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.