Consumer Reports 2021 auto reliability survey: How Tesla, EVs fared

A Tesla Product X at a charging station in Beijing, China.

Meghan Reeder | CNBC

Lexus was rated the most reputable automaker in Consumer Reports’ 2021 Automobile Trustworthiness Report, followed by Mazda and Toyota, whilst Jeep, Tesla, and Lincoln had been at the bottom of the list.

The report, which was unveiled Thursday, focuses on what went completely wrong with owners’ automobiles in the final 12 months, and utilizes that details to forecast how trustworthy the forthcoming versions from main automakers will be.

Client Reviews surveyed proprietors of far more than 300,000 autos from model a long time 2000 to 2021, and utilised that data to make predictions about 269 various 2022 product 12 months cars. The report encompasses 28 automakers and 144 designs with an established record.

Battery-driven electrical automobiles comprised a even bigger phase of the listing this calendar year than at any time right before, and their trustworthiness ratings different greatly, whilst gasoline-electrical hybrids were being between the most reputable cars total.

Purchaser Reviews rated 11 fully electric powered versions from 8 distinct brands, which include 5 absolutely electric powered SUVs, in accordance to Jake Fisher, senior director of automobile tests at Consumer Experiences.

“The whole market place is going toward a comprehensive EV fleet. We are pretty fascinated to see what this means in conditions of reliability,” Fisher explained.

All round, Toyota’s luxurious Lexus model reclaimed its best location in the reliability survey soon after Mazda overtook it a yr ago, marking the 1st time in 15 decades that a Toyota model had not been number a single.

Mazda rated second in this year’s study, followed by the main Toyota manufacturer.

Domestic brand names such as Chrysler, Chevrolet and Ford experienced common reliability, though many others these as Ram, GMC and Jeep ended up under normal. Ford’s luxury Lincoln model rated past at 28th, driving Tesla.

Likely electrical

Reliability ratings for EVs varied broadly.

The Tesla Product X and Audi E-tron ranked useless last in this segment for trustworthiness, though the Kia Niro EV ranked “effectively over ordinary reliability.” The Nissan Leaf and newer Ford Mustang Mach-E scored “previously mentioned common reliability.”

Substantial-end electrical SUVs had been between the least reliable motor vehicles in the survey in general.

“You can find no cause totally electrical cars and trucks won’t be able to be as dependable or even far more trustworthy than common motor vehicles with inner combustion engines.” Fisher stated. “It can be how they apply the technological know-how.”

Electric drivetrains were not the trouble. As an alternative, Fisher blamed avoidable higher-tech bells and whistles.

“For EV introductions, there is a inclination to just include so significantly tech that is not essential,” Fisher explained.

The trustworthiness rankings stand in stark distinction with Buyer Reports’ gratification study, the place Tesla topped the 2020 record, adopted by Lincoln. Tesla’s results with clients has set strain on other automakers to shock and delight shoppers with capabilities from the entertaining to the really serious, Fisher instructed. Elon Musk’s electric motor vehicle firm pioneered above-the-air computer software updates that can give owners’ cars and trucks new navigation attributes like “waypoints,” or supply a remember resolve without a dealership go to.

But introducing additional software, hardware and functions provides complexity, and that can hurt reliability, Fisher said.


Tesla’s small standing mainly stemmed from difficulties with the company’s Product S, X and Y vehicles from 2019 by means of 2021 design years. The Tesla Model 3, which Shopper Studies carries on to suggest, confirmed average dependability.

Generally noted troubles from Product Y homeowners involved defective sensors that had to be replaced, troubles with warmth pumps, air conditioning, body panels that did not line up and h2o leaks in the trunk thanks to lacking seals, in accordance to Fisher. Owners also documented a selection of electrical and components concerns with the bigger-priced (and much less-well-known) Product S sedan and Product X falcon-wing SUV.

Older styles ordinarily fare superior in trustworthiness, as corporations are likely to make tweaks and redesigns to clear up recognised difficulties, when sticking with the identical components and suppliers.

But Tesla deviates from this approach, Fisher described. “At practically random occasions during the calendar year Tesla will change important components, suppliers or sensors and other models. The much more you modify, the better the chances you happen to be likely to have some troubles.”

Though electric vehicles confirmed middling dependability, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric powered motor vehicles, which mix electrical automobile elements and conventional internal combustion engines, have been amid the most dependable models.

“What stood out is that the most dependable was truly compact hybrids and plug-in hybrids,” Fisher claimed. “This may be counterintuitive. They are likely the most complex when it arrives to the powertrain.”

Preferred hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight have been on the market place for several a long time and suppliers have identified and solved prior trustworthiness troubles.