When the Consumer Reports reliability ratings come out every year, there’s usually a few comebacks in the nonprofit agency’s report.
In the 2019 rankings, it was the Mazda brand in general — and CX-9 crossover specifically — that showed significant improvements over scores from previous years. Overall, no brand improved as dramatically as Mazda, which gained nine places and moved into the top five for automaker reliability.
But there are always a few brands (and certain vehicles they make) that take a beating in annual reliability surveys. This time around, Honda fell six places, which was among the most pronounced drops of the year. Yet few will worry about Honda, which still made the top 15.
On the other hand, several automakers slipped from bad to worse. (In a few cases, they slumped from among the worst to the very worst.) Here are the 10 least reliable car brands in Consumer Reports’ 2019 rankings.
- Despite showing a slight improvement, Lincoln still ranked among the 10 worst.
Vehicle owners only weighed in on four Lincoln models this time around, and there was good news for the brand’s flagship Continental sedan, which among the best in its segment for reliability. However, feedback on the MKC and MKX crossovers was not good. Meanwhile, the MKZ sedan also fell below average.
- Poor reliability of Dodge SUVs dragged the brand down below average.
It wouldn’t be a worst-of reliability list without a few Fiat Chrysler brands going on the board. In Dodge’s case, the 118-year-old automaker picked up some ground (three spots) as the Charger went above average.
However, the Journey and Durango SUVs continued to rank low. Meanwhile, transmission issues plagued the Challenger, keeping Dodge’s muscle car below average as well.
- With Compass among the least reliable SUVs on the market, Jeep will spend another year among the worst.
The second FCA brand among the 10 least reliable was Jeep, which dropped two places for 2019. None of the four models that got rated in the latest survey managed to get an above-average score for an SUV.
At the bottom of the Jeep pile was Compass, which turned up among the worst SUVs of the year. The Cherokee also rated below average, guaranteeing the brand’s place among this year’s poorest for reliability.
- Poor ratings for the Traverse SUV and heavy-duty Silverado sank Chevy 5 places for 2019.
You can’t say Consumer Reports’ rating for Chevrolet lacked data. Out of the 29 brands in this year’s survey, no automaker had more vehicles considered than Chevy (16).
Overall, the brand’s cars were not considered reliable by owners in the latest survey. The Silverado 2500HD, Traverse SUV, and Malibu sedan all scored poorly for 2019. In the heavy-duty Silverado’s case, the pickup landed among the worst-scoring vehicles of the year.
- Bad news for the Pacifica dropped Chrysler 7 spots on the 2019 reliability list.
In Chrysler’s case, only two cars are left in the brand lineup, so every rating carries more weight than the average vehicle. Even though the 300 sedan improved to an average score for 2019, the Pacifica minivan slumped below average this time around. That left the automaker dropping seven places following the latest owner survey.
- With the Sierra 2500 and Acadia rated poorly for 2019, GMC stayed among the worst.
It hasn’t been a good era for GMC as far as reliability is concerned, and the brand landed among the worst five for 2019. Issues with the Sierra heavy-duty pickup (same as in the Silverado) weighed down this year’s score, as did a poor rating for the Acadia SUV.
- The most capable truck in Ram’s lineup had the most problems of any vehicle.
With only the three Ram pickups up for ratings, the 3500’s worst score of any vehicle this year meant this brand would be among the bottom of the pack. The issues with this truck included trouble with the fuel system, transmission, fit and finish, suspension, and drive system (to name a few).
If you’re keeping score at home, Ram’s place on this list means all four Fiat Chrysler brands ranked among the worst for 2019. Mercifully, there wasn’t enough data on Fiat for that marque to join the others this time around.
- A ratings drop for Model S and another bad year for Model X meant an ugly score for Tesla.
The previous time Consumer Reports conducted its reliability survey, Tesla Model X rated worst of every vehicle on sale in America. This time around, it inched up to second-worst behind the Ram 3500.
With that score alone, Tesla was not going to do well in the 2019 ratings. Things got worse when Model S dropped below average as well due to suspension issues. Only the Model 3 — a car known for early build issues — rated average.
- Though Cadillac was third from the bottom last time, the brand sank even lower for 2019.
The Soho (NYC) experiment may have ended recently, but Cadillac’s reliability issues will continue for 2019. This time around, the ATS sedan was one of the industry’s worst, with consumers complaining of everything from engine problems to climate system and electronics trouble.
Meanwhile, the ballyhooed CT6 flagship and bloated Escalade also rated below average. Only the XTS sedan could boast of a decent rating among the six Cadillacs in this year’s survey.
- The three Volvos rated all scored below average for 2019.
As with Tesla and a few other brands with only a handful of vehicles on the market, one bad rating can mean the difference of several places in the brand rankings. In Volvo’s case, all three of the automaker’s releases rated below average, and as a result the brand posted an awful overall score (22 out of 100) for 2019.
While the XC90 crossover continued having multiple issues, owners also complained about trouble with the XC60’s infotainment system and body integrity. Meanwhile, the terrible reliability rating of the S90 sedan ensured Volvo would come in last.