Just because a model is reliable, doesn't mean it is recommended by Consumer Reports. Two out of the top 10 most reliable vehicles don't perform well enough in our tests for us to recommend them. The opposite happens as well--some vehicles that score well in our testing are not recommended because they have below average predicted reliability.
Five out of the 10 least reliable vehicles have high-enough test scores to be recommended, but their poor reliability prevents them from reaching that recommended status. So, it's important to look at both performance in our tests as well as reliability, because a high scoring car isn't always a smart purchase choice if it isn't reliable.
Our 2012 Annual Auto Survey reveals the best and worst vehicles in new car reliability based on our subscribers' experiences with 1.2 million vehicles over the past 10 years (2003-2012). Our data provide the basis for our forecasting how the 2013 models will likely hold up, and reveals the most dependable used cars as well.
The vehicles listed below are the 10 least reliable new cars in our reliability survey. Predicted reliability is typically based on the newest three model years if a model hasn't been redesigned in that period, Models with an asterisk (*) are based on data of one model year only. Click on the vehicles below to visit the model overview pages to see how they performed in our tests and also view a more-detailed look at reliability broken down by 17 potential trouble spots. (Model overview pages are available to online subscribers.)
Least reliable vehicles, listed in order of Ratings score starting with the worst score.
1. Ford Explorer (V6, 4WD)
2. Ford Focus (hatchback)*
3. Jaguar XF*
4. Mini Cooper Countryman
5. Ford Explorer (V6, 2WD)
6. Lincoln MKX
7. Ram 2500 (turbodiesel)
8. Jaguar XJ*
9. Lincoln MKT*
10. Ford Flex EcoBoost
For more details on our 2012 Annual Auto Survey, including the full list of most and least reliable new cars by vehicle type, see our complete car reliability report. Also, check out our guide to car reliability for more details on new and used car reliability, as well as owner satisfaction.