Buy At Your Own Peril: These Are Consumer Reports’ 10 Least Reliable New Cars

Even though brand new cars might be the way to go if you’re mostly worried about what can go wrong when it comes to overall reliability, things don’t always play out that way.

A number of new car buyers will always end up having to take the vehicle back to the dealer in order to fix certain issues (that’s what the factory guarantee is there for, after all) and this exclusive survey courtesy of Consumer Reports tells us exactly which models proved least reliable over the past 12 months.

The list counts down to the absolute worst car here in terms of reliability in the U.S. market, so without further ado… let’s see them.

#10 VW Atlas

If you’re looking for a non-premium, three-row SUV in the U.S. right now, odds are the Atlas is probably on your shortlist. It’s big, well-equipped, comfortable and surprisingly agile to drive, despite its size. However, it’s not the quickest SUV in its class and the V6 model’s combined 20 mpg (11.7 l/100km) fuel economy rating isn’t the best.

While this is technically a German automobile, the Atlas is built in the U.S. at the automaker’s Chattanooga plant in Tennessee – and owners questioned by CR are clearly not happy about its reliability, which is why it ended up in 10th place.

Main issues: Climate system, steering, suspension, power equipment

#9 Cadillac CTS

Cadillac’s midsize premium sedan is assembled in Lansing, Michigan, and some say that it’s one of the sportiest models in its segment. However, negatives include the overly complex Cue infotainment system, rear seat room, trunk size and the refinement of the four-cylinder turbo and 3.6-liter V6 power units – described as not the best in class.

Main issues: Climate system, drive system, transmission

#8 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Our first import on this list, the Giulia remains a very attractive proposition in a segment that includes strong entries such as the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4, Jaguar XE, Volvo S60, Lexus IS and more.

According to owners, however, despite its sporty handling, beautiful exterior and decent interior, the Giulia struggles to absorb bumps as well as some of its rivals. It also has unintuitive controls, it’s not as quiet as some would like, its seating comfort isn’t the best and the infotainment system can be distracting to use. And if you look at its problems, they somehow manage to fit the Italian car stereotype.

Main issues: Power equipment, engine, in-car electronics

#7 Kia Cadenza

The Cadenza is shipped into the U.S. from Hwasung, South Korea and despite the fact that it can hold its own compared to the likes of the Chevy Impala and Toyota Avalon in most categories, it doesn’t boast the most advanced technology on board and to really have it stand out, you generally need to cross the $40,000 threshold. Which is serious money and makes overlooking its issues much less difficult.

Main issues: Engine cooling, emissions, fuel system, climate system

#6 Cadillac Escalade

If you ignore the Escalade’s popularity and projected image, you begin to see imperfections such as the stiff ride, loose handling characteristics, cramped third-row and so on. According to CR, a well-trimmed Chevy Suburban or a GMC Yukon XL would make for smarter purchases right now. Buying something like the Escalade, though, is hardly based on logic.

Main issues: Climate system, transmission (minor), in-car electronics

#5 Cadillac CT6

Technically, the CT6 suffers from pretty much the exact same faults as the Escalade. However, compared to the SUV, the CT6 is actually a lot more refined, more lively to drive and offers higher levels of overall comfort, despite lacking in cabin storage.

Main issues: Climate system, transmission (minor), in-car electronics

#4 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

Like its GMC Sierra HD sibling, the heavy-duty version of the Silverado managed to raise major reliability concerns among CR members. Still, when it runs as it should, you’ll definitely enjoy its potent V8 petrol and diesel engines, solid off-road characteristics and high levels of active safety features like forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and front and rear parking assist.

Main issues: Fuel/emissions system, drive system, steering, suspension

#3 Tesla Model X

The all-electric Tesla Model X may be innovative, quick and striking to look at, especially with its rear “falcon wing” doors, but unlike most SUVs its size, it’s not tremendously practical inside, while overall ride comfort and noise isolation aren’t as good as in the Model S sedan – and those doors take forever to open and close.

Main issues: Body hardware, paint and trim, in-car electronics, noises and leaks

#2 Buick Enclave

On paper, the Enclave looks like a really good buy. It’s large, spacious, quiet and features a lively 3.6-liter V6 mated to a smooth nine-speed automatic. It can also tow an impressive 5,000 lbs (2,268 kg), has an easy-to-use infotainment system and plenty of connectivity features.

So what’s the problem? Well, the gear selector can prove unintuitive and fussy during parking maneuvers and build quality leaves something to be desired, thus its ranking as the second worst in this list.

Main issues: Transmission (minor), power equipment, noises and leaks

#1 Jaguar F-PACE

The “winner” and least reliable car on CR’s list this year is the Jaguar F-PACE. General grievances include the omnipresent engine droning from the supercharged 3.0-liter V6, stiff and choppy ride, subpar interior quality (at least compared to some top competitors), and the fact that the infotainment system isn’t as good as what you get with some of its rivals. Paying a premium price means you expect a high-end product, but Jaguar’s SUV clearly falls short of expectations.

Main issues: In-car electronics, drive system, power equipment, noises and leaks.

Knowing what you know now, which of these models would you still love to own, and which ones would you discard entirely from your shortlist?

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