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14 New Cars You Should Avoid Buying

Vukasin Herbez December 28, 2017

The automobile industry has come a long way in the last century or so. The cars aren’t dangerous contraptions. Most are no longer unsafe for passengers and innocent passersby, either. And they are far from the uncomfortable, unheated carriages of yesteryear. Today’s cars are state-of-the-art machines that transport passengers with maximum comfort and safety.

They have seats to keep you warm and airbags to protect you in case of accidents. Government standards mean all new cars must include numerous safety equipment. They have to meet eco-friendly standards, too. Basically, this means all new cars are safe, but are they do they perform well enough for you to buy them? No, of course not. Despite advanced technologies and mechanics, there are still undesirable and disappointing cars on sale today. Those are the models with certain characteristics that make them bad choices. Those negative factors could be in the quality, equipment levels, availability or even high prices.

If you’d like to stay out of hot water, read this list of 14 vehicles you should avoid buying. Some of these vehicles are clearly not a good choice for obvious reasons. However, you will be surprised to find several luxury car makers on the list, as well. So, buckle up and keep reading.

1. Cadillac Escalade

This one is a bit controversial since the Cadillac Escalade has always been popular. Car fans consider the Escalade to be good-looking and powerful, so why is it a bad idea for car buyers? The Escalade is falling behind the competitors in the interior design department because of the outdated look of the dashboard. Also, the quality of interior materials is poor considering the high base price of the vehicle. In fact, a fully loaded Escalade goes for over $100,000.

Other than that, the engine lineup is limited. The Escalade has only one V8 to offer although other Cadillacs offer a hybrid version. The final reason is that the Escalade is among the most stolen vehicles in the U.S., which is something every owner or potential owner should be concerned about. It is interesting to know that despite all their modern safety systems, people steal Escalades at an alarming rate. But, despite the strong arguments against it, the Cadillac Escalade is still a great car.

Essentially, the Escalade is the only true Cadillac today. It is big, luxurious, powerful and opulent, like any true Caddy should be. It is also good-looking and fast, so it is one of the best status symbols around. Some car enthusiasts think the Escalade’s popularity with criminals and the high price tag only adds to its charms and charisma. It is a true American SUV in a market European luxury wagons dominate. So, for that, the Cadillac Escalade deserves recognition and respect.

2. Fiat 500 L

At first, it looked like Fiat scored big with its cute, compact 500 and its triumphant return to the American market. The funky, retro looking 500 proved to be quite a sales hit in the U.S. This is due to its small size, nice driving dynamics and affordable price. Of course, the small dimensions meant this was purely a city car for two but that didn’t affect its rising popularity. The best part of Fiat’s presence in America was the 500 Abarth.

Fiat used the same 500 platform, but with a better suspension and a much stronger engine to create the ultimate supermini hot hatch. The 500 L is a car with great performance for around $20,000. It also has tons of attitude and charm. But, management wanted something more substantial, bigger and usable. They envisioned a car that would look cool, but could accommodate the average family and their luggage.

Fiat wanted a car that would appeal to a wider audience and bring people to their showrooms. So, they came up with the 500 L. Fiat built the 500 L on the extended platform with the same basic design of the front end. However, it had a longer wheelbase and more interior space. In theory, it should have worked, but in real life, it was a disaster.

The 500 L is slow and not especially well equipped or practical. Most people think it looks rather ugly. It also had some quality and reliability issues. For example, the interior materials lack quality and durability. Most of all, the 500 L is expensive for its small size. Its base price is over $20,000. For this money, you will get a compact SUV with more power, better equipment and a nicer interior.

3. Mercedes CLA

You may think a brand like Mercedes wouldn’t have any negative reviews of their cars since the tri-pointed star models are always among the best in their respective classes. However, even the mighty Mercedes is not immune to introducing a bad car. The Mercedes CLA is a compact sedan and the smallest Mercedes available in America. It has all characteristic qualities like a recognizable design, plush interior, nice options and quality materials. Even the base price is affordable since the CLA starts at $32,000 MSRP.

But, then the problems start. The base CLA is not well equipped, although it has 208 HP and front-wheel drive. If you want more power, better appointments, creature comforts and a four-wheel drive system, you will pay over $40,000. The top-of-the-line CLA 45 AMG version starts at whopping $50,000. The problem with the CLA is the price. You could buy much bigger, better cars with a base price of $32,000.

For example, for $50,000 you can buy an E Class, which is a proper Mercedes sedan. The second problem is the space because the CLA is cramped inside. The driver and co-driver will not have problems with space, but the passengers in the rear will. Also, the design of the car limits the space in the trunk, so the CLA can’t carry a whole lot of stuff.

4. Mitsubishi Mirage

It is no secret the Mitsubishi car company has been in financial trouble for years. Their lineup of models is outdated, so some of their models have fallen out of fashion. They haven’t introduced anything new and interesting in decades. Long gone are the days when Mitsubishi was one of the most popular and active Japanese brands on the global market.

The Renault-Nissan corporation bought a significant percentage of the company. However, most car fans are afraid they will only use the plants for their own products instead of investing in reviving the Mitsubishi name. But one of the recent introductions is a sub-compact model they called the Mirage. Available as a five-door hatchback or a compact four door sedan, the Mirage is inexpensive, starting at just above $13,000. For that kind of money, you can’t expect too much, though.

The Mirage comes with limited equipment and a slow three-cylinder engine. The transmission choice is between manual and a sluggishly shifting automatic, sending the power to the front wheels. With all that in mind, the Mirage is clearly a basic transportation device that nobody could expect much from on the roadways. If Mitsubishi wants to stay in business they should redesign this car to make it better in every way. Only then they could count on rising sales and better reviews.

5. Mitsubishi i-MiEV

If you think the Mirage is bad, just wait until you hear about Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV electric model. The move to introduce an all-electric car could be considered a smart move for Mitsubishi. After all, the electric car segment is promising. But if you want to sell cars, you have to offer something substantial to car buyers and Mitsubishi failed to do that.

The i-MiEV is painfully slow to recharge because it takes between seven and 21 hours to fully recharge the batteries. This is forever compared to other electric cars on the market. And when you recharge the battery, the drive is terrible. Also, the interior is outdated, cramped and unattractive. The car in general is primitive, clumsy and sluggish.

In comparison to other electric cars in its class, like the Nissan Leaf, the i-MiEV looks like an unfinished prototype. On the other hand, this is an electric car you can buy for just $22,995. This makes it one of the most affordable electric vehicles on the market. But even value is not enough to give this little Mitsubishi positive reviews.

6. Chrysler 200

When Chrysler first released it, the 200 looked like a great product that could erase consumers’ memories of the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger sedans. However, despite the promising start, the 200 has proven to be below average in its class. The 200 has a cool, modern look, which is a great accomplishment in a class full of interesting designs. However, the quality was not great and the reliability score was less than average.

Also, the rear passengers have problems with comfort and the 2.4-liter four-cylinder is not a particularly fast or powerful engine. Automotive journalists have published a lot of articles explaining why the 200 failed to hit its mark. So, after the 2017 model year, they will discontinue this car. Many car fans hope Chrysler will replace it with something remarkable to repair their damaged reputation.

The compact sedan class is very competitive in US market and for decades now, it seems like Chrysler cannot come up with a decent product that could compete with Chevrolet, Ford as well as with the import models. The 200 has the design but the features, interior, driving dynamics and quality is just not there.

7. Toyota Tacoma

Although Toyota vehicles are quality-built, Tacoma has had its share of recalls and problems with the rear suspension. However, it looks like those things are a matter of the past. New Tacoma trucks are capable, dependable mid-sized trucks in the emerging market segment. But, there is a problem with the Tacoma and that is the construction. Simply, the Tacoma is tough, raw, and not exactly comfortable, thanks to its loud cabin and awkward seating position.

Toyota tried to cover that issue with modern electric systems, updated equipment and safety features. But, they could not hide the fact that the construction is outdated, leaving much to be desired. The good thing about this truck is that it has remarkable off-road characteristics, so you can drive it almost anywhere. But if you want a great mid-size truck, look for a Chevrolet Colorado or a future Ford Ranger.

In order to be competent in modern truck market, you can not rely on classic construction and outdated chassis. Toyota must invest in modern design, ergonomics and suspension and only Tacoma could be a success.

8. Dodge Journey

The Journey is a veteran in the minivan class. It has been on the market for a long time and it still is somewhat popular. This is mostly for its low price and long list of options. This Dodge offers a lot of space and some modern creature comforts. But it also fails to hide its age, imperfect construction and lack of engine choices.

This means the Journey has sub-average safety ratings, as well as a low resale value. This is an older car that is fragile, so you will lose a lot of money when you trade it for a newer model. The Journey has been on the market since 2009 model year.

So, it is one of the oldest minivans out there, which is noticeable compared to modern models. Journey is just not up to date with the late trends and features. Car fans hope Chrysler is planning to replace it soon with a more modern constructed minivan.

9. Maserati Ghibli

On paper, this car should be a clear winner in the luxury performance sedan class. It has gorgeous styling and a Ferrari-derived engine. It comes with a plush interior featuring leather upholstery, electronic gimmicks and great performance. So, what could go wrong, you might ask?

The Ghibli has two problems: reliability and interior space. Both are at alarmingly low levels. The front passengers have enough room, but rear passengers will have a problem with head and leg room. Maserati calls this car a four-door sedan, but they should call it a four-door coupe. The ride is harsh, but that is the price you pay for sports handling.

Maserati was always notorious for its reliability issues and they have continued the tradition with the Ghibli. Users reported multiple electronic problems, as well as some issues with the final assembly. Back in the 60’s and the 70’s, people could explain those issues as Italian charm, but in the 21st century, buyers are looking for quality.

10. Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover is a brand that almost single-handedly created the SUV segment. Over the years, they introduced numerous models that just added to the colorfulness of this class. When they introduced the latest Discovery Sport, car enthusiasts thought of it as another Land Rover home run. But, it looks it is not the case.

The new Discovery Sport is a pricey offering with the base cost starting at almost $38,000. For that kind of money, buyers shouldn’t expect a well-equipped model. It has a slow infotainment system, a harsh ride and a weak, four-cylinder engine. Suddenly, other cars in the same class seem to be far more refined and better than the legendary Land Rover.

Simply, Land Rover Discovery Sport is not as good as its price suggested it would be. The competition in the mid-size SUV segment is very tough and Land Rover just needs to offer a better product in order to keep its reputation

11. Lincoln MKZ

With new Continental and Navigator models, it looks like Lincoln is back. After years of being a second-class luxury brand with little more than rebadged Fords, Lincoln is finally presenting interesting products worthy of their names.

However, before you can enjoy the Continental and Navigator, you need to think about the old MKZ. This is an older model with a fresh restyle that gives it a new look, but doesn’t hide the outdated construction.

The MKZ is somewhat slow, outdated on the inside and has fewer options modern buyers want. Also, there is a question of poor interior quality, so Lincoln as a brand has to do something about that.

12. Smart ForTwo

A fresh solution to the problem of urban transport when they first released, the Smart ForTwo is now in its second generation. It has an improved design and mechanics, but is it enough for demanding car customers? Not exactly – the Smart ForTwo is still the smallest real car people can buy. It is still kind of a fashion accessory you can park wherever you want. However, it is not the best way to move around.

The standards of the market have moved on since they released the first Smart car. Today, the new ForTwo fails to convince buyers it is the best city car they can own. The biggest problems are a harsh ride and slow acceleration, especially if you choose the EV model.

Simply, you cannot have a comfortable ride in a car this short. Smart tries to hide the fact with suspension modifications but still, they haven’t been able to improve the ride.

13. Chevrolet Spark

The Chevrolet Spark is a diminutive city car with four doors, a tiny trunk and a small engine. It is ideal for driving on crowded streets and parking in tight spaces. Due to its low price and interesting features, it has been popular, especially with younger buyers. But, it is not exactly the best in class with a few annoying flaws.

The Spark is uncomfortable, which could be expected for such a small vehicle. The interior is cramped if you are above six feet tall. The lack of trunk space can be a problem on longer journeys.

The fuel economy is lacking because the Spark averages 31 MPG, which is not the best. In this segment, you can find better driving, more comfortable and fuel-efficient cars for the same amount of money.

14. Nissan Versa Sedan

The compact sedan market is full of interesting cars from domestic as well as import brands. The Nissan Versa Sedan is one of the models that is a common choice in this segment. However, it is not a particularly good car and most car experts don’t recommend it. The first problem is its design.

First, compared to other Nissan cars, the Versa Sedan is ugly and disproportional in appearance. Second, the interior is below the standards of the industry, both in quality and features. Third, the Versa is famous for engine issues that have plagued this model from the beginning. Most consumers wouldn’t want to drive an ugly car with a bad interior and faulty engine.

The next time you go car shopping, remember these 14 new cars you should avoid buying. Although you may want to save money, you don’t want to skimp on safety, fuel economy or performance.

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