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I have a highlander on order so I’m committed to the brand but 2 things made me wonder if the quality is less than it used to be. One, I see a decent number of posts here with problems or complaints. Of course, I realize forums are used to get help, and help with problems arise more regularly but I also noticed consumers reports had a reliability rating that was very good but not as good as I often see for Toyota. Perhaps pandemic related circumstances have hurt reliability for everyone or maybe high technology content?
 

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I think the pandemic has hurt all brands. Everyone in the supply chain is being forced to try to rush products out the door to keep final assembly moving. It's not just tech, but mechanical parts too.
 

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See the movie "Gung-ho" for what has happened to Toyota, Honda, etc. lol
Build them in America, and the quality slips, simple as that.

They are definitely not as "bulletproof" as they once were. Still have one of each though and still WAY better than my Chevy pick-up!
 

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Completely 100% agree but I feel quality has gone down hill on all brands of cars, trucks, appliances etc. We have a taxi company here that bought the first two Hybrid Prius that came into Canada. One had 1,500,000km and the other had 1,100,000km on it. Toyota bought them back for what they paid and gave them two new ones. They said they shouldn't be lasting that long. LOL
 

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Reasons for the decline in quality.
1.Japans population was polarized by the loss of many males in WW2. When the population that remained was working they were all the of the same background and ethics. Even until very recently large cash bank funds were transported by bicycle, not so today I believe.
2.When the WW2 era babies got to retirement age the society changed as those passed away. Many retirees could not afford to live in Japan.
3.Compare the parts count in the newest models of Japanese produced vehicles. Not just what they will sell you as an assembly but all of the individual parts that make up an assembly. I would guess it has doubled, tripled or even more multiples of the parts on my brothers 1990 truck that has no chips or computers or any of the electrical wizardry we can't live with anymore. How long before your computer or cell phone is obsolete, This CPU is 11 years old and was a rebuilt one when I got it.
4.Costs reductions and computer designed in obsolescence. We don't want 40 year old light bulbs that would cost $20 each today if they still made them. Recently bought a pack of 20 LED 1056 equivalent light bulbs, for $14 shipped to my door. Do you think any one of those 20 would last as long as the 50 year old light bulbs in the 1971CB 350 I bought 10 years ago and never replaced one when they were 40 years old. (Koito made)
5.Outsourced parts manufacturing, no one we outsource to has the same attitude as did those babies who saw the effects of WW2 on their country.
6. Regulations imposed on manufacturing. We can't even build them like we used to, better for health, worse for reliability.
7. One thing you would never see in a Japanese work force is SABOTAGE. I witnessed it first person on an early 1980s Ford truck we got at the dealership where I worked. Made just before a UAW strike it had a hole Drilled into the main oil gallery, behind the torque converter and it was marked "you found it you SOB". With that kind of employee loyalty did we really have a chance of competing. Compared to that a truck that does NOT leak a quart of oil on the ground coming off the car carrier is fabulous.

I can go on and on, but the quality that we enjoyed 20-30 years ago is gone and will not return
 

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I think some of us have short memories. When I started driving you changed oil every 1,000 to 2,000 miles. A car with 50,000 miles was ready for the junk yard. You replaced the plugs every 5 to 10,000 miles. When you bought a new car the dealer told you to keep a list of the problems so they could sort it out when you brought it back every month or so.

Quality has improved by a large percentage in the past 10 to 20 years.
 

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IMHO the new engines are an issue. The old bulletproof in-line ICE with no-CVT was rock solid and the glitchy electronics and entertainment add to the woes and number of complaints. Also I don’t know of any Automobile manufacturer who have managed to get their act together on turbos. The Japanese, American, European, Korean all alike.
 

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No, Toyota quality hasn't declined. What's happening is that other manufacturers have closed the gap, and some now clearly exceed Toyota quality.
For example, Mazda and Hyundai-KIA have outstanding initial quality. They may not last as long as Toyotas (they are not designed to), but their initial quality is better and more consistent than Toyota. If you replace your cars every 5-7 years, odds are that you will have significantly less problems with a KIA or Mazda than with a Toyota (and a better/longer warranty in case of a KIA). On the other hand, if you buy used or keep your cars for 10+ years, Toyota will give you less headaches, especially once you pass the 100k miles mark.
 

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The assembly quality in new Sienna I rented is serious issue IMO, and based on internet talk, it is not the only model. So many gaps in panels, uneven gaps, plastic that doesn’t fit properly etc.

Anyone who fallowed Toyota small diesels know what junk that was when they entered European market in beginning of 2000. They then decided to just by diesels from BMW.
So, we will see what happens now with this move to turbo engines. It seems 2.4 is holding ok so far. 3.5TT, had some issues. But, time will tell.


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The other issue, well, probably not an issue but a perception.

Forums didn't exist "back in the day" so we didn't see all the folks who come here (forums) looking for help.

One poster above mentioned the short oil change intervals and spark plug change intervals....and points and rotors... and ...I can go on and on. Carb overhauls 10-12 mpg....

Ok I will stop.
 

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I remember when Kia first released the Telluride and Consumer Reports almost tee teed on themselves about how wonderful that car was and that it had excellent reliability. How they decided the reliability of a brand new car like that baffled me with no history from owners yet.
Well, now time has taken its toll on Telluride, and it has been knocked down a notch or two from its pedestal of reliability. Has consumer input changed, or is it that Kia isn’t making the donations they once did?
You be the judge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I was curious about the telluride per the above post bc I remember the remarkable love from virtually everyone regarding this new model from a semi second tier brand. I also didn’t love the lines too much but over time it’s grown on me a bit. Regarding reliability, the above poster is right on them but this also shows what someone else said, maybe Toto, that all brands are a bit less reliable these days, some is pandemic and supply chain related, but on a relative basis, this still suggests Toyota is one of the best. I had not seen this comparison until today


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Yes, Highlander still has an inside fuel door release. You might get an argument both ways about how good of a feature that is. (Better for securing access to the fuel filler, but a problem when it freezes in the cold or malfunctions and you can't get the door open.) So removing it isn't necessarily de-contenting to some people. I used to think that the remote door release was the greatest thing in the world and I was disappointed any time a new car didn't have it. Then I was caught out in freezing rain one night and the fuel door on my Highlander froze up. I had to drive home and carefully thaw it out with a hair dryer before going back to the gas station. If I wasn't close to home, that might have been a real problem. Now I see both sides of the debate on this one.

Toyota transmissions haven't had a dipstick in a long time. They're supposed to be less maintenance than transmissions made in the past. That doesn't mean you can't service the transmission, but it's a bigger hassle than it should be. I'll agree with you on that one.

I think many Toyota products have some amount of soundproofing. Of course, the more you pay, the more you get. That's one of the reasons you pay huge dollars for a Lexus - it has more soundproofing material than its Toyota counterparts. Highlander has quite a bit of soundproofing, especially the upper trim levels. I remember when cars had no such thing as soundproofing. So I wouldn't consider that de-contenting either, but there is clearly a link between price of the car and how hard they try to make it quieter inside. It also depends on the model, and whether the target audience for that model considers quiet to be a feature. My Tacoma seems a lot louder inside than my Highlander, but if you ask most Tacoma owners where to spend the dollars, quiet won't be high on the list with the preference there going to off-road capability.
 

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I was curious about the telluride per the above post bc I remember the remarkable love from virtually everyone regarding this new model from a semi second tier brand. I also didn’t love the lines too much but over time it’s grown on me a bit. Regarding reliability, the above poster is right on them but this also shows what someone else said, maybe Toto, that all brands are a bit less reliable these days, some is pandemic and supply chain related, but on a relative basis, this still suggests Toyota is one of the best. I had not seen this comparison until today


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The charts I found on Consumer Reports were a bit different.
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Consumer Reports has declined over the years too.
Consumer Reports doesn’t have anything that resembles proper methodology.
Reliability reporting is based on consumer self reporting. That can mean anything. Some people might say problem is no dipstick in transmission (which numerous transmissions don’t have last 30 years) and doesn’t have anything to do with reliability.
Then their reports don’t include same mileage between brands, same amount of models, no control variables etc.
My neighbor has Sienna with 120k. I can hear her suspension clunking from 100 yards away. I asked her once how is her car, and she said: excellent, never had an issue.


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The fit and finish on my Korean car (made in Korea) is much better than on my Japanese vehicle (made in America). I completely understand that my Korean car won't last as long as my Japanese brand, but I am willing to take the chance since I paid about $5K less initially for a comparable model/trim. I realize I will lose that money on depreciation when car values get back to normal.

Every time I get into my Japanese brand and see the variation in panel gaps, lack of simple plastic covers in the engine bay, and sloppy application of the glue sealant at the seams, it makes me irritated. No such problems on my Korean vehicle.

Just one guys opinion. As a family we grew up owning Toyota's (T-100, Camry, Tundra, 4-Runner, and even a diesel Camry), because they were less expensive than Honda's. The 2014 Highlander XLE and 2012 Camry Hybrid were the nicest vehicles we owned. Then we purchased a truck from Honda, and now we own a Kia Sportage Hybrid. The extra features for less money are worth it to me.
 

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Well for one, I am upset that my 2020 RAV4 Hybrid has an oil dilution problem if I do short in town trips, which is kind of why I got the hybrid for. Now I have to drive it on the highway once a week to keep this issue in check. The other issue is the corroding high voltage connector, which requires the entire cable to be replaced at a cost of $6000 and is only covered in the 3yr warranty instead of the hybrid warranty. It was a poor design by Toyota how they chose to attach that connector to the back motor at a low point where it is unprotected and exposed to water. The fuel tank capacity is another fiasco. But to be honest if not Toyota, what else? Honda has its shares of issues as well as Kia, Hyundai, and Mazda. They are all thinking short term. You as the consumer are supposed to buy the car, keep it for 5 years and then get another new car.
 
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