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The Most Unreliable Car Brands In The US According To New Report

Not every new car you purchase is going to be a quality machine, and some brands, it seems, are more prone to defects than others. Experts like Conn Law PC, specialists in lemon law rights in San Francisco, say that it pays to know which brands are most likely to be a dud, and new information from Consumer Reports details which types of cars you should have on your radar. Let’s review their findings, and zero in on which brands are the most, and least, reliable.

So, first things first, what is this report all about? Officially titled, Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars, it examines reliability using a 0-to-100-point scale. Most brands fall between 41 and 60 points, according to CR, and while they aren’t 100% clear about what methodologies they use to arrive at their conclusions, they do provide some insights on their reliability FAQ:

  • Data is pulled from auto surveys sent to Consumer Reports members; for their 2021 surveys, detailing 2000-2021 models, they received 300,000 responses.
  • Surveys ask questions about both reliability and vehicle satisfaction; CR asks respondents to note any problems that have occurred with their vehicles within the last 12 months, and to identify problems that they consider serious.
  • The 17 “trouble spots” covered in CR surveys include: major engine problems, minor engine problems, engine cooling, major transmission problems, minor transmission problems, drive system, fuel system, electrical system, climate system, suspension/steering, brakes, exhaust, paint, body integrity, body hardware, power equipment, and the in-car electronic systems.
  • CR strongly believes their surveys are valid, reliable, and thus, scientific. Still, questions about accuracy from outside of Consumer Reports persist, even though they take efforts to make their reporting as precise and relevant as possible.

So, replicating and corroborating their results might prove a bit challenging. What’s more, different cars are altered to be sold in different markets, so their study could only focus on those made for American markets, and individual results may vary wildly.

That being said, their report does have some intriguing insights. For instance, Lexus, Mazda, and Toyota are the top three most reliable brands in their annual rankings, but now Lexus has claimed the top spot and Toyota has slid to the number three position. Infinity and Buick also made gains, and are thus the last two members of the top five most reliable car brands.

As for the bottom five, that not-so-illustrious honor has been bestowed to Volkswagen, Genesis, Jeep, Tesla, and Lincoln. Now, this doesn’t mean that every single vehicle you buy from one of these brands is going to be a lemon, but it does indicate that they are more prone to troubles, and have more complaints from owners, than other brands surveyed.

Tesla and Volkswagen even have models that are on Consumer Reports’ 10 Least Reliable Cars listing—the Model Y and Tiguan, respectively. Their inclusion on this list means they are two models with the “greatest risk of problems,” and might be best to avoid when you’re shopping for a new vehicle to use as your daily driver.