Most new cars are pretty good these days, but not all new cars are created equal. Some cars are just outclassed by their competition, while others are just not very good. If you’re going to spend your hard-earned cash on a new car, you deserve to get the best for your money, and with so many choices out there, it can be hard to figure out what to avoid and what’s a great deal.
Consumer Reports tests nearly every new car, though, and recently released a list of the 12 cars that scored the lowest in its battery of tests. Even for a large discount, you’re probably better off avoiding the cars on this list. So which cars should you stay away from? Click through to find out.
12. Lexus IS
We enjoyed our time in the sportiest version of the Lexus IS, but Consumer Reports only gave it a 58. Considering that many of the complaints had to do with performance, the F-Sport package is probably a necessity if you want it to drive like a sports sedan. The IS gets dinged for its snug interior, infotainment controls, and the IS 250’s poor fuel economy. Reliability has ranged from good to great, but that’s not enough to salvage the Lexus IS for Consumer Reports.
11. Jeep Patriot
The Jeep Patriot scores slightly better than its sibling, the Compass, but other than its slightly higher score of 56, the story is largely the same. The Patriot was also refreshed for 2014, but it’s already “pretty much outdated and outclassed.” A cheap interior, small windows, slow acceleration, and poor gas mileage were the chief complaints. And while reliability has been average and the ride is compliant, other than that, there isn’t much to praise.
10. Nissan Versa Sedan
The Nissan Versa is roomy and fuel efficient, but beyond that, there’s not a lot that it offers. It’s noted for having received one of the lowest scores on the Consumer Reports Owner Satisfaction Survey, which makes its score of 56 unsurprising. With a cheap interior and a noisy engine that tends to drone, the Versa isn’t nearly as competitive as some of its rivals.
9. Fiat 500
Another subcompact makes the list, tying the Jeep Compass with a 52. As a city car, the Fiat 500 makes a great case for itself, being fun to drive at low speeds, easy to park, and fuel efficient. It has some major downsides though, like slow acceleration, a choppy ride, and excessive cabin noise. It’s also not quite as fuel efficient as you would expect for its small stature.
8. Jeep Compass
The Jeep Compass received a refresh just last year, and while it definitely looks more Jeep-like, it’s still outdated and uncompetitive, scoring only a 52. The main complaints are the sluggish engine that only returns 22 miles per gallon overall, a basic interior, uncomfortable seats, and a cramped cabin. With below average reliability as well, it’s hard to justify buying this baby Jeep; but the Renegade may soon revitalize Jeep’s small offerings.
7. Fiat 500L
The first car on this list not to score below a 50, the Fiat 500L has a number of things going for it, but not quite enough to justify the compromises that come with it. The automatic transmission is pretty good, but if you go with the dual-clutch option, you can expect a jerky ride around town. Unfortunately, there isn’t an option to get rid of the stiff ride, flat seats, an uncomfortable driving position, and poor reliability. It is spacious and handles well though, so Consumer Reports scores it right down the middle with an even 50.
6. Toyota Tacoma
Considering how well the Tacoma sells, it may be surprising to see it on this list. It hasn’t received a major redesign in quite a while, though, and as a result, it’s uncomfortable and feels dated. It was also dinged for its poor handling and long braking distances. There’s a new Tacoma coming, but for now, Toyota will have to accept the Tacoma’s score of 49.
5. Toyota Yaris
The Toyota Yaris got a new look for 2015, but considering its score of 47, it should have gotten a lot more. “The Yaris is noisy, its ride is choppy, and its driving position is awkward with stretched arms and bent knees and the front seats are uncomfortable. Plus, handling lacks agility and acceleration is slow.” It might seem like Consumer Reports is picking on subcompacts for being inexpensive, but it actually has fairly nice things to say about cars like the Kia Rio and Honda Fit.
4. Scion tC
The Scion tC definitely looks sporty, but, “[t]he tC’s sporty looks write a check that the car’s performance capabilities just can’t cash.” Scoring only a 44, Consumer Reports took particular issue with the tC’s exhaust, which tries to sound sporty but ends up quickly becoming a dull drone. It also only gets 27 miles per gallon overall, which isn’t bad, but it’s also well below what you would expect these days.
3. Chevrolet Spark
Nearly 50% better than the Mitsubishi Mirage, the Chevrolet Spark still failed to impress Consumer Reports, scoring a lackluster 42. It offers a lot of features for the money, but in daily driving, it, “grate[s] on your nerves.” It’s loud, slow, uncomfortable, and doesn’t even get very good fuel economy for its size. Considering how small and slow it is, you’d think the Spark could at least do better than 31 miles per gallon overall.
2. Mitsubishi i-MiEV
The i-MiEV is inexpensive as far as electric cars are concerned, but in a classic case of, “You get what you pay for,” Mitsubishi doesn’t deliver a car that’s very good, even for such little money. Complaints include the i-MiEV’s short range and long charge time, limited available features, slow acceleration, uncomfortable ride, poor handling, the complicated radio, dim headlights, and a weak heater. As a result, the i-MiEV only scored a 35.
1. Mitsubishi Mirage
There’s a lot to be said for inexpensive, basic transportation, and the Mitsubishi Mirage bills itself as just that. At $13,000, it’s one of the least expensive cars on sale today. That said, Consumer Reports found the Mirage to be entirely unimpressive, giving it an abysmal score of 29 (yes, that’s out of 100). Poor handling, excessive noise and vibration, slow acceleration, and a cheap feel led to the Mirage being called a “regrettable car.”
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