One of the significant reasons people buy a brand-new car is the promise of a no-hassle ownership experience. Nonetheless, CR’s exclusive Annual Auto Surveys tell us that some buyers will take their brand-new car back to the dealer’s service department sooner and more often than other car buyers.
We all want a car that will keep going and not have us stranded on the side of the highway in the middle of the night. It is easy to think a new car will solve automobile troubles, but this is not always the case. Consumer Reports released its list of the least reliable cars based on a buyer survey, ranking specific models based on 17 problem areas, including:
- Squeaky brakes
- Broken interior trim
- Out-of-warranty transmission repairs
- Trouble with four-wheel-drive
Consumer Reports takes a deep look at everything from appliances to cleaning supplies to vehicles, giving their expert opinion on things and how products check out on the consumer’s end. Hence, it got the name Consumer Reports.
Regarding rating vehicles, Consumer Reports samples over 640,000 vehicles to create reports concentrating on safety, owner satisfaction, and reliability. Reliability is measured by rating various categories or trouble spots.
Trouble spots focus on mechanical things such as the power train, brakes, and suspension. It also concentrates on physical things like body, paint, and in-car electronics.
Consumer Reports does a fantastic job of analyzing the new data gathered about vehicles annually. It compares the data they have collected throughout the years and how the manufacturers have improved.
They also come out with annual vehicle reports like the most reliable, best pick, and the dreaded Consumer Reports least reliable cars list, which no vehicle wants to be.
The models featured in this article are the ten least reliable cars. The surveys deeply dive into the several things that can go wrong with a vehicle. They studied 17 trouble areas, from nuisances, such as squeaky brakes and broken interior trim, to significant bummers, such as out-of-warranty transmission repairs and trouble with four-wheel-drive systems.
They measure the severity of each type of problem to create a predicted reliability score for every vehicle.
List of Least Reliable Cars The 10 least reliable cars are listed, and details are mentioned below.
Subaru produces an extensive range of reliable vehicles. They usually brag about how 90% of their cars are still on roads after ten years. But, Subaru Ascent seemed to miss the memo. Consumer Reports gave it an awful score in reliability, 1 out of 5.
The Ascent scores the lowest in its class according to Consumer Reports, rating worse than the Explorer, which is world-famous for its “exploder” moniker. The poor ratings reduced Subaru’s reliability as a whole.
Tesla undoubtedly owns the Electric Vehicle (EV) market. They are luxurious, fast, and do not need gas. As far as EVs go, the Model S is not all that reliable, with Consumer Reports stating that interior materials have quality concerns and functionality majorly decreases in cold weather.
Although they command a fair share of glory, there are equal amounts of concerns that the Model S will break down the minute it hits the driveway. It is especially alarming considering that the Model S can go for as much as $135,000.
X-Trail owners are less than thrilled at Nissan’s performance with the mid-sized SUV. Nissan’s X-Trail performs so poorly that brands such as Kia and Hyundai outperform the SUV in every category. In a 2021 survey, it was found that nearly half of all owners have problems with their SUVs.
According to Motor1, Pontiac Fiero was one of the “worst sports cars.” For starters, Fiero’s suspension was complicated and constantly had issues. It was heavy, and the maintenance was very expensive on the Fiero. Though it was American-made, it was completely unreliable.
More than 100 reports of Fieros bursting into flames due to a design flaw in their engine. The Fiero was a mess.
Cadillac broke into the SUV market after releasing its Escalade in 1999, and it seems to have had issues ever since. The Escalade made the Consumer Reports’ “Least Reliable Cars” list in 2017. Consumer Reports states this is because of the problems with the infotainment system and significant issues with the transmission.
The Escalade may be massive on the outside, but Consumer Reports also mentions that the interior feels very small inside, with some complaints about the comfort.
6. Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is another vehicle to make the least reliable cars and dreaded cars list. The Ford Focus and owners complained about a defective “Powershift” dual transmission. As a result, many will receive a payout from a class-action suit filed against Ford.
The Fiesta has worsened its reliability score yearly. Most of the issues are due to the transmission, heating, and cooling system, plus weather-stripping defects resulting in weird noises and leaks.
Fiat-Chrysler got slammed with a $105 million fine because of mishandling recalls. The lawsuit came after three separate recalls, all dealing with steering issues on more than half a million vehicles, primarily affecting Rams of all rated tow levels. Some consumers were not as lucky because of these recalls.
Regardless it doesn’t comply with the law saying that manufacturers must tend to recall in a timely fashion, and why Fiat-Chrysler had to pay over 100 million in fines and buy back vehicles that were not repaired.
The Chevy Cruze was introduced to the world in 2008 and has been one of the least reliable cars since then. Countless complaints on Consumer Reports state the Chevy Cruze has issues with rough rides, challenging shifts, and many electrical issues.
GM released a recall that affected over 110k Cruzes and froze further sales of units until GM resolved the issues.
On Consumer Reports reliability, the Ford Focus scored 1 out of 5. The Focus had a lot of issues and recalls in the past, the most major being the transmission.
Road and Track announced that owners of Ford Focus models from 2012 to 2016 equipped with the “Powershift” dual transmission would receive a payout from a class-action suit from Ford due to their vehicles being deemed lemons.
10. Volkswagen Jetta
Volkswagen had a bad reputation for its dirty diesel scandal. According to Consumer Reports, the Jetta has not improved on the overall reliability verdict since 2000, or the oldest data Consumer Reports had listed.
Most of the issues focused on the transmission, with the consumer having to get clutches and torque converters replaced and, in worst-case scenarios, having to get a whole new transmission or rebuilds.
Also Read: Tackling the Challenges of Third Party Risk