Most Unreliable Car in the United States Revealed in New Survey

by Josh Lanier
Photo credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

We’ve all had that car that just always seemed to be in the shop for one problem and then another. These lemons can sour your taste on a particular brand or model forever. So, to help avoid getting stuck with these money pits, Consumer Reports has created a list of the most unreliable cars and trucks on the market. And the list is full of surprises.

Consumer Reports compiled data on 17 common things that can be a hassle for drivers. Investigators looked at two years of each car or truck model and measured the severity and frequency of those problems. They then took that information and graded the vehicle on a scale of 1 to 100. The lower the rating, the more problems an owner can expect.

Surprisingly, brands that are famed for their reliability actually scored pretty low in this ranking. For instance, Volvo has two cars on the list. The Volvo XC60 scored a 28 and the Volvo XC90 scored a 26. Both were dinged for poor performance and bad engineering overall. One owner of the XC60 joked that the best thing they could say about the car was “that I was not kidnapped by a serial killer any of the times it left me stranded on the side of the highway.”

The Tesla S model also scored a poor 26 out of 100. And the Subaru Ascent scored a paltry 18. Drivers of the Subaru said the car had a weak and underperforming engine with the aerodynamic consistency of a crumpled piece of paper. “Even with little or no wind, the vehicle tends to wander,” one owner wrote. “Hood shakes in the wind and when meeting vehicles.”

Jeep also had two entries on the most unreliable list with Compass and Wrangler both scoring poorly.

Chevy Truck Tops the ‘Unreliable’ List

But the vehicle that drivers had the most issues with is the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Several drivers pointed out that the instrument panel would light up like a Christmas tree after only a few thousand miles.

“Lifter broke at 14,200 miles on the interstate while my wife was driving with 3 grandkids in the back seat,” one owner wrote on Edmunds. “Truck basically shut down—warning lights everywhere. My previous Chevys were bulletproof—it’s in the shop with the engine torn down.”

Several people pointed out that the truck’s engine was a ticking time bomb. Specifically, they said the engine would start ticking after a short period of time. That ticking would grow into a loud knocking. Then they’d be left pounding the pavement for weeks as the engine had to be rebuilt.

“Have a new 2021 Silverado and engine started with a ticking sound, then went to a knocking sound, then every light on the dash came on,” one driver wrote.

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 scored a pathetic 13 out of 100 on the Consumer Reports unreliability scale.