Despite all of the recalls and bad press Toyota had a few months ago they have pulled through stronger and better than ever. Some recent surveys about car reliability and dependability show that Toyota is still at the top of the list. Toyota as a company has also stepped up and added some major safety features to its line-up of cars for 2011.

Over 1.3 million vehicle owners who are also readers of Consumer Reports voted for which cars they found most reliable. The study covered model years 2001 to 2010. The vehicles that made the list of Most Reliable Cars must also have performed well in government and insurance industry crash and rollover tests. The cars also had to have electronic stability control available in a mainstream high-volume trim line in order to be considered. The results of the reliability study put Toyota cars at the top of the list. Models from Toyota, Scion and Lexus (brands of Toyota) were among the most reliable cars and earned top scores in five different vehicle categories. The Toyota Yaris, FJ Cruiser, Sienna V6 and Tundra V6 all scored top scores in the study. The Lexus LX also earned top marks Autel MaxiSys MS906BT.

J.D. Power and Associates conducted another similar study to find the dependability of vehicles. They surveyed owners of 3-year old models that were purchased new and asked them to identify problems that had arisen in the last 12 months. The Vehicle Dependability Study asks owners to identify any issues they've had in 200 different problem areas. Toyota performed very well in this study and received four different segment awards- more than any other brand in the study. The Toyota Highlander, Prius, Sequoia and Tundra all received above average marks for their dependability. Toyota's Lexus brand also made the top 5 list. In the compact car category the Toyota Prius was number one followed by the Corolla. In the Large Multi-Activity category the Toyota Sequoia topped the list as did the Tundra in the large pickup category. In the midsize multi activity category Toyota took the top 2 spots with the Highlander and the 4Runner. The Toyota Sienna and Yaris were in the top 3 for the minivan and sub-compact car categories respectively. Lexus made the top 3 in the large premium car category (LS460), midsize premium car (ES 350) and midsize premium multi activity category (GX 470 Autel MaxiSys Pro, RX).

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety has their own study that rates a vehicle for how well it protects its occupants from front and side impacts, rollovers and rear impacts. Toyota had more top picks than any other make. The Toyota Avalon, Corolla, Highlander, Sienna and Venza all made the list in each of their respected categories. In the minivan category the Sienna was the only one to make the list.

Standard on all new Toyota vehicles is the Star Safety System. Toyota is the first manufacture to make these features standard on all vehicles. The Star Safety System is made up of five different safety features; vehicle stability control, traction control, an anti-lock braking system, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution. Vehicle stability control helps prevent slipping and loss of traction by reducing engine power and applying brake force to the wheels that need it. Traction control also helps with slipping on wet, icy, loose or uneven surfaces by applying brake force on the spinning wheels. The anti-lock braking system prevents the brakes from locking up by "pulsing" brake pressure to each wheel to help the driver maintain control during emergency braking situations. Brake assist is able to detect sudden or "panic" braking and adds the full pressure needed to help prevent collision. Lastly, electronic brake-force distribution aids in redistributing brake force to help keep the rear wheels from locking up during sudden braking situations. Smart Stop Technology is also being installed in all new Toyota models. This system automatically reduces engine power when both the accelerator and brake pedals are pressed at the same time under certain conditions. The system will intervene when the accelerator is pressed first and the brakes are applied firmly for longer than half a second at speeds greater than five miles per hour.

All of these studies about reliability and Toyota's own commitment to safety and its customers make Toyota cars some of the safest and most reliable cars on the road.

Allen Smythe works as a freelance writer and marketer for companies like Germain Toyota of Columbus, a car dealer selling new Toyota cars in Columbus Ohio. They are located at . When he is off the clock, Allen writes about and stays up-to-date on the latest marketing innovations, and follows the latest news about the automotive industry and cars.
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