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Consumer Reports’ Least Reliable Models for 2021: The Silverado Comes Up Shortest

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Last week we looked at Consumer Reports’ newly published ranking of the most reliable car brands in 2020. Earlier this week, we highlighted those individual models that earned the highest predicted reliability rating in the annual CR survey, which saw the magazine pick the brains of some 329,000 owners of 2000-2020 model-year vehicles.

Predicted reliability
This term actually refers to a score (out of 100), obtained by crunching data from the survey as well as from CR’s own testing, that seeks to “predict” the level of reliability each model is likely to deliver in the coming year, based on its performance in recent years. The higher a model’s score, the fewer complaints it has generated from owners as recorded in the survey. Only vehicles for which there are two model-years-worth of data available are eligible for consideration.

We saw earlier this week that the top performer on the CR ranking for 2021 is, not surprisingly, a Toyota. The Prius came out on top with a score of 93. Today we look at the bottom end of the scale, at the models that will have to work hard in 2021 in order to prove the Consumer Reports crystal ball wrong.

“Leading” the parade for 2021, then, is the very popular Chevrolet Silverado truck. Its score of 13 placed it below all others, including, right above it, the Subaru Ascent (18) and Volkswagen Atlas (19).

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2021 Volkswagen Atlas
Photo: Volkswagen
2021 Volkswagen Atlas

Rounding out the bottom 5 are the Jeep Compass (21) and, in a three-way tie, the Volvo XC90 (26), Chevrolet Colorado and Tesla Model S, all with a score of 26. In regards to Elon Musk’s company, Consumer Reports said that it is able to recommend, based on its data and testing, only one of its four current models: the Model 3.

A quick count reveals that the ranking of Top 10 models with the worst reliability scores includes… seven SUVs, two pickups and one all-electric sedan. Which means the list of 10 worst performers includes no gas-powered or hybrid sedan models at all. The other notable absence is that of the Big Three German premium carmakers, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which may be a little surprising given the documented reliability issues that have occasionally dogged BMW in particular.

Tesla Model S
Photo: Tesla
Tesla Model S

Here are the 10 models with the worst predicted reliability score for 2021 as determined by Consumer Reports:

No. 1 – Chevrolet Silverado (13)
No. 2 – Subaru Ascent (18)
No. 3 – Volkswagen Atlas (19)
No. 4 – Jeep Compass (21)
No. 5 – Volvo XC90 (26)
No. 5 (tied) – Chevrolet Colorado (26)
No. 5 (tied) – Tesla Model S (26)
No. 8 – Jeep Wrangler (27)
No. 9 – Ford EcoSport (28)
No. 9 (tied) – Volvo XC60 (28)

2021 Subaru Ascent
Photo: Subaru
2021 Subaru Ascent