Top 10 Used Cars to Avoid

Plenty of articles talk about the merits of buying certain makes and models of vehicles, but what about the used cars you should avoid? When shopping for a used vehicle, you should always check reviews and avoid vehicles that rate poorly. Whether it’s poor performance, awkward seating, or just bad design, knowing which vehicles not to buy is just as important as finding the perfect one.

Check out this top 10 list of used cars to avoid, and why:

10. Mitsubishi Mirage

With a low output of 74-hp, the Mitsubishi Mirage rates high on a lot of worst car lists. The handling of the Mirage also leaves a lot to be desired. On top of its disappointing handling and low power, the Mitsubishi Mirage also garnered a poor rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). The Mirage’s low price point is a testament to its bad design and poor quality.

9. Chevrolet Aveo

Displaying a total lack of style and substance, the Chevy Aveo offers little more than improved fuel-efficiency - though most cars in its class get better gas mileage. Its small, underpowered 100-hp engine and equally small interior make the Chevy Aveo a basic transportation option.

8. Jeep Compass

Bad reliability, poor handling, and numerous recalls are just a few of the complaints about the Jeep Compass. An SUV with a car-based design, the Jeep Compass is nothing like its predecessors. Gone is the rugged off-road vehicle that Jeep is known for, though the design still offers some off-road features. In its place, you find a more fuel-efficient small SUV designed more for driving around the local neighborhood. Some other complaints about the Jeep Compass include excessive engine noise, bad seating position, and a lack of rear visibility.

7. Mitsubishi Lancer

While relatively inexpensive, the Mitsubishi Lancer is underpowered and has poor driving dynamics, It has a small 150-hp engine, a lack of stability control, and ABS doesn’t come as a standard option on earlier models. While later models improved somewhat over previous generations, the Mitsubishi Lancer seems to always lag behind its competitors. Replacing the equally drab Mirage, the Mitsubishi Lancer offers a dull interior and so-so fuel economy.

6. Toyota Tacoma

Sporting a dated and uncomfortable cabin, the Toyota Tacoma offers little joy when commuting around town. With the awkward cabin access afforded by the vehicle's higher-than-normal vehicle floor and low roof, getting in and out of the Tacoma can be tricky at best and makes finding a comfortable driving position difficult. Even worse, adding too many options to the Tacoma package can drive costs up into full-size truck range. Definitely not worth the extra cost: the Toyota Tacoma has poor handling, less than desirable braking, and offers an overall bad driving experience.

5. Dodge Avenger

The starkly designed interior of the Dodge Avenger lends to its cheap look. It is designed to look like a smaller version of the Dodge Charger, but drives like a more passive vehicle. The engine was upgraded in later models, but many of its competitors offer better handling. Also, its interior has been upgraded from the original models, offering higher quality materials and added safety features.

4. Fiat 500L

The Fiat 500L is considered the worst when it comes to reliability. Its slow acceleration, coupled with its awkward driving position, leaves drivers of the Fiat 500L frustrated and wanting the faster speeds of other cars. Lacking the engagement of other European vehicles in its class, the top-heavy driving and sloppy steering make the Fiat 500L a car to avoid, especially with its higher price point.

3. Dodge Charger/Dodge Magnum

Cheap and unfinished when compared to comparable cars from other manufacturers, the Dodge Charger and its more aggressive-looking station wagon counterpart, the Dodge Magnum, is considered a performance sedan. While not the same car as its 1960's namesake, current Charger models offer a 6.1-liter V8 engine option - though at a more costly price point.

2. Land Rover Range Rover Sport

Offering luxury in an off-road vehicle, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a shortened version of the Land Rover L3. And while it is enjoyable to drive, shoppers would be better served by going with a competitor, due in part to the subpar handling and acceleration of the Range Rover Sport. While there has been some improvement in the cabin design in more current Range Rover Sport models, the cabin of older models looked and felt cheap - and prior to 2012, also had outdated navigation and audio systems.

1. Suzuki XL-7

Neat in theory, the original Suzuki XL-7 had a flawed execution when released. Utilizing an extended-wheelbase version of the Grand Vitara and adding a third-row seat, the additional passenger capacity fell short, as the seat was too small to be of much use. Inside, the cabin was cramped and of poor design, though future generations tried to fix this. In addition, its small 252-hp engine added little to the appeal of the model line, which also featured poor handling and low fuel economy.

With a list in hand of used cars to avoid when shopping for a vehicle, you can now focus on finding the perfect vehicle for your needs. Whether you are looking for ample cargo space, the maximum in performance and handling, or a vehicle outfitted with the newest options, always make sure to have one of our expert mechanics here at YourMechanic perform a pre-purchase car inspection to make sure the vehicle is up to your standards.


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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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