That title is deceiving. Toyota never lost its rep as reliable in my opinion.
Just because some magazine wants to test it before saying it is reliable, doesn't mean it isn't reliable. It just means they haven't been doing what they should have been doing from the get go.
I have a 2005 Toyota with a 100,000 mile BUMPER TO BUMPER warranty that I have never used. It has never been to the dealer and I have never spent a dime on mechanical parts, diagnosing, repair etc....aside from oil changes.
My view of Toyota...Honda too...: When my wife and I were looking for her first car...I told her she could have anything she wants....as long as it was a Honda or Toyota.
I, too, have a Toyota that I haven't used the warranty on. On the other hand, the car has a service plan involved, so I'm not paying for that part of the maintenance, either. But I've also had domestic cars I haven't used the warranty on, either. In fact, I bought a used Pontiac Phoenix with a powertrain warranty. The day it expired, I turned around and drove to a car race in Ohio, much of it over back roads. The only problem I had was that I thoroughly wore the tires out having fun on country two lane roads, and one of the front tires went flat a week after I returned.
Simply, some people act if Toyota, and only
Toyota can produce a reliable car, and that simply isn't true. Recently, I was utterly galled at a Toyota dealer where I currently am on business, in Pensacola. After a brief drive of another Toyota model, when I mentioned that other vehicles I had looked at included a Ford, he mentioned the old "fix or repair daily" joke. This, coming from someone who spoke with a foreign, probably Central American accent, was about as much as I could stand despite my liking Fords only so much (I'd still like to see them do better than Toyota, though). He was lucky I didn't backhand him into the latter part of the next week. Some Toyota sales people act as if once you drive a Toyota, the decision to buy it is a default.
Toyota's real problem is that without their reliable reputation, there's really not all that much there. Most American cars have more style, most other Japanese cars are, category for category, more fun to drive, never mind the difference in character between a Camry and a VW Passat. So reliability is pretty much what they have.
With the latest Accord, Honda has shown that it is in danger of losing its way, as far as I'm concerned, as well.