The Associated PressNov. 19, 2021, 10:01 a.m. IST
Electric SUVs are generally among the least reliable vehicles on the road, but that’s not because of the batteries or the electric motors that power them. Instead, it’s because of problem-prone electronics, including air conditioning controls and electrical equipment, the annual automotive reliability survey conducted among subscribers by Consumer reports find.
Electric SUVs were the least reliable category in the annual survey of magazine and website subscribers who collectively own more than 300,000 vehicles. Tesla’s Model X and Y, the Audi e-tron and the Volkswagen ID.4 were among the vehicles identified as having issues in areas other than the electric powertrain.
In contrast, compact, plug-in gasoline-electric hybrids, led by the Toyota Prius and Prius Prime and Honda Insight, were the most reliable category, said Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing for Consumer reports.
Overall, Japanese brands led by Lexus, Mazda, Toyota and Infiniti took eight of the top 10 places in the reliability survey. General Motors’ Buick brand was fifth and BMW’s Mini was 10th.
Ford’s luxury brand Lincoln finished last of 28 brands, with Tesla, Jeep, Genesis and Volkswagen completing the last five.
Electric vehicles, with far fewer moving parts, should be more reliable than gasoline-powered vehicles, Fisher said. But electric SUVs tend to be more expensive luxury vehicles these days, and these have all of the latest technology that can cause problems, he said.
“The powertrains aren’t the problem,” Fisher said. Instead, electric SUVs often come with power door handles, power air vents, and other features. “By having all of these new technologies built into these early mobile users, there are more issues associated with them. “
Fisher said electric vehicles are likely to be more reliable than gasoline-powered ones, as manufacturers eliminate bugs from their features.
The Lexus GX SUV was the most reliable model in the survey, followed by Kia’s Niro electric vehicle, Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, Prius hybrid and Cadillac XT5 sedan.
The least reliable were the Mercedes GLE, Ford Explorer, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500, and the Chevrolet Corvette, according to the survey.
Fisher said owners were reporting more problems with complex eight-, nine- and 10-speed transmissions designed for fuel efficiency, especially among certain Hyundai, Kia, Subaru and Toyota models.
Tesla, the world’s leading electric vehicle brand, was ranked near the bottom for reliability due to reports of issues with body hardware, water leaks, trunks that won’t close, and missing caulking , said Fisher. There were also issues with a new heat pump system to heat the cabin and defrost the windshield, he said. Tesla’s Model 3 sedan, with average reliability, was the only model recommended by Consumer reports.
Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand, traditionally leads the poll because it is very cautious when deploying new engines, transmissions and technologies, Fisher said. The brand, he said, was among the last to add Apple CarPlay to its vehicles, and it was slow to switch to eight-speed transmissions, he said.
Fisher said reliability is more important than ever due to shortages of spare parts to solve problems. “Buying a reliable vehicle can help you make sure you’ll be able to hit the road when you need it, without the worry of getting stuck waiting for parts for repairs,” he said. .
The survey is used by Consumer reports to predict reliability. It is based on overall reliability for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 model years, for vehicles that have not been redesigned.