Top 10 Least Reliable Car Brands
Chris is Head of Content for FindTheBestCarPrice and is based out of Philadelphia, PA. As a seasoned automotive industry analyst and car enthusiast, he ensures the highest level of quality across all our content and curates our picks for the best deals each month.
Chris studied information systems and marketing at Drexel University and writes about a wide range of topics ranging from car buying tips to troubleshooting common mechanical issues.
When he’s not thinking about cars, he likes to stay in with his dog and make an “attempt” to finish a crossword puzzle (he’s not quite at the Saturday/Sunday level…yet). As a former cheesemonger, Chris still has a “sharp” passion for all things cheese, and his fridge is always loaded with it!
Buying an unreliable car can be a nightmare! You are bogged with the need to always take them to a repair shop for repairs, frequent breakdowns, and even exorbitant maintenance fees. In most cases, fuel economy is very bad, and the durability is nothing to write home about.
In this case, you are driving nothing less than a poorly designed piece of metal that is simply buying time till it packs up. However, you could have avoided these if you had intimated yourself with the list of the least reliable car brands.
There are many car brands that you should avoid, especially if you want much value for your money. Some of the least reliable car brands include; Mercedes Benz, Land Rover, Fiat, Jaguar, and lots more.
Here’s a detailed overview of the least reliable car brands and why they are considered to be less reliable than other car brands!
Table of Contents
Least Reliable Car Brands
Many drivers depend on data, reports, and surveys like Consumer Reports, JD Power, and RepairPal to determine the reliability of a car brand.
While it is true that these will offer you the necessary information that will help you decide the reliability of a car brand, it is important that you understand that you cannot solely rely on them.
You must learn how to analyze the features, spot the strengths and weaknesses of car brands and determine what makes them unreliable.
1. Mercedes Benz
Having Mercedes Benz on the list of unreliable car brands might not be what you expected, but that’s the truth. Mercedes is an unreliable car brand, and this can be surprising because the Mercedes brand is a symbol of prestige and royalty.
This might upset you further because Mercedes sells more cars than even BMWs. If these cars are so bad, why do so many people still buy Mercedes?
Mercedes might have a history of unreliability, but there’s no denying that their cars have great quality. You are getting amazing performance, superior designs, and awesome handling.
The main problem with Mercedes that contributes to its unreliability is the need to load their cars with new and unproven technologies.
There are many reasons that will force you to believe that Mercedes uses untested parts, poor engine designs that always lead to engine misfires, coupled with the fact that maintenance on Mercedes is super expensive.
Mercedes isn’t just an unreliable car but not also the type of car that an average driver should think of owning.
According to RepairPal, Mercedes has a reliability rating of 3.0/5.0, ranking 27th out of 32 car brands. The 2022 JD Power dependability study rates Mercedes Benz below the industry average, while the 2022 Consumer Report ranks Mercedes 32/32, the least reliable car brand on the list.
Ram is another unreliable car brand. According to RepairPal, Ram has an average reliability rating of 3.0/5.0, ranking 23rd out of 32 car brands.
The 2022 Consumer Reports rank Ram 16th with an average reliability score of 42/100. Ram also falls below the industry average on the 2022 JD Power Dependability Survey, just one position ahead of Land Rover.
Ram’s reliability keeps falling, although this is not peculiar with all of its cars. You’ll find more of the unreliability among Ram trucks. With Ram, you are either battling with the failure of their Ecoboost engines, the design fails, lots of modules fail, or even the battery fails.
There’s no denying that Ram trucks are good at handling weight and towing tough stuff, but you’ll spend so much on repair and maintenance costs.
Yeah! Teslas got the buzz and the noise. That’s Elon Musk’s car, but we can tell you for free that they are very unreliable. There isn’t enough data to rank Tesla’s reliability rating on JD Power and RepairPal, but Consumer Report did well in rating Tesla’s reliability. And guess what? Tesla has a poor reliability rating.
According to 2022 Consumer Reports, Tesla ranks 19th with an average reliability score of 40/100. Tesla started with four models available for sale in 2022, Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y. It is alarming that the Model Y has a reliability score of 25/100.
It's almost embarrassing to assume that Tesla will be so unreliable, considering the high price that people buy these cars.
At least, for the sake of buying these cars at ridiculous prices, it is expected that their cars are durable and will last long. Instead, with Tesla, you are either battling with AC failures, sensor failures, faults with the driver assistance systems, or even body design failures.
You might find out that the body panels need to be aligned better with interior and finishing issues. More importantly, it is important to mention that Tesla has a high maintenance cost.
GMC is another unreliable car brand. According to RepairPal, GMC has a reliability rating of 3.0/5.0, ranking 22nd out of 32 car brands. The 2022 Consumer Reports reliability survey ranks GMC 21st out of 24 car brands, with an average reliability score of 36/100.
It is true that GMCs are popular for how well they handle offroad driving and rugged driving conditions. However, the cost of repairs and maintenance on GMC cars is very high.
It is important to mention that GMC’s unreliability varies according to the different models available in its lineup. GMC Sierra takes the least reliability score of 19/100.
With cars like the GMC Sierra, you’ll have to deal with a lot of engine problems, transmission issues, technology flaws, and problems in its drive and brake system.
Volkswagens are so unreliable, and there are a lot of factors that influence their unreliability. Volkswagen cars have high maintenance costs and poorly implemented engineering principles, and you shouldn’t expect them to last as long as Honda and Toyota cars.
Aside from the high maintenance cost of Volkswagen cars, Volkswagen cars are also known for complicated designs. This complicates many issues during replacement. The complexity of Volkswagen's designs also reflects in its electrical systems, as they are prone to a lot of system errors.
According to RepairPal, Volkswagen has a reliability rating of 3.5/5.0, ranking 12th out of 32 car brands. The 2022 Consumer Reports rank Volkswagen 22/24 with an average reliability score of 31/100.
On the 2022 JD Power Dependability Survey, Volkswagen falls below the industry average, two places below Jeep and Nissan.
There are many arguments about Jeep’s reliability, which can alter your perception of the brand. According to RepairPal, Jeep has a reliability rating of 3.5/5.0, ranking 15th out of 32 car brands.
The 2022 Consumer Reports reliability survey rates Jeep as the 23rd most reliable car amongst 24 car brands. Jeep falls below industry standards on the 2022 JD Power Dependability Survey.
Aside from the reliability ratings, there are a few things that make Jeep an unreliable option. There is no denying that Jeep is an excellent choice for offroad driving, but they have poor fuel economy, many recalls, and poor safety ratings.
There are structural integrity issues on Jeep vehicles, and as you continue driving them, they turn out to be money pits.
There’s no need to beat around the bush, Jaguar is an unreliable car brand, and you should avoid them by all means. According to RepairPal, Jaguar has a reliability rating of 2.5/5.0 ranking 29th out of 32 car brands.
The 2022 JD Power Dependability Survey ranks Jaguar below the industry average, struggling to find a place amongst brands like Alfa Romeo, Land Rover, Volvo, etc.
Initially, Jaguar wasn’t an unreliable car brand. They had a good thing going on for them until they entered that fateful merger with the British Motor Corporation in 1966.
Jaguar’s problems started from unpredictability to complex designs and high maintenance costs. Things seemed to get better in 1999 after Ford bought Jaguar and started simplifying their designs. Currently, Jaguar’s reliability is nothing to write home about.
Although Ford has made a name for itself in the auto industry, they still occupy the position as one of the least reliable car brands. They might not be as unreliable as Jaguar and Fiat, but they aren’t a reliable option.
Ford vehicles are made of low-quality materials and bad engineering principles and designs, and you’ll end up battling with lots of problems coupled with high repair and maintenance costs.
According to RepairPal, Ford has a reliability rating of 3.5/5.0, ranking 21st out of 32 car brands. The ratings are a bit better on JD Power as Ford goes beyond the industry standards.
However, consumer reports record that Ford has an average reliability score of 41/100, taking the 18th position out of 24 car brands. It is important to mention that not all Ford vehicles are unreliable. You should expect decent reliability from their F series, Mustang, Focus, and Taurus models.
9. Land Rover
According to RepairPal, Land Rover has a reliability rating of 2.5/5.0 ranking 31st out of 32 car brands. Land Rover is the least dependable car brand according to the 2022 JD Power Dependability Survey.
Land rovers’ unreliability stems from their high maintenance cost, higher chance of major and minor repairs, and consistent problems in their vehicles. The mechanical problems and use of inferior materials are some of the factors that influence Land Rover’s unreliability.
Fiat has a history of unreliability, and things haven’t changed for a long time. According to RepairPal, Fiat has a reliability rating of 3.5/5.0, ranking 18th out of 32 car brands.
There isn’t any rating on JD Power or Consumer Reports, but Fiat’s unreliability is influenced by its high maintenance cost, poor technology, lots of mechanical problems, and lots more.
There are quite a lot of car brands that are also unreliable, although not mentioned in this list. These are car brands like Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Citroen, and Volvo. Audis can be classified as fairly reliable brands, but sometimes you might become unlucky by choosing an unreliable model in their lineup.
Nissans are also unreliable because of their engines, gear, and affiliation with the Renault group. Nevertheless, the essence of providing you with a list of the least reliable car brand is to guide your choices and market decisions.