Consumer Reports released their annual survey of new vehicle reliability, and the results paint a sorry picture for buyers hungry for new technology. The report is based on data from 400,000 subscribers and 640,000 vehicles. It confirms our frustration with glitchy infotainment systems, torturous electronic shifters, and complex powertrains. Basically, new and redesigned models with complicated components are causing headaches for drivers.
Industry leaders and everyday drivers put a lot of stock in Consumer Reports automotive rankings. Manufacturers are quick to slap a high score on their website, and savvy shoppers will check online reviews while looking for a new model. But we’re interested to see whether or not buyers are willing to listen to this particular pearl of wisdom from Consumer Reports: be patient and don’t buy a new model. Not good.
At the same time, Consumer Reports has ranked car brands by predicted reliability. As usual, more cautious buyers will gravitate towards Toyota, the reigning champion. The report also singled out the worst offenders for this year, so avoid the redesigned Buick Lacrosse, GMC Acadia, and Subaru Impreza.
Consumer Reports warns consumers that technological trends are decreasing average reliability across the board in new models. New technologies like music streaming, complicated powertrains intended to increase fuel efficiency, dashboard design, and infotainment systems are all causing serious headaches for users. This isn’t all that surprising—we’ve complained about infotainment systems for years even as we demand more and more connectivity on the road.
Consumer Reports has just come out and stated the truth we all want to avoid: don’t be an early adopter. Wait two to three years for music streaming or just use your phone. Don’t be the first driver with a new transmission. Wait until a new engine has some time on the road. Automakers need time to iron out the kinks in any new feature, no matter how appealing or valuable. The real question is whether or not buyers are willing to wait even if they complain about their vehicle reliability.
Check out the full survey here.