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#1 of 24 Have Cars Reach the Max in Reliability, is this the best it can be?
Mar 02, 2006 (10:51 am)
This is as good as it gets for auto buyers and owners, so says Consumer Reports. It had the Honda Civic, Accord and Ridgeline amoung CR's top pick in vehicles and it seems it cant get any better. The top brands have stopped getting better and the others have stopped or are reaching a peak in reliability, the magazine's data for the past five years show.
"It could indicate that the most-reliable new cars have reached a practical limit as to how trouble-free they can become," according to Consumer Reports April auto issue.
Have we reached perfection to the Nth degree and cant get no farther in terms of level of quality, well thats what it looks like, check it out.
#2 of 24 Re: Have Cars Reach the Max in Reliability, is this the best it can be? [reddogs]
Mar 02, 2006 (11:19 am)
No, there's always room for improvement... if you're willing to pay for the overengineering, higher-quality parts, and additional quality control.
Reliability to a price point? Yes, some builders have gone about as far as they can go in the current automaking environment.
Mar 02, 2006 (11:21 am)
As they can go a long way yet in durability, I'd say they have a lot of room for improvement.
#4 of 24 Let's see...
Mar 02, 2006 (11:25 am)
roughly 29 years ago, Consumer Reports listed the following complaints about the newly-downsized Chevrolet Impala... "None significant enough to mention".
Now, a 1977 Impala was a pretty damned good car for the time in which it was produced, but just imagine if we took the same attitude back then, thinking that cars had gotten as good as they will ever get! Now for awhile they actuall got WORSE!! Like later in the 70's and a good deal of the 80's, and even some stragglers in the 90's.
Basically it depends on what you want, though. You could nurse those old cars along almost indefinitely, because even the most expensive components, like the engines and trannies, usually weren't that costl to replace. And they were relatively simple. They could go on forever, but nickel and dime you to death along the way. Cars today are just the opposite. They can last a long time, and usually don't break down nearly as often, but when they do it usually hits the wallet hard.
Mar 02, 2006 (11:34 am)
With the constant influx of new features for safety, security, performance and entertainment, there is always the risk of reliability issues. Combine that with the flooded market and I expect some of the most reliable and durable products are on the way from any of the Automakers (Although the Chinese have a bit to prove still) but I don't expect 100% flawless all the time from every make and model.
Things look great, but they can always be better.
#7 of 24 I think alot of the time...
Mar 02, 2006 (11:51 am)
we don't realize how bad we've got it until we experience something better. The 14.4k modems are a prime example. Of course, sometimes a website will have a bad connection or get some kind of other problems, or just have too much traffic, or get so complex that even with a DSL or T3 connection, it still takes forever. So then, in our mind we might wonder how far we've really come from the old 14.4k modems. Nevermind the fact that the things we're having problems with may have been flat-out impossible to even CONCEIVE with a 14.4k modem.
Now in some respects, cars may have gotten about as good as they're going to be. For instance, you can only make a car take off so fast because of the laws of physics and time. It simply gets harder to accomplish each additional increment in speed. For example, it's not that hard to take a car that does 0-60 in 10 seconds and redesign it for 9. but then, going from 9 to 8 is harder. Harder still from 8 to 7, 7 to 6, and from 6 to 5. Taking a 5 second car and turning it into a 4 second car is probably damned near impossible. And then going to a 3 second car would probably kill you!
Likewise with fuel economy. In the 70's it was rare to find a big V-8 car that could break 20 mpg on the highway. Today it's common to find a large-ish V-6 car that can hit 30, and outperform those 20 mpg V-8's of days gone by (and even many of the <10 mpg V-8's!). But then, let's see how much it takes to get something like a Lucerne, Avalon, 500, or Chrysler 300 to break the 40 mpg barrier! AND still retain some semblance of performance. AND do it cost-effectively. Reliability will always be a funny thing, partly because people mix it up with durability. And also, not all examples of the same model are equally reliable. For example, when they say the Toyota Camry is rated "much better than average", there are still a certain percent of them, no matter how small, that will merely be average. And a few of them will be total pieces of junk. Cars have always been like this. So it's entirely possible for me to go from my 2000 Intrepid, which CR usually rated around average for that year, to a new Camry which consistently gets high marks, yet still end up with an inferior car. How? Well, my Camry could be one of the few that happens to sludge up, or drops its tranny prematurely or whatever. It's instances like this that make people think stuff like "Oh, they don't build 'em like they used to" or "CR is full of poop", etc.
#8 of 24 Re: I think alot of the time... [andre1969]
Mar 02, 2006 (12:06 pm)
I'm not arguing your point, but John Force has done the 1/4 mile in 4.6 seconds (333mph), so I think a 3 second 0-60 is servivable.
Mar 02, 2006 (12:52 pm)
yes. Because this market has gone beyond the point of saturation and is now well into flood stage, which has all the carmakers scrambling to do what? Cost-cut, then cost-cut some more, and then some more. That will continue ad infinitum as far as I can see. Reliability will not improve again until they stop relentlessly trying to chase costs out of every aspect of their operations. Cheaper is almost never more reliable, more durable, or better.
Mar 02, 2006 (12:59 pm)
that's a good point, about the cost-cutting. I could see more thing happening along the lines of the throwaway rotors they use nowadays on cars. They warp if you look at them funny, but on the plus side they're cheap and easy to replace, so I guess it's a draw. I had to put new front rotors on my Intrepid around 98,000 miles. But I was able to do it myself. Total cost was around $83.00, including new front pads.
In contrast, the last time I had to buy one of those old-fashioned, big, bulky, one-piece rotor was back in 1997, for a '79 Newport. Suckers were around $90 apiece. Plus the labor to put them on. I didn't want to deal with repacking the wheel bearing and making sure everything was just right. But with these newer 2-piece assemblies, you just pop off two little clips and the rotor slides off as easy as a tire.
I'm sure there are plenty of instances though, where the cost cutting has no up-side. I know this is a stupid little nitpick, but it pisses me off that the new Charger has a hood prop! I have NEVER owned a Mopar with a hood prop! Actually, I take that back, I think my '88 LeBaron had a prop rod, but hell that wasn't a real Mopar anyway.