Top 10 Used Cars to Avoid

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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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Damian

10 years of experience
416 reviews
Damian
10 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Merritt Island, Florida
On time and found this car to be a very good buy. Suggested that I have a front end brake job, and the dealer is doing that for me as part of the deal. I am very pleased with the inspection Damian has provided and will call again in the future.
Toyota Corolla - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Melbourne, Florida
Honest and personable, and knowledgeable. Good experience having Damian look over a vehicle I am considering.

Willie

23 years of experience
25 reviews
Willie
23 years of experience
Dodge Avenger - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Long Beach, California
Willie is a hard and reliable worker. Fixed the problem. 3rd experience with him I think. Very satisfied
Kia Spectra - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Gate, California
Thanks Willie, for your professional and personal service with this inspection and following up with me by phone! I really appreciate your efforts. You found things that I did not find when I test drove the car and as a result, I decided NOT to buy that car. I informed the dealership contact that I had regarding why I did not buy that car and gave them feedback on improving their own service for the future. I feel the money for the inspection was well spent as I could have made a big mistake and might have bought that car. Thanks to you, I avoided that potential problem. I have since gotten another car and feel good about. You helped me a lot and I thank you again! It is not fun to have one's own car totalled through no fault of your own and HAVE to buy a used car to replace in a short time, like I had to do. So again, thank you, thank you, thank you! ....Roseann

Benji

21 years of experience
94 reviews
Benji
21 years of experience
Ford Thunderbird - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Phoenix, Arizona
This is the second time this week that Benji has inspected a car for me before purchase. His reports are clear and thorough, saving me a lot of money from buying a lemon. He is dependable and honest. Even after the inspections, I kept contacting him with question after question. He answers them all and even sends me additional information. I totally recommend him!
Ford Thunderbird - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Mesa, Arizona
Benji went through a flooding situation to inspect my car. His inspection was thorough and professional. I emailed him numerous times, and he answered each and every one of them. He even has a good sense of humor. Thanks to his hard work and thorough inspection, I was saved from buying a potential lemon. Thanks, Benji.

Attila

18 years of experience
490 reviews
Attila
18 years of experience
Subaru WRX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Elmwood Park, New Jersey
It was once of the best experience I've had buying a car. I felt more confident then nervous and I would 100% recommend this
Volkswagen CC - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Little Ferry, New Jersey
Attila was absolutely amazing! Very knowledgeable and went over and beyond to give me clarity regarding a vehicle I am planning to purchase. He was very competent and did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for a VW CC. Excellent people-skills!

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