2012 Car Complaint Index lists top 20 vehicles with complaints

PITTSBURGH -- It’s the list no car manufacturer wants to be on. The 2012 Car Complaint Index lists the top 20 vehicles with complaints.

Topping the list is the Toyota Prius. It may be the top-selling hybrid, but drivers are complaining about them.

"It's more braking, sudden acceleration complaints," said Pittsburgh lemon law attorney Christina Gill Roseman.

The index is published annually. Consumer advocate Jack Gillis, author of the 2012 Car Book, and the Center for Auto Safety, analyze the vehicle complaints on file with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The complaint index is based on a ratio of the number of complaints to the number of sales for each vehicle.

“The higher the number, the more concerned you should be about the vehicle,” explained Gill Roseman.

The Hyundai Sonata ranks second.

Gill Roseman said “I’m seeing a lot of pulling, a significant pull to the left or the right.”

A surprising vehicle lands in the No. 3 spot: the BMW 5 Series.  Most complaints are with the high pressure and low pressure fuel pump.

"These are very serious issues," said Gill Roseman. ”If you're on the turnpike and your car only lets you go 40 mph, that's not terribly safe.”

Rounding out the top four list is the Kia Sorrento.

"Loss of power issues, transmission, check engine lights those issues on the Sorrentos," Gill Roseman explained.

Gill Roseman said if a car you like or own is on the list to investigate and find out what sort of complaints they have and just how much that feature means to you.

“If they are very consistent with the same complaint about a safety feature, then maybe you ought to look for something else,” she said.