This Is the Most Unreliable Car in the U.S., Owners Say

If you’re commuting to work, picking up your kids for various activities, or just want to be able to get to the grocery store and back safely, there is nothing worse than a car you can’t depend on. No matter how shiny it is or how fancy its leather seats are, a car that causes you stress more often than it gets you from Point A to Point B is a nightmare. To help you measure a car’s reliability, we turned to Consumer Reports to find out which new vehicle has given owners the most hassle. Their team conducted research at the end of 2020 to discover the cars that are the least reliable among U.S. drivers.

Consumer Reports’ exclusive auto survey looked at 17 things that can go wrong with a car, like squeaky brakes, transmissions that need repair, and issues with four-wheel-drive systems. The researchers then examined at least two model years of data for each car and weighted each of the 17 problems based on seriousness to calculate the reliability score of each vehicle. Every car on this list is a 2021 model, with the expectation of one 2020 electric vehicle. They were rated on a scale of 1 to 100, and these 10 cars have the lowest ratings—all under 30. Wondering which is the most unreliable car of all? Read on to find out, and fingers crossed it’s not yours!

RELATED: This Is the Deadliest Car in the U.S., According to Data.

10

Volvo XC60

A Volvo XC60
emirhankaramuk / Shutterstock

Reliability score (out of 100): 28

The Volvo XC60 is considered a fairly luxurious car, with many different safety features and all-wheel drive. Even though it has a 3.9 consumer rating out of 5 stars from the automotive information site Edmunds, many drivers have been let down. “The best thing I have to say about my XC60 is that I was not kidnapped by a serial killer any of the times it left me stranded on the side of the highway,” one customer wrote.

9

Ford EcoSport

a blue Ford EcoSport
emirhankaramuk / Shutterstock

Reliability score (out of 100): 28

According to Edmunds, this tiny car has a lot to offer for its value, but the Ford EcoSport earned only a 3.4 from users. “I have driven this all week and I gotta say, I couldn’t imagine finding a car that is less powerful, refined, or user friendly,” one driver wrote. “It has no power whatsoever, doesn’t know what gear it should be in EVER … And that auto shutoff thing at a stop light is gonna kill many people. I almost had a collision twice because of this.”

RELATED: This Is the Deadliest Highway in Your State, Data Shows.

8

Jeep Wrangler

a white Jeep Wrangler
Tom B Paye / Shutterstock

Reliability score (out of 100): 27

The Jeep Wrangler, which is built for off-road driving, may have a 4.6 rating on Edmunds, but many drivers say it comes with a few issues. A driver who purchased their Jeep Wrangler in Dec. 2o2o said when one feature stopped working, they brought it in for service and it took more than five weeks to fix. “Last week I requested the unit be re-purchased as a lemon, since I no longer have any faith in the Jeep nor the ability for Chrysler to fix issues that may arise,” they wrote.

7

Tesla Model S

a blue Tesla Model S
Abu hasim.A / Shutterstock

Reliability score (out of 100): 26

Tesla may be the most well-known electric car company in the country, but according to Edmunds, the 2020 Tesla Model S, which has a 3.2 consumer rating, has its fair share of problems. “The quality of my model is the worst of any car I have owned,” one driver wrote.

RELATED: If You Have This Popular Car, Beware of Rats, Owners Say.

6

Chevrolet Colorado

a red Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck
Ovu0ng / Shutterstock

Reliability score (out of 100): 26

U.S. News and World Reports gave this pickup truck a score of 81 out of 100 for quality and reliability, however, many owners feel differently. “Safety was not a priority for GM on this truck and for that alone, I can’t give it better than a two [out of 5 stars],” a reviewer wrote about the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado on Kelly Blue Book. “It’s a pretty face, but beauty is only skin deep.”

5

Volvo XC90

A 2020 Volvo XC90
tomas devera photo / Shutterstock

Reliability score (out of 100): 26

Although the Volvo XC90 has a consumer rating of 4.4 on Edmunds, some of its features are not up to par, drivers say. “Many features normally included in even mid-level cars are lacking or poorly executed,” one user wrote. “Car does not light up when approaching & can’t be adjusted… no automatic door locking on exit… inadequate computer interface and small screen… Missing many settings & controls to personalize vehicle.”

Another driver wrote: “This is what I call ‘check box engineering’. The engineers have been given a list of features they need to add to the car which they did, but never actually caring to test them for usability and user-friendliness. So all the features are there on paper, but none of them well thought out or well engineered in practice.”

For more rankings delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter. 

4

Jeep Compass

A blue Jeep Compass car
emirhankaramuk / Shutterstock

Reliability score (out of 100): 21

On U.S. News and World Reports, the 2021 Jeep Compass has an overall rating of 7.3 out of 10, making it one lowest-rated compact SUVs on the website. “While it has fantastic off-road capability, it’s held back by an underpowered engine and unengaging handling,” one reviewer wrote.

3

Volkswagen Atlas

A silver Volkswagen Atlas
Yauhen_D / Shutterstock

Reliability score (out of 100): 19

The Volkswagen Atlas was voted the 2021 Family Car of Year by Cars.com, but the SUV only has a 3.4 consumer rating on Edmunds. It’s been criticized for its poor reliability and manufacturing quality. “It will freeze if you’re trying to park and changing gears, then jerks forward or backward,” one owner wrote on Edmunds. “8 months in and I’m ready to get as far away from this car as I can!”

2

Subaru Ascent

A silver Subaru Ascent
Steve Lagreca / Shutterstock

Reliability score (out of 100): 18

This Subaru Ascent has a 4.2 rating on Edmunds, but the Consumer Reports researchers found it to be highly unreliable. “The vehicle has less than 400 miles on it [and it’s] already had its engine light on twice,” one reviewer on Edmunds wrote. “At first they said that it’s the oil intake solenoid, then the engine light is on again and they can’t figure out what’s the issue with the vehicle.”

Another said that “even with little or no wind, the vehicle tends to wander. Hood shakes in the wind and when meeting vehicles, (had it fixed supposedly by dealership).” They added: “Engine is noisy and not responsive and hesitates when starting out. Camera shut down seven times in a 60-mile trip in a soft rain, which shuts down the cruise control and breaks the vehicle. … My advice, drive one several miles before buying one so you don’t make the mistake we made.”

1

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

a red Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Reliability score (out of 100): 13

While the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 received some praise on Edmunds for how spacious it is, reliability is still a big issue. Some of the reasons for its 3.5 rating are problems with the engine, A/C, and manufacturing quality, according to drivers.

“Lifter broke at 14,200 miles on the interstate while my wife was driving with 3 grandkids in the back seat,” one owner wrote on Edmunds. “Truck basically shut down—warning lights everywhere. My previous Chevys were bulletproof—it’s in the shop with the engine torn down.”

There’s also been a recurring complaint about the engine making a knocking sound that leads the car to break down. “Have a new 2021 Silverado and engine started with a ticking sound, then went to a knocking sound, then every light on the dash came on,” one driver wrote.

Another suggested GM recall the car, adding, “This is definitely a case where the cover looks MUCH better than what’s under the cover.”

RELATED: This State Has the Worst Drivers in America.

Leave a Reply