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Most and Least Reliable Cars

New technologies continue to take a toll

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. Our survey, the largest of its kind, is designed to provide car-shoppers an early-warning system, identifying which cars are apt to be headaches from the get-go, and which have the best odds of staying healthy.

What’s wrong now: The area that has garnered the most frequent complaints in recent years has been infotainment systems and their integrated bundle of audio, navigation, and communications systems, and their display screen. There’s nothing inherently faulty about these systems, and they’re among the most desirable feature sets of a contemporary car. But when the technology isn’t executed just right it can cause endless aggravation.

This says something about new technologies in general: It often takes a while to work out the kinks. That’s why we recommend you wait a year or more after any brand-new car design is introduced before taking the plunge. 

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