Every year, Consumer Reports conducts an owner satisfaction survey to see what its readers think of the vehicle they recently purchased. The survey covers vehicles between one and three years old, and takes into account everything from fuel economy to curb appeal and cargo space. At the end, consumers weigh in on whether they would buy the car again if given a second chance.
It turns out the average vehicle has about 70% of Consumer Reports subscribers saying they would buy it again. On the other end of the spectrum were the cars that fewer than 50% of owners would buy again. Consumer Reports calls them the least satisfying automobiles on the U.S. market. Considering 350,000 vehicles went under the microscope for the survey, our guess is there’s something to a horrible score for cars even over $20K. Here are the seven 2015 models with the lowest level of satisfaction in the Consumer Reports survey, ranked from the least offensive to the most offensive impressions left on their owners.
7. Nissan Frontier
Along with Toyota, Nissan kept the midsize truck segment alive after GM, Ford, and Ram abandoned it. And while Toyota’s Tacoma has become a cult favorite, the Frontier hasn’t done much to raise a pulse. The most common complaints Consumer Reports heard were about its poor fuel economy, and wide turning radius. Still, 60% of Frontier owners would buy another one.
6. Nissan Altima
In a competitive midsize segment with options like the Mazda6, Honda Accord, and Ford Fusion, the outgoing Nissan Altima felt woefully behind the times, even if it was the brand’s best-selling model. Surveyed customers simply called the car’s handling “horrible,” and like the Quest, complained of the “irritating” continuously-variable transmission (a common complaint about the current Nissan lineup). Hopefully Nissan was listening before it released the new-for-2016 model, though 58% of owners would’ve bought another of the outgoing cars.
5. Mercedes-Benz CLA
Introduced for 2014, the CLA was supposed to be the attractive, affordable entrance point for Mercedes in America. Starting at around $30K, it was designed to hook younger buyers and prime them for a lifetime of trade up to more expensive models they get older and more affluent. But the CLA has become a tough sell for the brand, and customers complained to Consumer Reports of a rough ride, premature tire wear, and a decidedly un-Mercedes-like cheap feeling overall. That said, 55% of buyers would buy another one in the future.
4. Nissan Quest
The minivan seems to be undergoing something of a renaissance lately, and left out in the lurch is the aging, angular Nissan Quest. Customers complained to Consumer Reports of poor visibility, and like the Altima, the annoying CVT, and bad service at Nissan dealerships. Just 54% of owners would buy another one.
3. Hyundai Veloster
With its third door, rally-fighter stance, and odd-ball styling, the Veloster is one of the most peculiar cars on the market, and with with its available 201 horsepower 2.0 liter turbo and optional six-speed manual transmission, is pretty lively for under $25K. But the base model comes with an anemic 132 horsepower mill, and customers took issue with its cheap interior feel, lack of power, and disappointing ride. Just 50% of buyers would do it all over again.
2. Jeep Compass
Despite respectable sales (nearly 67,000 sold in 2015), the Compass sticks out like a reminder of Jeep’s bad old days at a time when the brand’s lineup is becoming more competitive than ever. Some new owners tend to agree, telling Consumer Reports they were unimpressed with fuel economy and felt it was under-equipped for the price. Only 46% of them said they would buy one again.
1. Kia Rio
Like the Jeep Compass, the subcompact Rio feels like a reminder of Kia’s bad old days at a time when it’s otherwise flying high. The Rio has the unfortunate title Consumer Reports’ most-complained-about car, with customers bemoaning the car’s poor ride, and claim that Kia overstated the car’s fuel economy — and that’s no small charge to make nowadays. Only 40% of owners said they would buy one again.