Car ownership brings with it many ups and downs. There is the joy of first picking up your new car, the joy of blasting down the street with the wind in your hair, and the joy of adventure that comes from all the places your car will take you. However, the downsides are not quite as fun. Filing up with gas, maintenance, and car problems can taint or even ruin an ownership experience. Most cars will have some minor problems over the course of their lives, and that is completely normal, you identify the issue, pay the repair bill, and move on. It becomes a real issue when the problem occurs again and again, or you’re hit with a bunch of different problems all at once.
Many of the cars on this list have those exact issues. Some brands, such as Fiat and Jaguar, are notorious for having reliability issues. Older cars, especially foreign ones, can be ripe with problems and incredibly expensive to maintain. This list is mostly newer cars, but many of the various generations of these cars have problems. A fair bit of these problems may seem minor, like issues with trim or fit and finish. They may be small at first, but could be indicative of poor build quality and may turn into much bigger issues later on. After all, if a manufacturer can’t keep leaks out of a sunroof, how do you know they are capable of building a solid engine?
These complaints come from car reviews, forum posts, and are supplemented by information from Consumer Reports as well.
25 Chevrolet Camaro
Starting off with an unlikely participant on this list, we have the Chevrolet Camaro. While this is a pretty solid car in general, it does have some issues. If you got the entry-level model for under $30,000 this isn’t too big of a deal, but some people will pay upwards of $60,000 for upper-trim Camaros.
One of the major problem areas is the car’s transmission. When you’re buying a sports car it’s likely that you will drive it hard, and a problematic transmission doesn’t do anyone any good.
Issues have been cited with an iffy in-car entertainment system as well.
24 Mercedes-Benz GLC
The expensive Mercedes GLC starts off at $49,000, which is pricey enough that drivers who have issues get furious. Problems with poor-performing and easily-wearing brakes are common.
Drivers also report having issues with both steering and suspension parts working incorrectly and wearing out too fast as well, which is not what you would expect from a refined German SUV. Power equipment is another notorious problem. German systems can be finicky and will often be expensive to repair, sending buyers looking elsewhere.
23 Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguars, especially older ones, are famous for being unreliable with age. The imported parts will cost locals a pretty penny, and for all the woes that are present, it may not be worth it.
Again, problems are often reported with the car’s electronic systems. This is common in luxury cars, where it is likely that the complicated systems easily develop problems that are tough to fix.
Drivers also complain of problems with their powertrain, which is frustrating. Evidently many leaks develop throughout the car’s systems as well.
22 Fiat 500
Fiat is yet another brand known for its poor reliability. It is commonly referred to as a “fix it again, Tony”, implying that you’ll be in and out of the mechanic’s shop with a never-ending series of problems.
Drivers cite expensive problems such as the car’s electronics and power equipment as common areas of issue. It’s not much fun when your car’s window doesn’t roll down… we aren’t in the era of crank windows anymore! This cute car is sullied by its reliability woes.
21 Cadillac Escalade
The Cadillac Escalade is perhaps the epitome of domestic luxury and comfort in a large SUV-shaped package. However, that package is rife with reliability issues. Owners complain of serious transmission issues that end up costing them a fair bit of money, which is ridiculous considering that this SUV can run you upwards of $70,000.
Again, power equipment is known to fail, and a tricky climate system can leave riders far too hot or far too cold, neither of which is ideal.
20 Tesla Model X
The Tesla Model X is a renouned performance-oriented SUV, and while it shatters world records, it also ends up on our list. Luckily, the issues are not with the drivetrain or powertrain, which are the most important components.
Problems come from poor build quality: body hardware wears easily and is not crafted from the best materials, paint chips, and trim pieces tend to break or fall off.
When you’re paying $100,000, these are not the type of problems that you want to be dealing with.
19 Tesla Model S
Sadly, the Tesla Model S has made this list as well. In general, it is quite a nice car. It’s good looking, insanely quick, and a technological masterpiece.
Unfortunately, Elon Musk neglected to spend enough time making sure that the Model S was built well (but at least it drives well). Much like drivers of the Model X, drivers here report problems with build quality. A plastic-covered interior has not held up well, and pieces of the trim simply fall or beak off.
18 Mercedes-Benz C Class
The Mercedes-Benz C Class is a classic luxury sport sedan that attracts buyers from all over. However, with the fancy badge and curb appeal come a plethora of reliability and quality issues.
One driver reported that their infotainment system repeatedly failed. Others said that their display-screens froze inconveniently. There were even multiple power steering failures.
As nice as they are to drive and as impressive as their technology is, luxury cars have problems with their fancy electronics far too often.
17 Lincoln MKC
Drivers who purchased a Lincoln MKC wanted a luxurious and comfortable domestic SUV, not a jumble of reliability issues. Drivers reported far too many problems.
One of the biggest issues was faulty steering wheel controls, which are not things you want to be angrily messing around with when you’re barreling down the highway. Electrical issues continued with infotainment system problems, faulty windshield wiper motors, and failed seat heaters. It seems as though car manufacturers have collectively failed to build solid electronic equipment.
16 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Reliability issues are not often associated with Hyundai’s cars. At least if you got stuck with a lemon, you have access to Hyundai’s incredible 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Drivers of the Genesis Coupe will certainly need to make use of it.
Frozen touch screens were exceptionally common, which is infuriating when so many of the controls become inaccessible.
Poor build quality caused excessive wind noise and rattles, which hopefully are not indicative of bigger issues further on down the road.
15 Acura TLX
Acura is another brand that you wouldn’t normally associate with unreliable cars, but unfortunately, the newer TLX has its fair share of issues.
Transmission issues were front and center when drivers posted about their cars; they reported hesitating transmissions, abrupt and rough shifts, and other issues that led drivers to have to replace the entire transmission. Voice systems would often become unresponsive, which is exceptionally annoying when you’re trying to be safe and drive without your hands on your cell phone.
14 Chevrolet Tahoe
The Chevrolet Tahoe has a big set of reliability issues to match its big size. One of the worst of these is a water leak that comes from the roof rail.
Many Tahoe owners likely live in climates that see a lot of inclement weather, and that weather should not make its way inside the car. Drivers angrily report faults with the collision and backup sensors.
These problems, while expensive to fix, can cause a lot of expensive damage to the Tahoe.
13 Chrysler 300C
Perhaps worst of all the cars we have seen yet is the Chrysler 300C. It has a host of problems related to its electronics, which is far too common of a theme amongst these cars.
Faulty alternators, ill-performing climate control systems, intermittent cruise control function, frozen connectivity features, and unresponsive voice commands plague drivers. Poor build quality led divers to complain of rattles, squeaks, and transmissions that need to be completely replaced. These manufacturers seriously need to get their game together.
12 Dodge Challenger
Much like the Chevrolet Camaro, the Dodge Challenger is not a car that you want constant problems out of.
You want to be racing down the track or drag string, not sitting sadly at the mechanic shop waiting for your car to be fixed.
Many issues that stem from poor build quality are common, such as issues with the transmission, coolant leaks, defective alternators, fan failures, failed cruise control, and failed power seats are common areas of focus, sadly.
11 Infinity QX60
The Infinity QX60 is meant to be sold as a luxury SUV that will keep buyers comfortable and relaxed, not constantly stressed about reliability issues. Important safety features such as the airbag seat sensors failed, as did the catalytic converter.
Build quality issues such as a squeaky interior, loose window trim pieces, and rattling doors made drivers understandably upset. The car has issues with driving as well, with a transmission that slips and may eventually need to be replaced, sadly quicker than usual.
10 Ford Focus
The Ford Focus is supposed to be a great economy car, but it has issues that reflect its cheap price. We would have expected Ford to make a better economy car, but the Focus misses the mark in some categories.
Drivers report engine knock, rough shifts, and faulty phone pairing software. As with previous cars, there were issues with the display screen freezing. Sometimes, drivers even said that their entire audio system would malfunction.
These are all ridiculous problems that people looking for a cheap commuter car shouldn’t have to deal with.
9 Cadillac ATS
Another Cadillac has appeared on this list, and unfortunately, drivers have a lot of negative things to say about the ATS’s reliability. Engine problems often necessitated replacement of pistons and rods, which is a pricey procedure that drivers shouldn’t have to deal with.
Another common complaint found on forums was problems with phone connectivity, which is unexpected in a nice luxury sedan. Infotainment screens would sometimes freeze and misbehave, which sadly seems to be a common theme amongst these pricier cars.
8 Nissan Pathfinder
The Nissan Pathfinder has many problems that its family-oriented drivers are likely far too busy to deal with. Drivers cited fear-inducing vibrations and jerks coming from the drivetrain, which doesn’t make for the most confidence-inspiring driving experience.
They also stated that the transmission would often slip. Electrical issues like a faulty rear camera annoyed drivers, making for precarious parking maneuvers.
Seat heaters failed, which is not a fun surprise in the middle of winter. Interior trim and molding became loose, speaking to poor build quality.
7 Chevrolet Colorado
The Chevrolet Colorado should be an unremarkable and reliable pickup for commuters and hard workers, but unfortunately, it has a host of reliability problems. Frozen and blank infotainment screens irritated drivers, making for an unpredictable driving experience.
GM’s famous OnStar safety system reportedly went bad for a number of drivers. Squeaks and rattles when driving, accompanied by rough and delayed shifts, made drivers angrily voice their displeasure in online forums. Much like the Ford Focus, average commuters should not have to deal with this many issues.
6 Dodge Ram 2500
The Ram 2500 is a famous pickup that is popular among buyers, despite the annoying problems that put it on our list. Specifically, drivers and Consumer Reports noted that there were significant problems with the diesel exhaust fluid pumps and gauge malfunctions.
Leaks in the truck’s air suspension were common too, making for an unpleasant surprise. Imagine going out one morning ready to do some work and you find your truck sagging over to one side. Many buyers were not happy with their choice.
5 Chevrolet Suburban
If you’re surprised by the number of Chevrolets on this list, don’t worry. We are too. The Suburban is a popular SUV choice, but that doesn’t mean that it is without problems.
For instance, users online were quite vocal about their leaky sunroofs, which would be annoying if you lived in a snowy or rainy climate.
The engine can vibrate excessively, worrying drivers and passengers. Faulty GPS antennae reportedly left some disgruntled drivers lost in unfamiliar areas. Loose trim is found here again, which is one of the most annoying build quality issues ever.
4 Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevrolet Corvette is an excellent performance car that has unfortunately been the victim of lemon-itis. The first set of issues was electrical. Engine problems combined with electrical issues crippled Motor Trend’s Corvette during testing, which isn’t a great look for the car.
It also suffers from premature brake wear, something that is not exactly desirable on a performance car. Drivers also said that their GPS systems would often malfunction, leaving them disgruntled and upset. For what it is, the Corvette lemons are big disappointments.
3 Ford Fiesta
Just as they did with the Focus, Ford let us down with the Fiesta. Some examples are perfectly fine and drive well, but lemons are abundant. The clutch wears out surprisingly quick, leading to early adjustment or even replacement.
The gearbox is jerky and sometimes slips, and the transmission can be noisy and delayed. Fuel pumps commonly failed, which can cost a fair bit of money.
Poor build quality led to loose trim pieces, clearly not ideal for buyers trying to save money.
2 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeeps, oddly, are either excellent and dependable vehicles, or lemon-central messes that leave you scratching your head (or pounding it against a wall.
The most common issues that we recorded from drivers were: rattles from the sunroof, seat, dashboard, and trunk, loose and weak weather stripping, vibrations, oil leaks, frozen touch screens, rough shifts, and transmissions that needed to be replaced more than once. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a solid off-roading car, as is most of the rest of Jeep’s lineup, but its reliability lets us down.
1 Fiat 500L
Out of all the lemons on this list, the Fiat 500L is probably the worst offender. The classic “fix it again, Tony!” is something you’ll be saying to your mechanic or something your friends will be saying to you, mockingly.
Drivers on numerous forums cited a host of reliability issues with the 500L, including failed radios, failed backup cameras, nonexistent voice commands, gears that fail to engage, turbos failed, lights burned out, and some engines were so problematic that they required replacement.
A car with this many problems is the dictionary definition of a lemon, and buyers would do well to stay far away.
Sources: Consumer Reports, Reddit, Car and Driver