October 10, 2023 | Allison Robertson

The 10 Most Unreliable Vehicles

The 10 Most Unreliable Vehicles in Today's Market

shocked man and mechanic split image

When investing in a mid-priced vehicle, you'd expect a balance between affordability and reliability. However, not all cars in this price bracket deliver on the promise of dependability.

Let's dive into some mid-priced vehicles in the North American market that have notably fallen short in the reliability department, based on surveys, owner reviews, and expert opinions.

Chevrolet Malibu

Dark Chevy Malibuart_zzz, Adobe Stock

The problems: Transmission glitches, electronic malfunctions, and dashboard display failures.

The Malibu has been flagged by owners for unanticipated powertrain issues and has faced recalls related to the braking system.

Ford Fiesta

White Ford Fiestagordzam, Adobe Stock

The problems: Transmission shudders, electronic problems, and reports of unexpected engine noises.

The Fiesta, especially models with automatic transmissions, has been critiqued for performance inconsistency over time.

Dodge Journey

Beige Dodge Journeyart_zzz, Adobe Stock

The problems: Brake wear, electronic and touch screen malfunctions, and concerns with the power equipment.

While the Journey offers roomy interiors and an affordable price, it often ranks low in reliability studies, especially in terms of its electronic components.


Jeep Compass

White Jeep CompassWhite Jeep Compass, Adobe Stock

The problems: Transmission problems, 4x4 system glitches, and electrical malfunctions.

Jeep's Compass, despite its rugged looks and brand legacy, has had reports of unreliable electronics and transmission hesitations.

Nissan Versa

Silver Nissan VersaMarcoMarinuzzi, Adobe Stock

The problems: Transmission failures, suspension issues, and concerns with the exhaust system.

The Versa, despite its appeal as a budget-friendly compact car, has faced criticism over powertrain reliability, particularly in CVT-equipped models.

Volkswagen Jetta

Red VW Jettaart_zzz, Adobe Stock

The problems: Electrical issues, reports of check engine lights frequently illuminating, and concerns with the transmission.

Earlier versions of the Jetta have been more resilient, but some recent models have raised questions about long-term reliability, especially concerning electronics.

Hyundai Tucson

Blue Hyundai Tucsonjan kliment, Adobe Stock

The problems: Transmission hesitations, engine failures, and infotainment system glitches.

Although Hyundai has been improving its reputation, the Tucson has been a weak point, especially with reported engine and transmission concerns.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Red Mitsubishi Outlandermino21, Adobe Stock

The problems: CVT transmission issues, poor interior build quality, and unresponsive infotainment touchscreens.

The Outlander, though offering a competitive price and decent features, has occasionally been flagged for transmission and build quality issues.

Kia Optima

White Kia Optimag0d4ather, Adobe Stock

The problems: Engine failures, issues with the electronic stability control, and faulty headlights.

While many of Kia's offerings have shone in reliability charts, the Optima has had recalls and engine concerns, which potential buyers should be aware of.


GMC Terrain

Grey Gmc Terrainjetcityimage, Adobe Stock

The problems: Infotainment glitches, engine problems leading to excessive oil consumption, and transmission failures.

The Terrain, despite its appeal as a compact SUV, has seen some owners grapple with powertrain issues, particularly concerning oil consumption.

When considering any vehicle purchase, it's essential to remember that individual experiences might vary. Always consult multiple sources, read up on owner reviews, and consider the vehicle's history before making a decision.