Economy, Reliability: Best of Both Worlds

Guest Post by: Jon F. Thompson, Editor, Toyota Open Road Blog

Here’s a notion with which, we suspect, no one will wish to contend: Inexpensive is good.

Good gas mileage and fuel efficiency, derivatives of inexpensive, are good because vehicles that possess those attributes are less expensive to operate than those that don’t possess them.

Reliability is good, because its opposite unreliability means the factors that cause the unreliability must be dealt with. That costs time and money.

Money, you will have noticed, is on everybody’s minds these days.

It certainly seems to be on the mind of Cheryl Jensen, who writes a column called “Motor Matters,” which appears in the Washington Times. In a recent column, Ms. Jensen took note of the fact that a well-known consumer-testing group recently found that, as she puts it, “fuel-efficient vehicles are very reliable.”

She says this constitutes, “more proof that small cars can no longer be equated with being cheap and poor in quality.”

The survey to which Ms. Jensen refers found that 2009 vehicles with the best predicted reliability include the Scion xD and the Yaris. Also listed were the Lexus GS 450h and RX 400h Hybrids, the Prius, and the Camry and Highlander Hybrids. Vehicles from Mini Cooper, Ford, Honda, Suzuki and others also were listed.

But not everyone is in the market for a new vehicle, right? For those folks, the same testing group responsible for the new-car survey found that Toyota’s vehicles, and those from Honda, had what Ms. Jensen’s piece calls, “significantly fewer problems than do cars from other manufacturers overall.” And, she adds, over the term from 1998 to 2007, seven-year-old Toyotas have roughly only the same number of problems as three-year-old vehicles from most other automakers.

At a time when every dollar counts more than it has at any time in recent memory, we thought that these findings were worth bringing to your attention.

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