enter vehicle VINs in safercar.gov to check open withdrawals and purchase vehicle history reports from providers, such as AutoCheck or Carfax. (Although this can be a useful tool, keep in mind that a clean history report is not a guarantee that the vehicle has never had an accident or has other repair work.)