Toyota Reliability Plummets in Consumer Reports Survey


If you haven’t been following the heated commenting on our blog, you might be unaware that folks aren’t as pleased with Toyota’s famed reliability as they used to be. Today, Consumer Reports announced that the automaker has dropped from first to fifth in its reliability ratings.

The magazine surveys its own subscriber base to gather its data on a full year of reliability. The recent findings have caused the V-6 Toyota Camry and V-8 Toyota Tundra to lose their recommended status altogether.

The top five brands for reliability as determined by CR are: Honda, Acura, Scion and Subaru, followed by Toyota. While domestic manufacturers show improvement in the survey, only four of 39 “Most Reliable” cars were domestics, versus 20 of 44 earning the “least reliable” label. 

Consumer Reports surveys owners of cars over the past three years unless the model is significantly changed. If so, only owners of the newest version are surveyed. 

Toyota Crashes in Reliability Rankings

By David Thomas | October 16, 2007 | Comments (39)


Doug G

This oughta be good...I'll be sure and check back in when the foreign VS domestic fighters show up.

See you then Amuro!


Beating the war drum...

5th out of 45 manufacturers is still not bad. Has reliability went down since now some 70% of them are made now in the U.S.???...most hondas, acuras, scions, and subarus are made in Japan. Just more fuel to the fire.

This should be a surprise how? Can somebody please tell me how Scion is more reliable then Toyota when its the same basic thing?


To (blank):
It sounds like they're having significant problems with a small number of models. That drags down the overall brand's average. None of those models are the ones upon which Scions are similar.


True...all Scions are built in Japan. More significant is that Toyota is higher than Lexus. What's up with them? Is it that they have many new models out?

Max Reid

In Japan, workers have no union and employees work late, so they were able to increase the efficiency. Thats not the case in US, so Toyota's quality keeps going down.

Also, now they are after Volume, instead of Quality. They want to push Tundra's with $3,500 rebate and also stopped being a Green Company.

And they cannot keep manufacturing in Japan alone, since their ageing workers will start retiring.

Toyota is facing the reality.


To Ziggy: Most Hondas, Acuras, and Subarus are made "here" in the U.S. Scions are the only "throw-ins" from Japan. Also, these rankings are very vague. They need to explain exactly what consumers were complaining about. Is the body falling apart like that ol' movie "Gung Ho" or are they complaining the interior lights are too dim like a lot of new Lexus models?


I concur... my expensive new Avalon was the worst piece of junk since my 1986 Pontiac 6000. Transmission problems, drive-by-wire problems, engine knocking, paint blobs, large fender gaps, misaligned and loose and cheap interior trim, rattles and noises galore and even the catalytic converter produced such a strong rotten egg smell, it was intolerable even with the windows closed.
Got rid of it after 9 months. Good riddance Toyota junk.

Good to see that Toyotas will no longer be recommended without reliability data. Hondas still will be, but it's just a matter of time.

In general, CR's methods remain flawed. I've written about this here:

Better research is possible. TrueDelta reported a high repair rate for the Camry V6 back in August.


Alas, my worst fears about my once favorite company has come to fruition... I knew after reading about Toyota's race to expand production that it would probably start declining in the the departments that made Toyota what it once was: reliable and inexpensive.
Hopefully the domestics take this opportunity and start seriously investing money into the quality and reliability of their cars (I know many new ones are reliable, but I would like to see entire lineups of solid American cars).
for now, looks like I'm now a Honda guy.

Dave V


yeah now my homeboys at Ford and Gm should see a rise in sales, I hope...

American cars are all around better. Except for fuel efficiency, but they still do very good.

I stand somewhat corrected - honda has 6 plants in the US that produce about 1/2 of their us sales - including acura. Some are produced in Mexico and Canada. Scion and Subaru are imports from Japan.

I don't think this report is going to be of any help to domestics. Only 4 of the 39 most reliable are domestic. And almost 1/2 are listed as the least reliable. Not good numbers. But like someone said earlier - how is reliable defined???

Subaru also has a plant in Indiana where the Outback, Legacy, and Tribeca are made.


Don't forget that even the lowest rating for CR (the black circle) means that about 50% of the cars had problems, so being just a little below average is not as if everyone who buys a camry v6 is going to have problems, less 1/3 of them will. My car got the lowest rating possible and I have not had any problems whatsoever since I got it. Don't forget that sometimes the data they take from online surveys are from people who think something minor and common is a big problem

It's not even 50%. The average is about 18% for first-year models. For a black dot, you only have to be 40% worse than this number, or around 25%. And "average" extends down to 20% below the actual average. So the difference between a clear dot and a black one is as small as 3.6 problems per 100 cars.

This is why TrueDelta shows the actual repair rates. Otherwise the size of the differences gets obscured, and many people think its much larger than it often is.

Juan Carlos

isn't this the same mag that has lexus and buick tied for #1?


Actually I read Japan does have unions. I just only remember hearing about one strike and it doesn't last long. Also I read articles where working in auto factories in Japan gets you a better wage than a salaryman(i.e. officeworker, white collar)

Toyota Troll

I, too, recently had a problem with my Toyota. My "hold" button broke. For those of you not familiar, Toyota includes a unique feature on all of their vehicles with keyless entry. There is a button labeled "hold," and if you press it, it will activate the parking brake and hold the car in place until you get back. If, instead, your car rolls down a hill and crashes into a storefront, like mine did, your "hold" button is broken.

Troy in Ft Walton Beach

A temporary decline in my opinion. If you build too many, too fast you're bound to have issues until you get into the supply versus demand groove.


No manufacuter is without lemons. You might have gotten one. Why did you hang on to it for 9 months? If it had the problems you said, waranty should have covered you unless you're telling a suspected "brand bashing" fib....


What I don't understand is why any respectable consumer review institution would give "automatic" recommendations. That's like having an automatic recommendation on a food item just because it came from a fast food company that is turning a profit. McGruel, anyone?


great read BTW...totally agree that they should post numbers, not those stupid circles. i have written to them a couple of times explaining why. if they were to post acctually how many points a vehicle is above or below average, the magazine would be more informative as a whole.

i have seen this coming for quite some time now.

in CR's own reports for the April 2007 auto issue, you can clearly see the trends in reliability. Japanese autos, expecially Honda and Toyota are falling, while those from GM, Ford, BMW, and Audi/VW (Audi/VW has probably had the biggest turn around between the last two auto isses) are getting much better, quickly. The lack of numbers as said in the article above hampers the ability to see how much they acctually have improved, but the A6 climbed up to average, the A4's '06 model year climbed to above average, and the Passat also has above average reliability. It also seems disconcerting that they will recommend a vehicle just ebcause it was from some brand. they wont do that anymore, and if they do, it will be even worse. Some day within the next few years Toyota will have most of its vehiclesat only average reliability, but then GM, Ford, and Audi/VW will shine. Plus GM and Ford are making their interior mush better, and VW/Audi has always excelled with their fit and finish.

there is no way that honda and acura are the most reliable. both have models that have only average reliability (again, with the lack of numbers), but acura also had one that had much worse than average (even without numbers, this is bad), but was discontinued.

it seems as if the only consistent part of their road test scores is how much they fluctuate. for example, the VW GTI started out with a 95/100. then, it suddenly dropped in the auto isse to 91. then, they say they "rescaled" the ratings in the "sporty" cars issue, and now the GTI has an 85, so the Mazda3 could have the top spot at 92. Many claim that CR is biased against American cars, but in fact they are biased against European autos. The way they constantly dropped the GTI's rating makes it look like they can't stand having a European model as their top pick, and it has to be Japanese so they can keep their reputation.

regarding the latest isse with the luxury cars: THe Lexus LS got a 99/100, but the Mercedes S-Class recieved a much lower score. This is after CR stated the the lexus was not agile, fun to drive, as absorbant as the Mercedes, and had a low avoidance menuver comparable to an SUV. the Lexus should have scored lower than the Mercedes, because it is a road test, not how nice it is on the inside. Even then, they themselves stated that the Lexus had misalignments, in a $76K car!

they also repremand the European automakers for making innovative interfaces in their cars. Personally, it is somthing that i would expect from a luxury automaker, to omit a bunch of knobs and buttons for a slick screen in the dash. it makes everything in the car look even more upscale. Yet even though they absolutley HATE iDrive and MMI (MMI isnt that hard to use BTW, and in fact its pretty cool), they likes the interfaces in the Prius, Infinitis, and Acura Rdx, even though those leave for an awkward reach towards the dash when in the drviing position. If a step takes more than 2 seconds and one push of a button, they automatically say that it is confusing, without stating that once learned, it is acctually easy to use.

Juan Carlos

so jd power says buick is #1 along with lexus and cadillac is like #3. but here cadillac is near the bottom. and seeing that jd did more work on actual trips to the mechanic and here we are taking the opinions from cr subscribers, i will go with jd.


Its humerous to me how lots of postings reference surveys such as this to defend the superiority of all the imports, and according to these surveys they clearly are, yet once something like this happens and domestic companies start to show small yet significant gains in overal quality and reliability while tried and true toyota starts to show the slightest sign of weakness the test is flawed.

I will agree that rating all of a certain brand as above average because of who makes it is pretty stupid (by the way how many other brand are done this way and are some done the opposite?).


Toyota is not perfect. Their cars have flaws, far more than CR had mentioned. Toy tell you the truth, Toyotas have problems with the timing belts, which no one has ever pointed out. They just say Toyota is #1, Toyota is this, Toyota is that, blah, blah, blah but they don't want to reveal that it has far more problems in reality than they really have pointed out. And don't let the fact of Toyota not being perfect make you feel offended or that they judge it my who makes the car. Other people can also get offended by what Toyota people say all the time e.g. boasting gas mileage for the Prius that it gets 50 mpg, when it really gets 35mpg. Also, no one has ever issued a reliability problem for the Toyota Prius how it stalls on the side of the road and how it has electrical problems with it's "SYNERGY" system. Synergy sounds so retarded, by the way.


I have to disagree about the name for their hybrid system. I think it is really clever. I looked it up and this is what it means:

"Synergy (from the Greek synergos, συνεργός meaning working together, circa 1660) refers to the phenomenon in which two or more discrete influences or agents acting together create an effect greater than that predicted by knowing only the separate effects of the individual agents."


Okay, so Toyota went from 1st to 5th in reliability rating. Big deal? Top 5 are still "foreign".


The funny thing is that 2 days ago, CR was the BIBLE where everybody pointed that Toyota was the best.

Now, everybody says that CR has "some" mistakes.

Then, when CR bashed American cars it didn't had mistakes?

I like some Toyotas, but I knew long time ago they weren't as perfect as they said.


To JM:

I have no idea what you’re talking about in your comment. If it really offends you that Toyota is going down, you don’t have to read Consumer Reports magazines. Just because your beloved German cars aren’t good enough, that doesn’t mean CR is biased against European cars. You’re jealous that Honda, Acura, Nissan, Infiniti are most reliable.

Everyone has different points which they take account into when rating cars for reliability and other things. Now because they changed their scale, cars are getting more state of the art and sophisticated, so they have to update their method of rating. Now that some cars that didn’t quite make it and folks are mad about it, it’s probably because they aren’t modernly equipped. You don’t have to read CR magazines if it really bugs you that your beloved European cars didn’t deserve high marks. By the way, this isn’t the right place for you to discuss this. Go and talk with the people from the magazine if it is hard for you to comprehend why Honda and Acura got better marks than your beloved Eurocraps did.

I think that you envy Honda and Acura because they’re better and very reliable. Suppose a car had a Mercedes-Benz logo and without knowing that it is a Hyundai, what would you do?? Ha, ha, ha!! You would just buy it for the emblem, not for the fact what it actually is because you’re so naive. You just think that if it has a fancy Mercedes-Benz logo for example that it should always be on this goes for all the other European cars.

You’re stating that CR is biased against European cars, I can clearly tell that the EPA is biased against the Japanese cars within Japanese cars. They deduct mpg’s from Honda and Nissan cars, give them different passing standards on the emissions testing, while beloved BMW’s and VW’s get mpg’s added and can pollute 5 times more than a Honda or Nissan are allowed. If it’s about clean air, then treat all cars the same, not by brands.

I still know that you would buy a piece of crap if it was labeled with a European automaker’s logo. Don’t start playing games with me ‘cause your European companies have been and still are destroying the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. Your Daimler-Benz group takes Mitsubishi inventions and calls it their own. So what if they formed an alliance. They’re still supposed to repent Mitsubishi part of the money earned for supplying them with the invention. “The SMART FOR-TWO has a 1.3-liter Mercedes-Benz engine...” IT HAS A MITSUBISHI ENGINE, NOT A MERCEDES-BENZ ENGINE!!!!!

I know who you are, so don’t start playing games with me of how you didn’t mean to say things about Honda or Acura. By the way, learn how to spell Honda and Acura and learn proper grammar. Those two names need to be capitalized. It’s a name! Give some respect. It’s a car company that deserves some respect and then you start bashing it’s name. Shame on you!

Don’t start playing games with me cuz it’s easy to spot a phony. Don’t start proving things to me either, because Japanese automakers learn things the hard way, since you guys give them a hard time. Always putting them below everyone else...always boasting “German engineered Volkswagen” or criticizing Japanese cars on the irrational. When will you learn your lesson? Here’s a hint: don’t put European automakers on a pedestal because they don’t have the quality.


Synergy still sounds lame.


My 07 Toyota Tacoma has been in the shop since oct 29th and its now the 8th of December. I would call that unreliable!

Toyota has not PROPERLY RESOLVED its own engine oil sludge problem! How could its reliability ratings go up after it has denied so many new vehicle owners their new vehicle warranty? Why are so many Toyota owners going to to report sludge? Why are there over 2400 signatures on the "Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution: Engine Oil Sludge" online petition? Is Toyota blowing smoke at the buying public...dark blue or gray sludge smoke??? Is there a Toyota smokescreen which clouds the reality of Toyota sludge??? Check out Look at, too. Make your experience known. The buying public doesn't like being duped, does it?!? File your written online reports ASAP.

Charlene Blake
Consumer Advocate

John Ward

I wish to correct a false and misleading statement made by Charlene Blake in the above commentary.

A reference is made to "Over 2400 signatures" in a petition Ms. Blake has sponsored, implying there are more than 2400 names there.

In actual fact, the number of signatures in that petition is far less than 2400.
there are at least 500 blank spaces throughout the petition.

Each blank space is counted as a signatory, even though there is no name there.

Furthermore, there are a significant number of duplicated signatures which are also being included in the alleged total.

My point is this.....
If an individual wishes to promote a cause as a consumer advocate, information posted by the aspiring advocate should be truthful.

In this instance, misleading people with untruthful comments truth seriously damages credibility of the cause.


Hollywood, you make no sense. You sound like you're trying to sound like a gangster. It was an entertaining read, however. Long live BMW :)


Haha, Finally....

gordon curry

i own a 2008 avalon with 38000mi and the battery had to be replaced last week. car has never seen harsh climates and the battery was never totally discharged. no waranty after 3600mi so i bought a battery at wallmart at half the toyota price. new battery has a three year total replacement and another six years prorated. my toyota battery lasted 2years 9months and the only thing i got from toyota was sympathy. i will remember.i


Stop your whining. If a battery is the biggest expense in 38000 miles you have no basis to complain.

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