Smart Spending

The Least Reliable Cars of 2012

Car shopping over Memorial Day Weekend is as American as baseball and apple pie.  Before you head out to the dealership, put on your sunscreen and take off your rose colored glasses.  All cars are not created equal.   Buying a car has its potential risks – especially if you do not take the time to discover which ones you should avoid. Sooner or later every manufacturer is going to produce a car that has a lot of problems, and this has been seen in many cars recently. The good news is that some American car manufacturers seem to be getting better at it, becoming just about as reliable as Asian made cars, says Consumer Reports (CR). In order to avoid buying one of the least reliable cars, you need to do some research before purchasing your next vehicle.

Jaguar XF and XJ

When it comes to reliability, you would almost think that price should affect quality. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Two cars that were determined to be the most unreliable cars by Consumer Reports (as reported in LA times), were two models from Jaguar – the XF (worst) and the XJ (second worst).

Audi Q5

The number three spot on the list from Consumer Reports was the Audi Q5. This is the V6 model, with a 3.2 L engine. It also has an eight-speed transmission and a lot of other luxuries. It starts out at about $35,000.

When you want accurate information, it is important to realize that the basis of deciding which vehicle is reliable or not is based on consumer complaints, says Consumer Reports. This means that accuracy for the current year, or even the last year, may change slightly if given another year or two, so it is important that you consider the source’s date when the information was released.

2012 Cadillac Escalade

When it comes to SUV’s, it seems that the Cadillac Escalade takes the lowest unreliable car position with Forbes. They attribute this rating largely to “poor braking, handling and fuel economy.” It gets about an amazing 13mpg.

2012 Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon

These two vehicles, which are mid-size trucks, rated just one above the Escalade. These vehicles were the only two that received less than half of the owners’ responses saying that they would ever buy the same model again. Other problems fell in the accident avoidance category, and they did not fare well in crash tests. Both the Colorado and Canyon start out about $17,500.

2012 Dodge Avenger

The Dodge Avenger was improved over previous years, but it still lacked when put up against comparable cars. Although it did handle very well, other problems were related to road noise, speeding up and braking, transmission, fuel economy and more. Depending on the model, prices start out around $19,000.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited/Jeep Liberty

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, an American-made vehicle, was right near the bottom of the list at Consumer Reports. It scored a 20 out of a possible 100 in the CR scoring system. Although the Jeep Liberty was right above it, it scored a mere 27.

2012 Jeep Compass

This vehicle faired similarly to its sisters, and it actually came in at the very bottom of the ratings. It had problems with engine noise, speeding up and braking, comfort and visibility (rear). Although it did go through some improvements from previous years, apparently consumers think the changes were not enough. It starts out at above $19,000.

This list shows clearly that all bright and shiny cars are not everything that you might expect. The good news is that CR says that “Buying a used car becomes less of a gamble with every passing year,” and a number of companies are getting better. It also named two automakers as having the most improvements recently, and that was Toyota and Honda. Reading car reviews before you buy will enable you to avoid the least reliable cars.