Mazda, Hyundai, Toyota, and Audi have received top marks for reliability and a low cost for repairs, according to data from automotive repair data and diagnostic solutions provider CarMD.com Corp. The findings came in the 2018 CarMD Vehicle Health Index Make and Model Reliability Rankings.
Toyota was the brand least likely to need check engine repairs over the past year, edging out Acura and Hyundai, which rank No. 2 and No. 3 respectively. Mazda, which ranked second last year, is now the brand with the lowest average repair cost ($286), followed by Kia ($320), Dodge ($326) and Hyundai ($328). Honda and Toyota are the only two brands to rank in the top 10 on both lists.
The 2016 Audi Q5 is least likely to need a check engine light-related repair. The 2017 Hyundai Tucson costs the least on average ($67) to repair when the light is on, with a loose gas cap or an improperly installed intake air duct the two most common reasons the Tucson's check engine light illuminates.
Published annually since 2011, CarMD's index analyzes check engine repairs and costs to rank the 10 brands and 100 vehicles least likely to have a check engine light on. The report also ranks 10 makes and 100 vehicles with the lowest average repair costs and the top three vehicles by category. CarMD analyzed data from over 5.6 million in-use vehicles, model year 1996 to 2018, reporting check engine health from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018.
"The CarMD Vehicle Health Index Make and Model Reliability Ranking is the only report that statistically measures check engine failures and repair costs," said David Rich, CarMD's technical director. "Understanding which makes and models have which kinds of problems, how frequently they occur and what those repairs cost can be useful to vehicle owners, used car buyers, as well as repair professionals looking to increase their knowledge of trends within the industry."
Brands and vehicles highlighted on this year's list include:
- Brand with lowest average repair cost: Mazda ($286)
- Vehicle with lowest average repair cost: 2017 Hyundai Tucson ($67)
- Most reliable brand: Toyota
- Most reliable vehicle: 2016 Audi Q5