Older models are more reliable than all-new vehicles, Consumer Reports study finds

Car shoppers have long been annoyed by friends warning them not to buy a brand-new model in its first year on the market because the automaker needs to work the bugs out of it. It turns out they weren’t all just blowing smoke.

The latest Consumer Reports member survey covering 400,000 cars from the 2000 to 2019 model years found that 45 percent of all-new and significantly redesigned vehicles have below-average reliability scores in their first year on the market. The non-profit organization said that vehicles are usually the most reliable the year before they get redesigned, which is often five to seven years after they are first introduced.

The Toyota 4Runner was last fully-redesigned in 2010.

The Toyota 4Runner was last fully-redesigned in 2010. (Toyota)

Among the newest cars, the top brands on the list were Lexus, Mazda, Toyota, Porsche, Genesis, Hyundai, Subaru, Dodge, Kia and Mini, while the least reliable lineups came from Cadillac, Alfa Romeo, Acura, Volkswagen, Jeep, Chevrolet, Volvo, Tesla GMC and Mercedes-Benz.

As far as specific models are concerned, each of the 10 vehicles with the highest predicted reliability has been on sale without a significant update for at least a few years.


Most reliable vehicles:

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata 
  • Toyota Prius Prime
  • Toyota Prius
  • Lexus GX
  • Hyundai Kona
  • Mazda CX-3
  • Lexus NX
  • Toyota 4Runner
  • Mazda CX-9
  • Lexus GS

Least reliable vehicles:

  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia 
  • Volkswagen Atlas
  • Volkswagen Tiguan
  • Acura MDX
  • Tesla Model X
  • Chrysler Pacifica
  • Chevrolet Traverse


The Associated Press contributed to this report