The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year’s list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year’s list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean.
Acura isn’t the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC, which declines 10 positions to 19th.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker’s reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports, complaints about “in-car electronics” were the most grumbled about element in new cars. Problem areas included things like unresponsive touchscreens, issues pairing phones and multi-use controllers that refused to work right.
The biggest offender was Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system on its new Q50, with over 20 percent of owners reporting problems. The QX60 SUV also was dinged on its reliability. Hence, the Japanese brand dropped 14 places in just a year.
Ford has reason to celebrate, though. Lincoln deserves a gold star for the best improvement by moving up 12 spots to take 15th place. Also, improvements to MyFord Touch helped the Blue Oval to jump three places to 23rd position. According to CR, the Explorer had just a 3-percent complaint rate for its infotainment system, versus a peak of 28 percent for the model in years past.
The data in the table above (click to expand) is based on responses to surveys from CR subscribers. The institute claims that 2014 was its largest one yet, with info gathered for about 1.1 million vehicles. Scroll down to read the full press release about the results.