12 Cars Lose Consumer Reports' Recommendation Due to Reliability Issues

The Buick Enclave, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota Corolla Hatchback are no longer recommended, but 22 models gain the designation

Chevy Bolt Photo: Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports has removed the recommendation of 12 vehicle models, including the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Jeep Gladiator, because of their below- or well-below-average reliability as identified in our 2021 auto surveys of CR members. But reliability improvements in 22 models from Acura, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and other automakers allow us to now recommend them for the 2022 model year.

CR gathers auto reliability data through online questionnaires sent to our members. We ask about any problems members may have had in the previous 12 months with 17 aspects of their vehicles, including major areas 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 cause a problem, helping us to understand where a vehicle might have experienced troubles, and predict the likelihood of the same or similar models experiencing them. This year CR has data on more than 300,000 vehicles as reported by their owners, covering the 2001 through 2021 model years.

The evolution of the new-vehicle market in 2020 and 2021, which saw the global pandemic create shortages for a vast majority of automakers, underscores some challenges consumers are facing. Buyers are finding it difficult to locate their desired car, SUV, minivan, or truck and, when they do, often wind up paying full sticker price—or more. With shortages and high prices in mind, it’s all the more important to choose a reliable vehicle in the first place. Otherwise, it could be in the shop for weeks or months waiting on parts for repair. 

The microchip shortage, a key reason for the slowdown in production, is expected to last well into 2022, so this problem isn’t going away in the near future.

More on Car Reliability

“Due to dwindling inventories of cars and parts, vehicle reliability is more important than ever,” says Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. “Since some problems don’t develop right away, our reliability ratings look at up to three years of the model’s history. The best choices are the ones that are consistently trouble-free year over year.”

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.

To predict reliability, we average a model’s overall reliability score for the newest three model years, provided the vehicle didn’t change significantly in that time and hasn’t been redesigned for the current model year. One or two years of data may be used if the model was redesigned within that three-year time frame or if there was insufficient data for some years.

To earn a CR recommendation, a car must have a high enough Overall Score within its individual category, a threshold that varies depending on the category. Recommended vehicles must perform well in our testing, have average or better reliability and satisfaction surveys, 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, if tested.

Models That Lost CR’s Recommendation

Several manufacturers, including Chevrolet, Hyundai, and Jeep, 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 from the manufacturers. Many automakers acknowledged the problems CR identified and had already made fixes available to consumers. 

A number of the automakers have issued technical service bulletins (TSBs) or recalls, instituted service actions, or made updates to deal with some of these problems, including General Motors (Buick, Chevrolet), Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Nissan, and Toyota. 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, you can go to NHTSA’s recalls page and put your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) into the search field to find related information. Then contact your dealer with the information to set up an appointment to have the problems addressed. Car companies don’t notify owners about TSBs, so you need to be proactive about getting the fix done. Bear in mind that TSB-related work isn’t always done free. You can also find TSBs for common problems on the new car and used car model pages under the Reliability tab.

Find out if your car has a recall, and what you should do next!

Sign up for CR’s Car Recall Tracker

Buick Enclave

Chevrolet Bolt & Bolt EUV

Ford Mustang

Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Santa Fe

Jeep Gladiator

Kia Sorento

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Nissan Rogue

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Volvo S60

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.