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Consumer Reports has published its 2015 Annual Auto Reliability Survey, which measures how reliable a new car purchased today is likely to be, based on the past three model years of problem areas reported by consumers.

According to this year’s survey, communications and infotainment systems, as well as modern transmission technologies, registered as the most common dissatisfactory aspects of vehicles. Keep in mind, though, that the survey is done for the United States market and does not necessarily represent the same for our local market.

It is also important that note that this survey differs from the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2015 Malaysia Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. That one, focussing on the Malaysian market, measures overall service satisfaction among owners who took their vehicle to an authorised service centre for service maintenance and/or repair work during the first 12 to 24 months of ownership.

Back to the Consumer Reports survey, it is revealed that consumers are demanding for their car infotainment systems to be as up to par as the latest smartphones. Unfortunately, systems that are not intuitive or lack reliability end up disappointing consumers.

However, considering the development and production time needed to implement new systems, car tech releases will generally trail behind smartphones and its accompanying app.

New transmissions developed to comply with increased fuel economy demands are also a source of problems. The survey pointed regardless of transmission complexity, be it a dual-clutch gearbox, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), or even eight- and nine-speed gearboxes, vehicles still required repair and replacements because of rough shifting among the gears and slipping CVT belts.

Due to these problem areas, several carmakers, which are part of the survey, experienced a sharp drop in the survey’s predicted-reliability scores while others saw a movement upwards. The data pool consists of subscribers reporting on more than 740,000 vehicles in their garages.

A few highlights from the survey showed that Kia and Hyundai have gained a better foothold, occupying the sixth and ninth position respectively, with the former Korean brand beating Honda.

Lexus meanwhile, garnered top reliability marks for all seven vehicle lines scored in the survey, taking top spot ahead of Toyota and Audi. Other carmakers like Acura and Infiniti went down the charts, while Ford and Fiat-Chrysler brands (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Fiat) occupied the lower or near bottom half of the rankings.

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