16 Cars Lose Consumer Reports' Recommendation Due to Reliability Issues

The Ford Ranger and Subaru Ascent no longer have the designation, but 11 models are now newly recommended

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Consumer Reports has removed the recommendation of 16 vehicle models, including the Audi E-Tron, Ford Ranger, Genesis G70, Kia Soul, and Subaru Ascent, because of their below- or well-below-average reliability, as identified in our 2020 auto surveys of CR members.

But the reliability improvements in 11 models from BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jeep, Volvo, and other automakers allow us to newly recommend them for the 2021 model year.

CR gathers reliability data through online questionnaires sent each year to our members. It asks about any problems the members may have had in the previous 12 months with 17 aspects of their vehicles, including major systems, such as the engine, transmission, and electrical system, as well as issues with body hardware, and paint and trim. Within each of these potential trouble areas, respondents can give feedback on more specific issues that require a repair, helping us to understand where a vehicle might have problems. This year CR has data on about 329,000 vehicles as reported by their owners.

To earn a CR recommendation, a car must have a high enough Overall Score within its individual category. Recommended vehicles must perform well in our testing, have average or better reliability, and perform adequately in crash testing and other safety tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Not all cars are crash-tested.

More on Car Reliability

“Our scores show that consistency is a key factor in reliability,” says Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. “The manufacturers that make conservative, measured improvements to their model lineup have fewer kinks to work out when their new models go on sale.”

Predicted reliability is a key element in CR’s Overall Score, which is calculated by combining a vehicle’s performance in our road tests; reliability and owner satisfaction ratings drawn from CR’s exclusive Auto Surveys; the inclusion of blind spot warning, frontal crash prevention, and pedestrian detection systems; and, if available, results from government and insurance industry crash tests.

Models That Lost CR’s Recommendation

In addition to the Audi, Ford, Genesis, Kia, and Subaru, several manufacturers have models that have seen reliability fall for various reasons. Included below is a description of the problems that owners experienced for each model, as well as responses, if any, from the manufacturers.

Some of the automakers (Ford, Kia, Subaru) already have either issued technical service bulletins (TSBs), recalls, instituted service actions, or made updates to deal with some of these problems. TSBs provide dealers with instructions on how to handle a known problem. If you own one of the vehicles on this list and want to find out whether there is an outstanding recall or bulletin, go to NHTSA’s recalls page and put your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) into the search field. Then, contact your dealer with the information to set up an appointment to have the fixes addressed. Car companies don’t notify owners about TSBs, so you need to be proactive about getting the fix done.

Audi E-Tron

Audi Q3

BMW X3

Ford Ranger

Genesis G70

Infiniti QX50

Kia Forte

Kia Niro EV

Kia Soul

Mini Cooper

Nissan Rogue Sport

Porsche Taycan

Subaru Ascent

Tesla Model S

Volkswagen GTI

Volvo XC60


Jon Linkov

I owe my career to two fateful events: my father buying a 1965 Corvette and my purchase of an Audi A4 rather than a Chevy Tahoe. The Corvette jump-started my love of cars, and the Audi led me to automotive journalism, track days, and amateur car repair. In my free time I cycle as much as possible, no matter the season.