The 3 Least Reliable Cars Consumer Reports Says to Avoid

The main appeal of buying a new car is to have a clean slate. But not all new vehicles live up to the promise of a headache-free driving experience, as Consumer Reports notes. If you’re in the market for a 2021 vehicle with a strong history of reliability, you should probably avoid this list of the most unreliable cars, according to CR.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

A black 2021 SVE Yenko Chevrolet Silverado Off-Road climbs a mountain
2021 SVE Yenko Chevrolet Silverado Off-Road | Specialty Vehicle Engineering

Based on CR’s Auto Surveys, the Chevy Silverado 1500 earns the unfortunate recognition as the least reliable 2021 car. CR’s reliability evaluations include 17 potential trouble spots, from a vehicle’s engine to nuisances such as squeaky brakes. To make it on CR’s list, the agency must have at least two years of a model’s data. 

The 2021 Silverado has CR’s lowest possible score with a 13 overall for predicted reliability. This rating also applies to the Silverado’s corporate cousin, the GMC Sierra 1500. According to CR, these pickups’ main trouble spots include their brakes, in-car electronics, transmission major/minor, engine major/minor, and drive system.

Because of these poor scores, you’ll want to consider the Silverado and Sierra’s class rivals. The Ram 1500 is a better choice if you value a luxury-like diving experience. You may also want to consider the Toyota Tundra, which has an excellent history of dependability. 

2021 Subaru Ascent 

2021 Subaru Ascent parked outside of a house
2021 Subaru Ascent | Subaru

RELATED: Toyota 4Runner vs. Subaru Ascent: It’s Not Even Close

Subaru’s Ascent is one of the most compelling SUVs in the midsize SUV class. It’s a comfortable ride on paved roads and the trails. The 2021 Ascent has already been recognized as the safest midsize SUV, but its problem areas make it less appealing. 

CR gave the 2021 Ascent a reliability score of 18. This low rating puts the Ascent toward the bottom of CR’s midsize SUV rankings. The most common problems associated with the Ascent concerns its transmission major/minor, steering/suspension, in-car electronics, and climate system.

The Ascent’s problems are a real bummer. Not many options in the class can handle off-road excursions. You may want to consider the Toyota 4Runner if off-roading is your main priority. The Ascent’s smaller sibling, the Outback, is also a better alternative to the Ascent.

2021 Volkswagen Atlas 

A red 2021 Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion on a paved road with mountains in the background.
2021 Volkswagen Atlas | Volkswagen

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Many critics haven’t been able to agree on the Volkswagen Atlas. The Atlas earns praise for its cavernous cabin space and stylish exterior. Conversely, this VW doesn’t get any points for vehicle reliability. CR gave the 2021 Atlas a total score of 19 in this department. 

Owners have reported issues with their Atlas’s emissions/fuel system, exhaust system, engine minor, and climate system. Because of the car’s below-average dependability ranking, some buyers opt for VW’s extended warranty. VW’s extended warranty increases from the regular four-year/50,000-mile coverage to up to 10 years or 150,000 miles. 

On the flip side, there are plenty of attractive and more dependable alternatives to the Atlas. You may want to consider the Kia Telluride or the Hyundai Palisade, which boast style and value. The Mazda CX-9 is a worthy choice too.