It wasn't cranky engines, shiftless transmissions or funky infotainment systems that sunk Mercedes-Benz last week in the Consumer Reports Car Brand Report Cards.
Several of Mercedes' newer vehicles, including the front-wheel-drive CLA sedan, suffered a variety of problems with loose-fitting trim, rattles and other minor maladies. That knocked the German automaker from ninth place on last year's report to 21st this year out of 28 brands.
It's important to note how the magazine defines reliable. "When we look at reliability, it includes anything that causes the consumer to return the car back to the dealership for repairs," said Jake Fisher, the organization's director of automotive testing.
The report card combines reliability data from Consumer Reports testing and surveys from magazine subscribers.
The organization called the CLA "unreliable" in a press release. Gripes mentioned by owners included one car with a broken door lock and another with an electronic stability control program that disabled itself five times, and the dealer couldn't fix it.
Fisher said many CLA owners complained of squeaks and rattles; the sunroof was replaced in one owner's car.