Least Reliable Luxury Cars

Article found on www.Forbes.com

When you spend $76,000 for a car, you expect it to be bulletproof.

What you don't expect is for Consumer Reports to call it "unreliable," and for J.D. Power and Associates to give it below average ratings across a range of manufacturing quality measures.

But had you bought a 2006 Range Rover, both would be the case.

J.D. Power gives the Range Rover a below average rating for overall manufacturing quality, a score it says is "based on problems that have caused a complete breakdown or malfunction of any component, feature or item, i.e., components that stop working or trim pieces that break or come loose."

Trim pieces that break or come loose? This sounds not only unacceptable on an expensive car but also like a step back in time. This is 2006, not the 1960s, or even the 1980s, when cars still died by the side of the road for no apparent reason, and vehicles would suddenly catch fire and create freeway bottlenecks.

These days, there are a lot of solid vehicles on the road. But the latest figures on automotive reliability show that just because you spend large sums on a car does not necessarily mean it won't break down--or that you won't have to make frequent visits to the dealership. If you're driving a $40,000 Volkswagen Touareg, which Consumer Reports says has a higher than average rate of problems with its electrical systems, you might have to borrow a Volkswagen Golf hatchback while you wait for service. Is this what you signed up for when you bought your luxury wheels?

To help you avoid such predicaments, we've compiled a list of the least reliable luxury cars on the market. The five models in the slide show are the only new luxury cars with both the lowest-possible scores for predicted reliability from Consumer Reports and below average "overall manufacturing quality" scores from J.D. Power. Included on the list are two Land Rover SUVs, a Lincoln, a Saab and that aforementioned Touareg.

Land Rover and Volkswagen both told us their companies are working hard to improve reliability.

"Land Rover considers quality products of paramount importance and is continuously working towards achieving total customer satisfaction," a Land Rover spokesman said, adding that this year's survey showed a slight improvement for its cars. The company is investing heavily in manufacturing and engineering, and is expecting to see an "upward trend" in quality as a result.

"We have instituted a number of programs and initiatives with our customer satisfaction teams, dealers, engineers and factory representatives to improve overall quality of the Touareg and the ownership experience," a VW spokesman said. He noted that the efforts are starting to pay off, with higher reliability scores compared with last year.

Saab, a General Motors (nyse: GM - news - people ) brand that made our list with its 9-3, objected to the ranking. A Saab spokesman says the company's internal data show that the most recent Saab 9-3s "have very good quality results," and that labeling the car "unreliable" paints the wrong picture for potential buyers.

Meanwhile, Ford-owned Lincoln, whose $50,000 Navigator SUV also made the cut, simply forwarded a press release about a study released in May by automotive consulting firm AutoPacific. The study showed that the car had the highest overall owner satisfaction score for 2006 models.

Consumer Reports uses prior model years to predict how current models will hold up (that's why you'll see 2005 cars in the slide show). Its reliability ratings are based on more than 1 million responses to the organization's annual questionnaire. Consumer Reports subscribers report any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the previous year--problems that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety or downtime.

Because its predictions come from older model-year data--in fact, Consumer Reports says that looking at the three previous model years provides a more accurate look at reliability than considering just the last model year--the organization does not issue ratings for the newest cars. That includes model lines that have been around for a while but are fresh from overhauls.

J.D. Power's scores for manufacturing quality come from the organization's Initial Quality Study, which looks at owner-reported problems in the first 90 days of new vehicle ownership.

In addition to a car's overall manufacturing score, a vehicle will have three other ratings: a mechanical manufacturing score, based on problems with the engine or transmission and problems that affect the driving experience, such as abnormal noises or vibrations; a body and interior manufacturing score, based on problems with wind noise, water leaks, poor interior fit and finish, paint imperfection, squeaks and rattles; and a feature and accessory manufacturing score, based on problems with the seats, windshield wipers, navigation system, rear-seat entertainment system, heater, air conditioner, stereo system, sunroof and trip computer.


J.B has certainly got this right. Avoid the FREELANDER, especially in the petrol incarnation, although the diesel also can cost a fortune to repair. Buy German, Japanese avoid Land Rover like the plaque!!!! The FREELANDER WILL LET YOU DOWN BIG TIME!!!!!!

I certainly will never buy another LAND ROVER

Get the car repaired then sell it, before the headgasket blows again, and it is likely too. I had a 1.8 Xei, headgasket blew twice, spent a fortune in repair bills. I certainly will never buy another LAND ROVER. Sell it while you still can, when the road tax increases, this car will be virtually unsaleable, remember the Lancia sports cars that rusted away and had to be taken off the road!!!

I speak from experience.

Land Rover Aluminum body, good, so it won't rust while it sits at the dealer. British electronics, British build quality Isn't the LR3 the independent rear suspension??????? You've got to be kidding. There's a reason Range Rovers are close to a 100k when new and less than 5k in five years. The Series One Disco ain't a bad truck, it's still old fashioned mechanically. Cheaper than a Jeep so you can buy several. Get a Ford truck to drive so you can get to work. Looking on the upside, you will meet many new people at the Rover service department waiting room. I speak from experience.

I spoke too soon

Dear Liz Today I need to clear some bits from my office - I had expected to have my 4x4. I'm now becoming annoyed with Landrover UK - I've been more than reasonable but the Skoda I am driving is fit for 3 people ... I have a daughter whose pushchair (because my wife and I are tall) is the longest available - I have to put this behind the driver's seat. taking my mother out for her birthday last night was not an option ,,, no room! my 7 seat Discovery is unavailable through no fault of my own but because LR UK cannot or have not sourced the parts. I am without the benefits of my landrover and whilst I could have removed my sat nav', the quality child seat, the hands-free phone is missed. Taking a client out last week meant providing an explanation for my lack of experience of a manual .. I shall not repeat his observations. my neighbour's concerns that my business has taken a down turn have been answered by my thoughts on LR UK. oh, the windscreen washer fluid on the Fabia has never worked - the bottle came empty and whilst i have filled this, nothing. the parts were to be with Landrover on the 13th and with you on the 15th. when I spoke to LR UK last night they were to call about putting me into a car - they did not think it possible to undertake last night and as I phoned at about 3.30pm, neither did I and I was a little (pleasantly) surprised that this was considered. however, I was to receive a call from LR UK, I left my mobile ... nothing! please can you chase LR UK today. I shall be proceeding as per my e-mail to them of the 9th January. please ask that they detail the difference in cost between the supply / rental of a Skoda Fabia as opposed to a Discovery. as of the 14th January I consider this to be my loss. I remain sympathetic to your plight; I want to pay you to restore my car but LR UK have no parts - we are both victims. I assume that my Discovery will be the subject of a through examination; I am concerned that the car has now been sat idle for the past month+, outside, in the snow, unused. this cannot be doing the car any good. is there anything I need to know about the potential harm caused by this inactivity - I am more than happy to appoint an engineer to visit upon the car and comment upon this aspect should there be any issues associated with this aspect. my thanks in anticipation Philip

So I know who I think should be ranked absolute bo

http://www.jdpower.com/autos/ratings/dependability-ratings-by-brand I think similar Land Rover reliability threads have popped up on this forum a few times, and the main thrust of the defence is that they are no worse than many other manufacturers. But they are. They really are. They're very poor indeed. If I'm reading this link correctly, Land Rover are joint bottom with Kia as the least dependable cars that you can buy. Now, Kias are just a tad cheaper than Land Rovers and are also not marketed as machines that can get you into the depths of the Amazon basin and back by tomorrow. Also, of course, Land Rover's warranty is two years shorter than Kias. So I know who I think should be ranked absolute bottom.

Unreliable Expensive Cars

Now you know why I drive a Fiat Panda costing GBP5000 new with a three year warranty. Not much of a car perhaps but at least it goes. I have had two of these Polish made Fiats and the quality is superb. They are completely reliable as well as cheap.

Let's here it for the Landcruiser

Have to agree with the many who have advocated a Japmobile. I used to have a Range Rover, and shared your misery; endless lists of faults and defective parts at every service, finally a terminal argument with the dealer over the 'flat battery' problem. Now have a Landcruiser VVTi 4litre V6; runs like a 4x4 Swiss watch. Thirsty, but now converted to LPG and the best decision I ever made (make sure you find one with the spare mounted on the tailgate for this to be an option though). Cannot recommend highly enough.

Land Rover Dog and Lemon Guide

Thanks for your website. I am delighted that you have the resources to take on LR and not back down.. I live in NZ and the Disco 3 would (if it weren't a lemon) be a perfect car for me here but, given the research I have done, I have to force myself to refrain from buying one, although I would dearly love to. So here's my idea: why not add a button to your web site that people can click to be counted in the number of lost sales as a direct result of your web site. That way LR will get direct visibility of the damage that is being done by their poor product and poor aftercare. One more thought, there is a fabulous NZ car buyer's review called the Dog & Lemon Guide. It is on line now. The author HATES the Disco 3 and says you would have to be either very rich or very stupid to buy one. Why don't you send him a link to your web site and ask him to reference it in his review of the Disco 3. Good luck Matthew

Land rover hell

According to my experience I have seen people like this RR for its styling and for the name title but eventually they find that all the money spent was as it was over priced not worth after all. I have realized that although these give a very comfortable ride as Mercedes, BMW and Audi they are really 'fashion' vehicles. Same cannot be said to a Lexus it carries the ''fashion' title but it serves the purpose all round specially in way of style and reliability. Money is certainly well spent on a Japanese vehicle as they very rarely give big time trouble which would empty ones wallet.

Incompetent dealers, workshops - and owners

I completely understand your frustration when your expensive car breaks down, the workshop cannot fix it and/or the dealer doesn't honor the warranty. But you have to acknowledge the fact that ignorance is common when it comes to Land Rovers and Range Rovers. And as far as I can read, ignorance is common among most of you gyus, too, both when buying and when using. If all you know about cars is which is the front and the back of it, maybe you should buy a Toyota. A lot more boring, but safe and simple. Especially when your Land Rover dealership are crooks and the workshop knows just as little about cars as yourselves. I have found a great mechanic, a true Land Rover expert, and I have learned a lot myself. Enough to understand when the dealer is way off and when he's trying to fool me. Sorry guys, this is a car for the enthusiast, not for the ignorant and indifferent.

lr3 land rover

Bought a used low mile lr3 these expensive British junks should be banned from america. Inferior quality the oem parts dont last and they suck gas like crazy .worst car I have ever owned a complete waste of money a total disappointment!

Poor Build Quality Awful Car

Have got a 2008 Rangerover sport - it had done 28K miles - after a year of owning it - the electronic park brake got stuck and was a huge expense to fix. Shortly after that the rear anti roll bar was leaking - another huge expense. Few months later someone stole the tyre from underneath the car. Then we suddenly had a good run of 1 year without problems. After 50K miles front suspension arms have gone wheel bearings have gone and front anti roll bar has gone another 4.5K to fix all. Just got the car back - and now the right side turbo has gone. Another 5K fix Thankfully i had bought warranty direct extended warranty and they have covered most of the major issues above. Range rovers are nice to look at - but are built so poorly - its not worth owning this car. Not just mine is like this - friends who have their range rovers have had untold other issues. Next car now is a GERMAN one definity

Land Rover

I spent 2 years working for Land Rover and there is one thing I now for sure, speaking from experience, NEVER BUY LAND ROVER, they are with out doubt the worst vehicles you can buy anywhere. Those with huge dealership bills are buying the lowest quality, most expensive parts on any market, and Land Rover are laughing at you because you keep buying them thinking that you owners look good on the road in those Discovery 3's, even when they are broken down on the curb. The defender is no better, with the Ford transit engine in it, they are wearing out at 60,000 miles, with oil pumps on recall, cam chains snapping, gearboxes, transfer boxes and diffs all shredding gear teeth, as well as all the other junk on defenders like those brake calipers with no flexible boots on the pistons, so they seize up and you buy more because some news paper review said they are the best off road.... you must be joking. I know the Land Rover discovery 1, 2, and 3's, defenders TD5, TDCi 2.2 and 2.4, and the Freelander 1 and 2 inside out, you can ask me any question you like about any of these vehicles on any technical level, and I can reassure you there is nothing more unreliable than Land Rovers. People, you must buy Japanese, they are rated by Which? as the most reliable in the UK, with all 5 top spots going to Japanese manufacturers, and Land Rover the most unreliable for the last 7 years in a row. But even if you still didn't believe that, just take a look round on the forums about how unreliable they are..... are all these people wrong?

LR and Cherokee SRT

Cherokee and or Jeep products are also poorly rated as to reliability. Just what you need when forty miles from a road in deepest Nevada
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