Has Honda reliability and quality slipped?!

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by GTO 409, Aug 15, 2018.

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  1. GTO 409

    GTO 409 Member

    I was surprised, even dismayed, by the discovery that Consumer Reports now rates the expected reliability of the Civic, Accord, and Clarity as only 3 of 5 stars — in other words, just average.

    This is based upon thousands of owner reports over the past several years.

    We bought our Honda years ago when the ratings were consistently 4 or 5 stars.

    Worse was seeing that the predicted owner satisfaction on the latest Civic was only 3 our of 5!

    Have other cars gotten that much better? Has Honda slipped? Have owners gotten pickier?

    It's made me seriously consider Toyotas, which we once owned ages ago and liked, and which still have top ratings from owners.

    Hence, looking into the Prius and Prius Prime.
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  3. LAF

    LAF Active Member

    Drive the Clarity after the Prius and you will not worry about future repair costs. The cars cost the same after rebates so you have about $5000 to spend on the Clarity since you are getting much more for the dollars you spend on it new
    dstrauss likes this.
  4. SkipperT

    SkipperT Member

    I doubt it.
    I haven’t read the article, but just from my dealings with the general public from a retail side -

    the public is pickier and harder to please.

    Also the Clarity is such a small percentage of Civic and Accord sales that I wouldn’t lump our model in with those models as a comparison.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    neal adkins likes this.
  5. neal adkins

    neal adkins Active Member

    How can they accurately predict future repairs when the car has only been out about a year or so. Another thing is I now dont take any of these type of things at face value anymore. That is just an opinion. I stick to repair data (of wich thier aint any)and Honda's over all reputation. In other words i scrutinize the accuracy of this report as much as the news media these days. Kbb is now influenced greatly by certain auto makers. So as the world changes verify all such reports and realize that bias is the new norm.
  6. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    Rather than look at only a consolidated "score" for a vehicle, I would look at the details in the CR reliability survey data. For example, the Civic is stellar, except for persistent, major problems with in-car electronics, ie: the "infotainment" system. Likewise, the CR-V and the Fit have had persistent climate system problems. Those bring down the overall score and somewhat distort the overall amazing reliability of Honda. I don't know, of course, but maybe the infotainment system problems in the Civic are just folks not able to easily use Bluetooth or apps with their phones. First world problems, for sure, but something that would bring down a top score.
    Omgswify likes this.
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  8. JCEV

    JCEV Active Member

    My experience is that Honda or Toyota will have one or two minor nitpicks or problems that distort the reliability scores . If you've ever owned a German car their plastics and hoses literally fall apart after 4 to 5 years. You also get far more major problems. I would not worry. These cars last 10-15 years easily. I constantly see German cars and especially Mercedes on a tow considering how many less cars they sell, its a sign .
    jdonalds likes this.
  9. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, the real loser in reliability is Consumer Reports themselves. I used to subscribe and trust them implicitly but lately they have gone off the rails somewhat . As others have reported here, their reliability sometimes ratings don’t match the aggregate number of repair problems they publish.

    All I know is that My family has driven Toyotas since 1978 and Hondas since 1989 and they both have been as close to bullet proof as any large mechanical/electrical/electronic machine can be. American cars have closed the quality gap to be sure but I don’t think they’ve pulled even yet. Honda has been my 1st choice since 1989 because they just never need repairs. They’ve spoiled me rotten. I now just expect a car to go 150,000 miles without any repair bills.
    Let’s see..
    89 Accord, 160,000+, only one repair of $80 for a broken rear swing arm
    04 Accord, bought used with 90,000 m and no repairs for 50,000, sold it and new owners reported no repairs for the next 3 yrs I knew them.
    O8 CRV, 90,000, no repairs but AC clutch going out soon ( I traded for Clarity before it went out completely), air bags and a door switch fixed under Honda extended warranty.
    O4 CR-V, just 70,000 miles but over 12 years (mother-in-law, drove little), no repairs except for a few fender benders before we could pry the keys from her

    So, yeah, I trust Honda more than CR.
  10. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    KentuckyKen I agree on your evaluation of Consumer Reports. Frankly I never did think they represented a consumer level of review on products. It's much worse today than a couple of decades ago. I've watched a few of their car reviews on youtube where they sit around a table and talk and they are a joke. Instead I rely on Amazon buyer reviews which I find much more informative (granted you have to be careful there too). For cars there are way better review sites on youtube.

    Our experience with only Toyota and Honda cars since 1997 has been nothing but astounding for reliability.
    We've had:
    - A Honda Aquatrax jet ski (zero problmes with 400 engine hours)
    - A 1997 Civic (one minor problem at the 7th year, Honda paid 1/2 the cost)
    - Honda lawn mower (zero problems)
    - 1999 Honda Odyssey (transmission repair at 110,000 miles. Honda paid 3/4 of the cost)
    - 2003 Honda CRV (no problems for the five year life of the ownership. We loved that car till my wife totaled it)
    - 2005 Toyota 4Runner Limited AWD (one ignition problem)
    - 2008 Prius (zero problems, not even a loose screw)
    - 2015 Prius (zero problems, not even a loose screw)
    - 2018 Clarity (minor issue with HV range estimate)

    The Toyota vehicles have been near perfect. Hondas have been close to perfect.

    If I compare those results with previous non-Toyota and non-Honda cars it is laughable. We had so many problems with two Chrysler vehicles that I forever scratched that brand off our purchase list.
    Atul Thakkar likes this.
  11. JCEV

    JCEV Active Member

    Yep it's in line with everyone I talk to. One funny story was talking to a 330 BMW owner who had his car for 10 years and said it's pretty reliable . So I asked him what costs incurred other then wear and tear. .. turbos blew , hoses and gaskets, computer and a few other minor problems .. total cost around 9 to 10k. It's all in the eyes of the beholder.
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  13. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    I agree with @jdonalds - it's Consumer Reports that has a screw loose...
  14. Atul Thakkar

    Atul Thakkar Active Member

    I will never buy any Vehicle other than from Honda or Toyota in my life time. it is not worth of a try to save 3 to 5K max for same size new vehicle.
  15. I stopped trusting CR after they rated the Toyota Corolla above average and the Geo Prizm below average. The problem was that they are the same car built in the same factory. The difference being they had different name plates. It was the ultimate case of bias. CR has since scrubbed this from internet. It wasn’t the last time they made this kind of mistake.
  16. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    Hybrid vehicles and particularly PHEVs seem to be intrinsically more reliable than ICE cars. That might seem counterintuitive because they seem more complicated. Case in point is the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV. Although a relatively new design (usually just asking for trouble), the Pacifica PHEV is the most reliable vehicle of any Fiat-Chrysler product including the ICE version of the Pacifica. The Volt and Outlander PHEVs are also very reliable compared to the companies' typical ICE cars. There are many possible reasons for this. The first is that hybrid cars have been quite reliable from the beginning and they've just gotten better. With PHEVs, they can be run as EVs much of the time, reducing wear and tear on the hybrid system. Honda's new hybrids and the Clarity have eliminated the automatic shift transmission from their drive trains, which have many moving parts and is often the most troublesome part of any car. Instead, the ICE is usually used as a generator when needed and the car is mostly driven from its electric motor (except at higher speeds when the ICE can drive the wheels directly if more efficient). Thus, the design is inherently more reliable and the avoidance of turbo engines, makes it even more so.
    impaler clarity likes this.
  17. su_A_ve

    su_A_ve Active Member

    2009 Accord - rear brake replaced at 12K and 18K due to a recall. Recall took care of first one and Honda paid for the second one because the recalled parts were used. Engine rebuilt due to recall at about 80K. Window motor and switch replaced by Honda Care
    2012 Odyssey - no major issues. Real tailgate strut replaced by Honda Care (I'm sure there was something else too but can't remember now)
  18. Martik

    Martik New Member

    The Accord reliability went quickly downhill after 1997: http://www.hondaproblems.com/vehicles/accord/

    I had the 7th gen, which burned 3 qts of oil per tank, had a stretched timing chain, radio that blew and rendered the hvac lights unlit and a tranny that was on its way out when I scrapped it at 190k miles. Honda refused to help with the oil consumption which started at 90k, or the stretched chain.

    These problems are common and well documented on the net.

    It never left me stranded though, just had to keep adding oil lol.
    GTO 409 likes this.
  19. Omgswify

    Omgswify Member

    I feel this is the real issue that is plaguing new cars. Cars back then didn’t have such new electronic features. And with any manufacturer, you will see a decline in reliability whenever you have a ton of tech features.

    I’ve heard the same from Jaguar/Land Rover techs. Some of their cars are ok in reliability but the electrical issues brings them to the bottom of the pack.

    I’ve had Honda’s/Acura’s all my life (02 Accord before the Clarity and still own an RDX) and I will never doubt their reliability.
  20. GTO 409

    GTO 409 Member

    Appreciate the feedback! Individual accolades about Honda aside, with which I would concur... , it wasn't a single report.

    CR's ratings are, as I noted, “based upon thousands of owner reports over the past several years.”

    Our vintage Honda has been virtually trouble free, but it's quite old now. I trust thousands of reports on recent cars vs. my individual experience based on an early 2000s model or Ns of only a handful of people or older vehicles!

    I find that CR does a thorough, systematic job of analyzing strengths and weaknesses of vehicles and have confidence in their data and owner reports.

    The suggestion to look at the details and the breakdowns is a good one. For the Civic, e.g., the overall owner satisfaction ratings were only average from 2013-2016! That was unheard of in the old days for Honda. The largest “problem” area was

    Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride.​

    That was also the weaker area for the Prius.

    The 2016-2017 reliability ratings for the Civic were also only average. It seems that the issues have been with climate controls and brakes (though still pretty good), and more apparent with power equipment and, especially, in-car electronics.

    Recent Accords do much better, with 5 star reliability ratings in virtually all areas for the past 4 or 5 years. Owner satisfaction, though, is not as stellar as reliability ratings, although still a very good 4. The reported driving experience and value are similar to the Prius while the Honda's comfort is much better.

    The key overall finding for me, though, is that “only” 70% said they'd buy the Civic again and 77% the Accord vs. 89% for the Prius!

    Maybe Honda owners are pickier! Maybe Honda's quality or ability to please its customers is not as good...

    While past performance (or problems) is no guarantee of future results (or continued problems), as the stock prospectuses say, it is still a concern!

    I do plan on test driving these cars, although my experience sitting in the Clarity was underwhelming — it felt cramped, the sloping roof an issue, had less visibility than our old Accord — both front and sides and especially in the rear mirror, and I was even slightly nauseated by the hall of mirror effects of the driver side mirror!

    As a side note, I share CR's take on the value of Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alerts. Very few Honda models have them — you can't get them on the Civic, the Insight, or the Clarity.

    They are available on the Accord, but only on the EX trim, for extra money, and a mandatory moon roof which reduces head room.

    Over on the Toyota side, they are widely available on the equivalent types of cars, often being thrown in for free or a one trim upgrade!
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
  21. Odobo

    Odobo Active Member

    Note that Prius owner are usually more loyal to the Prius brand than other models... That's especially true before EV of any kind started expanding, numerious poll from different car magazines/website shows similar result so the 89% return customer number maybe not the best number to compare.

    As for the different features available on different brand ... That's the beauty of free world isn't it? Otherwise you will have multiple brand making essentially the same car
  22. LegoZ

    LegoZ Active Member

    Unfortunately I haven’t had the best luck:
    -Carpet popping out from under trim (two trips to the dealer before repair held (for now it’s only been a week))
    -Check engine lights for the coolant valve
    -Charging failures (had in after the SB update that was supposed to solve it)
    Squeaking parking brake (will end up being at lease two dealer trips to get this fixed)
    -HV Range (and complete crap response from Honda corporate)
    -SiriusXM bug when remote preconditioning
  23. jeff10236

    jeff10236 Member

    A few points...

    Consumer Reports is fine for what it does, but you have to understand how they get and report their ratings and look deeper. I wouldn't throw them away, nor would I trust them as my only source of research when buying a car.

    Second, Honda is reliable overall, but it has never been more reliable overall than Toyota. Further, even a reliable manufacturer can make an unreliable model. And, even a good reliable car will have its weak points (the automatic transmission in many Hondas with V6s for instance, the stuck accelerator issue with many Toyotas, the airbag issue on both).

    This was the first point I wanted to make. CR's overall rating looks at overall problems with engine issues, electrical system issues, and infotainment issues all going into the mix. I think they need to weigh them more giving major problems more weight than they do, since some make a car undriveable and some are only annoying. If you pay to subscribe (I do) you can look up how a car fares in each category, but if you don't subscribe you only get the overall rating with no way of knowing if it is based on major (and expensive) mechanical issues, or more minor (or cheaper) issues.

    If you look at CR's breakdown on the Clarity, major mechanical systems that could lead to major driveablity issues, safety issues, or leave you stranded, are all rated much better than average. Engine, electrical, transmission, fuel system, exhaust, suspension, brakes, etc. are all rated as much better than average. The relative issues are: body integrity (average), paint/trim (average), power equipment (average), and body hardware (much worse than average). While these areas are annoying, and not something you expect from a well made car with a sticker north of $30K, they are not safety issues, or anything I'd consider a true reliability issue (they don't effect the car mechanically- it will start, it will run well, it won't die on you, and there are no safety issues).

    This is semi-related to another area I was going to talk about. They quote you cite is their entire database. The ratings being "based upon thousands of owner reports..." is the database they use for every car they report on, not each car they report on. IOW, they may be using 5-20 thousand reports, but the Honda Civic may have a few hundred, the Toyota Corolla may have a thousand, the Chevy Silverado may have 3-400, the Ford Focus may have 100 or so, the Honda Clarity may have 50 or less. The more cars a manufacturer sells in a particular model, the more reports CR will have. The Clarity has not sold that many cars, so I doubt CR has more than a couple dozen (generously) on it.

    So, now you have to consider the issue of sample size. If you have a sample of 100 reports and 10 cars had a particular issue, and another car with a sample of 1000 had 100 cars with that issue, you can be much more confident that the issue with the car with 1000 samples is more likely a problem with the car and not a statistical anomaly (caused by confounding variables). With the Clarity you may have 20 cars with 2 problems, in that case, with only a couple cars with problems, it still shows a 10% failure rate like the others, but the chances that the problem is just dumb luck and not an actual problem with the cars is now much higher.

    The other issue is the fact that it is based upon owner reports. Now you are dealing with self-selection bias. People are more likely to respond if they feel strongly one way or the other. If they have a car that is a total lemon, they are likely to respond with all their issues. If they bought a car thinking it would be 100% reliable, but like any machine it has a few issues, and they are disappointed because they had unrealistic expectations, they are more likely to respond with all their issues. If they consider the car very reliable, they may either not respond, or they may unintentionally leave some issues they had out because they forgot them or just weren't thinking about them at the time. I know when I filled one out for my 1997 Sentra (I bought it new, it had a ton of issues the entire time I owned it), I remembered every issue and looked for receipts because I was upset at having so many problems in a car that CR at the time said was very reliable. When I had my Hyundai Sonata (bought new in 2004) and my Ford Fusion (bought new in 2011), I thought of them as reliable, though they had some problems, and I wasn't as careful to look up each problem and went with my memory, and I probably left something out.

    Now, all that said, there is no doubt that our cars have some problems. Looking at the forum, infotainment, Honda Link, and some intermittent charging issues are pretty common (and are all issues I've had as well). These are annoyance problems, not safety or true (IMO) reliability issues. Should we have them, of course not. Hopefully, Honda will resolve them. Should they keep someone from trusting the car, well, I guess that is an individual choice. If I knew about them in advance, I may have considered the Volt a bit more seriously, but I still probably would have ended up with the Clarity.

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