Each model can be grouped into generations – a collection of years where the cars are continuously produced and very few, if any, changes are made. Once something major is changed, say a brand new engine, automakers typically desigate a new generation.
Sorting models by their generation gives us a clearer roadmap of potential problems. If a problem trend pops up in the first year of a generation, you can bet on it showing up in future generation years too.
Is our generation data perfect? Nah. Truth is manufacturers don't always make it clear when a new generation begins. And because they hate clarity, they'll even let certain generations last longer in different countries. When in doubt, we stick with data about US models.
In other words, we do our best to keep our generation data as accurate as possible so we can predict problems and help you out. Use it as a guide for making your decisions. Or don't (but you really should).
Answers to the most frequently asked questions
- What Are Vehicle Generations?
Generations are groups of model years where the vehicles are continuously produced, use similar engineering, and share features. Generational data is not always cut-and-dry – manufacturers might not always release generation information, some generations might last longer in different countries, and various trim levels and model variants can make the whole thing confusing. We do our best but make no guarantees about our generation data. When in doubt, we stick with data about US models.
- Why Are Some Vehicles Missing a 1st / 2nd / 3rd Generation?
You might notice that some of our data starts at generation 5, 6, etc. So what happened to the older generations? One of two things. 1. some models have been around a long time and we don’t have any complaint or NHTSA data about them. 2. some new models share the same platform as existing models, so we typically tie them together. For instance, a new hybrid vehicle might be introduced during the 5th generation of its non-hybrid counterpart. We’ll typically start the hybrid’s generation at 5, unless it’s otherwise noted.
- What is PainRank™? Where Does it Come From?
PainRank™ is a CarComplaints.com algorithm that uses complaint data from owners (the average mileage of failures, the cost to make repairs, etc), relative complaints analysis, sales numbers, NHTSA data, & owners’ own vehicle rankings to come up with a number representing how much pain a car inflicts on its owners. The higher the PainRank™ score, the more painful a car is to own (typically).