I've also had personal experiences. The Mazda I currently drive has been reliable, the only repair so far an ABS sensor. The PT Cruiser my wife drives just required a new torque converter and transmission pump at 52,000 miles.
But the weakest part of my research is that I'm starting out with small sample sizes of a couple dozen cars. This is a borderline number. As an individual, you can only own one or two examples of a model, and you might hear about 5-10 others. So can I reach any valid conclusions about repair rates from my personal experience?
Clearly, every PT Cruiser doesn't have the torque converter fail early. But how many do? I have no idea.
I think many people are less interested in average repair rates--none of which are especially scary--than in the odds of getting a lemon. It will require especially large sample sizes to report these odds, but I intend to do it when I can.
Vehicle reliability, price comparisons, fuel economy