Ford Authority

Ford Quality Stumbles In Consumer Reports’ Latest Auto Reliability Survey

Consumer Reports recently shared the results of its annual 2020 automotive reliability survey. Unfortunately, the publication’s findings concluded that Ford quality suffered, with recently-redesigned vehicles like the 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Ford Escape experiencing significant quality issues, over one year after their respective launches. But the poor showing extended to other FoMoCo products, too. Out of 26 brands total, Ford now ranks 22nd overall, which represented a six place drop when compared to the 2019 study. FoMoCo’s luxury Lincoln brand also had a poor showing.

According to Consumer Reports, 2020 Ford Explorer owners experienced issues with the transmission, electronics, power equipment, and engine, among other problem areas. The three-row crossover experienced an extremely shaky launch, which seems to have contributed to its poor showing in the survey.

The new Escape, which seemingly launched without issue, also suffered from poor reliability, but not in any specific area. Although like the Explorer, it was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year.

Automotive quality depends on a number of factors, but it’s worth noting that pretty much every automaker struggles with new car launches. Unfortunately, CR also found problems with some of Ford’s slightly older models, removing the Ford Ranger from its recommended vehicle list due to owners reporting transmission fluid leaks and freezing infotainment screens. That is a near-180 for the mid-sized pickup, which until recently was earning accolades for its initial quality.

While the news certainly isn’t good for the Dearborn-based automaker, not all models fared poorly. The F-250, F-350, Expedition, Fusion, and Mustang achieved average reliability ratings. Additionally, the Ford Edge managed to do pretty well, scoring above average for its reliability.

Consumer Reports isn’t the only publication to take note of Ford’s recent quality issues. Earlier this year, Ford ranked below average in the 2020 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS). To its credit, Ford itself seems to be aware of the various problems causing these results. As we previously reported, CEO Jim Farley is focused on making sure Ford quality returns to respectable levels. Hopefully things improve in the near future.

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Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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  1. Mark L Bedel

    Folks…come on? This shouldn’t really even be an issue at this point in time…should it?

    1. Roy Chile’s

      Yes, Jim Farley needs to get off the race track and focus on the issues at hand

      1. Skip

        What better than to have a REAL car guy at the helm; racing instead of spending time in Yoga classes!

        1. Nate O

          My thoughts precisely, I love it, a guy who has a passion for cars. Everyone needs a break occasionally. What better break for a auto com. CEO than to be down where every nut and bolt counts.

  2. John

    How about the F150?

    1. Scott

      Junk….new 2019 had right rear axle seal leak
      2018….brake booster goes out
      Transmission horrible, seems always searching for right gear and big clunk when shifting from Park to Drive.
      Horrible dealers on getting these issued fixed too. Never buy another ford.

      1. Anonymously Anonymous

        Go buy a Tundra and join the LGBT community.

    2. Richard


  3. Don Lambert

    Ford Motor company quality is much better than reported. Ford has always been targeted for poor quality by companies due to the fact Ford doesn’t pay off the corrupt quality reviews like other companies.

    1. Noah

      Yeah doesn’t anybody know that J.D. Power is paid BS. How do you think that GM ranks high because their cars are crap and they pay J.D power. J.D. Power is corrupt!

    2. Pete Musick


    3. Toyotaloyalist

      Ford sucks every single Ford I have ever owned had problems so I left them for 20 years. I came back in 2015 to give them another try and we got a 2015 junk Fusion. 18k miles it left us stranded and turned out to be a cracked cylinder head in 3 places. Fixed under warranty and then 2 years later nothing but break downs. Its gone now and a beautiful Toyota Camry sits in its place. Never looking back again Ford can go out of business as far as I am concerned.

  4. Nate O

    My thoughts precisely, I love it, a guy who has a passion for cars. Everyone needs a break occasionally. What better break for a auto com. CEO than to be down where every nut and bolt counts.

  5. Chris D.

    IMO, the best way to interpret this data is to first understand the survey’s design and its limitations. Look beneath the surface.

    I highly recommend watching the video I pasted below. This guy (Alex on Autos) does a great job with his auto reviews on YouTube, and in this clip gives an in-depth critique of the CR and JD Powers studies.

    My own opinion is that quality has taken a hit since the product onslaught of 2011-2012 (e.g. MyFord Touch, Powershift, too many recalls, etc). FordTechMakuloco is a good guy to follow on YouTube. This is what he’s observed as a Ford tech as well.

    I’m disappointed that Bill Ford allowed this to happen under his watch. I’m optimistic about Jim Farley however, because I believe he’s the right guy for the job. A passionate lifelong Ford lover/car guy at the top is what we need.

  6. Edward Bryan

    Been a customer of ford for 40 2017 explorer spent 2 the dealership in Hurricane WVa.For an axle another 4 days waiting for the warrantee people to pay there part.REALLY.I had my cost me my entire vacation this year

  7. William Blackwell

    I’m a 26 year Auto Technician in the private industry . I work on all makes and models on a daily basis. I recently purchased a 2020 F150 4×4 with the 10 speed transmission. My truck is constantly slamming in and out of gear ,makes all kinds of noises ,can’t be good for the longevity of the drive train. Chevrolet has the same 10 speed transmission in there trucks. The Fords do seem more reliable than the dodge or chevys.

  8. John van Woudenberg

    So I bought a 2015 F-150 at about 40,000 mi front wheel bearing hub went cost me about $600 to change.. at 95,000 mi the throttle body failed just before a vacation trip cost me about $800.. I’ve heard there’s been recalls on the throttle body Not sure if mine should have been covered but it wasn’t. Happy with the truck as far as the power of the twin turbo and the ride.. The panoramic sunroof is a nightmare It makes noises anytime you ride down a bumpy road so I’ll probably leave Ford and go to another brand

  9. Bruce Ells

    These consumer groups really need to focus on something other than recalls to rate reliability. I’d much rather have a recall than be left with a broke down vehicle. Honda and Toyota avoid recalls just for so they can get higher scores. I’ve been driving Ford trucks for 35 years and never had one break down and leave me on the side of the road.

  10. DOC0TO60

    I bought one of the first Edge ST’s. Love the 2.7 twin turbo. Trans is ok in automatic but useless with paddle shifters. One BIG issue with trans is that 3rd is right on top of 2nd and far away from 4th. This results, even in max acceleration, with the trans going from 2nd to 4th, skipping 3rd. So much for holding the power curve!
    Ford had announced in 2018 that the new ST would do 0 to 60 in 5.4 seconds. Pipe dream, partly due to the bad gearing. Realistically, car reviewers put it at 6.0 – big difference to those laying down 50 grand for a performance car! In addition, the paddle shifters are useless; take up to 2 seconds to do a shift – not a performance plus. I have found out through technical contacts that the physical gears were made that way on purpose – God only knows why. My dealer told me I can have an after market tune done BUT that would void my 5 year warranty. The 2021 ST will have a 7 speed trans – probably dropped 3rd gear in the 8 speed!!

  11. Justin

    Don’t ever get the panoramic sunroof, leaks, cracks and reliability issues for days, plus it just keeps the car hot during the summer

  12. DOC0TO60

    I haven’t had any problems with my ST as far as the panoramic roof. In fact, other than the sub standard trans issue, I’ve been very pleased with the ST. I’m in process of attempting to get a tune through SSI in California. Been told all the shifting problems will disappear and I’ll get appx. 90 more HP AND the same or better gas mileage. I’m in a holding pattern because there is no template available for the ST yet and SCT is taking it’s time developing one to give to SSI.

  13. Mannix71

    I purchased a new 2018 F150 XLT in 2019. The 5.0 litre V8 performs beautifully but emits many odd sounds (off throttle rattle and ticking at idle – it sounds like a diesel). The off throttle rattle is loud and especially annoying as it sounds like a loose heat shield is vibrating against metal. The 5.0 litre V8 consumes more oil than I would have expected of a new engine (the V6 in my 2017 Explorer hardly consumed any oil at all). Why not have stayed with the iron cylinder sleeves? The transmission is occasionally rough but generally smooth. The iffy range seems to be between 2nd and 5th gears. Another annoyance: the front doors locks freeze up in winter. You can open the doors but good luck getting them closed afterwards. You can’t be in a hurry if you wake up and it’s way below the freezing point outside.
    Ford quality control on the wane? I think the answer is obvious.

  14. Chris Mitchell

    Totally agree 2013 f350 sun roof broke I fixed it.
    Eats batteries has a parasitic draw somewhere let it sit for a week and cross your fingers. Hope it starts I’ve just read 2020 owners having the same issue. I’m dam tired of buying new batteries Ford had told me too bad basically. Bring it in we love to charge you more money for nothing.


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