Skip to main content

How All 33 Generations Rank

Sorting models by their generation gives us a clearer picture of common problems across a group of similar vehicles. From there, we can assign scores to each generation to give you a basic picture of which to consider and those to avoid. The higher the score, the faster you should run away.

Rank Model Gen Years PainRank
33rd Mountaineer Gen 2 2002—2005 17.27
32nd Mariner Gen 1 2005—2007 10.45
31st Mariner Gen 2 2008—2011 9.91
30th Sable Gen 4 2000—2005 8.55
29th Monterey Gen 1 2004—2007 5.24
28th Cougar Gen 8 1999—2002 4.91
27th Milan Gen 1 2006—2011 4.48
26th Sable Gen 3 1996—1999 4.43
25th Mountaineer Gen 3 2006—2010 4.05
24th Grand Marquis Gen 4 2003—2011 3.94
23rd Grand Marquis Gen 2 1992—1997 3.88
22nd Grand Marquis Gen 3 1998—2002 3.62
21st Montego Gen 3 2005—2007 2.32
20th Mariner Hybrid Gen 1 2006—2007 1.89
19th Sable Gen 2 1992—1995 1.8
18th Tracer Gen 3 1997—1999 1.76
17th Mariner Hybrid Gen 2 2008—2011 1.71
16th Marauder Gen 3 2003—2004 1.65
15th Mountaineer Gen 1 1997—2001 1.62
14th Sable Gen 5 2008—2009 1.53
13th Mystique Gen 1 1995—2000 1.34
12th Villager Gen 2 1999—2002 1.04
11th Grand Marquis Gen 1 1984—1991 0.87
10th Lynx Gen 1 1986—1986 0.6
9th Topaz Gen 1 1987—1993 0.55
8th Cougar Gen 7 1989—1997 0.47
7th Villager Gen 1 1993—1998 0.41
6th Cougar Gen 6 1984—1988 0.36
5th Tracer Gen 2 1991—1996 0.32
4th Cougar Gen 5 1982—1982 0.3
3rd Sable Gen 1 1986—1991 0.25
2nd Tracer Gen 1 1988—1990 0.08
1st Capri Gen 1 1973—1977 0.0

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).