Worst

Forbes’ Top 32 New Cars to Avoid

It’s that time of the year for Forbes’ “New Cars To Avoid” list.

Is This Valid?

Cars are a lot better than even 10 years ago, but there can still be some sorta-semi lemons in this year’s crop. The issues can range from dated designs to plunging resale values. Reliability can still be an issue, while wonky or dated technology factors into the criteria. 

Take a Look

Knowledge is power, and you need all of that and more when sitting across from the general sales manager of ABC dealership. So let’s take a look at what Forbes hath wrought:

32. Acura RLX

According to Forbes, the RLX lags behind in performance, accommodations, and brand cachet. The higher price also factors into the negative rating. On the JD Power Initial Quality study the RLX maintained just 47% of its purchase price after three years and after five years only 30%. Consumer Reports gave it a “minus-68” reliability rating out of a possible 100-plus. Yikes!

31. Cadillac ATS

Consumer Reports gave Cadillacs compact ATS an overall score of 57 out of 100, with a reliability rating of minus-120. It said the ATS was underpowered with a cramped seat and trunk, difficult egress and ingress, and confounding controls. Yep! It holds just 43% of its value after three years.

30. Chrysler 200

The Chrysler 200 never seemed to please auto journos, especially when compared to the competition. With an overall CR score of 51-53 and reliability rating of minus-46, it puts the 200 in the “meh” list of the competition. CR says it will retain only 41% of the value after three years.

29. Chevy Suburban

Scoring below average in JD Power’s criteria for Initial Quality, Dependability, and Design/Performance. While handily fulfilling customers’ needs, it’s big. Its bigness makes it less than nimble. It’s expected to retain just 47% of its value after three years.

28. Dodge Journey

With an estimate by JD Power that after five years the Journey will retain less than a quarter of its original value, no wonder it landed on this list. CR says reliability is another problem. A completely new Journey is slated to be out in the next year or so.

27. Ford Fiesta

Seeing good fuel economy numbers but finding the three-cylinder engine lacking, CR thought it overpriced with poorly designed controls and tight rear seat. But their reliability score of minus-267 should be a warning to potential buyers. 

26. Ford Focus

Similar problems as sister car Fiesta, the Focus fared better in reliability with a minus-118 CR score. Awkward controls, tight rear seat, and reliability were shared bugaboos. 

25. Dodge Dart

Similar to Chrysler 200’s scores and comments, mostly because it’s the same car with different colors and interiors.

24. Infinity Q50

Consumer Reports gave the Q50 an overall 57 score, with a minus-64 reliability rating. Its main problem is that European cars in this segment do a better job in all categories. JD Power says it will retain only 32% of its value after five years.

23. Jeep Cherokee

While disliking the Jeep’s four-cylinder engine and nine-speed automatic transmission, CR like the V6 and infotainment system. Their overall score of 40-47 combined with a “poor” reliability rating puts it at 23 on Forbes’ list.

22. Jeep Compass

Engine noise, acceleration, comfort, rear visibility, cornering, and braking all received low ratings by CR. They gave an overall score of 43 with a “poor” reliability rating. JD Power estimates maintaining only 32% of its value after only three years. 

21. Jeep Patriot

The Jeeps keep coming on Forbes’ list. Since the Patriot is the same under the skin as a Compass, it makes sense it would fall somewhere close to the same rating.

20. Nissan Pathfinder

Other than its generous interior, good egress and ingress, and second-row seat, CR found little to rave about the Pathfinder. JD Power rates it retaining only 44% of its value after three years and 28% after five years.

19. BMW 7 Series

You would not expect to see BMW’s flagship on a list like this, but here it is right in the middle of it. CR went after BMW for the 7 Series’ weight, tech-heaviness, and bad handling. Ratings-wise it’s one of the worst overall values and most expensive operating costs in this segment. Resale is bad as well.

18. Cadillac XTS

The XTS ranks as one of the worst values according to CR, with the Chevy Impala offering equal features for a lot less money. JD Power gives the thumbs down for performance and initial quality as well.

17. Fiat 500L

You knew fiats would start showing up, and here we are. The L was one of CR’s worst-rated vehicles in 2018, with a score of only 30 out of 100 points. It also warns that the 500L has one of the worst resale values of any new car.

16. Jeep Wrangler

A lot of FCA products are showing up on this list, which is unfortunate. The Wrangler’s woes include poor comfort, harsh ride characteristics, and excessive wind noise. Wrangler gets one of the worst value ratings on CR’s list, with JD Power calling out poor initial quality, performance, and reliability.

15. Lincoln MKS

Based on the 2009 Ford Taurus, CR doesn’t feel the MKS exhibits true luxury sedan character. They also cite it as one of the worst values today. Another low mark goes to the confounding MyLincoln Touch operating system. 

14. Lincoln MKT

Sharing similar engines and features of the MKS puts it in close proximity to it. It is also getting along as both the MKT and sister Ford Flex have been available for years. Quality and reliability are scored low by JD Power, too.

13. Mitsubishi iMiEV

Not available since 2017, the iMiEV still landed on this list two years on. It received one of CR’s lowest overall performance scores. There are many newer electrics with more up-to-date features to choose from.

12. Mitsubishi Mirage

Panned since introduction, you knew it would be in or close to the top 10 worst. It rates one of the lowest CR scores.

11. Nissan Armada

Says CR, “its overall fuel economy of 13 mpg is abysmal, reliability poor, and ownership costs are the worst in the category.”

10. Nissan Titan

With the Armada based off of the Titan chassis, the comments for the Armada apply here.

9. Scion iQ

Another car no longer offered, it is remembered for scoring low marks across all categories. CR was unrelenting, complaining “the rear seat is awful, the cabin is loud, and acceleration is molasses-like.”

8. Smart ForTwo

The lowly ForTwo gets slammed by CR for its “tiny two-passenger cabin, a herky-jerky transmission, and underpowered engine.” It finishes off the ForTwo by calling it, “a dumb choice.”

7. Maserati Ghibli

CR ranks the Ghibli 17th out of 17 midsize luxury cars—not good! It’s said to have too firm a ride, sloppy handling, and lacks rear-seat room. 

6. Jeep Wrangler JK

While the previous version of the Jeep Jl, it was sold in tandem through at least 2018. It’s much less sophisticated than its replacement, as well it should be. It scores 26 out of 100 on CR’s list.

5. Ford Taurus

Poor reliability and an older platform from 2010 are the main minuses for the Taurus. 

4. Fiat 500X

Many of the same issues for the 500L continue with the X. CR gives it a 35 out of 100 scores.

3. Fiat 500

From bad resale to a rough ride, the 500 continues the general lackluster ratings for all Fiats.

2. Dodge Caravan

When the new Chrysler Pacifica came out the older Caravan was supposed to be killed. It looks like FCA hedged its bets and instead is selling it alongside the Pacifica.

  1. Acura ILX

Acura has the distinction of being bookends for the top 32 list. Not standing out at all in its segment, it is a shining example of why sedans are being shunned for crossovers and SUVs.