One of the main reasons people buy a brand-new car is the promise of a no-hassle ownership experience, free from the drip-drip-drip of service problems that set in as cars age. Nonetheless, our comprehensive annual auto reliability survey tells us that some buyers will be taking their brand-new car back to the dealer’s service department sooner and more often than other car buyers will.

The models featured here are the 10 least reliable vehicles based on our 2016 Annual Auto Survey.


Check our list of the 10 most reliable cars and get more details from our exclusive car reliability report.

Our survey takes a deep dive into the numerous things that can go wrong with a vehicle. We study 17 trouble areas, from nuisances—such as squeaky brakes and broken interior trim—to major bummers, such as out-of-warranty transmission repairs or trouble with four-wheel-drive systems. We weight the severity of each type of problem to create a Predicted Reliability Score for each vehicle. That score is then combined with data collected from our track testing, as well as our owner-satisfaction survey results and safety data, to calculate each test vehicle's Overall Score.

Based on that analysis, these models are the least reliable. They are presented in rank order, counting down to the least reliable model, the Cadillac Escalade. For more details on the models' reliability concerns, click through to their respective model pages.

Fiat 500L*

Least reliable cars: Fiat 500L

Price as tested $24,595
Trouble spots Slipping or lock-up transmission, power equipment, drive system, in-car electronics

This Italian confection feels undercooked and has several significant flaws. It earned a dismal road-test score, thanks in part to a stiff ride, flat seats, and an odd driving position. No surprise, owner satisfaction is also low—meaning a strong percentage of owners wish they hadn’t bought this hatchback. The 500L also has one of the worst reliability scores among all new cars in our recent survey. If that still isn’t enough to dissuade you, it scored a Poor in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small-overlap frontal crash test. To its credit, this quasi-wagon responds eagerly in turn, handles securely at its limit, and has a roomy cabin. But it would take more than those virtues for this to earn a place on a smart shopper’s list. 

See the complete Fiat 500L road test.


Ford Fiesta

Least reliable cars: Ford Fiesta

Price as tested $16,595-$24,985
Trouble spots Clutch replacement, rough-shifting or slipping transmission, noises and leaks, power equipment

This subcompact has agile handling that makes it fun to drive, as well as a supple, controlled ride. Interior fit and finish and equipment levels are among the best of the class, and the cabin is relatively quiet. But the rear seat is very cramped. Our tested 120-hp, 1.6-liter Fiesta with the five-speed manual delivered excellent fuel economy but felt sluggish. A six-speed automated manual tends to cause the car to stumble in stop-and-go traffic. Other choices include a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder turbo and the sporty Fiesta ST that is truly a treat to drive if your kidneys can handle the stiff ride. Sync 3 has replaced the MyFord Touch infotainment system.  

See the complete Ford Fiesta road test.


Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon

Least reliable cars: Chevrolet Tahoe

Price as tested $60,100
Trouble spots Steering vibrations, power equipment, in-car electronics

The Tahoe and Yukon have luxurious and quiet interiors, decent second- and third-row seats, and available features such as blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert. Beyond that, fuel economy from the 5.3-liter V8 and six-speed automatic is 16 mpg. But the engine doesn’t feel responsive enough in everyday driving. The touch-screen infotainment system is easy to use. The ride is stiff, although the Magnetic Ride Control suspension improves ride comfort and handling response and capability. Properly equipped versions can tow 8,500 pounds. But car-based SUVs have better handling and are more efficient. Lane-keeping assist is now available.

See the complete Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon road tests.


Ram 2500

Least reliable cars: Ram 2500

Trouble spots Steering vibrations, emissions controls and sensors, 4WD components, power equipment

The Ram 2500 skirts the rough and tumble that typically come with a heavy-duty truck. Though still stiff, with a coil-spring rear suspension it rides in a relatively civilized manner and better than competing HD trucks. Chrysler's powerful 383-hp, 5.7-liter V8 is the standard engine, but you can opt for the torque-rich
6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel Six. This strong-pulling diesel engine is not available on the Ram 1500, which employs a different diesel. We got 14 mpg overall with the Cummins diesel. The truck lends itself easily to fifth-wheel towing and has a Jake brake for descending long downhills. It can also be outfitted with a snow-plow preparation kit. The Laramie version is nicely trimmed inside, but contending with the high step-in height is a chore. The crew cab's rear seat is very roomy. The Ram 2500 has two rear cameras: one for backing up and another for monitoring what's in the bed.  

See the Ram 2500 model page.


Tesla Model X*

Least reliable cars: Tesla Model X

Currently in test.
Trouble spots Falcon-wing doors, locks and latches, power equipment, in-car electronics, climate system

The electric-powered Model X is more showy than practical. It features rear doors that open up and out of the way, giving easy access to rear seats. But those massive doors take their time to open and close. The huge windshield extends up and over the front-seat occupants, making the cabin feel airy and futuristic. Buyers can opt for five-, six-, or seven-passenger seating configurations, but unlike every other SUV, the second row doesn’t fold, which compromises utility. Like the S, the Model X is very quick and handles well. Ride comfort and noise isolation aren’t as good as in the S, however. The 90-kWh version we tested had a realistic 230-mile range. Note alert below.

See the Tesla Model X model page.



Chrysler 200*

Least reliable cars: Chrysler 200

Price as tested $25,790-$33,620
Trouble spots Slipping or lock-up transmission, rough shifting, drive system

A mediocre car in a category overflowing with competent, and even excellent, alternatives, the 200 drives like it’s from a previous era. Handling is clumsy, the ride is rough and unsettled, and the four-cylinder engine is underwhelming. But the V6 is fairly polished and can be had with AWD. Not only is the transmission uncooperative, but it has proved to be a reliability albatross. A relatively quiet cabin is the only consolation. Sitting in the tight rear seat feels claustrophobic, and access is compromised. The 200 has the dubious distinction of carrying the lowest overall road-test score in the class, as well as the lowest Predicted Reliability Rating. The 200 is late into its model life span and frankly feels it. 

See the complete Chrysler 200 road test.


Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Yukon XL

Least reliable cars: GMC Yukon XL

Price as tested $69,790
Trouble spots Slipping or rough-shifting 8-speed transmission, power equipment, in-car electronics, 4WD components

If you need space for seven or more people, all their stuff, and towing capacity to boot, little else but the Suburban or Yukon XL will do. These behemoths have a sumptuous and quiet interior, power-folding second- and third-row seats, and available blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert. Beyond that, they're pretty much your standard hauler, with a 5.3-liter V8 mated to a six-speed automatic, and a respectable 16 mpg overall. The touch-screen infotainment system is easy to use, and the magnetic ride suspension improves ride comfort and handling response and capability. Recent updates include available lane-keeping assist, plus Apple CarPlay.  

See the complete Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL road tests.


Jeep Renegade*

Least reliable cars: Jeep Renegade

Price as tested $27,525
Trouble spots Drive system, transmission, power equipment, radio

Built in Italy, the subcompact Renegade looks enticingly cute but is bogged down by a nine-speed automatic that’s neither smooth nor responsive. Fuel economy with the 2.4-liter was 24 mpg overall. Handling is uninspiring, and the ride is unremarkable. Idle vibration and an overly touchy brake pedal also mar the driving experience. Depending on options, the Renegade offers traditional Jeep features, such as some off-road ability in the Trailhawk version and open-air driving via its optional removable sunroofs. Optional safety features include forward-collision and lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, and a backup camera. Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system is available. 

See the complete Jeep Renegade road test.


Ford Focus

Least reliable cars: Ford Focus

Price as tested $20,485-$40,990
Trouble spots Clutch replacement, rough-shifting or slipping transmission, driveline vibrations

Available as a sedan, a hatchback, and an electric version, the Focus feels solid and sophisticated, but it’s plagued by poor reliability and, at low speeds, a jerky transmission. The car is fun to drive, thanks to its agile handling and supple ride. The cabin is quiet, with good-quality materials for the class. But the cabin is narrow compared with newer competitors. A new 123-hp, 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbo, shared with the smaller Fiesta, is available, but it’s slow and returns the same 29 mpg overall as the 2.0-liter. A rearview camera is now standard. Sync 3 has replaced the problematic MyFord Touch infotainment system. The sporty ST version is quick, is fun, and sounds thrilling; the new high-performance AWD RS uses a 350-hp turbo four-cylinder.

See the complete Ford Focus road test.


Cadillac Escalade

Least reliable cars: Cadillac Escalade

Price as tested $87,360
Trouble spots Transmission replacement, rough shifting, 4WD components, power equipment, in-car electronics

The Escalade falls down on the fundamentals as a luxury SUV; It rides too stiffly and can’t stop or handle with the grace of its peers. Despite casting a massive shadow, the Cadillac is not even that roomy inside. The second-row seats aren’t very comfortable, and the third row is cramped. For those who want more room, there is a longer ESV version that provides more cargo space. The Cue infotainment system is confounding. The real strength of the Escalade is in its work abilities, with a powerful 420-hp V8 and impressive tow capacity. Reliability has been well below average, ranking worst in class. We consider a well-trimmed Chevrolet Suburban or GMC Yukon XL to be a smarter buy. 

See the complete Cadillac Escalade road test.


Editor's Note Ratings for models with an asterisk (*) are based on one year of reliability data.

Alert The Tesla Model X can be outfitted with a semi-autonomous driving package. Consumer Reports believes automakers should take stronger steps to ensure that vehicles with those systems are designed, deployed, and marketed safely. Please heed all warnings and keep your hands on the wheel. 

Check our list of the 10 Most Reliable Cars