A List You Don’t Want Your Car On: The Least Reliable Models

Updated May 20, 2018

Here’s a list you don’t want your car to appear on, because it’s the results of Consumer Reports survey on vehicle reliability, and these are the 7 worse.

Consumer Reports magazine calculated the ratings based on thousands of responses to its owner surveys. The full results are in the December issue.

The same problems, however, crop up among many of the cars on the list. They include balky transmissions, leaks, faulty climate control systems and a wide range of complaints about navigation and in-car entertainment systems (which could be user confusion rather than anything malfunctioning within the system).

In terms of overall branding standings, Lexus is the most reliable brand and Fiat is the least (by a long shot). Here are the 7 worst individual vehicles:



Ram 2500

In seventh place, the Ram 2500 heavy-duty pickup had problems with the  Cummins diesel fuel feed system, transmission issues, especially related to vibrations at speed, power equipment and in-car electronics (related to issues with the instrument cluster).

ram 2500


Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL

In sixth place, the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL had issues with drive control (an automatic transmission that despite being placed into park would roll when the brake pedal is released), windows going up and down, power equipment, and electronics, particularly in the interior where lights flash on and off at random like Santa’s workshop.


Chevrolet Corvette

In fifth place, the Chevrolet Corvette is a more troubled car than you might think. For the 2014 model year there have been three recalls and 26 TSBs (technical Service Bulletin) for brake issues, manual transmission issues, including difficult in shifting from 6th to 7th, instrument panel problems, and prematurely wearing valve guides that could lead to engine failure (that’s currently the subject of a lawsuit).


Jeep Cherokee

The fourth most unreliable car is the Jeep Cherokee, for electronics (faulty GPS operation, for the most part) but primarily for its transmission, which owners have complained about its rough operation (“jerkiness”), poor shifting performance, and its tendency to cause the engine to stall at a stop.



Cadillac Escalade

In third place, the Cadillac Escalade for owner complains about the electrical system including a recall for a fault ground that could short and stop the vehicle in traffic, drive system and an transmission where even though Park is selected, the vehicle will start to roll when the brakes are released.



Ford Fiesta

In second place, Ford Fiesta has been recalled three times and is the subject of 41 TSBs. Not surprising that the most common consumer complaint is for transmission issues, as five of the TSBs relate to transmission issues. Other complaints from consumers include excessive noise and leaks.


Fiat 500L

The most unreliable car of all is the Fiat 500L due to electronics (cruise control), noise, leaks, overheating in traffic, and a transmission that decides when and if it will shift gears or not. What makes the Fiat 500L the “winner” is not the number of issues, but how widespread those issues with literally thousands of consumer complaints regarding the transmission alone.



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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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