Consumer Reports: Cars to Avoid Buying in 2021

Consumer Reports ranked cars, SUVs, and trucks to avoid buying in 2021. The company studies areas that give new buyers a headache or cost more than anticipated. While Volvo and Jeep made the list twice, many of the cars, trucks, and SUVs scored high in certain areas but fell short in others.

9. 2021 Volvo XC60

A white Volvo XC60 on display made the Consumer Reports Cars to Avoid List
The Volvo XC60 made it on the list of 2021 cars to avoid from Consumer Reports, but so did the Tesla Model S (Photo by Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images)

The 2021 Volvo XC60 scored a 28, which is at the top of the Consumer Reports least reliable list. This luxury compact SUV gets an EPA-estimated 23 miles per gallon overall. On the road test, it scored 79/100. The predicted reliability came in at a two out of five. Is it worth buying a new car in this instance? It might be worth waiting for this Volvo.

The owner satisfaction scored three out of five. Owners took issue with the brakes, power equipment, in-car electronics, and fuel systems. Consumer Reports noted the interior was elegant and comfortable, with upgraded safety systems standard.

  • Price Range: $41,700 – $69,500
  • Buy this instead: 2021 Lexus NX (Score: 82)

8. 2021 Jeep Wrangler

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler was given an overall reliability score of 27. It came in dead last on the list of Midsized sport-utility vehicles. The predicted owner satisfaction scored four out of five, and the reliability came in at two out of five.

The Wrangler comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking for the city and highway, standard. Don’t buy these new cars just yet, perhaps check out a similar choice.

7. 2020 Tesla Model S

A shiny red 2020 Tesla Model S sits in the spotlight and is highlighted in Consumer Reports cars to avoid buying list.
2020 Tesla Model S | VCG/Getty Images

RELATED: Man Buys 39 Cars Including Tesla and Escalade With $1.5M in PPP Money

This might be the most surprising option on this list. The 2020 Tesla Model S is noted to be a green choice, albeit an unreliable choice too. The owner satisfaction scored five out of five, and the reliability came in at one out of five. Why the discrepancy?

Consumer Reports noted more lows than highs for this electric vehicle. The range is short, the charging times are long, and cold weather further impacts it. The interior isn’t high-quality for the price, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are omitted. The steering and suspension could use some work, too.

6. 2021 Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon

Both the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon scored a 26 for overall reliability. The predicted owner satisfaction scored three out of five, and the predicted reliability came in at a two out of five. The Chevrolet Colorado has one open recall for improperly attached seatbelts.

The overall EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 miles per gallon. Issues noted by CR include the transmission, in-car electronics, and drive system.

5. 2021 Volvo XC90

CR gave a reliability score of 26 to the 2021 Volvo XC90. It ranked at number 12 of 22 on the list of luxury midsize sport-utility vehicles. For the road test, CR gave the XC90 a score of 84/100. The trouble spots noted by Consumer Reports are “brakes, steering/suspension, in-car electronics, emissions/fuel system, and power equipment.”

The predicted reliability came in at a two out of five. The predicted owner satisfaction scored three out of five. While Volvo is known for making solid cars, you might take a pass on this SUV.

  • Price Range: $49,000 – $70,250
  • Buy this instead: 2021 Lexus RX (Score: 80)

4. 2021 Jeep Compass

The 2021 Jeep Compass came in with a reliability score of 39. The road test scored 56/100, which leaves a lot to be desired. The trouble spots noted by Consumer Reports are “transmission major/minor, drive system, power equipment, in-car electronics, engine minor.”

The predicted reliability came in at a two out of five. The predicted owner satisfaction scored one out of five. While Jeep is known for making fun SUVs, you might skip this one.

  • Price Range: $24,495 – $31,395
  • Buy this instead: 2021 Mazda CX-5 (Score: 83)

3. 2021 Volkswagen Atlas

With a reliability score of 19, the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas currently has seven recalls. The SUV gets an EPA-estimated 20 miles per gallon overall. On the road test, it scored 84/100.

The predicted reliability came in at a one out of five. The owner satisfaction scored three out of five. It does come with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking for the city and highway, standard.

2. 2021 Subaru Ascent

The 2021 Subaru scored an 18 on the reliability scale. While the Ascent scored a 93/100 on the road test, it scored a one out of five in predicted reliability. For the predicted owner satisfaction, Consumer Reports gave it a four out of five.

The overall EPA-estimated gas mileage came in at 22 miles per gallon. CR found the ride was comfortable and quiet, but thought that similar SUVs have better in-car electronics. Some noted trouble zones were the transmission and steering, which both were reported by owners.

1. 2021 Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra 1500

A slick red 2021 Chevy Silverado Z71 is on display outdoors at the Exchange Chevrolet, topping off Consumer Reports least reliable vehicles of 2021.
2021 Chevrolet Silverado Z71 | Joel Lerner/Xinhua/Getty Images

RELATED: Consumer Reports Ranked the 2021 Chevy Silverado as the Most Unreliable Truck

Out of all of the cars and SUVs on this list, the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra 1500 both received a reliability score of 13 out of 100. The predicted reliability came in at a one out of five. The owner satisfaction scored three out of five.

Consumer Reports did not love this truck for a few reasons. The fuel economy had an EPA-estimated 17 miles per gallon overall. The brakes could be improved, as well as the drive system. CR also found an issue with the transmission as reported by owners.

  • Price Range: $29,300 – $57,700
  • Buy this instead: 2021 Ram 1500 (Score: 63)

Ultimately, the choice is yours

Overall, the Consumer Reports cars and vehicles to avoid on the 2021 list are not bad. However, there may be a more suitable option available at a commensurate cost on the market. All of the automobiles listed have a comparable vehicle from another brand listed as an alternative which can help you make the most logical car-buying decision.

Eric Schaal also contributed to this article.