In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- Next Toyota Yaris and Toyota Prius C?
- Can domestic vehicles be better than imports?
- Jeep Renegade reliability?
This first question comes from a viewer who wants to know if there is a future for the Toyota Prius C and Toyota Yaris.
Q: Hi TFL car, hows it going? I have a Toyota question for you!
I have a 2009 Toyota Yaris with nearly 150,000 miles on it. I love it and it never has given me any problems. My brother says that not only is the Toyota Yaris being discontinued so is the Toyota Prius C.
That cant be right can it? Please let me know if you have any information.
A: Howdy Lyn!
While there has been no formal announcement from the parent company, as far as we know, the Toyota Yaris and Toyota Prius C will remain in production for now. Sure, there may be some changes coming to the names and, possibly, the styling, but Toyota is enjoying success with both vehicles.
The photo above is from Toyota’s Gazoo Racing organization. They dropped this tease recently of both vehicles which will debut at the 2017 Tokyo Auto Salon which will be mid January 2017. The noses definitely look updated and fall in line with the (rumored) updates to the Toyota Camry.
Being that there’s an all new design to the new Toyota Prius, the rest of the Prius line should get some updates as well. In this photo both vehicles look like they share some characteristics with the upcoming Toyota CH-R and the aforementioned new Toyota Camry.
I suspect both vehicles are going to be with us for a while.
Thanks for the email!
This next question come from a fan who wants to know the “real” reason (some) imports are seen as more reliable than domestics.
Q: Nathan, whats the real reason that imports are more reliable than domestic??
I can’t imagine their engineers are any smarter than ours. Is it because they are pursuing different business models; domestic wanting service revenue while imports are more focused on selling volume?
A: Hello Robert, great question!
Part of the reason is perception, there are a lot of automakers that wear their reliability reputation like a badge. Toyota/Lexus is an excellent example. In this year’s JD Power 2016 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), Toyota/Lexus nearly had the most vehicles awarded with a total of 6. Believe it or not, General Motors had 7.
Normally, Toyota is the most dominant.
Take a look at the table below, it’s the JD Power 2016 VDS by Category. You’ll notice something interesting.
- Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle – Toyota Prius V
- Small SUV – Buick Encore
- Midsize SUV – Nissan Murano
- Midsize Premium SUV – Lexus GX
- Large SUV – GMC Yukon
- Compact Premium SUV – Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
- Compact SUV – Chevrolet Equinox
- Midsize Car – Chevrolet Malibu
- Compact Car – Buick Verano
- Large Car – Buick LaCrosse
- City Car – Fiat 500
- Midsize Sporty Car – Chevrolet Camaro
- Compact Sporty Car – MINI Cooper
- Compact Premium Car – Lexus ES
- Midsize Premium Car – Lexus GS
- Small Car – Honda Fit
- Minivan Toyota Sienna
- Large Light Duty Pickup – Toyota Tundra
- Large Heavy Duty Pickup – Chevrolet Silverado HD
Did you happen to catch the Fiat 500 and MINI Cooper on that list? Those two automakers have a dreadful reputation for reliability, yet here they are. Each automaker has a bottom line, just like you suggested: different business models.
Yes, some automakers factor in service revenue, but they do that at the peril of reputation, especially nowadays with the immediacy of social media. The days of flooding a market and making major changes only after government intervention and public outrage is drifting away. Every automaker is aiming for higher quality and a better reputation.
Ask General Motors, they are still cracking open the champagne over their recent wins.
The last question comes from a fan who is looking at a Jeep Renegade.
Q: Hello Nathan, I really want to get a Jeep Renegade
I can get one for a really good price in my area, however, I always hear people complaining about FCA/Jeep reliability issues, should I let this deter me from buying one? Is it true that Jeep reliability is terrible?
A: Hi James, thanks for the email!
While we at TFL are not able to monitor the long-term resilience of many vehicles, we do keep an ear to the ground. Last year, the Jeep Renegade seemed to have a few teething problems. While some of the issues were quickly rectified, the overall Jeep reputation for issues is a reality.
With that being said, I hear that things are better for 2016 so far. I know of two owners personally who have Renegades. One with a Trailhawk and the other one a base Renegade with the 1.4 and 6-speed manual. Both have reported no issues with the exception of a warning light that was addressed at the dealership (Trailhawk).
I suggest looking at the vehicle’s reliability numbers on ratings websites and owner’s boards. Also, look for common complaints and warranty information too. The bottom line is that staying on top of the information is your best tool.
I wish I could give you more information.
Here’s the next video episode of “Ask Nathan!”
Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.
From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.
Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org