Car buyers have myriad reasons for selecting one model over another, but for many consumers, reliability is paramount. No matter how powerful a car’s engine or how beautiful its styling, breakdowns are unacceptable.
That’s why, every year, Consumer Reports combs through more than a half-million owner surveys to help characterize the reliability of virtually every major vehicle. Arguably, they’re the best at it, largely because their massive data sets come from the users themselves. Moreover, the information is broken down to cover all major sub-systems, such as engines, transmissions, suspensions, electrical and electronics, among others.
In years past, Consumer Reports engineers have repeatedly told us that glitzy new technologies are one of the biggest causes of unreliable vehicle performance. “The manufacturers that do better are more conservative in their approach to rolling out new technology,” Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumers Union, told Design News last year. “They systematically introduce their technologies bit-by-bit, rather than making big, across-the-board shifts.”
The underlying message is that the “yawners” – vehicles that draw less attention from car buff magazines – tend to exhibit better reliability. Why? Because they more often employ proven, bullet-proofed technologies.
Here, we offer a peek at some of the cars that haven’t fared well in Consumer Reports’ studies of used vehicles. We’ll leave it to you to decide why. From Chevys and Cadillacs to Fords and Chryslers, following are snapshots of some of the auto industry’s biggest offenders.