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2012's Best 4-Cylinder Family Cars Sold in North America: Table and Charts
by James Bleeker

This page provides the table giving the 2012 Auto Reliability GPAs of the best 4-cylinder family cars in 2012, a chart of manufacturer shares of the best in 2012, and a chart depicting the Overall Reliability GPAs of the top 5 4-cylinder family cars in 2012 and 8 worst 4-cylinder family cars in 2012.

The Table

The table below provides the Auto Reliability GPAs and Grades of the best of the 4-cylinder family cars sold in the U.S.

Reliability GPAs for 4 age ranges are given so that the visitor may examine more closely the age range that is of greater interest to him or her. As well, an Overall Reliability GPA - an average of the 4 Reliability GPAs - is provided; this may be of greatest value to those interested in purchasing a new car and owning it for decade, or several.

Letter grades for automobile reliability are determined thusly: A if the Auto Reliability GPA is 3.50 to 4.00, B if the Auto Reliability GPA is 2.50 to 3.49, C if the Auto Reliability GPA is 1.50 to 2.49, D if the Auto Reliability GPA is 0.50 to 1.49, and F if the Auto Reliability GPA < 0.50.

The cutoff for the list of the best in 2012 is an Overall Auto Reliability GPA of 2.75, a modest B by letter grade. The list is in descending order of Overall GPA, i.e., from best to worst.

The Reliability GPAs and Grades of the Best 4-Cylinder Family Cars in 2012

ID Auto Manufacturer Line Model Model GPA for 0-to-4 Year Old Vehicles Model GPA for 2-to-6 Year Old Vehicles Model GPA for 4-to-8 Year Old Vehicles Model GPA for 6-to-10 Year Old Vehicles Overall Reliability GPA Grade Based on Overall GPA Minimum Reliability GPA Grade Based on Minimum GPA Number of Model Years of Data
320 Nissan Nissan Altima Hybrid with Toyota technology 3.67 3.67 4.00   3.78 A 3.67 A 4
17 Toyota Toyota Camry Hybrid 3.25 3.67 4.00   3.64 A 3.25 B 5
15 Toyota Toyota Camry, 4-cylinder 3.00 3.25 3.75 4.00 3.50 A 3.00 B 10
52 Honda Honda Accord Sedan, 4-cylinder 2.50 3.00 4.00 4.00 3.38 B 2.50 B 10
151 Ford Ford Fusion, 4-cylinder 2.75 3.25 3.00   3.00 B 2.75 B 6
318 Nissan Nissan Altima, 4-cylinder 2.75 2.75 3.00 2.75 2.81 B 2.75 B 10
349 Subaru Subaru Outback, 4-cylinder 3.75 3.25 2.25 2.00 2.81 B 2.00 C 10
Note: To be among the Best of 2012, the Overall Reliability GPA must be based on at least 3 model years of data. Also, where the cylinder count is mentioned, the rating is specifically for that engine version.

Note that among these better vehicles in 2012, there is not one by General Motors Corporation or the Chrysler Group.

The manufacturers which have offered one or more of the least trouble prone 4-cylinder family cars in 2012, as reported by Consumer Reports subscribers and measured by the Overall Reliability GPA, are Toyota Motor Corporation (with 2 of the 7 best), Nissan Motor Company (with 2 of the 7 best), Honda Motor Company, Ford Motor Company, and the Subaru Division of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.

Chart of Manufacturer Shares of the 5 Best in 2012

Below is a bar graph of the auto manufacturer shares of the 5 best 4-cylinder family cars in 2012.

Automobile Manufacturer shares of the 5 best 4-cylinder family cars in 2012.

All of the 5 best 4-cylinder family cars have an Overall Reliability GPA of 3.00 or better in 2012.

Note that the one Nissan automobile among the 5 best benefits from Toyota's hybrid technology.

Chart of the Reliability GPAs of the Top 7 and Bottom 8 4-Cylinder Family Cars

The following bar graph depicts the Overall Reliability GPAs of the 7 best 4-cylinder family cars and 8 worst 4-cylinder family cars in 2012.

Bar graph depicting the Overall Reliability GPAs of the 7 best 4-cylinder family cars and 8 worst 4-cylinder family cars in 2012.

 

Caution      When the number of model years of data (appearing in the far right column) for a vehicle is limited to more recent years, the reliability GPAs, Average GPA, and Minimum GPA of that vehicle may be less reflective of the vehicle's reliability over a longer period of time.

The Auto Reliability GPAs are automobile reliability statistics that are obtained from Consumer Reports' auto reliability survey data summarized in the reliability tables of (1) Consumer Reports: New Car Buying Guide: 2012, (2) Consumer Reports: Used Car Buying Guide: 2012, and (3) the April 2012 issue of the Consumer Reports magazine.

The method of computation of the GPAs is probably familiar to nearly every college, technical school, and high school student. A Grade Point of 4.00 (that is, an A) is given to a Consumer Reports Used Car Verdict of "Much Better Than Average," a GP of 3.00 (that is, a B) is given to a CR "Better Than Average" rating, a GP of 2.00 (that is, a C) to an "Average" rating, a GP of 1.00 (that is, a D) to a "Worse Than Average" rating, and a GP of 0.00 (that is, an F) to a "Much Worse Than Average" rating. A 4-year Grade Point Average (GPA) is an average of the Grade Points and is computed using Microsoft's Average(a:b,[c:d],...) function. The Overall GPA given in the table and chart above is the average of the four 4-year GPAs.

AutoOnInfo.net: Helping to inform consumers which autos, brands, and manufacturers are better than good and worse than bad since 2001.

Additional Resources

More detail on brand Quality Grades is given in the Kindle ebook entitled AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series, Volume 2: Brand Quality for Model Years 1985 to 2006 and Brand Market Shares from 1985 to 2009. Links to the Amazon page offering the book are given below.

Icon for AutoOnInfo.net’s Car Quality Series Volume 2: Brand Quality for Model Years 1985 to 2006 and Effect on Brand Market Shares from 1985 to 2009

AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series, Volume 2: Brand Quality for Model Years 1985 to 2006 and Effect on Brand Market Shares from 1985 to 2009

This volume of AutoOnInfo.net’s car guide series offers consumers and researchers an historical summary of the reliability and durability of car and truck brands and examines how these brands have fared in their U.S. market shares. It uses 6-year-old model entries in Consumer Reports’ Used Car to Avoid – also termed Vehicles to Avoid and Worst Cars, Year by Year – and CR’s reliability charts to ascribe quality grades to automobile brands for model-year groups 1985 to 1989, 1990 to 1994, 1995 to 1999, 2000 to 2004, 2005 to 2006, and 1985 to 2006. In addition to ascribing quality grades to each brand, it provides a chart that plots the number of the brand’s 6-year-old model entries in CR’s vehicles to avoid. To examine the effect that a brand’s reliability and durability has had on sales, two or more charts depicting the brand’s U.S. market shares for calendar years 1985 to 2009 are given. These grades and charts and the author’s comments impart an historical perspective that sheds light on the present condition of surviving vehicle lines and their future prospects, individual and institutional shortcomings, and what effect these may have on the U.S.

Also visit www.CarsOnInfo.net and www.CarQualityInfo.net for more car and truck quality tables, charts, graphs, and information.