When you’re looking to buy a new car, an all-new or redesigned model may sound like you’re getting something new and improved. But Consumer Reports’ annual auto reliability survey of more than 640,000 vehicles shows that sometimes better things come to those who wait.
Consumer Reports’ data finds that newly redesigned models are more likely to have wonky engines, jerky transmissions, or high-tech features that fail outright. Problems often arise when new technologies are added to today’s cars. Owners have reported problems ranging from poor shifting to complete transmission
failure. Redesigns with the biggest growing pains -- the Buick LaCrosse, GMC Acadia, and Subaru Impreza.
Another trouble spot in updated models is vehicle infotainment systems. People actually reported twice as many problems on infotainment systems on vehicles that were new or redesigned, as opposed to vehicles that were largely carry-over from the previous year. A stark example is the 2017 Subaru Impreza. A “very reliable” model in 2016, owners are reporting problems with the rear view camera freezing, poor radio reception, and problems pairing their smartphones.
The all-electric SUV Tesla Model X ranks last in reliability for all models due to problems with its falcon-wing doors, body hardware, paint and trim, and climate
The 2017 models that scored highest in reliability are the Kia Niro, Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86 and Lexus ES. The category scoring highest for 2018 models - Compact Hybrids and Electric Cars - with four of the top five cars being different Toyota Prius models.
Last year, SUVs surpassed traditional sedans in sales for the first time, 2 million of those were small SUVs. In CR’s popular Compact SUV category, the Toyota
RAV4 tops for the second year in a row. At the bottom of the list is the Hyundai Tucson.
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