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Buyer beware: The least reliable cars you can buy in 2023

Know the car reliability ratings of these bad buys

Buying a car can be one of the most expensive purchases – beyond a house – that someone can make. Plus, with cars being more expensive than ever, most people will want to hold onto their cars for longer. That’s why reliability matters so much. You can have all the tech in the world and one of the most powerful engines on sale, but if none of it works, it really doesn’t matter much. Every year, Consumer Reports publishes its list of the least reliable cars consumers can buy and this year’s list is filled with domestic brands.

Before we get into the rankings, here’s a quick rundown on how Consumer Reports finds what vehicles are reliable. The outlet sends an extensive questionnaire to vehicle owners that covers 17 main areas that range from an interior rattle to powertrain problems. Once Consumer Reports gets the surveys back, it weighs the severity of the type of problem to give each vehicle a predicted reliability score. The scores are on a scale of 1 to 100 with a lower score correlating to more problems.

Front end angle of 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon in front of snow-capped mountains on a rocky trail.

Here are the 10 least reliable cars on sale with a lower score meaning an unreliable vehicle:

  • Ford F-150 Hybrid: 4
  • Hyundai Kona Electric: 5
  • Lincoln Aviator: 8
  • Nissan Sentra: 9
  • Ford Explorer: 16
  • Chevrolet Bolt: 17
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500: 19
  • Jeep Gladiator: 21
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE: 23
  • Jeep Wrangler: 24

For automakers, the list follows a similar trend, but adds a few luxury brands. This list goes from least to more reliable:

  • Mercedes-Benz: 26
  • Jeep: 30
  • Volkswagen: 31
  • GMC: 36
  • Chevrolet: 40
  • Tesla: 40
  • Ford: 41
  • Cadillac: 42
  • Ram: 42
  • Nissan: 44
  • Volvo: 45

There are some real shockers on this list. The Ford F-150 has been one of the best-selling vehicles for decades. Sure, we understand how adding a hybrid powertrain could complicate things, but we weren’t expecting any variants of the F-150 to be on the list of least reliable vehicles. And then you have the Hyundai Kona Electric and Chevrolet Bolt. Electric vehicles are being promoted as being far more reliable and more affordable to own than gas-powered vehicles because they have fewer moving parts, but it doesn’t look like that’s the case for these two EVs.

We expect that some vehicles land on the unreliable list because of how consumers use them. Large trucks like the F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Ram 1500 are sure to be put through the ringer during their lifespan. Most truck owners will probably use their trucks to tow heavy cargo or on construction sites. It’s a similar situation with the Jeep Gladiator and Wrangler, which are aimed at people looking to go off-roading. The vehicles may be made to go off-road, but tackling rugged terrain regularly can strain components.

Front end angle of 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV parked in front of a house during a sunset.

There’s no clear lesson from Consumer Reports’ latest reliability rankings beyond the fact that Toyota and Lexus make the most reliable cars available. It’s also a word of caution to do further research on a specific model before buying a vehicle. Nissan, for the most part, did fairly well as an automaker, but the Sentra did poorly.

Consumer Reports didn’t include Chrysler, Alfa Roemo, Dodge, Infiniti, Fiat, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mini, Maserati, Polestar, Porsche, Rivian, and Mitsubishi, as there wasn’t enough data or the vehicles or because the automaker didn’t have enough models on sale.

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