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Consumer Reports is well known for providing unbiased ratings and reviews of new vehicles annually. The organization’s predicted reliability ratings help consumers make informed buying decisions yearly. They also conduct surveys on owner satisfaction to gauge how they feel about their new car and their decision to buy it. This year, an Infiniti model made it onto Consumer Reports’ list of the 10 least satisfying cars. Which model made the list and how?

How to determine owner satisfaction

The front of a silver Infiniti QX50 parked outdoors.
Infiniti QX50 | Infiniti

Consumer Reports holds an owner satisfaction survey each year. It helps them compile a comprehensive review of how each new vehicle performs and how much owners like owning it. Consumer Reports sends the survey to those who have owned a given vehicle for a specified period of time. Owners are not only asked how satisfied they are overall with the vehicle, but they are also asked about key components of it, like comfort, features, and performance.

The survey may also ask owners how reliable the vehicle is and how easy it is to operate. Owners might be asked if the vehicle offers good value for the money if it meets their transportation needs, and if they received quality customer support from the manufacturer if they had reason to contact them.

Reported issues, including frequency and severity, are also factored into Consumer Reports rankings. The survey may ask about these issues, how the automaker responded to them, and how satisfied owners were with resolving the situation.

Results from the satisfaction survey are added to the reliability data to assist in compiling an overall score for each vehicle. 

The 2023 Infiniti QX50

The 2023 Infiniti QX50 made Consumer Reports’ list of the 10 least satisfying cars in 2023. Less than the majority of the owners of the luxury compact SUV said they would buy it again. While it did OK on the Consumer Reports road test, it got a below-average rating on predicted reliability and a poor rating on owner satisfaction. What happened?

Car and Driver, who rated it six out of 10, sheds some light on why owners might be unhappy with their decision to buy it. They found it visually appealing inside and out, with plenty of passenger and storage space and a smooth ride. But they explain a number of drawbacks that makes it hard to be enthusiastic about.

The Car and Driver team was less than thrilled by the 2023 Infiniti QX50’s variable-compression turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which they say fails to deliver either good fuel efficiency or performance. With competitors like Audi Q5 and BMW X3 xDrive30i that offer better acceleration and fuel economy in its class, it’s a distinct disadvantage.

They also point out that the QX50 is more oriented toward comfort than athleticism, with its quiet cabin and smooth ride. Under heavy throttle, the engine is loud, and the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) amplifies that. It just doesn’t have the driver engagement or muscle to take on those at the front of its class. 

What other vehicles else made the list?

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB and the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport made the list of least satisfying vehicles and did worse than the QX50.

A lower percentage of owners said they would buy the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB again. While the GLB did well on the Consumer Reports road test, it got a below-average predicted reliability rating and a poor owner satisfaction rating. According to Car and Driver, it’s meant to be a more affordable version of the G-class, but it doesn’t quite hit that note. Even though it’s a sporty crossover, it’s not as posh as the G-class, and the optional third row of seating has room for the kids only.

The 2023 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport did OK on the Consumer Reports road test but only earned a below-average rating on predicted reliability and a poor rating on owner satisfaction. In fact, it’s at the bottom of the list. It only earned a 6.5 out of 10 from Car and Driver, who points out that it doesn’t get good gas mileage, the interior materials aren’t anything to write home about, and the performance of its V6 engine is underwhelming.


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