Least satisfying new sedans according to Consumer Reports readers highlights:
- Consumer Reports readers named the Kia Forte as the least satisfying new compact sedan and the Infiniti Q50 as the most disappointing compact luxury sedan
- If you want a new midsize sedan, Consumer Reports readers recommend avoiding the Volkswagen Passat and Nissan Altima
- While the 2022 Audi A6 and A7, as well as the Lexus ES, technically made the list, the Maserati Ghibli is less satisfying than all three
With crossovers, trucks, and SUVs increasingly dominating the market, car shopping involves fewer passenger cars these days. But though their numbers have dwindled, new sedans are still out there. However, while sedans remain viable vehicles for many drivers, not all the survivors serve up satisfaction. And according to a recent Consumer Reports reader survey, the seven models described below are some of the most disappointing.
Consumer Reports readers crowned the 2022 Kia Forte as the most disappointing new compact sedan
The Kia Forte doesn’t have the best reputation amongst Consumer Reports readers. Owners recently named it the most disappointing new car you can buy in 2022. And that also makes it CR‘s least satisfying new compact sedan. Only 47% of polled owners would buy a Forte again.
So, what is it about the Kia Forte that turns owners off? Mostly, it’s the difference between perception and reality. On the surface, the Forte is an affordable, stylish compact sedan with plenty of tech and decent standard safety features. However, while it offers good value for money, it’s not quite enough to make up for its drawbacks. The Forte’s CVT is buzzy and harsh, while its suspension is overly stiff without offering noticeable handling benefits, MotorTrend says. Also, its interior is rather noisy. And while rivals like the Honda Civic are more expensive, they’re also better sedans overall.
In short, the Forte is the most disappointing new compact sedan because it’s not satisfying to own or drive. That also explains why it’s Consumer Reports’ lowest-scoring compact car.
If you want a satisfying new large or midsize sedan, don’t get a 2022 Volkswagen Passat or Nissan Altima, Consumer Reports warns
While the Forte is CR’s lowest-ranked compact car, the 2022 Volkswagen Passat and Nissan Altima are more low-mid pack among midsize cars. But that still makes them the least satisfying new midsize sedans you can buy according to Consumer Reports readers. Only 57% of Passat owners and 55% of Altima owners would buy their cars again.
Interestingly, the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu and Maserati Ghibli fall between the Passat and Altima on the owner satisfaction scale. So, why does Volkswagen’s sedan end up on the disappointment list?
Firstly, CR hasn’t tested a 2022 Ghibli, so it can’t definitively comment on that new sedan. Secondly, the Malibu has a slightly higher overall score than the Passat, which likely contributed to this ranking. Also, Chevrolet has a slightly higher satisfaction score amongst Consumer Reports readers than Volkswagen. However, it’s arguably a moot point, because like the Ghibli, the Volkswagen Passat is done after 2022.
Nevertheless, even older Passats faired poorly in Consumer Reports surveys. Owners didn’t appreciate the styling and found the German sedans both poor value and not terribly comfortable. The 2022 Passat is also fairly slow, has dated infotainment tech, and poorly-calibrated brakes, MT says. It’s an OK new midsize sedan, but it’s not a great or even very good one. And that ‘meh’ feeling explains the owner dissatisfaction.
As for the 2022 Nissan Altima, it’s only slightly ahead of the Passat in many categories. True, it’s comfortable, efficient, and offers AWD. But while the turbocharged SR is decently quick, it doesn’t have the handling, braking, or steering prowess to back it up, MT reports. And while the non-turbo models are better balanced, the 2022 Altima simply has a “bland” driving experience, Consumer Reports notes. Plus, its interior is fine, not great, and the ride isn’t particularly well-damped.
So, like the Passat, the Nissan Altima is just a middle-of-the-road, OK new sedan. And while ‘OK’ suffices for a time, it rarely satisfies.
Compact luxury buyers just don’t like the 2022 Infiniti Q50
Overall, Infiniti doesn’t have the greatest reputation amongst Consumer Reports readers; they just named it the least-liked brand. And this disappointment spreads to the 2022 Q50. According to the CR surveys, only 40% of owners would buy their cars again. That makes it the least satisfying new compact luxury sedan.
What’s odd about this is Consumer Reports itself ranks the Infiniti Q50 as the #1 compact luxury car. And the survey responses indicate that owners like some of their cars’ aspects, especially the styling and excellent reliability. So, why all the disappointment?
Mostly, it comes down to age and value, or rather lack of the latter. The Q50 platform and powertrains have old roots that could use some significant refreshes, MT says. And Infiniti’s recent tech updates haven’t addressed its sedan’s often frustrating infotainment system. Also, for a new sports sedan, it’s not as refined as its rivals. To quote Consumer Reports, “there are some $30,000 midsized sedans that are quieter than the Q50.”
On paper, the 2022 Infiniti Q50 is a solid compact luxury sedan. However, in the real world, other cars are more enjoyable to own.
The 2022 Maserati Ghibli should be Consumer Reports’ most disappointing new midsize luxury sedan
Thus far, the new sedans on Consumer Reports readers’ ‘most disappointed’ list come with sub-60% satisfaction ratings. And that makes the three midsize luxury sedans named to it rather odd because their ratings are over 60%. According to the responses, the 2022 Audi A6, Lexus ES, and Audi A7 are the most disappointing midsize luxury sedans.
But to put things in perspective, the rating difference between the A7 and the most satisfying new luxury sedan, the Mercedes E-Class, is only 12%. 63% of A7 owners would buy their cars again, while 69% of A7 and ES owners would re-purchase their sedans. Admittedly, the Lexus ES isn’t exactly soul-stirring, but it’s still MotorTrend’s #3 midsize luxury sedan. Also, it’s comfortable, refined, spacious, and very reliable.
And while the 2022 A6 doesn’t offer the best value in the segment, that’s the only area where owners gave it a middling score. It’s also fairly reliable and offers composed handling as well as excellent interior materials. Plus, it’s MT’s #2 new midsize luxury sedan, and the A7 is #1.
Really, it’s the 2022 Maserati Ghibli that should be the most disappointing new midsize luxury sedan. Only 55% of owners would buy their cars again. Unfortunately, because of insufficient owner responses, Consumer Reports couldn’t break down exactly why. It’s a similar story with the 2022 A7. But since, as noted earlier, the Ghibli won’t see 2023, at least this unsatisfactory luxury car won’t be in dealers for much longer.
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