The Least Reliable Cars of the Decade, According to Consumer Reports

When you buy a new car, one of the biggest advantages is that you’ll be hassle-free for a long time, hopefully. While some cars seem to run forever, there are some that may take you back to the service department sooner than you think. So how do you know which cars are the most reliable?

Every year, Consumer Reports conducts a survey using more than 500,000 cars. Using 17 different areas of study and weighing the severity of each type, it compiles a list of the best and worst in reliability. To help you avoid the cost and burden of repairs, here are five of the least reliable cars on the road from the past decade.

Volkswagen Atlas

As a third-row-capable SUV, the Volkswagen Atlas stands tall among competitors in regards to cabin space, accommodating passenger space, and roomy third-row. But even though the Atlas drives easily enough, the V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission create a lag in acceleration that “trails competitors’,” according to Consumer Reports.

Alongside the unimpressive, overall fuel economy of 20 MPG, the Volkswagen Atlas is infamously known for its trouble areas with its climate system, power equipment, and the steering/suspension system.

Kia Cadenza

Car manufacturer Kia has come a long way in recent years, but the Cadenza sedan is large and bulky. While the mechanics of the Cadenza are best suited for long-distance cruising, the ride isn’t as comfortable as some.

Many owners complain of problems with emissions/fuel system, engine cooling, and climate system. The 3.3-liter, V6 engine is powerful enough but isn’t reliable for racing around town. Safety features like emergency braking and lane departure warning, only available in upper trim levels, may also experience trouble.

Alfa Romeo Giulia 

As a compact, luxury sport sedan, the Alfa Romeo Giulia certainly has Italian style. It comes with a 2.0-liter, V4 turbo engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission that gets good acceleration on the road.

But compared to its competitors, the Romeo Giulia is less luxurious. According to Hot Cars, the Romeo model has been unreliable year-after-year, stating that “drivers of the Alfa Romeo experienced engine problems and were left stranded on the side of the road, even with new models.”

In addition to engine problems, owners also have problems with power equipment and in-car electronics, as well as cheaply-designed controls.

Cadillac Escalade

Though Cadillac is one of the most popular and well-known car brands in the world, it’s also the car brand with the lowest rating for reliability in the U.S, according to Forbes. The Escalade is a large SUV that’s more expensive than its competitors.

Even though it comes with impressive tow-capacity, 420 hp, and V8 engine, the Cadillac Escalade hosts a confusing infotainment/control system. Plus, the interior isn’t as roomy as you’d assume from the exterior.

Compared to competitors, the Escalade’s third-row seating is cramped and it’s lacking in braking and handling. The biggest issues with new Escalades tend to be problems with in-car electronics, the transmission, and climate system.

Tesla Model X

This electric-powered car is from innovative car brand Tesla. But even with cool features like rear doors that open up and out of the way and cool tech features, the Model X comes with its own host of problems.

More for show than performance and practicality, the Model X‘s doors are slow and heavy. Its capability for multiple seating configurations creates awkward spaces and a difficult-to-get-into third-row.

Expectations should be as high as the price tag, but the Model X lacks in ride comfort and noise isolation. Owners experience the most problems with noises, leaks, body hardware, paint/trim, and in-car electronics.