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The 10 Most Unreliable Cars of 2013

Everyone loves to write about the best and brightest new cars that come out each year to the delight of auto journalists and new car buyers everywhere. But you have to admire the chutzpah of Consumer Reports for releasing a list of the ten LEAST reliable new cars from 2013, the last model year that they have complete survey records from their readers. If you're planning on making a big car purchase this month for yourself or as a gift, take these models into consideration before throwing thousands of dollars on something you'll end up regretting.

Also note, Consumer Reports' focus isn’t really on “driving fun” but they do not accept advertising from any automakers and pay their bills through subscriptions from readers of their website or magazine, making it harder for anyone to complain of bias. (Not that we would ever name names, but we do know some automakers lean hard on journalists and media to ensure bad press does not get out. A sad truth.)

But this is Convoy Auto Repair and our game is auto repair - which means sometimes the truth hurts. We know that even the best and most reliable cars (see our follow-up post next week) will still need maintenance or repairs in the future, and there are always accidents you can't plan for. Being in such a position, we have nothing to gain (or lose) by being honest with our customers. That being said, we do want to point out that Consumer Reports, which was primarily used to formulate this list, does not have a system in place to differentiate between complaints about a poorly designed glovebox or a core engine design or performance issue. Also, there's no doubt these ten companies have engineers burning the midnight oil to make these models better. If not, we will see them here again next year!

And so, without further ado, here is our list of the 10 most unreliable cars of 2013. Do you drive one of these models? Are you considering purchasing the 2014 model? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

10. 2013 Ford Taurus (3.5 Liter Ecoboost V6)

10 Most Unreliable Cars of 2013 - Ford Taurus

Image: James Hamel

We think the 2013 Ford Taurus is one of the handsomest large size American family sedans on the market today and it’s a shame that it has some problems with its top-of-the-line 3.5 liter Ecoboost V6 (what with the almost ridiculous 365 turbocharged horses). We say keep the Taurus and enjoy it even more, thanks to lower fuel bills from the naturally aspirated 3.5 liter V6 or 2.0 liter turbocharged Ecoboost 4-cylinder which has so far proven trouble free. Apparently the Ecoboost motor has had some overheating and fire related issues reported.

9. 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

10 Most Unreliable Cars of 2013 - Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Image: Hyundai

Consumer Reports did not differentiate if this was an issue with models equipped with the 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder or the velvety 3.8 liter V6, but as it wasn’t mentioned the powertrains are probably not the big issue. Sad to see Hyundai back in the quality basement here (although we are sure Kia’s Hamsters are doing a happy dance).

8. 2013 Ford Explorer V6 AWD

10 Most Unreliable Cars of 2013 - Ford Explorer

Image: James Hamel

We road tested one of these for a week not a month ago and came away hugely impressed with the style, interior design, power, towing ability and overall driving dynamics. But apparently in 2013 there were issues with the steering as well as continued glitches with MyFordTouch. Thankfully, for 2014 Ford has mounted its steering rack in a different, more secure location.

7. 2013 Cadillac XTS

10 Most Unreliable Cars of 2013 - Cadillac XTS

Image: MotorTrend

Cadillac introduced its first infotainment and connectivity system to go up against BMW’s iDrive in 2013 and called it the CUE system. Well, these systems always have bugs the first year and a 2014 Cadillac SRX we are currently driving has demonstrated no glitches in its CUE system.

6. 2013 Volkswagen Beetle

10 Most Unreliable Cars of 2013 - Volkswagen Beetle

Image: James Hamel

Could this just be people complaining about the fact that when they have the top up in their convertible version that it had blind spots so huge that it blocked out The Great Wall of China? Otherwise, the Beetle is on a proven platform with proven engines and transmissions, so other than something design or fit and finish related we have no idea what to say. Perhaps Beetle owners don’t remember how the old ones ALWAYS broke down, rusted out, handled frighteningly in bad weather and didn’t have air conditioning. But we also suspect Beetle drivers love these cars for other reasons.

5. 2013 Nissan Pathfinder

10 Most Unreliable Cars of 2013 - Nissan Pathfinder

Image: James Hamel

The Pathfinder was all-new for the 2013 model year and it is not only roomy, spacious and handsome, but it also felt solidly built when we tested one. But apparently some thin and easily chipped paint as well as trim issues tripped it up in the rankings. We hope this is a first year issue as Nissan is the only Japanese brand listed here. For 2014 they are introducing a hybrid model.

4. 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

10 Most Unreliable Cars of 2013 - Ford C Max Hybrid

Image: AutoBlog

First the C-Max hybrid was hit with the EPA forcing Ford to lower its fuel economy estimates due to customer complaints. Then came word of poor interior fit and finish as well as build quality problems. This oddly shaped, small, five seat minivan was quirky to start with and with the quality issues now out in the open one has to wonder if this little Blue Oval wonder can possibly tackle the mighty Prius.

3. 2013 Mini Countryman

10 Most Unreliable Cars of 2013 - Mini Countryman

Image: James Hamel

Current Mini dashboards are assembled from more separate plastic pieces than any other dashboard on the market today. It’s something close to 45 separate parts, so, given that fact, it is prone to many rattles that are hard to find. Here’s an idea Mini: think like Honda and build your dashboard out of one stamped and pressed piece ensuring it will never, ever rattle.

2. 2013 Ford Escape (1.6 Liter Ecoboost)

10 Most Unreliable Cars of 2013 - Ford Escape

Image: AutoBlog

The latest Escape is a terrific compact SUV - just be sure to buy it with the 2.0 liter EcoBoost motor as the 1.6 has been reported to have a startlingly high incidence of engine fire. And not just on high mileage SUVs, but on those still under warranty as well, so this is a serious quality problem.

1. 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-in

10 Most Unreliable Cars of 2013 - Ford C Max Energi Plug In

Image: Car and Driver

Wait, the C-Max is so bad it’s listed twice? Why do we suspect it will still be here next year? Plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt, Honda Accord Plug-in and Prius Plug-in have no such reported quality bugs, so looking back over this list it appears Ford’s engineers have some work to do. Best of luck guys!

James HamelBio: James Hamel is a freelance road tester, auto journalist, and Motor Press Guild full member. Find past work at Autobytel.com and current work at http://iSeeCars.com. Contact James at [email protected].


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