Mechanic working to fix a car reliability problem

Consumer Reports rates and ranks cars based on the reliability data collected from members through its large-scale surveys. There are detailed insights behind those top-level scores, with problems broken down by 17 key trouble spots. This allows car buyers and owners to see how a car compares overall with others from the same model year and find out what types of problems owners are reporting.

More on Car Reliability

Below, we spotlight the most problem-prone 1- to 3-year-old models in each of those 17 areas, based on issues experienced over the previous 12 months. Each is listed with the percentage of affected vehicles, as well as detailed issues shared by the owners. 

Because these are all fairly recent vehicles, it doesn’t take a large percentage to stand out. After all, cars are expected to be problem-free during their first years.

The problems signaled by these reports can portend an even greater percentage experiencing the issue in the future, as the cars age and rack up miles.

Consider this a taste of the information available on the car model pages for most models, where CR members can find the ratings for all 17 trouble spots on each car.

The trouble spots below are organized based on the typical seriousness of the issues. Each includes a list of what is encompassed by the trouble spot category.  

Engine Major

Potential problems: Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbocharger or supercharger, timing chain or belt. 

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2018 Ford Expedition

Price Range: $33,300 - $51,350

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Engine Minor

Potential problems: Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, difficulty filling up gas tank, fuel leaks, oil leaks. 

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2018 Chevrolet Malibu

Price Range: $14,175 - $20,825

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Engine Cooling

Potential problems: Radiator, cooling fan, water pump, thermostat, antifreeze leaks, overheating. 

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2019 Volkswagen GTI

Price Range: $21,600 - $28,100

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Transmission Major

Potential problems: Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, premature clutch replacement. 

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2019 Kia Forte

Price Range: $12,650 - $15,175

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Transmission Minor

Potential problems: Gear selector and linkage, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission, leaks. 

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2018 Chevrolet Traverse

Price Range: $20,625 - $34,300

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Drive System

Potential problems: Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, four-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive components, driveline vibration, electrical failure, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC). 

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2019 Audi Q8

Price Range: $55,850 - $65,000

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Fuel System/Emissions

Potential problems: Sensors (O2 or oxygen sensor), emission-control devices (includes EGR), fuel-injection system, fuel gauge/sender, fuel pump.

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2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Price Range: $21,400 - $33,625

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Electrical System

Potential problems: Alternator, starter, hybrid/electric battery replacement, hybrid/electric-battery-related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, spark plugs and wires failure. 

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2018 Jeep Compass

Price Range: $15,675 - $20,325

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Climate System

Potential problems: AC compressor, blower (fan) motor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate system, electrical failure, refrigerant leakage. 

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2018 Honda Civic

Price Range: $14,525 - $33,375

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Suspension/Steering

Potential problems: Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension. 

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2018 Jeep Wrangler

Price Range: $24,825 - $43,750

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Brakes

Potential problems: Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure, premature wear. 

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2018 Kia Stinger

Price Range: $23,375 - $35,950

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Exhaust System

Potential problems: Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, heat shields, leaks. 

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2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Price Range: $21,400 - $33,625

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Paint/Trim

Potential problems: Paint (fading, chalking, peeling, or cracking), loose interior or exterior trim or moldings, rust.

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2020 Tesla Model Y

Price Range: $49,990 - $59,990

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Body Integrity

Potential problems: Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, seals, and/or weather stripping, air and water leaks.

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2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Price Range: $14,625 - $23,150

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Body Hardware

Potential problems: Windows, locks and latches, doors or sliding doors, tailgate, trunk or hatch, mirrors, seat controls (power or manual), seat belts, sunroof, convertible top, glass defect. 

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2020 Tesla Model Y

Price Range: $49,990 - $59,990

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Power Equipment and Accessories

Potential problems: Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, USB port, alarm or security system, remote engine start, heated or cooled seats, heated steering wheel. 

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2020 Lincoln Corsair

Price Range: $34,175 - $42,475

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In-Car Electronics

Potential problems: CD player, rear entertainment system (rear screen or DVD player), radio, speakers, in-dash GPS, display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering-wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, infotainment hardware replacement and software fixes. 

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2019 BMW X5

Price Range: $49,700 - $60,525

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