Tracking the Best Cars of 2008 Four Years Later
We look at how some of 2008's best cars have held up over time.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: August 18th, 2012
There's a reason that CR named each of these vehicles top picks, after all.
eliability and resale value mean a lot to car owners, and today we're looking back at the best cars of 2008, as picked by Consumer Reports¸ to see how they've held up.
Why 2008? We could give you a long spiel about the changes in the industry since then, but really, when it comes to the hard data, four years gives a pretty good picture of how things have gone. And of course, this is the time in which the original owners might be looking to sell, so a lot of these models will be sitting in used-car lots.
Consumer Reports picked one car each in ten categories: Toyota Prius (green car), Hyundai Elantra (small sedan), Honda Accord (family sedan), Infiniti G35 (upscale sedan), Lexus LS 460L (luxury sedan), Mazda MX-5 Miata (fun to drive), Toyota RAV4 (small SUV), Hyundai Santa Fe (mid-size SUV), Toyota Sienna (minivan), and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab (pickup truck).
We're using J.D. Power's Vehicle Dependability study, which tracks dependability after three years of ownership. Yes, we know that 2008 was four years ago, but this is the best data available.
Some results were predictable. For example, the Prius scored well in the dependability survey, as did the Elantra, the Miata, the RAV4, the Santa Fe, and the Sienna. Perhaps surprisingly, the Accord only earned three out of five stars in overall dependability, same as the G35 and the LS 460L. The Silverado was not rated.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that six of the ten vehicles earned either four or five stars, and even the three models that didn't measure up still earned three out of a possible five stars. There's a reason that CR named each of these vehicles top picks, after all. And in today's climate, there are few truly unreliable cars, as Ed Kim, the vice president for industry analysis at AutoPacific, told us in an e-mail.
"The gap between the most and least reliable vehicles in the marketplace has really closed up," Kim said.
Reliability isn’t the only issue here. Resale value also matters. A quick scan of auction pricing data provided by Seung Min Mel Yu, a freelance consultant, showed a fair amount of variation among the top ten, with the Miata retaining more than half its resale value whereas the Accord fell just below half for an LX model. That's just one example.
What's amazing is how much has changed since 2008 in the broader sense of the market (Here comes that spiel we mentioned). As Kim points out, Toyota' reputation for reliability suffered due to unintended-acceleration recalls, most Japanese automakers were affected by the earthquake and tsunami that struck that country in March of 2011, and Hyundai and Kia have emerged as stronger players in the industry.
"The significance of this is that I think at least some of the market share decline that Toyota and Honda have experienced is permanent," Kim said. "They no longer automatically have the best default cars in their segments; consumers have a lot more viable choices now."
We'll see in 2015 or so.Related Vehicles: 2008 honda accord | 2008 hyundai elantra | 2008 chevrolet silverado 1500 | 2008 toyota prius | 2008 infiniti g35 | 2008 lexus ls 460 | 2008 mazda mx-5 miata | 2008 hyundai santa fe | 2008 toyota sienna | 2008 toyota rav4