New-car shoppers have few sources as trustworthy as Consumer Reports. We know it doesn’t accept ad money, so automakers and parts suppliers have a hard time influencing their scores. On top of that, the nonprofit actually buys or leases the vehicles and has testers stick to the facts.
Anyone can be wowed by a new car, but this group does its best to stick to nuts-and-bolts stuff. You never see a list of prettiest or coolest cars from Consumer Reports. Instead, you get hard data on fuel economy and information on how dependable each model proves to be. The predicted reliability ratings for 2018 should inspire the same type of confidence in anyone shopping for a new car.
Likewise, the models that ranked at the bottom of the pack ought to give you pause before going through with a purchase. These cars and SUVs got the worst feedback from drivers and professional testers over the past year. Here are the least reliable vehicles in the Consumer Reports survey for 2018.
10. Chevrolet Camaro
We know Camaro is among the worst cars for visibility, but its high road score and impeccable owner satisfaction make its reliability rating a puzzler. There were a few areas (paint, exhaust) that saw declines over the past few years, but the feedback on its transmission system made it a flop in 2017. Other weak spots of recent years (e.g., power equipment, electronics) remained unreliable, while Camaro’s drive system also floundered.
9. Mercedes-Benz GLC
Consumer Reports is always skeptical about brand new models, and that tradition continued with Mercedes GLC in 2016. After another year of gathering feedback, this model continued to fail in reliability. Trouble areas include the brake system, power equipment, and suspension. GLC’s in-car electronics — a perennial weak spot for Mercedes as a brand — showed no cause for improvement in the latest annual survey.
8. Jaguar F-Pace
It took until the 2017 model year for Jaguar to release an SUV, and Consumer Reports was quick to declare it unreliable. After a year of real-life testing, F-Pace remained among the industry’s worst. The drive system and general noise during rides got bad marks, but the reviews for infotainment were horrendous. No one wants a pricey, brand new model declared “behind the times,” but that was the verdict on F-Pace’s ahead of 2018.
7. GMC Acadia
At 85.5% U.S. content, you can’t find a more American-made car than GMC Acadia. However, just about any vehicle would have a higher reliability score than this SUV. Consumer Reports testers hammered the car for deficiencies in its drive system, power windows, and electronics. Meanwhile, poor fuel economy (19 mpg) doomed this model ahead of 2018. One year after a full redesign, Acadia still trailed the pack of midsize SUVs.
6. Fiat 500
Just when you thought new SUVs would be the big losers in these reliability ratings, the old punching bag Fiat 500 showed up again. This car took another beating in 2017 testing for its transmission, power equipment, brakes, and infotainment system. There was almost no way for this model to score worse than Fiat’s 2014 edition, but the latest Consumer Reports survey said it came close.
5. Ford Focus
Though it made progress in 2017, Ford Focus has been on the Consumer Reports “never buy” list for used cars since its 2012 redesign. A major weak spot has been Focus’s transmission, and that didn’t change in the latest survey. Meanwhile, the new and improved infotainment system (Sync 3) failed to move the needle due to other lackluster components. Focus’ reliability ranked worst of any compact car on the U.S. market.
4. Ford Fiesta
Ford received more bad news with Fiesta getting the lowest reliability score in the subcompact class. As in previous years, this model took a major hit for its transmission system, while body integrity remained a troublesome area. Fiesta’s new Sync 3 system will comfort those fed up with MyFord Touch, but the good news mostly ended there. Climate system problems popped up in the latest model, as well.
3. Volvo XC90
Like some other new SUVs, the elegant Volvo XC90 has yet to live up to its promise. Consumer Reports testers do agree with other reviewers on this model’s strong engine and transmission. However, XC90’s interior technology couldn’t score worse. In-car electronics got the lowest rating testers can give, while the power equipment and parts of the vehicle’s basic electrical system also fell short of the mark.
2. Cadillac Escalade
As in previous years, Consumer Reports again noted the cramped nature of Cadillac Escalade’s back seats and its poor climate system. Likewise, malfunctions in the power equipment and transmission made it among the least reliable vehicles on the U.S. market. When we rounded up the cars that auto consumers tend to overpay for, Escalade was an obvious choice. Given the ratings of the latest reliability survey, we don’t see that changing anytime soon.
1. Tesla Model X
Few vehicles come out of the block with as many problems as Tesla Model X, but we can understand why. Elon Musk and his team went above and beyond with X’s design, outfitting it with falcon-wing doors and the ability to sprint like a sports car. However, several years later, problems in body integrity and hardware continue haunting Model X. Consumer Reports did not hesitate to name it the worst vehicle for reliability on the U.S. market.
If you’re a Tesla fan, there was good news in the reliability ratings. The brand new Model 3 received an unusually high debut rating. As for the brand’s flagship sedan, Model S scored among the best in reliability for the first time and ranked No. 1 in the luxury class.
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