Forget the idea that the car is on the way out, because in virtually every category, we’re living in the golden age of the automobile. Today’s new cars are safer, faster, more powerful, more reliable, and more comfortable than ever before, and they’re getting better by the year. The worst cars on the market today can blow the doors off the worst ones from 20 years ago in almost every conceivable way. We don’t need to worry about things like rust, dangerous build quality, or woeful crash protection on new cars anymore. We can climb into the most basic car and comfortably cross the country in it, maintaining highway speeds, and brake in a safe distance should the need arise.
But what happens when the march of progress starts? Modern or not, there are still bad new cars out there; they’re just measured differently than they used to be. Some models are left to wither on the vine once a company decides to phase them out, and with technology advancing so quickly, they tend to age quick. On the flip side, early production models are always the most problematic as manufacturers work out the kinks, so if you have your heart set on the first car off the line, you should probably be ready to make a few trips to the dealer in that first year.
With a number of new cars slated for a refresh or launch in 2018, and nearly as many preparing to shuffle off this mortal coil by then, we found five that you might want to skip over if you’re planning on doing some car shopping in 2017. Whether they’re young and immature or at the end of their life-cycle, here are five models to avoid next year.
1. Chrysler 200
Chrysler had incredibly high hopes for its handsome but bland 200 when it debuted in 2015. But the sedan hasn’t been able to keep up with rivals like the Mazda6, Ford Fusion, or Honda Accord in terms of performance or appeal, and it quickly fell to the back of the pack. Rather than attempt a rescue, FCA decided to cut its losses and declare the 200 (and platform-mate Dodge Dart) dead after 2018. You may be able to get one for cheap (production has stopped as dealer lots have been glutted with them in the wake of the announcement), but with a number of its midsize rivals getting a refresh in ’17 and ’18, the Chrysler will only become a harder sell.
2. Mitsubishi Lancer
The Lancer was a great sporty compact sedan when it debuted back in 2008. Today, it’s ancient, and between its dated styling (even with the recent facelift) and a cabin that’s well below 2016 standards in both quality and comfort, it’s one of the harder sells on the market today. On a positive note, this car will be fondly remembered as the basis for the mighty Evo X, one of the best performance cars of the past 10 years. But on the other hand, Mitsubishi has announced that there won’t be a next-generation Lancer, so things probably aren’t going to get any better for it before Mitsu (now Nissan) finally pulls the plug.
3. Alfa Romeo Giulia
We hate to include it on the list because it looks great and performs like a true BMW M5-fighter on paper. But pre-production examples of Alfa Romeo’s great return to the American market have been lambasted by the automotive press for quality control issues, resulting in a PR disaster for parent company FCA. We’re still holding out hope that Alfa can work out the kinks before then, but you might want to wait a year or two before you pick one up.
4. Tesla Model 3
The Model 3 is another one of the new cars we hate to put here, but hear us out: Tesla needs to ramp up production at least five-fold by 2018 to meet its target production numbers, which means it needs to scale up every aspect of its operation in the next 20 or so months, and that won’t happen without its share of growing pains. There are 373,000 people hankering for the $35K EV, and if the messy rollout of the Model X is any indicator, there could be some serious teething problems for Tesla’s mass-market savior. If you want a Model 3 and aren’t already on the waiting list, it’s probably better if you give it a couple years to mature.
5. Lincoln Navigator
The Lincoln Navigator was America’s first full-size luxury SUV, and for years it battled with the Cadillac Escalade for dominance in its segment. Today, the Caddy outsells the Lincoln by nearly two-to-one, and despite a facelift, the Navigator just isn’t different enough from the Ford Expedition (yes, Ford still builds those) to win over many buyers. An all-new Navi is coming for 2018 however, and if the Navigator Concept seen at this year’s New York Auto Show is any indication, it could steal some sales back from its arch rival. That means the only good thing about buying a ’17 model will probably be the massive rebate Lincoln offers once the ’18s hit the lots.