The Most Disappointing Cars on the Road in 2018
Whether someone is buying a luxury vehicle or a humble car for the daily commute, everyone has expectations. According to data from Consumer Reports, many vehicles on the road in 2018 are falling short of the mark.
Using data from over 500,000 vehicle owners, the nonprofit testing agency crafted ratings for nearly every model for sale in America. Hot tickets like the Tesla Model S and Porsche 911 could not rank any higher for owner satisfaction. That won’t surprise anyone.
However, you might be surprised how many people were thrilled with their Toyota Prius purchase. Maybe Americans are practical after all. Meanwhile, the cars people regretted buying turned out to be a mix of luxury SUVs and budget cars that started annoying people as soon as they drove them off the lot.
Here are the most disappointing cars on the road in 2018, according to Consumer Reports research.
10. Dodge Grand Caravan
Chrysler had a big hit with Pacifica, and that high-quality minivan makes Dodge Grand Caravan appear even more lacking. Owners grumbled about the Grand Caravan’s lackluster fuel economy, ancient infotainment system, and poor safety suite.
Overall, barely half of Grand Caravan buyers said they’d buy one again. Compared to Honda Odyssey (87%) or Chrysler Pacifica (82%), Dodge’s entry in the segment is a major disappointment.
Next: Even a tiny Fiat should get the basics right.
9. Fiat 500
When you’re talking about a subcompact car that starts under $15,000, people should certainly temper their expectations. However, even a mini vehicle needs to get things like driving position and interior controls right.
Owners reported that Fiat 500 fails to do even that. Acceleration was also a drag outside of Abarth and electric models, making the 500 a dud in the market’s bargain-basement section.
Next: Ford’s work van earned a reputation for subpar fuel economy and zero comforts.
8. Ford Transit Connect
Most people think of Ford Transit Connect as a work van, but this model falls short of even those modified expectations.
Consumer Reports surveys showed owners unhappy with Transit Connect’s fuel economy, interior comfort, third-row accessibility, and cabin controls. No van scored worse in the 2018 rankings.
Next: Even the luxury version of Nissan Pathfinder came up short.
7. Infiniti QX60
Among luxury midsize SUVs, Tesla Model X and Audi Q7 set the standard with nearly 90% of customers saying they would buy one again. At the bottom of that 13-vehicle list, you’ll find Infiniti QX60.
Nearly one in two QX60 owners said they wouldn’t purchase another one. Common complaints revolved interior comfort, third-row access, and overall fuel economy. Similar complaints landed Nissan Pathfinder — on which the QX60 is based — on this list in previous years.
Next: Another Dodge — this time an SUV — disappointed a shocking number of owners.
6. Dodge Journey
Clearly, Dodge Journey’s combination of poor fuel economy, clumsy transmission, and cramped cabin isn’t working out for consumers. Out of 26 SUVs of similar size, Journey ranked dead-last in customer satisfaction for 2018.
To pile on, Consumer Reports testers said it wasn’t worth buying with steep dealer incentives. They said you should pass it by at the rental counter, too.
Next: Even America’s cheapest car struck people as overpriced.
5. Nissan Versa
You can’t buy a cheaper car than the Nissan Versa Sedan ($12,110) on the U.S. market. However, people still expected more from this rolling appliance.
It’s noisy, clumsy, and uncomfortable, with scary crash-test ratings to boot. Even the little-loved Chevy Sonic and Fiat 500 fared better than Versa in owner satisfaction.
Next: We’ve never understood the appeal of this odd-looking, foreign-built Chevy crossover.
4. Chevrolet Trax
Whether you want the versatility of a true SUV, the stellar economy of a subcompact car, or the feeling of pride from buying American, you won’t get any of the above from Chevrolet Trax.
However, according to owner surveys, you will get poor visibility, an uncomfortable cabin, and aggravating technology at the control panel. Somehow, the epic flop known as the Fiat 500X ranked higher in owner satisfaction than Trax.
Next: You can dress up an old Honda Civic, but you can’t get people to like it.
3. Acura ILX
According to owner surveys, fewer than 50% of Acura ILX felt satisfied with their vehicle purchase. This model, which runs on the previous-generation Honda Civic platform, featured a boatload of complaints.
People grew to hate the engine noise, jerky ride, stuttering transmission, uncomfortable seats, and overall value. The only surprise was ILX wasn’t the most disappointing car, as it was in the 2017 rankings.
Next: Nissan brands claimed their third spot on the list with a compact flop.
2. Nissan Sentra
When you think of satisfaction in a compact car, you have to move the traditional goal posts. You won’t feel anything like the thrill of a Mustang or Challenger here. Instead, you have to set your sights on reliability, handling, pleasantness on the road, and the like.
Nissan Sentra didn’t deliver on any of those fronts for owners. Of the 16 compacts in its segment, owners got the least satisfaction from this model. Recent improvements to Sentra have yet to move the needle for a perennially disappointing car.
Next: People expect much more from a Mercedes.
1. Mercedes-Benz GLA
No one should expect the cheapest Mercedes crossover to deliver on the brand’s reputation. However, you can expect more than the GLA has delivered for owners.
The same powertrain issues folks had with the Mercedes CLA turned up in this version of the platform. Meanwhile, the experiment with tiny, rather expensive Benz models continues to deliver subpar results. GLA is the most disappointing car on the road in 2018.
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