New car reviews can’t tell you everything. Even when models thrill a reviewer and come from a respected automaker, it takes some time on the road for a vehicle to show its true colors. A look at the Consumer Reports list of used cars to avoid features some models that made great impressions on journalists during their initial tests. (Tesla Model S jumps out at most people on this list.)
Car shoppers can’t really know what a new vehicle’s reliability is like until there are extensive surveys taken for that specific model year. Fortunately, Consumer Reports can help you here: The nonprofit testing agency includes owner satisfaction reports when giving a car its final score. Before you begin shopping, you can know what people considered the most disappointing cars on the market.
If you ignore bad reviews as well as low satisfaction scores … well, there is no one left to blame. Here are the 10 cars people regretted buying the most from model years 2014 through 2017.
10. Nissan Frontier
It’s safe to say the pickup truck segment is competitive — even among midsize models. If reviews or customer satisfaction mean anything to you, Nissan Frontier would be the last model to buy. Owners complained of excessive cabin noise, poor tech, subpar handling, and more when cutting down the Frontier. In a segment where constant updates are the norm, this underachiever has stayed its mediocre self since 2005.
9. Acura RLX
Car shoppers have to expect great things from a luxury model that starts at $55,000. Apparently, they are not getting it from the Acura RLX. One in two (50%) RLX buyers told Consumer Reports they were dissatisfied with their car. Considering the superior options from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, and even Hyundai, you can do much better than spending so much cash on RLX.
8. Jeep Patriot
There is a good chance a new Jeep will be unreliable, unsafe, or both. In fact, it isn’t only Jeep; every Fiat Chrysler brand has several underachievers in these departments. New Jeep Patriot owners were quick to point out their dissatisfaction with this model. Only 50% said they were happy about their purchase. The other 50% regretted buying Patriot altogether. SUVs did relatively well in the Consumer Reports rankings, but Jeep was the only automaker to have two vehicles among the worst. Fortunately, it seems Jeep has redeemed itself with the new Compass, which will see the Patriot nameplate disappear altogether.
7. Nissan Sentra
Altogether, Nissan brands took five of the 10 spots on this list, so expect to smell a faint aroma of regret when you enter the automaker’s showrooms. In Sentra’s case, an unremarkable car has not been improved upon much in recent years. It ranks in the top 20 on U.S. sales charts but in the bottom seven in satisfaction ratings. Only 49% of Sentra buyers were happy with their purchase, leaving the other 51% among the disappointed.
6. Nissan Versa Note
At $15,480, Nissan Versa Note is one of the most affordable cars available, but you get what you pay for. Some 51% of buyers reported they regretted their purchase in the Consumer Reports survey. As cars get bigger and consumers favor SUVs more every year, the mini car segment has little hope for an upswing moving forward. Automakers prefer to invest in other segments, and it’s hard to blame them.
5. Nissan Pathfinder
If there was one vehicle for new car consumers to avoid, it would be Nissan Pathfinder. It had the worst satisfaction ratings (49%) in the midsize SUV class and didn’t fare better in reliability. Owners complained about Pathfinder’s cheap finish, uncomfortable seats, and boring drive character. In fact, it didn’t rate highly in any area of the Consumer Reports survey — a clear sign of a dud on wheels.
4. Infiniti Q50
Between the four Nissans and Infiniti Q50, the Japanese automaker was behind half the list of most disappointing cars since 2014. In the case of Q50, only 48% of buyers said they were satisfied with their purchase. The new Mercedes C Class presents stiff competition for small luxury cars, and rival brands are not far behind. Infiniti’s entry-level model won’t cut it for most consumers.
3. Dodge Dart
It would be difficult to buy a Dodge Dart without expecting trouble ahead. Reviewers spared the compact car no mercy, and owners of recent model years regretted buying the car. Some 58% of Dart buyers said they were not satisfied with it, and their complaints covered nearly every aspect of the vehicle. Weak acceleration, subpar climate control, and uncomfortable seating were a few low-lights worth mentioning.
2. Jeep Compass
The most disappointing SUV on the U.S. market is Jeep Compass. An astounding 42% of Consumer Reports survey respondents said they were happy with their Compass purchase. If you treasure comfort, acceleration, a quiet cabin, good gas mileage, and decent visibility, owners say you shouldn’t buy this car. Given the beating it took in the survey along with reviews by journalists and its dreadful styling, there isn’t much to endorse a Compass purchase. The new 2017 model looks to remedy those ills.
1. Acura ILX
Of all the cars consumers hated driving on a daily basis, Acura ILX took the most heat of all. Just 41% of ILX owners said they were satisfied with this car. They cited problems with acceleration, cabin quietness, paint quality, and other aspects of the so-called luxury model. Compared to entry-level models from premium German brands, ILX did not come close to the industry standard. After a few updates, the song remains the same with ILX: Get a Honda Civic instead.
Source: Consumer Reports (subscription req.)