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Written by Nick Versaw
Updated April 25, 2022
We’ve all seen it – major vehicle companies making headlines for massive mechanical and electrical failures that have led to multi-million dollar lawsuits and enormous financial penalties from government safety agencies.
Odds are these things would influence your buying behavior if you were shopping for a new car. After all, no one wants to buy a vehicle from one of the least reliable car brands.
But you might be surprised to learn which vehicles actually make the list for producing cars with major reliability issues. To bring you up to speed, we’ve created this list of the least reliable cars for sale in the U.S.
The Least Reliable Cars for Sale in the U.S.
When shopping for a vehicle, there are many factors to consider. One of the biggest factors to keep in mind is the brand’s reputation for producing reliable vehicles.
The last thing you want is to drive away in the perfect car only to face a series of breakdowns. Not only is an unreliable vehicle a hassle to deal with, but it can also take a big toll on your bank account. The costs involved in maintaining an unreliable vehicle can add up quickly.
So, how can you avoid getting stuck with an unreliable vehicle?
We took a look at the 2022 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study conducted by J.D. Power to find out which brands have the least reliable cars on the road. You can use this information to steer clear of a brand with known issues.
Least Reliable Cars Overview:
Not all car brands are created equal. While news of recalls and malfunctions color our perception of the reliability of various car brands and models, there’s a lot more going on than you hear about in the news.
The J.D. Power survey managed to bring that information to the surface and provides an intriguing look into the state of modern car manufacturing while overturning long-held brand perceptions.
Within the survey, brands were ranked based on problems per 100 vehicles. The industry average was 192 problems per 100 vehicles. But each of the brands we will cover below had over 200 problems per 100 vehicles.
But that’s enough talk. Let’s dive into the data about the least reliable brands on the road.
According to J.D Power, Land Rover offers the least reliable vehicles in the U.S. market. With 284 problems per 100 vehicles, most Land Rover drivers are unfortunately left to deal with inconsistent vehicles.
In addition to an unreliable ride, the average Land Rover driver pays significantly more for car insurance. The average cost to insure a Land Rover is $130 per month, which is $24/mo higher than the national average of $106 per month.
Ram trucks first hit the market in 1981. Since then, the company has provided rugged trucks. But unfortunately, these popular trucks aren’t the most reliable on the market.
The study found that Ram trucks experienced 266 problems for every 100 vehicles. Now under the ownership of Fiat, the former Dodge truck has had some major reliability issues. Reports showed that the entry-level RAM 1500 had the fewest issues of the Ram trucks. The larger models (the 2500 and 3500) appeared to have the most problems of the trucks within the Ram car brand.
Volvo drivers may enjoy more affordable insurance costs. In fact, the average Volvo driver pays just $90/mo, which is $16/mo less than the national average.
But you may face reliability issues when driving a Volvo. J.D. Power found that Volvos have 256 issues for every 100 vehicles.
Alfa Romeo vehicles recently returned to the U.S. car market after 20 years away. The brand pulled out of the U.S. car market in 1995 due to lagging demand and questions about dependability.
Unfortunately, the new wave of vehicles hasn’t brought more dependability. Near the bottom of the reliability list, Alfa Romeo vehicles had 245 issues for every 100 vehicles on the road.
Acura offers high-end vehicles. But the reliability doesn’t match up to the luxurious interiors.
J.D. Power found 244 issues for every 100 Acuras on the road. That might sway you away from this less than reliable brand.
Chrysler offers a lineup of stylish sedans at a relatively affordable price point. One of the most popular models is the Chrysler 300.
But even in this affordable ride, you may face dependability issues. According to J.D Power, there are 240 issues for every 100 Chryslers.
Jaguar is another British brand that scores poorly in the dependability area. Although undeniably stylish vehicles, most drivers face significant reliability issues. With 233 issues for every 100 vehicles, that’s not a surprise.
If considering a Jaguar, don’t forget to consider the maintenance costs that will come with a lack of reliability.
An Audi might look great on the outside.
But the mechanical features aren’t top-notch according to the J.D. Power dependability study. The brand has 232 issues for every 100 vehicles. With that, drivers should expect somewhat regular trips to the mechanic leading to high repair costs.
Honda might be a surprising find on this list of unreliable vehicles. But the numbers don’t lie!
J.D. Power found that Honda has 230 issues for every 100 vehicles. In terms of reliability, that’s not a great track record. Even though many love their Honda’s for the long-term, not all Honda drivers will get so lucky.
Infiniti is the last brand on this list. The luxury vehicles had 228 issues for every 100 Infinitis. With that, Infiniti drivers may face challenging moments and expensive repairs.
If you are considering driving an Infiniti, don’t forget to leave room in your budget for repairs.
Driving An Unreliable Car? Consider These Car Insurance Add-ons
Although most of us want to avoid driving an unreliable brand. Maybe you already own one and didn’t expect the issues you’re seeing or your dream car just happens to be on this list. It happens – so you want to ensure you’re as protected as possible. If you are driving a less than reliable car, there are ways to protect yourself with the right car insurance.
All drivers have to purchase car insurance. Otherwise, it’s illegal to drive in most states. But typically, the required state coverage is just the bare minimum. There are many reasons to spring for extra coverage.
Here are two policy options to consider:
One of those reasons is it’s more likely you’ll end up stuck on the side of the road at some point or another. If that day comes, it’s best to be prepared with roadside assistance coverage built right into your plan.
This coverage often includes towing, help to fix a flat tire, and more.
Mechanical breakdown insurance protects your budget against the possibility of a large repair bill. This coverage is sometimes called a vehicle protection plan.
You can think of it as something similar to your own health insurance. You’ll pay a monthly premium. If your vehicle has a mechanical issue, you’ll likely pay a set amount for the repair, your deductible, which you can think of as a co-pay.
For example, let’s say that your vehicle is leaking oil. It turns out that there is a broken gasket deep within your engine that leads to a $500 repair bill. You might have to pay a small fee, but the bulk of the repair will be covered by your mechanical breakdown insurance.
It’s a smart coverage option for drivers concerned about big repair bills.
No matter what kind of coverage you decide to get, you shouldn’t overpay. Luckily, you don’t have to! We can help you compare your car insurance options quickly to find the best available deal. Don’t wait to see how much you can save today.
It’s Not All Bad News
The good news is that there are plenty of brands that make cars with exceptional dependability. Although there are still issues with every car, the goal is to skate by with as few incidents as possible.
According to the J.D. Power report, the most reliable vehicle brands include Kia, Buick, Hyundai, Genesis, and Toyota. When you check out Consumer Reports rankings, Lexus and Mazda also earn the best reliability scores. But when you look at the different car types, the landscape of dependability changes a bit.
Here’s a look at the most dependable cars on the road:
- Toyota Corolla: The most dependable compact car.
- BMW 4 Series: The most dependable compact premium car.
- Mazda MX-5 Miata: The most dependable compact sporty car.
- Chevrolet Impala: The most dependable large car.
- Hyundai Sonata: The most dependable midsize car.
- Lincoln MKZ: The most dependable midsize premium car.
- Ford Mustang: The most dependable midsize sporty car.
- Lexus NX: The most dependable compact premium SUV.
- Buick Envision: The most dependable compact SUV.
- Chevrolet Suburban: The most dependable large SUV.
- Lexus RX: The most dependable midsize premium SUV.
- Hyundai Santa Fe: The most dependable midsize SUV.
- Lexus UX: The most dependable small premium SUV.
- Buick Encore: The most dependable small SUV.
- Kia Sorento: The most dependable midsize SUV.
- Porsche Cayenne: The most dependable midsize premium SUV.
- Chevrolet Silverado HD: The most dependable large heavy-duty pickup.
- Toyota Tundra: The most dependable large light-duty pickup.
- Nissan Frontier: The most dependable midsize pickup.
- Dodge Grand Caravan: The most dependable minivan.
When shopping around for your next vehicle, don’t forget to consider dependability.
Are you in the market for a new car? Get all the information you need to make a good decision and be happy with your purchase. Check out some of our other guides:
The 5 Most Reliable Used Cars under $15,000
Nick Versaw Managing Editor
Nick Versaw leads Compare.com's editorial department, where he and his team specialize in creating educational content about insurance and other related topics. As an award-winning writer, Nick has seen his work published in countless renowned publications, such as the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and U.S. News & World Report. He graduated with Latin honors from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Digital Journalism.
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