10 Cars With the Most NHTSA Safety Complaints Since 2005

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Fiat Chrysler brands dominated the list of cars with the most safety complaints over the past decade | Jeep

Sometimes, car news can be all too predictable. When Consumer Reports comes out with the list of its most reliable cars, you know you’re going to see Toyota and Lexus vehicles ranking high. On the other side, when testing agencies point out the market’s least reliable models, you know those Fiat Chrysler brands will take up a lot of space.

Safety ratings tend to follow the same pattern. Honda, Subaru, and Toyota always boast many IIHS top safety picks while Jeep and Dodge vehicles almost never make the cut. New data from iSeeCars.com shed more light on these trends. The auto-research company sifted through millions of consumer safety complaints logged on the NHTSA website for model years 2005 through 2016. Though many complaints lead to no action by the NHTSA, there’s usually fire where there’s smoke.

The list had some surprises. For example, Tesla ranked No. 3 among all brands, despite the high safety ratings for the flagship Model S. According to iSeeCars, the Model X SUV had the highest frequency of complaints, which were mainly related to speed controls. (Because only models with over 750,000 sales were considered, Model X did not make this list.) Likewise, other well-respected nameplates suffered from complaints logged against models from previous generations.

Here are the 10 cars with the most NHTSA safety complaints since 2005.

10. Nissan Murano

2013 Nissan Murano
2013 Nissan Murano | Nissan

Murano was the first crossover Nissan offered on the U.S. market, and it began a run of top safety awards in 2015. Earlier models were less consistent, and Murano owners logged nearly 40 complaints per 10,000 vehicles on the NHTSA website since 2005. Used-car shoppers should steer clear of 2006 and 2007 Muranos for their high frequency of safety issues.

9. Ford Fusion

2011 Ford Fusion
Prior to the Fusion redesign, consumers logged many complaints against Ford’s midsize sedan | Ford

Since the redesigned Ford Fusion appeared in 2013, the midsize sedan has been a regular IIHS top safety pick. Models from the previous generation did not fare as well in safety tests, and they brought Fusion to the bottom of the list. A comparison between the 2011 and 2014 Fusion reveals what a difference the redesign made. Consumers logged 1,286 complaints for the 2011 model, but only 165 complaints came in for the 2014 Fusion.

8. Dodge Charger

2015 Dodge Charger
Chargers from early in the decade racked up a high number of complaints | Dodge

The Fiat Chrysler parade begins with the Dodge Charger, the full-size sedan that ranks worst in reliability for its class. While recent models seemed to sit well with the public, Chargers from 2011 and 2012 had a high number of safety complaints. The 2006 edition was worst of all. Overall, this car racked up nearly 50 complaints per 10,000 vehicles. 

7. Ford Edge

2012 Ford Edge
2012 Ford Edge | Ford

Ford Edge had relatively few complaints in the latter part of the last decade (especially for 2009 models), but the following editions pushed the SUV into the top 10 for consumer safety issues. The 2011 Edge collected 1,096 hits on the NHTSA website while the 2013 edition was not far behind (1,006). Overall, Edge fielded 49.2 complaints per 10,000 sales.

6. Dodge Grand Caravan

2015 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
Safety complaints plagued both Caravan and Grand Caravan over the last decade | Dodge

Grand Caravan is the second of two Dodge models and one of the six Fiat Chrysler vehicles with the most safety complaints since 2005. These minivans drew about 50 complaints per 10,000 vehicles sold in the past decade. The 2009 model, which was recalled six times and had nearly 500 complaints, is one to avoid on the used market. Meanwhile, recent models were among the least reliable minivans, according to Consumer Reports.

5. Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius
Prius had a few misfires in the past decade | Toyota

In terms of reliability, durability, and safety, Toyota Prius is typically one of the best. But iSeeCars.com data pointed out two model years where the hybrid faltered. “Owners filed complaints about exterior lighting, brake problems, and issues with acceleration, particular with the 2006 and 2010 model years,” iSeeCars noted in commentary accompanying the data.

4. Jeep Wrangler

2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition
Wrangler’s laundry list of issues led to many safety complaints | Jeep

Car testers, safety regulators, and consumers agree Jeep Wrangler is a highly problematic vehicle. Its 27.9% chance of rolling over during a crash made it the second-most dangerous vehicle on the U.S. market in that category. Meanwhile, Wrangler pulled in an average of 61 complaints per 10,000 vehicles sold. You’ll want to stay away from the 2010 model that was recalled nine times, naturally, but a high volume of complaints came in during most years since 2005.

3. Chrysler Town & Country

2013 Chrysler Town and Country
2013 Chrysler Town & Country | Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler took the top four spots for trucks, utility vehicles, and passenger cars with the most safety complaints over the last decade. Chrysler Town & Country minivans fared even worse than the Dodge-branded vans built on the same platform. The Chrysler version logged over 63 complaints per 10,000 vehicles sold between 2005 and 2016. Nearly every model had a high number of safety issues reported by consumers on the NHTSA platform.

2. Jeep Grand Cherokee

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Grand Cherokee had the most complaints of any SUV over the last decade | Jeep

SUV sales continue growing, so consumers should be aware of the sometimes-hidden safety concerns surrounding these vehicles. Jeep Grand Cherokee might be the worst of the bunch. No utility vehicle had as many complaints (nearly 64 per 10,000 units) between 2005 and 2016. This extraordinary run began with a whopping 1,861 complaints for 2005, continued with 1,125 more in 2006, and tacked on another 845 for the 2014 model. Grand Cherokee is what you might call “unsafe in any model year.”

1. Chrysler 300

2011 Chrysler 300C
No car received more complaints than the Chrysler 300 | Chrysler

Chrysler 300 sales peaked in 2005 and 2006, and so did the number of safety complaints consumer logged against the full-size sedan. The 2006 model alone received 1,446 filings on the NHTSA website, which meant about 100 complaints per 10,000 units sold. That staggering number leveled off over the next decade, but 300 still had the highest frequency of consumer-reported safety issues for any vehicle since 2005.