Consumer Reports Reliability Rankings – Fiat-Chrysler Can’t Catch A Break

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Admittedly, I’m not a Chrysler fan. The worst vehicle I ever owned was a Dodge Dakota, and that single vehicle turned me from a Dodge fan to a giant critic of the Chrysler product…but it isn’t really my personal experience with a Dodge Dakota that’s made me a Chrysler critic.

I’m a believer in facts and hard data, and the hard data on Chrysler (now Fiat-Chrylser) reliability has been consistently bad. Yesterday, Consumer Reports came out with their rankings and guess what: the Chrysler family (Ram, Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, and Fiat) did very poorly.

Looking at the rankings, we see that the very best brand for reliability is Lexus, followed by Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and (surprisingly) Audi. At the bottom of the list, we have Chrysler, Ford, Mercedes, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, and Fiat.

2014 Consumer Reports reliability rankings

Consumer Reports reliability rankings, from best to worst. Click for a larger view.

While Chevrolet and Ford are ranked nearly as low as Chrysler, the blue error bars show that Chevy (and GMC) have some vehicles that rank as “more reliable.” Ford seems to have just one or two vehicles that rank that highly, with most models falling in the “average” or “less reliable” categories.

Ram, on the other hand, is notably less reliable than Ford. The Ram 1500 seems to fall squarely in the average category, while the Ram HD trucks are the least reliable product.

Finally, it’s important to note that the new GMC 1500 is the least reliable GMC model.

What Do These Rankings Really Mean?

While it’s a mistake to dismiss Consumer Reports rankings out of hand, they’re not exactly “gospel.” Consumer Reports accumulates their data by surveying their own subscribers, and that likely results in some selection bias. If Consumer Reports says that Toyota and Lexus vehicles are the most reliable, and you’re a loyal Consumer Reports reader, you’re less likely to view problems with your Toyota or Lexus negatively. Likewise, if the magazine says that your Ram truck isn’t reliable, you’re likely to zero in on problems and note them in your survey.

Still, it’s not as if Consumer Reports data dramatically disagrees with data from JD Power. If we look at JD Power’s Initial Quality Study data for 2014, we see some similarities:

2014 JD Power Initial Quality Survey rankings

2014 JD Power Initial Quality Survey rankings

The JD Power and Consumer Reports rankings aren’t exactly the same, but we see Fiat and Jeep at the bottom of both surveys, and Lexus and Toyota near the top.

To be fair, the difference between “average” reliability and “great” or “below average” reliability is pretty small. What’s more, a lot of the “problems” have to do with infotainment systems that are hard to use, or normal growing pains that plague new models.

Still, it says here that you can’t go wrong buying a Tundra, and you ought to think awfully hard about the extended warranty on any new Fiat-Chrysler product.

Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. breathing borla says:

    I guess I don’t take any of these into consideration when buying. I bought the truck at the top (tundra) and had 0 issues and I bought the truck at the bottom (Ram 1500) and had 0 issues.

    still interesting to see.

    I bet a large part of all of these for everyone is the info-tainmnet systems, they are all pretty buggy when new

  2. toyrulz says:

    Just a quick 2 cents…

    Anybodies opinion of their vehicles is biased to defend their choice of where they threw their hard earned money…


    Their personal expectations.

    My old boss swore by his Chevy as very reliable and the best vehicle he ever had (he even bought a second identical model for his wife). I asked one day if he really had no problems, and he said just shocks, springs, brakes and exhaust system replacement ever couple of years. I said really?! That’s horrible! He said, no its pretty normal, these parts are wear items and don’t last do to our bad roads and salt. I told him mine do.

    His next purchase was a Hyundai because it was the same as a Toyota but $5000 less.

    Just saying… you buy a kid for cheap you may not expect much and end up happy. You buy a Lexus, you expect perfection and every problem stands out. people don’t buy a high performance Porche and expect reliability, they expect performance.

  3. BrianJ says:

    The Ram 2500 diesel ranked that low on CR? I call foul on that one. The Cummins mill has a notoriously reliable track record. I don’t see CR as a viable source for vehicle rankings. its just not a representative sample IMO. JD Power is much closer. I do think posting both for reference is the best measure. Kudos for posting them both!

    • Larry says:

      I have a 2006 Ram 2500 diesel and can say it’s no peach. The Cummings engine and manual trans are fine so far but the rest of the truck is a joke. I do all the mechanical work I can. I have just rebuilt the front end. New ball joints, new free hub assemblies all new bearings, replaced all the U joints. It is without a doubt the worth thing I have ever had to dissemble. All the part rusted and no assembly compounds were used to prevent this on critical parts. No threaded holes to allow pressing the unit bearings out. Torch, hammer and chisel are needed. Not a single part in the drive line, front bearings, 6 U joints in the front and rear shafts along with the U joints out at the wheel can be greased. You just run them until they fail and with luck you won’t be 40 miles out a dirt road in Southern Utah. For what is called a heavy duty truck it’s a real joke.

      Every U joint on my toyota had a grease fitting. I greased them twice a year and they were still fine after 18 years. Can’t comment on if the new Tundras are like this or not. But a RAM is not serviceable.

      My T100 was not a 3/4 ton truck but, it was easy to service and none of the suspension parts ever went bad.

      I would be driving a gas Tundra today if I could get one with a small V8 and the same 6 speed manual trans which is available on the Tacoma.

      To all, stay away from RAM 1500 or 2500. Just not quality trucks.

      • BrianJ says:

        I hear what you’re saying, and if they had called out all 2500/3500 Rams I wouldn’t have posted anything, but the fact that they specifically called out the diesel makes me wonder. Maybe the front end, like you’re saying, just isn’t sturdy enough to support the added weight of the Cummins? Perhaps that’s where the low reliability rnaking came from?

    • mendonsy says:

      I suspect the problem isn’t specifically the Cummins engine but with diesels in general. The changes that have been made since 2008 to meet the EPA specs have made ALL of them unreliable, even the big trucks and off road equipment.

      • Larry says:

        As BrianJ indicated, there is a problem with the suspension up front on the Ram 2500. The lower ball joints can’t handle the weight of the Cummins engine and it’s a bear of job to replace them. A good ball joint press and the adapters for the Ram cost about 300 dollars. Local shops charge about 1500. 1500 to replace about 250 worth of parts. There is a company named Carli which makes ball joints and other suspension parts and people swear by them but they cost 800 a set. Don’t know if they last or not. The stock joints can’t be greased which doesn’t help. The big problem is the front bearings on the 4WD truck. They are inside a housing and it’s called the Unit bearing assembly. Ford uses the concept too. The bearings are mounted in a heavy piece of steel and that gets bolted to the knuckle. The knuckle needs to be removed to replace the ball joints. The unit bearing needs to be removed to get the axel out. You must remove the axel to do this job. That unit bearing rusts in place because they don’t use any anti seize compound. They also can not be greased. You run them until they go bad. It took me 2 days to remove one side and another day to remove the other. It would only take some small changes to make this job much easier but after 15 years they still keep making it the same way. My new free hubs which replace all that junk use standard off the shelf bearings which I can get anywhere, I can grease them every 30,000 miles so they will never fail.

        This is some serious brain damage. A heavy duty truck supposedly built for rough service with a suspension which can’t be lubricated?

        The 5.9 in-line Cummins 6 is a beast of a motor, it’s very heavy and wears out the lower ball joints faster then it should. It should have been beefed up years ago. I don’t know if the gas V8 Ram 2500s are having this problem with lower ball joints.

        As for issue of diesel in general being a problem, that is true. The feds have made DEF injection and particulate filters mandatory. There was a requirement of removing 90 percent of NO2 emissions. It’s not an easy thing to do and it making diesel a very expensive engine. I would not buy one of the new diesels. It won’t be possible for most to recover the costs on fuel savings. The Ram 1500 eco diesel, not way.

        I have not worked on a Tundra so I can’t say if it is or is not a reasonable truck to work on. All these new trucks are getting fancier with lots of cool electronic stuff, leather seats etc but where it counts they are getting weaker.

        PLEASE, Toyota give me a tundra with a 6 speed manual. You already have the parts! Just do it.

  4. GoBig says:

    I had a work provided vehicle for my job. In 2004, I was given a Dodge Durango. I drove it until 2012, when it was replaced with a Ford Expedition.

    The Durango spent a lot of down time, and went through two transmissions in eight years. I only drove the Expedition for about a year, so I didn’t get a real feel for it. I had a couple minor issues with the Ford.

    My daily driver at home is my own 1985 Toyota 4wd truck. I’ve had fewer issues in 30 years than I did in 8 with the Dodge. I’m sold on Toyota.

  5. mk says:

    I personally feel dodge has always been at the bottom for reliability forever, but know a lot who like them as well. I like their looks inside and out, but reliability is lacking.

    I own 2 Hyundai’s and on par and above the Toyota lineup as far as price and reliability so far anyways. Kia and Mazda also have improved a lot the past few years.

    the days of stating hyundai and kia are junk are LONG gone for sure.

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