Based on Consumer Reports’ annual reliability survey, a half-dozen new models have seen their reliability scores fall, while three new cars have managed to move up the rankings.
The cars that have lost CR’s recommendation wear Acura, BMW, FCA, Tesla and VW badges, have had multiple service campaigns and share common issues such as bad electronics. So, which are the models you might want to steer clear of right now?
Owners of the recently redesigned RDX crossver have already reported issues with their cars, specifically with the in-car electronics like the sat-nav system. According to CR exec Jake Fisher, this can happen when it comes to the first model year of any newly introduced or redesigned car, as they tend to have growing pains.
“The 2019 RDX went on sale in mid-2018, and just as we’ve seen with other manufacturers, sometimes it can take a year or more for automakers to work out the kinks,” he said.
Meanwhile, an Acura spokesman told CR that the survey respondents “purchased vehicles manufactured in the earliest months of production equipped with V1 software. In the fall, we pushed an over-the-air update to these and all vehicles in the field that significantly improved system performance and addressed these issues.”
The Japanese automaker also stated that “our customer relations data indicates a substantial decrease in issues identified by our own customers who update to V2”.
According to the survey, the 5-Series now features worse-than-average reliability, as several problems have been reported with power equipment, including features like the keyless entry system and the lights, to go with the in-car electronics; for example, owners have seen the screen go blank and the sat-nav system failing.
BMW has yet to offer an official comment, despite repeated inquires.
Chrysler 300 & Dodge Charger
Why are both these cars in trouble? For starters, they’re both built by FCA and share many of the same issues.
CR members who own Chrysler 300 Sedans have reported several issues with in-car electronics, including the display screen freezing or going blank, as well as issues with the radio and sat-nav system.
While the issues with the 300’s climate control system weren’t experienced by Charger owners, those have had to deal with separate problems such as interior and exterior trim and molding pieces, to go with the same in-car electronics issues mentioned above (minus the A/C one).
“The quality and reliability of our vehicles is of the utmost importance to all of us here at FCA US. We address all issues we see in our quality indicators, and the issues referenced had been identified and resolved,” stated an FCA spokesman, who also said that 2018MY and newer cars are also getting over-the-air firmware updates, while is sues with the interior door-trim panel have already been addressed.
Tesla Model 3
Reliability issues for the Model 3 aren’t all that surprising. After all, it’s not just a brand new model, but also the first to be produced in such large numbers by Tesla. CR members reported issues with the door handles, loose interior trim and molding, paint defects and problems with the windows.
The good news is that Tesla is improving its cars, not just in terms of OTT software updates, which also add new features, but also build quality.
“We take feedback from our customers very seriously and quickly implement improvements any time we hear about issues,” stated a Tesla spokeswoman.
If you own a VW Tiguan, you might want to watch out for problems with the body control modules (components that control windows, locks etc), remote engine starting and the headlights.
Thankfully, VW addressed these issues according to a spokesman, who said that they should be of no concern for “anyone shopping now,” and that the headlight issue “was addressed almost immediately after launch.”
The ones that ascended
Finally, the three newly recommended models with improved reliability are the BMW X3, Genesis G90 sedan and Lincoln Nautilus as, according to the survey, there haven’t been many complaints about their 2018MY versions.