These 5 Car Companies Saw Their Reliability Ratings Plummet for 2019

In some ways, there are few surprises when Consumer Reports reveals how automakers fared in its annual reliability survey. At the top, you’re always going to find either Toyota or Lexus. Down at the bottom, Fiat Chrysler brands usually rank among the worst.

That narrative continued for 2019. This time around, Lexus reclaimed the top spot while Dodge, Jeep, and Ram again turned up among the 10 lowest-rated car companies. No surprises there.

On the other hand, we did see major movements in both directions for automakers. The biggest success story belonged to Mazda, which vaulted nine places to No. 3 overall with the MX-5 Miata and CX-5 crossover leading the way.

Meanwhile, several brands saw their ratings as a company slip considerably for the upcoming year. Here are the five automakers that dropped the most in Consumer Reports reliability rankings for 2019.

5. Honda

2018 Honda CR-V
2018 Honda CR-V | Honda
  • Places dropped in rankings: 6
  • Overall rank: 15th of 29 brands

As mainstream automakers go, Honda is typically among the best. In Consumer Reports’ 2018 rankings, the brand ranked ninth out of the 30 companies overall. This time around, Honda fell out of the top 10 with a six-place drop.

That left the automaker at 15th place overall. While that’s not bad, it’s a middle-of-the-pack score the brand is likely disappointed to have. Among the models declining in reliability, the CR-V compact crossover was a noteworthy one.

However, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid rated among the least reliable vehicles on the market, pulling Honda down several places on its own.

4. Tesla

Tesla Model S | Tesla
  • Places dropped in rankings: 6
  • Overall rank: 27th of 29 brands

With the Tesla Model X again rated as the least reliable SUV, Elon Musk’s company had an uphill battle ahead of it for 2019. However, it dropped mostly on the decline of the Model S sedan, which lost its Consumer Reports recommendation due to suspension issues.

Those problems, which Tesla said have been improved in recent years, dropped the Model S from above-average to below-average for the year. Since Tesla only has three vehicles on the market, that shift down in one model was enough to drag the brand to 27th place overall — two spots from the bottom.

3. Volvo

2019 Volvo S90 | Volvo
  • Places dropped in rankings: 6
  • Overall rank: Last (29th) of 29 brands

As Volvo continues making a push to reinvent itself, there have been some growing pains. The brand’s XC90 crossover continues to rank among the worst for reliability, and the all-new S90 sedan got one of the lowest predicted reliability scores (12%) you will see this year (or any year).

Meanwhile, the only model that rated average (XC60) fell off its pace for 2019. That pushed Volvo down another six places, landing it at the bottom of the pack (29th) following the latest survey. As with Tesla, any shift in one of the three vehicles evaluated will sting, and it couldn’t have been worse for Volvo.

2. Chrysler

2018 Chrysler 300S
2018 Chrysler 300S | Chrysler
  • Places dropped in rankings: 7
  • Overall rank: 24th of 29 brands

In the case of Chrysler, the automaker’s diminished brand lineup had an impact on its reliability ratings for 2019. With the 200 midsize sedan and Town & Country minivan gone, everything depends on the Pacifica and 300 touring sedan.

Of the two, Pacifica was the one unable to carry its weight this year. Consumer Reports dropped its recommendation on the minivan after owners reported problems with the transmission computer, touchscreen controls, and stereo system.

Overall, those problem areas sunk Pacifica’s rating to below-average, and that dragged Chrysler down seven places. It now ranks sixth from the bottom for reliability.

1. Buick

2019 Buick Enclave | Buick
  • Places dropped in rankings: 11
  • Overall rank: 19th of 29 brands

Of the five vehicles rated in this year’s reliability survey, Buick couldn’t claim a single one with above-average reliability. That showing ensured the GM brand would fall into the bottom half of the pack following a strong performance (eighth) in 2018.

While the Regal sedan lost its above-average rating from two years ago, the Enclave crossover showed the biggest decline. That model, which had one of the worst scores (16%) of any vehicle, dropped from above-average to poor following the latest owner survey.

As a result, Regal and Enclave contributed to Buick plummeting 11 places among car brands in a single calendar year. No other automaker fared as poorly since the last time around.