Electric vehicles, which already face strong adoption obstacles in the U.S. due to their higher prices and limited public charging infrastructure, also carry reliability baggage, based on Consumer Reports’ latest annual survey.
The nonprofit organization, which tests consumer products across many metrics, says the average new EV has 79% more problems than internal-combustion-engine vehicles and that pickup trucks are the least reliable.
Plug-in hybrids, or PHEVs, scored the worst, with 146% more problems than ICE models.
Hybrids, which more Americans favor if they go non-ICE, have 26% fewer problems than ICE on average.
Consumer Reports points out that it makes sense newer auto technology will experience more bumps in the road, so to speak, but said there are signs the segment is making improvements.
“… as our data has consistently shown, reliability-minded consumers would be best served by forgoing brand new vehicles in their first model year,” said its senior director of auto testing, Jake Fisher.
It said charging and battery problems top the list of EVs’ issues, though U.S. market leader Tesla has fewer problems there.
To rank vehicles and automakers, Consumer Reports surveys members about problems they’ve experienced with their vehicles in the previous 12 months to predict reliability of new cars from major mainstream models. This year’s survey covered more than 330,000 vehicles from the 2000 to the 2023 model years, plus a sampling of 2024 models.
Brands topping the ranking this year are Lexus and Toyota as Nos. 1 and 2, and the Toyota 4Runner is the survey’s most reliable model.
For more detail, see Consumer Reports’ auto reliability page.