Too much of a good thing can translate into unreliability on the road.
Several luxury automotive brands that stuffed a lot of budding technology into their vehicles – including Tesla, Lincoln, Genesis and Mercedes-Benz – ranked toward the bottom of the Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Report for 2022.
The annual ranking, which is closely followed as an index for quality, uses data from more than 300,000 vehicles to project reliability scores for the major brands and individual vehicles. It assesses the last three years of each model’s performance unless that vehicle has been redesigned during the period, in which case it uses data from the latest generation.
For the 2022 model year, Toyota luxury brand Lexus has returned to the top spot among the 28 ranked brands. Mazda, which had dethroned Lexus in 2021, ranked second, while the Toyota brand ranked third, Infiniti was fourth and Buick was fifth.
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Lincoln is least reliable
Lincoln is the least reliable brand for 2022, according to Consumer Reports, which ranked Tesla second-to-last. Other brands near the bottom were Jeep, Genesis, Volkswagen and Mercedes.
The rankings show that brands with a more conservative approach to new features tend to sell the most reliable rides, said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing for Consumer Reports.
Such is the case with Lexus and Toyota.
Those brands “are always hanging out there at the top, and they do it in proven ways,” Fisher said. “They’re very methodical when they introduce new technology, and they don’t take chances.”
He acknowledged, though that, “many accuse them of being boring because of that.”
High-tech transmission tech is a problem
High-tech transmission technology is among the new features that is causing reliability hiccups for some automakers, according to Consumer Reports. Infotainment glitches are also common as automakers increasingly gravitate toward larger screens with more digital controls.
Problems are common in 2022 for electric vehicles, but it’s usually not the electric powertrain, Fisher said. Rather, it’s high-tech design and interior features that often debut in EVs to appeal to early adopters.
“For some reason, if you’re an electric vehicle, you have to reinvent your door handle,” Fisher said, referring to how some EVs have receding door handles. “I don’t know why. But sometimes they don’t work.”
Tesla Model Y problems
As the largest EV maker, Tesla is particularly prone to reliability issues. The Tesla Model Y, the company’s most popular model, is one of the 10 least reliable vehicles of 2022, according to Consumer Reports, which chronicled problems with its body fit, paint, weatherstripping, rear hatchback and climate system.
Nonetheless, despite Tesla’s low position on the reliability rankings, the brand maintains its appeal.
“People who buy Teslas are very satisfied with them, but they do have their fair share of problems,” Fisher said.
Lexus is most reliable
Lexus had the most reliable vehicle in the 2022 rankings with the GX SUV, which hasn’t been redesigned in more than a decade.
Mercedes-Benz GLE had the most unreliable vehicle with the GLE. (See the full lists of most reliable and least reliable vehicles below.)
Although they didn’t make the list of the top 10 most reliable, several vehicles made by the traditional Detroit Three automakers were named most reliable in their segments.
Those included the Buick Envision (luxury compact SUVs), Chevrolet Trailblazer (subcompact SUVs), Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and the GMC Sierra 2500HD (full-size pickups), Chrysler 300 (midsized/large cars), Ford Bronco Sport (compact SUVs), Ford Mustang Mach-E (electric SUVs) and Ford Ranger (midsized pickups).
Here is the 2022 Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Report rankings of major automotive brands:
24. Volkswagen (31)
25. Genesis (30)
26. Jeep (26)
27. Tesla (25)
28. Lincoln (18)
These are the 10 most reliable new cars, trucks and SUVs of 2022, according to Consumer Reports:
1. Lexus GX
2. Kia Niro EV
3. Toyota Prius Prime
4. Toyota Prius
5. Cadillac XT5
6. Mazda MX-5 Miata
7. Honda Insight
8. Toyota Highlander
9. Subaru Crosstrek
10. Mazda CX-9
These are the 10 least reliable new cars, trucks and SUVs of 2022, according to Consumer Reports
(ranked in descending order, beginning with least reliable)
1. Mercedes-Benz GLE
2. Ford Explorer
3. Ford Mustang
4. Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500
5. Chevrolet Corvette
6. Volvo XC90
7. Volkswagen Tiguan
8. Tesla Model Y
9. Chrysler Pacifica
10. Subaru Ascent
You can follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter here for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday morning.