Jeep is Named America’s Worst Car Brand

Feb 23, 2022

Jeep has been ranked as America’s worst car brand for 2022, according to Consumer Reports.

Every year, Consumer Reports publishes a ranking of the best and worst car brands based on their “report cards” for each brand’s models. To answer,what is the worst brand of car for 2022?” they look at road-test performance, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety:

Road-Test Score: Vehicles are put through more than 50 tests and evaluations.

Predicted Reliability: Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Surveys are used to score each car brand based on problems reported by members in 17 trouble areas.

Owner Satisfaction: For this score, Consumer Reports asked their members if they would buy the same vehicle again.

Safety: Consumer Reports looked at any available crash-test results, and awarded extra points for crash-prevention systems.

The brands with model lineups that perform well consistently in all categories achieve the top places in the ranking. This year, Consumer Reports ranked Subaru, Mazda, and BMW as the top three car brands. The bottom of the lineup featured Mitsubishi, GMC, and, last (and apparently least,) Jeep.

The Jeep ranking as one of the worst car brands ever comes as no surprise to anyone in the automotive industry, to Jeep owners, or to any lemon lawyers, who, like our team at Timothy Abeel & Associates, regularly field calls from dissatisfied Jeep owners. While it’s hard to answer with certainty “what is the worst car brand?” the sheer number of dangerous problems makes Jeep a strong contender at the very least.

Which Jeep models are causing problems?

We receive complaints from owners of every model in the Jeep lineup – the Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Gladiator, Renegade, and Compass. Not one Jeep model has featured in the IIHS Top Safety Picks since 2019. Recent years have seen lower Jeep sales figures, a reduced market share, more complaints, and dwindling owner satisfaction, making it one of the worst car brands you could choose. The company has failed to meet the expectations of American buyers time and time again, which has made buying this car problematic, full of a number of risks.

In another hot off the press Consumer Reports survey, only 46% of Jeep Renegade and Jeep Compass owners said they would buy their vehicle again, ranking both Jeep models in the Top Ten Least Satisfying Cars. The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Compass are some of the most complained about cars on Jeep’s roster. The Jeep Wrangler ranks as one of Jeep’s worst vehicles in reliability rankings, and made Consumer Reports’ list of Top Ten Least Reliable Cars in 2020. CR also say there are significant reliability issues with the Gladiator this year. But why are Jeeps bad cars, and what specific quality issues continue to result in a poor experience for owners compared to other automakers? Let’s take a close look at the biggest issues that cause the low customer performance scores below.

What are common issues with Jeep SUVs, trucks, and crossovers?

Death Wobble

The infamous Jeep death wobble still generates numerous complaints despite the fact that Jeep announced a supposed fix for the issue in 2019. The death wobble appears as violent vibrations in the steering particularly after hitting an uneven road surface, and has been blamed on the solid front axle design. It is most often seen in the Jeep Wrangler, though we have received complaints of similar issues from owners of the Cherokee and the Gladiator. It is possible that these owners were experiencing a different problem though, such as the known loose steering in the Gladiator.

Steering Issues

Jeep owners have reported multiple different steering issues in their vehicles. The Gladiator is notorious for dangerously loose steering, which is worse at higher speeds and higher temperatures. (For more details, see our blog post on the Gladiator’s steering drift.) Grand Cherokee owners are complaining about failures in their power steering system. The power steering turns off unexpectedly and/or the dashboard lights up with alerts that the power steering (and sometimes other systems) is unavailable.

Defective Heated Seats

The Grand Cherokee also frequently has issues with its heated seats. They just don’t work. It may not be a safety issue but it is not what anyone wants from their new $40,000 SUV.

Transmission Problems

Jerking, rough idling, stiff shifting, complete inability to shift gears, damaged transmission coolant system. We have heard it all. Every model in the Jeep lineup seems to have issues with the transmission, some more serious than others. We have had complaints from Jeep owners who have been terrified because they were unable to change gears while driving their kids on the highway, and from owners of new Jeeps who have had to replace the entire transmission on their brand Jeep.

Battery and Electrical Issues

Complaints about electrical issues make up a large portion of Jeep owner complaints. The Grand Cherokee generates a lot of reports of TIPM failure, power steering issues, stalling, and complete loss of power. Gladiator and Compass owners describe total electrical systems failure including blasting radiator fans, loss of power steering, dashboard light up, failing ebrakes, and defective ESS batteries. The Wrangler has always been known for having electrical issues including failing batteries, warning lights, and total power loss.

Malfunctioning Infotainment System

Jeep, along with other FCA vehicles, uses the Uconnect infotainment system. Problems with the Uconnect system range from the radio turning off randomly to the entire shutting down and rebooting itself without warning. Multiple owners also complain that the touchscreen flickers intermittently or flashes brightly at night. The Grand Cherokee and the Compass seem to be particularly badly affected by problems with the Uconnect system, though it affects all models in the Jeep lineup.

Excessive Oil Consumption and Leaks

Problems with the excessive oil consumption in the Jeep Compass and the Jeep Cherokee have led to recalls and class action lawsuits. Given the continuing complaints that we receive about issues with draining oil in Jeep vehicles, this problem has not been fixed for all owners, which is just one of the reasons why Jeep is one of the worst car brands you could opt for.

We receive calls from Jeep owners across the country about all of these issues and more in their new Jeep. Some have been without their vehicle for months as it sits awaiting repair at their Jeep dealer. Most are making payments on their car note but have no vehicle, or are driving a rental vehicle that is not the car they bought and want.

At Timothy Abeel & Associates, we help these dissatisfied Jeep owners to understand their legal rights, and deal with the dealers or manufacturers of the worst car brands today. We help them to get compensation, a refund for the purchase price of their vehicle, or a replacement vehicle, and, under lemon law, the manufacturer pays our fees. If you think that you have a lemon Jeep, contact us for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to find out how we can help you too.

Experiencing Similar Issues?

If your car was manufactured between 2019 and 2024 we may be able to help. Contact us for more information.