Most people that write about cars do it because they love the things. For some lunatics (ourselves included), cars can be a source of unadulterated joy. They can mean freedom, self-expression, and even become an extension of who we are. That’s why there are a number of great car magazines and websites for people like us.
But for everyone else, cars are just cars. They get us from point A to point B, and should do it with as little hassle as possible. Most car buyers don’t want to hear about “passion” or “feel,” they want to know what’s reliable, what’s affordable, and what will last them the longest. So instead of turning to the “buff books” as they’re known, many car agnostic buyers turn to a trusted source when they need to buy a new car: Consumer Reports.
CR has spent nearly 80 years scientifically separating the wheat from the chaff and dispensing clear-headed consumer advice on everything from appliances to your next car. Recently, the magazine released its 10 best list for 2017. Now, hot on the heels of that, comes the 10 worst of the year. While CR’s standouts were a little surprising, its bottom of the barrel is chock with many of the usual suspects. Read on to see the 10 lowest rated cars of 2017, according to Consumer Reports.
10. Mitsubishi Mirage
At this point, we almost feel bad for the Mirage — almost. Mitsubishi’s subcompact is one of the cheapest cars on the market, and it won’t let you forget that anytime soon. A rough and buzzy three cylinder engine, and a shockingly cheap feeling interior make the Mirage a chore to drive, especially when there are dozens of better new and used cars out there at its mid-$10K price point.
9. Mitsubishi i-MiEV
At risk of piling on Mitsubishi, its now-discontinued i-MiEV ranks as CR’s worst electric vehicle on the market today. In many ways, the i-MiEV is a throwback to the earliest days of electric vehicles. It’s cramped, small, slow, and its 62 mile range (CR regularly say 59 miles) is laughably bad considering that the all-new Chevy Bolt has a 238 mile range. For its price in the low-$20k range, you could buy a Nissan Leaf and be a lot happier.
8. Fiat 500L
Here’s a fact we point out every time the poor 500L comes up in conversation: It’s built in the same factory that the Yugo was. The place must be haunted or something, because the 500L suffers from many of the same woes that the infamous ’80s econobox did. With a harsh ride, odd interior layout, Poor safety rating from the IIHS, and myriad reliability issues, the 500L has been a tough sell for Fiat dealers.
7. Chrysler 200
Like the i-MiEV, the 200 will be no more after 2017, but Chrysler dealers are still saddled with thousands of unsold sedans. The 200 isn’t godawful, but with demand for midsize sedans shrinking, and everyone from Toyota to Ford stepping up their game in the segment, the 200 feels outdated and unrefined. CR has the 200 as the lowest rated road test, lowest ranked in its predicted reliability rating, and lowest Overall Score in its class.
6. Toyota Tacoma
For decades, Toyota’s compact pickups have earned the reputation for being un-killable workhorses. But the average modern truck buyer expects a lot more comfort and convenience from their pickup then they did 20 years ago, and, for that, the Tacoma sticks out in all the wrong ways. A stiff ride, rocky on-road handling, uncomfortable interior, and early model reliability issues have left buyers and CR’s reviewers cold.
5. Dodge Journey
The Journey is still a reliable seller for Fiat Chrysler — in fact, it’s more popular than ever, but it’s also been on the market since 2008, and that’s an eternity for a model in the nascent crossover market. Compared to more modern competition, the Journey is cramped, loud, unreliable, and performed poorly in IIHS crash tests. Three-row crossovers may be all the rage right now, but even with the generous discounts and incentives, the Journey is bound to be a letdown.
4. Mercedes-Benz CLA
It’s a shame the CLA is such a disappointment. It’s undeniably good-looking, and when properly optioned, it does feel like a real Mercedes. But that costs many thousands over its low-$30K sticker price, and at that point, there are already better options out there — including the Mercedes C-Class. CR sank the CLA due to its harsh ride, cramped interior, and difficult entry and exit.
3. Maserati Ghibli
The Ghibli is a $70K-and-up luxury sedan with arrest-me good looks and a V6 that was developed by Ferrari. From there, it goes downhill fast — no pun intended. A cheap looking switchgear from the FCA parts bin, cramped back seat, and harsh ride just aren’t tolerable in luxury cars at this price point, and it makes the Ghibli stand out for all the wrong reasons. Ferrari DNA or not.
2. Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Discovery Sport is Land Rover’s entry-level SUV, but with the compact luxury segment getting more competitive by the year, “because it’s a Land Rover” isn’t as appealing as it once was. The smallest Land Rover is a capable off-roader, but its manners on the pavement are anything but refined. For a nearly $40K crossover, big compromises like that are a lot to live with.
1. Cadillac Escalade
The Escalade is a strong seller for Cadillac, but despite its popularity, it still starts at nearly $74K and can run as high as six figures with options. For that money, you’re in Range Rover, Lexus LX, Infiniti QX80, and Lincoln Navigator territory, and they all offer a better ride and more spacious interior. CR recommends a higher-spec Chevy Suburban or GMC Yukon Denali instead. We’re going to have to agree.