Consumer Reports Unmasks: The Least Reliable SUVs of 2023

Have you ever found yourself entranced by the gleaming allure of a new SUV, only to discover later that it’s one of the least reliable SUVs on the market? I know, it can feel like betrayal. You’re expecting comfort and dependability but end up with frequent trips to your mechanic instead.

This story is far too common among car buyers these days. So why not let us help guide your next purchase?

We’ll dive into what makes an SUV unreliable, from dodgy transmission tech to pesky infotainment glitches. And trust me when I say this – knowing which luxury brands are struggling with reliability might just save you a fortune.

The question remains though: Can we avoid falling for those dazzling yet deceptive models? Well…let’s find out together!

Table Of Contents:

Unraveling SUV Reliability Metrics

When we talk about the reliability of an SUV, we’re delving into a complex topic. Understanding the underlying mechanisms that make an SUV dependable is key to assessing its reliability.

The concept of SUV reliability is rooted in how well these vehicles can withstand wear and tear over time without experiencing significant issues. Think of it like your trusted old boots that keep you warm even after years of use.

In assessing reliability, organizations such as Consumer Reports play a crucial role. They gather data from hundreds of thousands of car owners to create their rankings – much like gathering opinions for choosing the best pizza place in town.

A Glance at Recent Findings

Last year marked quite a shakeup when Toyota lost its top spot in the Consumer Reports Auto Reliability rankings. Mazda managed to race ahead by offering models with fewer problems reported by consumers. It’s kind-of like winning class president because everyone loves your policies more.

Digging Deeper: The Factors Behind The Scores And Rankings

To understand why some brands fare better than others, let’s delve into factors contributing to their scores.

  • The Role Of Transmission Technology: Like different dance styles require various skill levels, cars equipped with advanced transmission tech tend to face more problems due to complexity.
  • Infotainment System Issues: As useful as modern infotainment systems are (hello GPS.), they also add another layer where things could go wrong. Think of them as the new kid in school – they’re exciting but can also be a source of drama.

Notably, Mazda’s decision to stick with more traditional tech has paid off. By avoiding high-tech infotainment systems and complex transmission technology, it’s like they chose comfort over fashion – and it worked.

The Big Picture: Connecting Issues And Brands

models. But don’t dismiss these models outright. It’s essential to remember that individual experiences can vary widely. Do your due diligence prior to settling on a buying decision.

Key Takeaway: 

Grasping SUV reliability isn’t as tough as it seems – it’s all about enduring wear and tear. Consumer Reports’ rankings, made from tons of car owner feedback, offer insights into this. Brands like Mazda outshine others by avoiding overly complex tech. Remember though, personal experiences can vary a lot so do your research before buying.

Common Factors Affecting SUV Reliability

SUV reliability is a complex topic, influenced by various elements like transmission technology and infotainment systems. Let’s delve into these issues that car owners often grapple with.

Transmission Technology: High-Tech Troubles?

The latest advancements in transmission tech promise smoother rides and improved fuel efficiency. But it seems they’re not always delivering on the reliability front. Dual-clutch transmissions, known for their modern design, have been a common source of dissatisfaction among automobile owners.

A rise in reports about such high-tech transmissions malfunctioning suggests that while manufacturers push for cutting-edge innovations, there may be teething problems to iron out first. Owners are increasingly reporting transmission hiccups—so much so that this issue alone significantly impacts an SUV’s overall reliability score.

The Role of Infotainment Systems

Gone are the days when cars just needed to get you from point A to B reliably; now they need fancy touchscreens too. Infotainment glitches can play havoc with your vehicle’s usability and therefore its perceived dependability as well.

Consumer Reports Auto Reliability surveys show modern infotainment systems are frequently cited by disgruntled customers dealing with frustrating software bugs or hard-to-use interfaces affecting their daily drive.

Mazda’s Approach: Less is More?

In contrast to the majority of car companies who are embracing infotainment, Mazda has taken a more restrained strategy and it appears to be paying off. By avoiding heavy investment in flashy but potentially glitchy systems, they’ve managed to sidestep many of the common reliability issues that plague their competitors.

And it shows in their rankings—Mazda has come out tops with high reliability scores, thanks largely to this back-to-basics strategy. It seems sometimes less really is more.

The Human Element: Assembly and Fit Issues

Last but not least, we can’t overlook human error when discussing SUV reliability.

Key Takeaway: 

However, brands like Mazda prove that taking a less-is-more approach—avoiding overly complicated systems and focusing on simplicity and reliability—can lead to fewer issues. By prioritizing usability over flashiness, they ensure a smoother ride without sacrificing technological advancements.

Least Reliable SUVs According to Recent Rankings

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, it’s crucial to make sure you get one that won’t leave you stranded on the side of the road. To help with this, Consumer Reports has recently released their findings on which SUVs have had significant reliability hiccups.

Notable Luxury Brands Struggling with Reliability

Luxury vehicles frequently promise the finest performance and advanced features. But these perks don’t always equate to long-term dependability. In fact, some notable luxury automotive brands like Tesla have been facing assembly-related problems, including fit-and-finish defects as reported by car owners.

The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups lead the pack of least reliable cars according to Consumer Reports’ recent rankings. While not traditional SUVs per se, they share many characteristics and are frequently considered alongside them due to their versatility.

Infotainment Systems and Their Impact on Reliability

In today’s tech-driven world, infotainment systems play a big role in our driving experience – but also contribute significantly towards vehicle reliability scores. High-tech does not always mean high-quality; several users face issues navigating complex menus or dealing with system glitches that can impact overall satisfaction levels.

Mazda is an example of a brand choosing simplicity over sophistication when it comes to infotainment systems – perhaps contributing factor towards its higher reliability scores among major automotive brands?


USA Today’s business news reports that infotainment system problems are now the most common type of reliability glitch, according to Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. So it seems less is more when it comes to these systems.

The Unfortunate Case of Tesla Model Y

Tesla has been a revolutionary force in the auto industry, introducing high-tech electric vehicles. But as we all know – being innovative doesn’t always mean reliable. The brand new Tesla Model Y has been plagued with various issues reported by consumers.

Key Takeaway: 

It’s important to remember, though, that luxury brands like Tesla and crowd-favorites such as Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups are not immune to issues. Actually, they’re dealing with a fair share of notable problems. Plus, the intricate infotainment systems we see in cars these days might be more trouble than they’re worth. They can cause frustration because of bugs and complex menus – sometimes going for something simpler is the smart choice.

Let’s now turn our attention to the Chevrolet Silverado. The Silverado’s poor reliability ratings are in part due to reported transmission and drive system issues.

According to Consumer Reports, owners have reported problems such as rough shifting, transmission failure, and issues with the four-wheel drive system. These issues have contributed to the Silverado’s low reliability scores.

It’s worth noting that not all Silverado models are affected equally. Consumer Reports recommends avoiding the 2023 and 2023 models, as they have shown the highest number of reported problems.

While the Silverado may still be a capable and powerful truck, it’s important to consider its reliability track record before making a purchase.


When researching reliable SUVs, it’s important to take into account the experiences of other owners and consider any potential reliability issues. While these models may have their strengths in terms of design and features, their reliability issues should not be overlooked.

By understanding the common problems associated with specific SUVs, you can make an informed decision and choose a vehicle that meets your needs and expectations.

Remember, reliability is an important factor in ensuring a smooth and trouble-free ownership experience. Investigate thoroughly to select an SUV that will endure for a long time.

Analysis of Major Automotive Brands’ Reliability Scores

If you’re searching for a new SUV, one essential element to take into account is dependability. The best way to gauge this? Look at automotive brands’ reliability scores.

In our analysis, we took into account data from various model years and evaluated them based on consumer reports auto reliability rankings. This method gives us an unbiased view of each brand’s performance over time.

Mazda: An Unlikely Champion in Reliability

Mazda, often overshadowed by larger automotive giants, surprised everyone with its top spot finish in the latest Consumer Reports Auto Reliability survey. Mazda achieved the highest overall score among 26 rated brands.

The secret behind Mazda’s success lies not only in their traditional approach to vehicle redesign but also their focus on avoiding overly complex infotainment systems which can cause more problems than they solve.

Tesla and Lincoln: Struggling Giants

On the other end of the spectrum are Tesla Model Y and Lincoln – two well-known luxury brands that fell short when it came down to reliable vehicles. Tesla ranked second last while Lincoln took up rear guard position as least reliable according to Consumer Reports’ findings.

So why did these major automotive brands fare so poorly?

Trouble With Innovation for Tesla

Tesla’s low ranking was due largely to issues with body fit, door handles, paint quality and climate system malfunctions amongst others reported by owners across different model years; resulting in less than stellar reliability scores.

However, it’s important to note that despite these hiccups, Tesla continues to push the envelope in terms of innovation and design. Its futuristic appeal may still be worth the potential trade-off for some car owners.

Lincoln: Luxury at a Cost

Lincoln’s case was similar with many issues being reported around power equipment and electronics; making it difficult for this luxury brand to maintain its allure when weighed against practical considerations like durability and maintenance costs.

Key Takeaway: 

Reliability is a key factor when choosing an SUV. Mazda impresses with its high reliability score, attributing success to simple design and avoiding complex infotainment systems. However, Tesla and Lincoln lag behind due to issues in body fit, electronics, power equipment – indicating that luxury or innovation may sometimes come at the cost of dependability.

A Closer Look at Notable Least Reliable Models

Among the lineup of SUVs on today’s market, a few models have garnered attention for their less than stellar reliability. Two notable examples include the Volvo XC90 and Subaru Crosstrek.

Unpacking the Volvo XC90’s Reliability Issues

The Volvo XC90, a luxury-brand SUV, has been reported to have frequent reliability issues. While it boasts an impressive design aesthetic and high-tech features, owners have reported problems that raise questions about its dependability.

An area of concern is in its transmission tech which some owners found problematic over time. The vehicle’s infotainment system too has been flagged by users as glitchy – affecting both functionality and user experience. It’s worth noting these factors when considering this model year vehicle from such a reliable brand traditionally known for safety.

The Subaru Crosstrek’s Reliability Concerns

Moving onto another notable least reliable model – meet the Subaru Crosstrek. Though it offers commendable fuel efficiency figures and comes packed with standard all-wheel drive (uncommon among subcompact SUVs), there are areas where this car loses points on the reliability scale.

Frequent complaints point towards body fit issues like loose door handles or trim pieces coming off more easily than they should be. Additionally, reports auto highlight climate system hiccups causing discomfort during long drives or extreme weather conditions making us question if it can hold up to what we need in our daily lives?

It’s key to be conscious of potential dependability problems prior to purchasing, regardless of these SUVs not being awful vehicles in general. By examining the reports of other auto owners and studying detailed car reviews, you can make a wise choice regarding which model is best for your requirements.

Remember, while luxury brand Lexus might offer superior comfort features or advanced infotainment systems, don’t forget to consider their maintenance records too. Therefore, it is important to take into account the maintenance records of luxury brands like Lexus in addition to their comfort features and advanced infotainment systems when deciding which car model best suits your needs; after all, a high-tech SUV that spends more time in the shop than on the road is not worth investing in.

Key Takeaway: 

Despite the allure of luxury and tech, it’s crucial to consider reliability when choosing an SUV. The Volvo XC90 and Subaru Crosstrek, while impressive in some areas, have shown concerns regarding their dependability. From transmission troubles to body fit issues, these models underscore why you should dig deep into maintenance records before buying – even from traditionally reliable brands.

Exploring Reliable Alternatives to Least Reliable SUVs

If you’re tired of dealing with SUV reliability hiccups, there’s good news. Some automotive brands are producing highly reliable vehicles that won’t let you down.

A Shining Star: The Toyota Prius Prime

The Toyota Prius Prime, for instance, boasts a top-notch reliability score. This hybrid offers excellent fuel economy and low running costs – making it both an economical and reliable choice.

In the Consumer Reports auto reliability survey, owners reported minimal issues with this model year vehicle – quite contrary to its least reliable counterparts like the Ford Bronco Sport or GMC Sierra 2500HD.

Mazda’s Winning Streak

Mazda is another brand demonstrating high scores in terms of auto testing and reports auto reliability surveys consistently over the years. Models such as Mazda CX-9 or Mazda MX-5 Miata showcase impressive body fit quality while offering smooth transmission tech experiences.

It’s no surprise then that they have received several car awards, including from Jake Fisher at Consumer Reports who has noted their consistent performance across model years.This speaks volumes about Mazda’s commitment to ensuring customer satisfaction through manufacturing dependable cars.

Luxury Without Compromise: Lexus GX

For those seeking a luxury brand without the usual reliability issues, the Lexus GX is worth considering. As part of Toyota’s luxury lineup, this SUV delivers an upscale experience combined with commendable dependability.

This model boasts superior quality in terms of infotainment systems and climate system functionality compared to its less reliable counterparts like Volvo XC90 or Subaru Crosstrek. And it’s not just about luxurious features; Lexus vehicles are renowned for their long-lasting durability too.

A Surprise Entry: Kia Niro EV

If you’re looking at subcompact SUVs or even electric models, the Kia Niro EV is a surprising option to consider. The Kia Niro EV provides a mix of small size and electrical energy, making it an eco-friendly selection that you can depend on.

Key Takeaway: 

Fed up with SUV reliability issues? Brands like Toyota, Mazda, Lexus and Kia are making strides in producing reliable vehicles. Standouts include the economical Toyota Prius Prime and durable Lexus GX for luxury seekers. For those favoring compact or electric options, the dependable Kia Niro EV is worth considering.

What are the least reliable used SUVs?

The Ford Explorer and Mercedes-Benz GLE often rank as some of the most unreliable used SUVs due to recurrent issues.

What SUVs have least problems?

Mazda’s lineup, particularly Mazda CX-5, tends to experience fewer problems thanks to their focus on reliability over high-tech features.

What is the most dependable SUV made?

A solid bet for a dependable SUV is typically a Toyota Highlander. It has consistently ranked high in dependability studies year after year.

What SUV has best reliability rating?

In recent years, Mazda models like the Mazda CX-9 tend to earn top marks when it comes down to reliability ratings.


When it comes to the least reliable SUVs, knowledge is power. That shiny new model may not be as dependable as you think.

Beware of complex transmission tech and modern infotainment systems that can impact reliability. Luxury brands are no exception; some have significant hiccups too.

The Ford Explorer, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Volvo XC90 may appear attractive, yet they’ve experienced their reasonable amount of difficulties. But remember this – every cloud has a silver lining! There are always alternatives with better reliability scores waiting for your attention.

Now that we’ve unpacked these pitfalls together, I’m sure you’re ready to make more informed decisions on your next car purchase!