There’s no mincing words here: these are the least-reliable car brands in America, at least according to Consumer Reports.
Some of these shouldn’t be too surprising if you’ve already read the least reliable 2020 cars list: even one model can bring down a marque’s overall score. All in all, Consumer Reports ranked 26 of the car manufacturers available in the US, with the following 10 representing the bottom third.
Of these marques, six are domestic names, up one from last year. Three Germans—yeah, we consider MINI German—and a Swede round out the list.
Let’s get started.
Chevrolet moved up the ranks compared to last year, but it wasn’t quite enough to get out of this list. The Bow Tie brand has one of the largest portfolio of models in the bottom 10 brands, making it harder for the brand to balance out two of the least reliable models on the market (the Malibu and Silverado 1500).
SEE ALSO: 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV Review
On the bright side, the brand’s all-electric Bolt EV holds a strong 85/100 rating from Consumer Reports. GM is pouring billions into its EV program over the next few years: if the Bolt is a sign of what to expect, buyers should be pleased.
The brand that is almost single-handedly keeping the station wagon alive (and cool) in America moved up two spots for 2020. That still puts Volvo at a low 18th, largely thanks to the “Below Average” ratings for its big XC90 and S90 models.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Volvo XC90 T8 Review
It’s the brand’s smaller models that post better results, including the stylish S60 sedan and cute XC40 crossover.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Review
The new Gladiator lived up to its name for 2020 however, fighting to lift the brand up thanks to its incredible score of 99.
Somehow Mercedes moved up slightly over its ranking last year. We say “somehow” because the new GLE received a battering on the CR study, scoring just 1 out of 100. Yes, you read that right.
Leading the Silver Arrow pack is the stalward C-Class, which is the oldest car in the brand’s current lineup.
GM’s luxury brand isn’t last this year, so that’s already an improvement. A recent explosion of crossovers hasn’t helped Cadillac: the compact XT4 scores just 20, whereas its older, larger XT5 brother nets a 57.
Cadillac is set to become GM’s electric leadership brand, so expect big changes to the lineup over the coming years. Before that, however, there’s more traditional offerings, like the new-for-2021 Escalade.
Ford was dragged down this year by two problematic launches in key sectors. The new Explorer stumbled out of the gate at the beginning of the year, a fate reflected in the score of just 1 out of 100. The compact Escape, also new for this year, didn’t fare much better. We drove multiple examples this year, including the fuel-sipping Hybrid.
The aging Edge keeps the company from tumbling further, backed up by the now-discontinued Fusion sedan and the evergreen Mustang. Ford will launch for big-ticket items in the next 12 months, including a new F-150 pickup, the Bronco and Bronco Sport, and the all-electric Mustang Mach-E.
MINI took the biggest tumble of all the brands this year, dropping out of the top 10 and landing in the bottom five. Ouch. The two models that CR included—the Countryman and Cooper—both scored less than 50 in the reliability study.
SEE ALSO: 2019 MINI Cooper S Convertible Review
New this year is the pint-size Cooper SE, an electric variant with a short range meant for primarily city use.
Volkswagen moved up three spots this year, but thanks to less total brands included, it’s actually one spot closer to the bottom. Two models in particular, the Jetta and Atlas, dragged the Peoples’ Car brand down. According to Consumer Reports, persistent problems with in-car electronics and power equipment hurt the two models. That and emissions/fuel systems. In a Volkswagen. Stop us if you’ve heard that before…
The Golf was the VW gold standard, single-handedly keeping the brand away from a worse result. It scored 82; good thing it lives on for another year before the Mk8 model arrives on our shores.
Tesla remains an under-performer in CR’s reliability reports, dropping in the ranks versus last year. The mass-market Model 3 continues to standa tall as the most reliable. Unfortunately, this year’s addition of the Model Y didn’t maintain that momentum: it scored just 5 out of 100.
Ford’s luxury division brings up the rear for this year, dropping 11 places over last year’s spot. Only MINI had a bigger fall year-over-year. Lincoln had all of its models firmly in the red of CR’s scores, with the best performer (Corsair) still just managing a score of 14. The Aviator, the high-end sibling to the troubled Ford Explorer, did manage to double that SUV’s score. To 2. Out of 100. Ouch.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Lincoln Corsair Review
With no major changes on the horizon, Lincoln will have to work hard to improve its ranking amongst buyers for next year.