Sometimes, cars are popular for reasons that don’t translate to long-term ownership. Consumer Reports collected a list of popular new cars that might give owners more trouble than necessary. In exchange, some other cars and SUVs might serve drivers better in the long run.
Consumer Reports says to avoid the Volkswagen Jetta
While the 2021 Volkswagen Jetta is a popular car among drivers, Consumer Reports says it might not be worth the headache. The Jetta has a fairly low predicted reliability score of one out of five and an owner satisfaction score of three out of five. The overall score was 50 out of 100, which is still fairly low. The price is $18,995 to $28,045.
CR suggests the 2021 Toyota Corolla or the 2021 Nissan Sentra instead. The Corolla has high scores for both the predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. It was ranked number three out of 17 compact cars and had impressive fuel economy. Priced at $20,025 to $28,310.
The Sentra is a bit more affordable at $19,460 to $21,800 and still has impressive fuel economy. In addition, it is a green choice and has many standard active safety features.
The Ford Escape is a popular new car
The 2021 Ford Escape did not fare well in the Consumer Reports scoring. It scored an overall 46 out of 100 on the test and came in 15th out of 24 compact SUVs. In addition, the Escape has a fairly low predicted reliability score of one out of five and an owner satisfaction score of three out of five. Priced at $25,555 to $38,885, it is a bit expensive for what you get.
CR suggests the 2021 Mazda CX-5 or the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox instead. The Mazda CX-5 comes with two engine choices, seven trim level options and is offered in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. The non-turbo engine gets 187 hp, and the turbo version offers 227 hp. It is even a bit cheaper at $25,370 to $37,505. The Equinox is priced from $23,800 but has OK scores otherwise.
Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend the Honda Passport
The Honda Passport is considered a midsized SUV with alright fuel economy. It scored a 64 out of 100 overall and has average predicted reliability scores. It has an overall combined EPA-estimated fuel economy of 21 mpg with 14 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The 2021 Honda Passport starts at $32,790.
CR suggests you might like the 2021 Ford Edge instead. It has better reliability scores and starts at $32,750. Consumer Reports found the Edge got one extra mile per gallon for an estimated 22 mpg overall. That is 15 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. If that isn’t in your lane, the 2021 Nissan Murano has similar specs, scores, and prices.
The Ford Explorer is a midsize SUV
The 2021 Ford Explorer scored 42 out of 100 overall on the Consumer Reports tests. “Even though it was recently redesigned, the Explorer is only a midsize SUV in a category with some strong competitors,” the author noted. It has an OK fuel economy of 21 mpg and a pretty high price of $32,675 to $54,350. The predicted reliability was one out of five, and there are just better options for a similar price on the market.
A popular alternative is the Kia Telluride. Edmunds calls the 2021 Kia Telluride a top-rated SUV. The company also gave the 2021 Kia Telluride the best midsize 3-row SUV for 2021. The EPA-estimated fuel economy comes in at 21 mpg overall, 19 mpg in the city, and 24 mpg on the highway. It starts at $32,190. Another solid choice is the 2021 Mazda CX-9. It gets an overall 22 mpg and starts at $34,160. The predicted reliability and owner satisfaction both scored well.
There are a lot of popular new cars and SUVs recommended by Consumer Reports. Some of the options on this list might not be reliable enough for the rigmarole of everyday life. There are plenty of dependable new cars and SUVs on the road, but the most popular new cars might not work for all needs.