Consumer Reports names the 10 Least Reliable Cars, based on the results of its 2016 Annual Auto Survey. Common trouble spots range from minor nuisances like squeaks and rattles to major repairs, such as transmission replacement.
Here’s a snapshot of the 10 least reliable cars on the list:
Fiat 500L – Saying that the Fiat 500L “feels undercooked and has several significant flaws,” editors of Consumer Reports also remark that the Italian hatchback has one of the worst reliability scores among all new cars in the publication’s recent survey. A dismal road test score, a “Poor” score in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety small-overlap frontal crash test, flat seats, odd driving position and low owner satisfaction are right up there as complaints. The 500L does handle well “at its limits” and boasts a roomy cabin. Trouble spots listed include slipping or lock-up transmission, power equipment, drive system and in-car electronics.
Ford Fiesta – Agile handling make the Ford Fiesta subcompact fun to drive and provides a “supple, controlled ride.” Other Fiesta strengths include levels of fit and finish and interior equipment that are among the best in class and a relatively quiet cabin. The rear seat, however, is cramped. Trouble spots called out by Consumer Reports include clutch replacement, rough or slipping transmission, noises and leaks, and power equipment.
Chevrolet Tahoe/– Strengths include luxurious interiors that are also quiet, second- and third-row seats that are “decent,” and the availability of safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and newly-available lane-keeping assist. Fuel economy is 16 mpg with the 5.3-liter V8 engine paired with six-speed automatic transmission. Properly equipped, the Tahoe/Yukon XL can to up to 8,500 pounds. Trouble spots highlighted include steering vibrations, power equipment and in-car electronics.
Ram 2500 – Riding in a more civil manner than competing heavy-duty trucks, the Ram 2500 still lands a spot on the least reliable list. This is due primarily to trouble spots listed including steering vibrations, emissions controls and sensors, 4WD components and power equipment.
Tesla Model X – You know right where the publication stands when it calls the Tesla Model X “more showy than practical.” Trouble spots highlighted include the Model X’s falcon-wing doors, locks and latches, power equipment, in-car electronics and climate system. That’s a lot not to like, especially in a luxury SUV that comes with an $85,000 starting price.
Chrysler 200 – Commenting that the Chrysler 200 “is late into its model life span and frankly feels it,” Consumer Reports calls the car “mediocre” in a “category overflowing with competent, even excellent alternatives.” The cabin is relatively quiet, but that’s about it. Trouble spots called out include slipping or lock-up transmission, rough shifting and drive system.
/GMC Yukon XL – No doubt the seven-plus passenger-carrying ability and impressive towing capacity are huge pluses for the Chevrolet Suburban and its sibling GMC Yukon XL full-size SUVs. They also sport luxury interiors that are quiet and feature power-folding second- and third-row seats and available blind spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert (necessary for such huge vehicles). Trouble spots highlighted include slipping or rough-shifting eight-speed transmission, power equipment, 4WD components and in-car electronics.
Jeep Renegade – While the Italian-built subcompact Jeep Renegade SUV looks cute, Consumer Reports’ verdict is that it’s saddled with a not-very smooth or responsive nine-speed automatic transmission, uninspired handling and unremarkable ride. Trouble spots highlighted include drive system, transmission, power equipment and the radio.
– Despite being fun to drive, having a quiet cabin and availability in a sedan, hatchback and electric models, the Ford Focus has been plagued by low reliability and a jerky transmission at low speeds, says Consumer Reports. Trouble spots highlighted include clutch replacement, rough shifting or slipping transmission and driveline vibrations.
Cadillac Escalade – Ranking worst in class for reliability, the Cadillac Escalade has the dubious distinction of being named the least reliable of the 10 vehicles on Consumer Reports’ list. It “rides too stiffly and stop or handle with the grace of its peers,” editors said of the Escalade. Trouble spots highlighted include transmission replacement, rough shifting, 4WD components, power equipment and in-car electronics. Strengths noted include the Escalade’s “impressive” towing ability and powerful 420-horsepower V8 engine.