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2014 Least Reliable Cars - Who is the Worst?

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G. David Felt
Alternative Fuels
 & Propulsion writer
www.CheersandGears.com

 

Top 10 Least Reliable Cars

 

Consumers Report published their annual best and worst reliable cars. If your wanting to look at the best go here Reliable Cars.

 

For this story, you could watch the videos and dive through the mountain of spreadsheets that consumers reports has for their data, but MSN Auto helped out by focusing on the top 10 least reliable cars and here is their list. The predicted reliability score was 125% below that of the average car. 

 

#1 - Scion xB 125% below the average auto

#2 - Mercedes-Benz S-Class 127% below average

#3 - Infiniti Q50 127% below average

#4 - Jeep Grand Cherokee (Diesel) 134% below average

#5 - Dodge Dart 140% below average

#6 - Chevrolet Cruze 1.4T 143% below average

#7 - Nissan Pathfinder 154% below average

#8 - Ford Fiesta 162% below average

#9 - Jeep Cherokee (4-cyl) 176% below average

#10 - Fiat 500L 219% below average

 

The issues seem to be focused on either the power train, suspension such as the active system in the S-Class from Mercedes-Benz or electrical.

 

The one area that no car seemed to really have issues with is the body / paint jobs.

 

So the question to be asked here is as follows:

 

Are we building auto's to complex for our own good?

Do we really need all these electronics in an auto?

Do we really need all the sophisticated power train variables?

Would it be better to focus on a more radical jump in autos by setting a dead line to move away from fossil fuel auto's to EV or Hydrogen?

 

The questions can be endless and I hope this gets you to start thinking about what is important to you. One thing is for sure, some of these auto's will not be on my list for shopping, others would be such as the Cheverolet Cruze which got knocked for drive shaft / axel seals and GM has addressed this according to GM's web site.

 

What are your thoughts on this list? Is it right or is Consumers reports to critical?

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I don't put much stock into CR's reporting.  They used to report Hummer fuel economy as a "problem" with the vehicle.

 

uh... duh.  :facepalm:

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      Did you know that there two variations of the Toyota Land Cruiser sold in the U.S.? No, I’m not referring to the Lexus LX 570 which is a dressed up Land Cruiser. I’m referring to another model in the Land Cruiser family, the Land Cruiser Prado. This model sold in certain parts of the world is a direct competitor to the Land Rover LR4 with a body-on-frame SUV with all of the four-wheel drive tech to get through some of the worst conditions that mother nature has on offer. So you might be wondering where is this smaller Land Cruiser is in the U.S.? Well you only need to head down to your local Lexus dealer and check out the GX 460. But in this age where crossovers are taking the place of SUVs, does the GX 460 have a place anymore?




      You can’t miss the GX 460 at all, especially in the front. The model now features the gaping maw that is known as the spindle grille. I really don’t think the spindle grille works on the GX as it looks like an afterthought to make it fit in with the rest of the Lexus lineup. But the rest of the GX’s design is mostly the same as the first-generation model introduced back in 2002. That means a high-stance, a side-hinged tailgate, and large headlights with LEDs. Moving inside, the GX 460 feels slightly old when compared to competitors as the basic dashboard layout hasn’t changed a lot since it was introduced back in 2002. You also won’t find the remote touch infotainment system or a configurable gauge package in the GX either. At least Lexus has gotten the luxuries part right in the GX with leather, soft touch plastic, and wood trim along the door panels and dash. Seats in my GX tester were wrapped in semi-aniline leather and came equipped with heat for the first two rows, while cooled seats were standard for the front passengers. There is a third-row in the GX, but it really is only usable for small kids. Also with the third row up, cargo space is non-existent.Power comes from a 4.6L V8 engine with 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up to a six-speed automatic and a full-time four-wheel drive system. Despite the high power numbers, the 4.6L feels like its struggling to move the GX. Tipping the scales at 5,340 pounds explains some of struggle, as does a lazy throttle. Plus points on the V8 is not much noise when idling or accelerating in the lower rpms. The six-speed automatic delivered smooth shifts and seemed to be in a good rhythm with the engine.
      The GX comes with a full-suite of off-road technologies such as a central differential lock, adjustable suspension, and hill descent control which means you’ll be able to go anywhere you want. But in reality, many GXs will be in the urban jungle. During my week of testing, the only real off-roading I did in the GX was driving down a gravel road which really didn’t challenge the four-wheel drive system at all.




      As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the 2014 GX 460 at 15 City/20 Highway/17 Combined. You’ll be lucky if you can get 15 if you decide to drive like your grandmother. Drive normally and you’ll likely see numbers of around 12 to 13 MPG. Ouch.I was bit worried on how the GX would handle day to day driving duties as it has all of those four-wheel drive technologies, along with a tall ride height. But the GX surprised me as it provided a very comfortable and smooth ride. Bumps and road imperfections didn’t upset the GX ride, while road and wind noise were kept down.
      The only way I could recommend the Lexus GX 460 is that you want something luxurious to take on your adventure to death valley or the wilderness. If your main driving takes to on the mean streets, then a crossover such as the Acura MDX or Buick Enclave would be a better choice.
      Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the GX 460, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

      Year: 2014
      Make: Lexus
      Model: GX 460
      Trim: Luxury
      Engine: 4.6L DOHC VVT-i 32-Valve V8
      Driveline: Five-Speed Automatic, Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 329 @ 3,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined -
      Curb Weight: 5,340 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $60,715
      As Tested Price: $62,770 (Includes $910.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Mark Levinson Premium Audio - $1,145.00
      Next: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 4WD
      There are very few times where I’ll drop my jaw because of the price tag of a vehicle I’m reviewing, whether its a bit too high or low. Such was the case for the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ that stopped by for a weeklong review. When I was reading through the window sticker, I dropped the sheet after seeing the price tag of $69,130. After letting the shock pass over me, I was wondering who would buy an almost $70,000 Tahoe? A GMC Yukon Denali I can see, but a Tahoe?!




      Well Chevrolet has got the design part of the Tahoe right. The new model has the same silhouette as the last-generation, but Chevrolet’s designers have given it some distinctive touches. Up front is a larger grille with larger chrome pieces and uniquely shaped headlights. Around back is a slightly tweaked tailgate design with new taillights.Moving inside and Chevrolet deserves a gold medal for the improvements made in here. Gone is the bland dashboard design with the hard plastic and terrible looking wood trim. In its place is a dashboard full of contours and distinctive shapes, along with much better materials such as leather and soft-touch plastics on the dash which makes it a pleasant place to be in. My LTZ tester came with a eight-inch touchscreen and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system. MyLink still has some bugs to work out such as how long it takes to respond when pressed and overall speed, but at least stability is much better than when I last used it in the Silverado.
      Second row passengers get a set of captain chairs with heat, along with a set of climate controls to make themselves them comfortable. Space back here is good for headroom. Legroom I found was a little-bit tight. The third row is best reserved for small kids as head and legroom are very much at a premium for adults, or to be folded into the floor to increase cargo space.
      Power comes from the 5.3L V8 that powers so many of GM’s light-duty trucks and SUVs. Ratings are 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet torque. This is paired up to a six-speed automatic and optional four-wheel drive system. Those looking for a more powerful V8 in their GM SUV will need to step up to the GMC Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade for the 6.2L V8. As I have stated before in the Silverado/Sierra review with the 5.3L V8, the throttle response when leaving a stop is very sluggish. It feels like there is a hump you have to overcome with the throttle before you get the full power of the V8. I get this is a way for GM to save fuel, but I think there are better ways to do the same thing. Once over the hump, the V8 engine has more than enough oomph to get you moving while providing very little noise. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the 2015 Tahoe 4WD at 16 City/22 Highway/18 Combined. My average for the week was around 15 MPG.




      On the ride and handling front, the Tahoe is excellent. The model feels more like a luxury sedan than an SUV with good isolation of bumps and imperfections, and outside noises being kept to an almost whisper. Some of the credit has to go to the Magneride magnetic ride control system which adjusts damping characteristics in as little as 10 milliseconds. Steering is somewhat light, but has good feel.So after a week in the Tahoe, I can see kind of see why it has a high price tag. The new model is a massive improvement over the old one and leaves competitors such as the Nissan Armada in the dust. But I’m still wondering if the Tahoe is a just a hair too high price-wise for its own good.
      Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Tahoe, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

      Year: 2015
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Tahoe
      Trim: LTZ 4WD
      Engine: 5.3L EcoTec V8
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 355 @ 5600
      Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 4100
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/22/18
      Curb Weight: 5,683 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Arlington, Texas
      Base Price: $62,000
      As Tested Price: $69,130 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Sun, Entertainment, Destination Package - $3,255.00
      Adaptive Cruise Control - $1,695.00
      Max Trailering Packager - $500.00
      Crystal Red Metallic Paint - $495.00
      Theft-Deterrent System - $395.00
      Cocoa/Mahogany Trim - $295.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Next in the wrap-up in 2014 vehicle reviews, I take look at green vehicles. In this case they all happen to be the hybrid variety.
      2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring
      The second time is the charm? That’s the hope for Honda with the 2014 Accord Hybrid. The previous incarnation of the hybridized Accord was a sporty model that really didn’t see any improvement in fuel economy. This in turn caused it to be a flop.Honda went back to drawing board and have introduced an Accord Hybrid that promises best-in-class fuel economy. Can it right the wrong of the previous model?




      The Accord Hybrid looks for the most part like your standard Accord sedan with a two bar grille, large greenhouse, and a short rear end. The differences are mostly cosmetic as certain chrome pieces and the headlights have a blue tint. Theres also a set of hybrid badges on the front fenders, and a set of seventeen-inch wheels. Inside is the same story as the exterior, with the only real changes for the Accord Hybrid are a new instrument cluster to display information about the hybrid system and a EV button to put the vehicle into a fully electric mode. Getting inside, you find a nice selection of quality materials and loads of space for front and rear passengers.My Touring tester came with Honda’s dual-screen infotainment system which features an eight-inch screen sitting on top of the dash and a smaller touchscreen to change stations/tracks or whatever audio input. There’s also a set of buttons and a knob sitting right above the transmission tunnel to take you to different parts of the system. As I wrote in my first drive of the Accord Hybrid in 2013, the system is a bit of a mess. The touchscreen is slow to respond when you’re trying to change stations or switch from the radio to the USB input. Also, reaching for the controls towards the bottom is quite a reach. Honda really needs to go back to the drawing board with their infotainment system.
      The Accord Hybrid features Honda’s newest hybrid system called Sport Hybrid intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) system. This system is comprised of,
      2.0L DOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder Atkinson-Cycle engine producing 141 horsepower and 122 pound-feet of torque
      Two 124 kW electric motors - One acting as a propulsion motor, one acting as a generator
      1.3 kWh Lithium-Ion battery
      Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT)
      Power Control Unit





      Impressive to say in the least. It’s even better when the system is engaged. The Accord Hybrid never felt lacking in power as the electric motor and 2.0L engine worked together to provide enough thrust for whatever situation I found myself in. More impressive was the seemless transition from electric only to hybrid power. There was no sign of the change over unless I was watching the gauge cluster. Fuel economy is rated at 50 City/45 Highway/47 Combined. I got close to those numbers with an average of 42 MPG for the week. I think I could have matched or even surpassed those numbers if given another week with the Accord Hybrid.On the ride and handling front, the Accord Hybrid is very similar to the standard Accord. The suspension is able to cope with bumps and imperfections with no problem at all. On the curves, the Accord Hybrid is a joy as it keeps you grounded and provides little body roll. Steering has good heft and feel. Wind noise is kept to a decent level, but road noise is very apparent. I would put some of the blame on the low-rolling resistance tires.
      The Accord Hybrid puts Honda in a good position within the midsize hybrid sedan class with an impressive powertrain layout placed in the well-regarded package that is the Accord. Its going to take something big to knock off the Accord Hybrid as the best in class.
      Disclaimer: Honda Provided the Accord Hybrid, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

      Year: 2014
      Make: Honda
      Model: Accord Hybrid
      Trim: Touring
      Engine: Sport Hybrid intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD)
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: Gas Engine - 141 @ 6200, Electric Motor - 166 @ 3857-8000
      Torque @ RPM: Gas Engine - 122 @ 3500-6000, Electric Motor - 226 @ 0-3857
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 50/45/47
      Curb Weight: 3,602 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Marysville, Ohio
      Base Price: $34,905
      As Tested Price: $35,695 (Includes $795.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      N/A
      Next: 2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In Advance
      There are some cars that your’s truly finds impressive and would gladly buy, but knows that he wouldn’t recommend it because of some issue. That’s the case with the 2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In, a model that somehow I liked after spending a week in it, but has a key problem that makes it hard to recommend.




      The Prius Plug-In looks for the most part like the standard Prius. The only differences between the two is Plug-In Hybrid badging on the front fenders, new wheels, and a additional fuel filler door on the passenger side where the charging port lives (more on that in a moment). As for the interior, my tester came fully loaded with such items as leatherette, infotainment system with a JBL audio system, and heads-up display. Nice items for the most part, but I should warn that the leatherette feels very synthetic and nasty. I would go with the cloth. On the plus side, the Prius Plug-In does feature a lot of room for your passengers and cargo.Under the hood, you’ll find the almost the same Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain as in the the standard Prius. A 1.8L Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder paired up to a 60 kW electric motor delivering a total output of 134 horsepower. The difference is in the batteries. While the standard Prius has a Nickel-Metal Hydride battery, the Plug-In gets a Lithium-Ion battery. The new battery allows the Prius Plug-In to travel up to 11 Miles on electric power alone. During my week, I found myself using the EV mode a lot as it provided decent power to get around town and was very quiet. On the range front, I was able to get around 10 to 12 miles per charge. As for the charging port I mentioned earlier, that allows the Prius Plug-In to charge in 1.5 hours when plugged into a 240V charger or 3 hours when plugged into a 120V outlet). For other situations such as the freeway, I left the vehicle in the hybrid mode. This highlights a couple problems with the Prius. First it takes a few seconds longer for it to get up to speed. Second is the amount the noise that comes up when you decide that more power is needed. It sounded like a weed-whacker was being thrashed under the hood. As for fuel economy, I got around 51 MPG for the week. On the ride and handling front, the Prius Plug-In is much the same as the standard Prius; providing a comfortable, albeit noisy ride.




      So while I liked the Prius Plug-In, there is a big problem; price. A base Prius Plug-In will set you back $29,990 which seems somewhat reasonable. My tester which was the Advance model and came to an as-tested price of $38,907 with options. No that is not a misprint. Now the Prius Plug-In does qualify for a few tax incentives which helps offset the price somewhat. But for around the same money, you could get into a Chevrolet Volt. You do lose some practicality, but gain more in EV range.So the Prius Plug-In is a vehicle I like, but the pricetag makes it one I would pass on.'
      Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Prius Plug-In, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

      Year: 2014
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Prius Plug-In
      Trim: Advance
      Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive (1.8L DOHC 16-valve VVT-i four-cylinder, 60 kW Electric Motor)
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: Gas Engine - 98 @ 5,200, Electric Motor - 80 @ N/A, Total Output - 134
      Torque @ RPM: 105 @ 4,000, Electric Motor - 153 @ 0
      Fuel Economy: 95 MPGe, 50 MPG
      Curb Weight: 3,216 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Tsutsumi, Japan
      Base Price: $34,905
      As Tested Price: $38,907 (Includes $810.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Technology Package - $2,610
      Illuminated Door Sill - $279.00
      Carpeted Floor Mats & Trunk Mat - $225.00
      Cargo Net - $49.00
      First Aid Kit - $29.00
      Next: 2014 Lexus CT 200h F-Sport
      The Lexus CT 200h F-Sport is an intriguing idea. A luxury compact hatchback that is fuel efficient and sporty. So while the idea seems ok in theory, how does it work in the real world?




      The CT 200h in my eyes happens to be black sheep in Lexus family mostly because of how it looks. A five-door hatchback with a long front end and a new spindle grille which you either love or hate it. Around back is a flat rear tailgate which I think makes the CT a bit ungainly to look at. A set of seventeen-inch alloy wheels and F-Sport badging on the front fenders which come as part of the F-Sport package finish off the look. Inside is a nicely trimmed interior with supportive leather seats and handsome trim. The layout of dashboard is easy to understand and controls are in easy reach for the driver and passenger. The optional Lexus Inform infotainment system has been updated to look a bit fresher and improve user experience. However, the Lexus Remote Touch controller makes using the system a frustrating experience as it seems to be really sensitive. On the plus side, the CT 200h is spacious for back seat passengers and cargo.Power comes from Lexus Hybrid Drive which pairs a 1.8L four-cylinder and 60 kW electric motor to produce a total output of 134 horsepower. This is paired up to a CVT. Now most reviews of the CT 200h say its painfully slow, but I care to disagree. Despite a curb weight of 3,130 pounds, I found the powertrain to be adequate as it took a few ticks longer for the CT to get up to speed than other comparable models. I should warn that if you decide to slam the pedal to floor, the engine and CVT will make a horrific noise that will make you think twice of doing that. As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the 2014 CT 200h at 43 City/40 Highway/42 Combined. I saw an average of 39 MPG.




      Now this particular CT 200h was equipped with the F-Sport package which adds a sport tuned suspension and that’s about it. Compared to other Lexus models equipped with F-Sport package, I felt the CT F-Sport was somewhat lacking as the suspension was the only real mechanical change to it. Maybe there was some limitations to it being a hybrid, but I think there is room for improvement. The revised suspension means there is a noticeable difference in how the CT handles. Body roll and lean is decreased somewhat when compared to the standard CT. Steering is decent with good weight, but those hoping for an improvement in feel will be disappointed. For day to day driving, the CT 200h F-Sport is a bit more stiff than the standard CT, but not to the point where you’ll be crying uncle.So for the most part, the CT 200h F-Sport succeeds in its mission of providing a fun to drive luxury hatchback that is also ok on fuel. I would like to like to see Lexus do some more with the F-Sport package such as adding more sport goodies to the drivetrain and suspension. Maybe that’s in store for the next-generation.
      Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the CT 200h, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

      Year: 2014
      Make: Lexus
      Model: CT 200h
      Trim: F-Sport
      Engine: Lexus Hybrid Drive(1.8L DOHC 16-valve VVT-i four-cylinder, 60 kW Electric Motor)
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: Gas Engine - 98 @ 5,200, Electric Motor - 80 @ N/A, Total Output - 134
      Torque @ RPM: 105 @ 4,000, Electric Motor - 153 @ 0
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 43/40/42
      Curb Weight: 3,130 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $32,050
      As Tested Price: $39,030 (Includes $910.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Navigation System - $3,490
      F-Sport w/NuLuxe Interior - $1,180
      F-Sport Premium Package - $900.00
      Intuitive Park Assist - $500.00

      View full article
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