Consumer Reports releases most, least reliable cars

2017 auto reliability survey involves 27 brands, more than 640,000 vehicles

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Consumer Reports just released its exclusive new car reliability ratings. This year's auto reliability survey covers more than 640,000 vehicles from 27 different brands. One takeaway from the results is you may want to wait on buying that all-new or redesigned model. The reason: it may not be new and improved at all.

Newly redesigned models less reliable

Consumer Reports’ data finds that newly redesigned models are more likely to have wonky engines, jerky transmissions, or high-tech features that fail outright.

Problems often arise when new technologies are added to today’s cars. Owners have reported problems ranging from poor shifting to complete transmission failure.

Redesigns with the biggest growing pains: the Buick LaCrosse, GMC Acadia, and Subaru Impreza.

Another trouble spot in updated models: vehicle infotainment systems. People actually reported twice as many problems on infotainment systems on vehicles that were new or redesigned, as opposed to vehicles that were largely carry-over from the previous year.

A stark example is the 2017 Subaru Impreza. A “very reliable” model in 2016, owners are reporting problems with the rear view camera freezing, poor radio reception and problems pairing their smart phones. 

10 Least reliable 2017 models

The all-electric SUV Tesla Model X ranks last in reliability for all models due to problems with its falcon-wing doors, body hardware, paint and trim and climate system.

While the Tesla Model is ranked last, also on the least reliable list: Chevrolet Camaro, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Jaguar F-Pace, GMC Acadia, Fiat 500, Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, Volvo XC90, and the Cadillac Escalade.

Most reliable 2017 models

The 2017 models that scored highest in reliability are the Kia Niro, Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86 and Lexus ES.

Also making the most reliable list: Lexus GS, Audi Q3, Toyota RAV4, Lexus IS, Toyota Prius V, Toyota Prius C, and the Infiniti Q70.

Most reliable 2018 models

The category scoring highest for 2018 models -- Compact Hybrids and Electric Cars -- with four of the top five cars being different Toyota Prius models. 

Most & least reliable compact SUV

Last year, SUVs surpassed traditional sedans in sales for the first time, and two million of those were small SUVs. So if you are looking for a compact SUV, for a second year in a row, the Toyota RAV4 tops the list. At the bottom of the list is the Hyundai Tucson. 

Newly recommended models (improved reliability)

In this year's list, Consumer Reports has newly recommended models with improved reliability. They are the Audi A3, Chrysler Pacifica, Ford F-150, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Ram 1500, Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and the Volkswagen Passat.

"No longer recommended" models (declining reliability)

Models Consumer Reports is no longer recommending due to declining reliability are Acura MDX, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet
Cruze, Chevrolet Equinox, Chrysler 300, GMC Acadia, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-9, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Nissan Maxima, Porsche Cayenne and the Subaru Impreza.

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