Foreign automakers like Toyota and Honda have carefully crafted reputations for reliability and durability. The Corolla and Civic consistently rank as top-selling cars in their field. For every Honda, however, there is a Fiat 500 or Smart Fortwo. These cars can be costly, but is all that money worth the investment? When buying any car, you should research the vehicle to make sure you’re not driving off the lot with a lemon. These are the foreign cars that don’t come close to justifying their sticker prices!
The Mini Cooper Clubman Is Too Large
About the only aspect of the Mini Cooper Clubman that sets it apart from the original Mini Cooper is the size. Everything under the hood is the same, the car has just been lengthened to add more room for extra passengers.
Noted for its poor miles-per-gallon estimates and transmission failures, the Clubman is hardly worth the $30,000 asking price. Especially when the classic Mini Cooper starts at just $23,000.
The Chery QQ3 Will Cost You In The Long Run
Chinese automaker Chery is a brand that specializes in producing and selling cheaper cars for consumers on a budget. The 2012 model of the QQ3, for example, only cost $4,000 brand new. Even though the initial investment is small, the car will cost you an arm and a leg after.
Keeping the retail price so low means the Chery uses cheap parts that often break. Those repair costs add up over time, making a car that maxes out at 70 horsepower just not worth it.
The Kia Sportage Comes In Last
The Sportage was first released by Kia in the ’90s to compete in the SUV market. Sold to consumers as a cheap, no-frills ride, it was hit. As more people got behind the wheel they began to realize no-frills riding just wasn’t very fun.
Today, a brand new Sportage will cost you around $23,000. Publications have been high with praise on the current model, too. Consumers haven’t been as kind, noting the SUV still gives a bumpy ride, offers minimal cargo space, and has a terrible fuel economy.
The Kia Cadenza Runs Hot
The Kia Cadenza came out to compete against larger sedans like the Toyota Avalon and Chevy Impala. Initially liked for its affordability, interior space, and easy handling, it didn’t take long for flaws in the design to surface.
The biggest issues consumers had were with the climate system and engine cooling. Studies have also pointed out that Cadenza owners have to get unexpected repairs twice as much as owners of other comparative cars.
The Fiat 500E Is A Trendy Mistake
Fiat returned to the United States after a 25-year absence in 2009. Interest in smaller cars had grown in that time, and the automaker decided to take a chance. The relaunch was a hit, eventually leading to the introduction of the 500E, an electric version of Fiat’s flagship model.
The 500E, while sporty, was given an MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) of $33,000. On top of that, insurance companies tend to give 500E drivers sky-high rates, claiming they get totaled from minimal damage.
The Volvo XC90 Was An Electronic Bust
The Volvo XC90 was a luxury SUV that proved pretty quickly it never should have hit the assembly line. The XC90 was rated by Consumer Reports as having the worst in-car electronics of any vehicle in its class.
While the XC90 had a strong engine and performed well on the road, a lot more than that is expected from a luxury brand. At least its sticker price of $48,000 is less than the other luxury vehicles on this list.
The Volkswagen Golf TDI Is A Transmission Nightmare
A fun and zippy car to drive, the Volkswagen Golf TDI isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The small ride might be a fun way to get around the city, but it also features a transmission that easily wears and faulty rear brakes that need to be replaced often.
Starting at $23,000, the Golf may seem like a great buy, but like other cars on this list, the long term costs turn this into a lemon.
The Volkswagen Touareg Is Hard To Fix
First released by Volkswagen in 2002, the Touareg was the brand’s entry into the SUV market. The German automaker surprised consumers with a powerful engine and overall incredible driving experience. To be able to get one, you just need $50,000 laying around.
That initial cost isn’t why the Touareg makes this list, though. The maintenance costs and complexity of repairs do. Volkswagen designed the car with a complicated layout that means whole parts need to be removed for simple repairs, increasing the out of pocket expense.
The Fiat 500L Has Braking Issues
Another version of the Fiat 500 to avoid is the L model. Larger and better suited for adventurers, the vehicle has regressed in quality every year of production, according to Consumer Reports.
Car and Driver rated the 2020 model with a score of four out of ten, while The Car Connection gave it a 3.8. Common problems reported with the 500L are braking issues, mechanical issues, and in-car electronics issues. Add it all up, and it’s not worth the $22,000 base price.
The Yugo GV Was A “Bag Of Nuts And Bolts”
Produced in Yugoslavia, the Yugo GV was an attempt by the automaker to release the cheapest car on the market. If you haven’t guessed, this GV makes this list because that tiny price came at a much bigger cost.
Consumer Reports said the GV was “a barely assembled bag of nuts and bolts.” The terrible build quality of the car made it much pricier than it looked. First produced and released in the United States in 1987, it was off the market by 1992.
The Mazda RX-8 Has Trouble Hitting 100,000 Miles
It’s hard to knock the Mazda RX-8 for its looks. This car makes the list for what’s under the hood — a rotary engine with a seal that wears out quickly and loses compression before getting close to 100,000 miles.
Add to that a fuel system that makes it possible for oil to mix with gas in the combustion chamber and you have a car that’s not worth the headache. The RX-8 was discontinued in 2011.
The Nissan Titan Isn’t Very Tough
If what you’re looking for is a great compact truck, then avoid the Nissan Titan. Consumer Reports rated it as the worst in its class, noting it’s not reliable off the lot, and that reliability will only get worse with years and miles tacked on.
Consumers who were fooled into buying one complained that the Titan was unoriginal-looking, had poor towing capabilities, and offered a rough ride. That all adds up to a $36,000 dud.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport Had A Questionable Engine
Land Rover built its reputation on rugged SUVs that a driver can reliably take on any terrain. When the Discovery Sport came out, that reputation took a hit. The big SUV was noted as having an under-powered and finicky engine.
The Discovery Sport was also dinged by critics for its poor acceleration and handling abilities, and a boring interior. All these negatives, plus a hefty $37,000 price tag, landed the vehicle on several worst SUV lists.
The Mitsubishi Mirage Is Underpowered
The Mitsubishi Mirage came out in 2014 and was met with poor performance reviews. It was noted as being underpowered and and “clumsy,” essentially ending Mitsubishi’s chances to make a splash in the family van market.
Other issues that have been reported include a noisy engine, poor acceleration, and cheap parts. Car and Driver gave the 2020 model a score of two out of ten. Brand new, a Mirage will only cost $13,000, but to us, even that sounds like too much.
The Mercedes GLA Wasn’t Up To The Standard
The Mercedes GLA was a rare miss for the German luxury automaker. According to a survey conducted by Consumer Reports, the GLA received the lowest satisfaction numbers of any vehicle. Of those surveyed, 44 percent said they would not consider buying another GLA.
Common complaints that were recorded included the size of the car, the loud interior, a bad gearbox, and a cramped and stiff ride. If that sounds fun to you, it will cost you $34,000 brand new.
The Nissan Armada Was An Audi Wannabe
There are exactly two things that Nissan got right with the Armada. The SUV was quiet and had amazing towing prowess. Those elements weren’t enough to save it from only getting 14 miles per gallon on average while copying its design from the Infiniti QX80.
Another common consumer issue with the Armada was its handling capabilities. Brand new, an Armada will set you back $47,000. Does that sound like a good deal to you?
The Smart Fortwo Doesn’t Get You Very Far
As small cars became more popular in the United States, the Smart Car was introduced. The tiny two-seater never promised power, but it did promise fuel efficiency of nearly 40 miles per gallon. That promise was not kept.
Poor gas mileage wasn’t the car’s only failure. Consumers complained that there wasn’t enough storage space and that the transmission was a constant issue. By 2019, the popularity of the car had tanked, and Smart exited the American market altogether.
The Jaguar F-Pace Was Unreliable
First released in 2017, the Jaguar F-Pace was called “unreliable” by Consumer Reports. The vehicle was Jaguar’s attempt to break into the SUV market. The models that followed continued to garner negative reviews from both consumers and critics.
In its short existence, the F-Pace has been noted for being loud and having less-than-desirable driving systems. The $61,000 price doesn’t help make things any better. If you’re in the market for a new SUV, you can skip the F-Pace.
The Subaru WRX Is Not The Subaru For You
Subaru has a strong reputation for building reliable and durable cars, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see them end up on this list with the WRX. Multiple outlets, including Consumer Reports and J.D. Power, gave the WRX poor reliability ratings when it came out.
Starting at $27,000, there are definitely better options that provide more bang for the buck. Any other Subaru, for instance. Maybe a few more model years under the WRX’s belt will fix the problems that have plagued it since its initial release.
The Jaguar XE Failed To Impress
In 2019, Consumer Reports rated the Jaguar XE as the worst company luxury sedan available. The XE failed to live up to Jaguar’s lofty expectations and was critiqued for what was considered subpar assembly.
Room was limited in the 2019 model while the infotainment system was glitchy. Add that in with a spotty start/stop engine and you understand where Consumer Reports is coming from. Even with a price tag under $40,000, the cost of the XE doesn’t sit well with us.
The Toyota Tacoma Is Bad At Everything
Another foreign brand we wouldn’t expect to see on this list has found its way here with the Toyota Tacoma. The good news is that the Japanese automaker has redesigned the big truck from the ground up for the 2020 model year.
The bad news is any Tacoma you might buy prior to the latest model will come with all kinds of problems. Consumer Reports was especially negative when rating the Tacoma, pointing out that the truck was unreliable, had uncomfortable seats, a noisy cabin, and a “stiff ride.”
The Suzuki Samurai Was Unfit For The Road
One of the older cars on this list, the Suzuki Samurai was a hit when it was released, thanks to its stylish good looks and affordable price tag. Three years after first being released, Consumer Reports came down hard on the Samurai, calling it unsafe to be driven.
Sales tanked, and Suzuki started recalling the vehicle briefly before abandoning it entirely. Today, if you really want to get your hands on one, you’ll have to look at the used market, but we think there are better things you can do with your time.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Is All Looks
Alfa Romeo has never had a strong reputation for building quality luxury cars, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see the Giulia hit this list. The final verdict on the Giulia and its $39,000 price tag from Consumer Reports was dismal.
The car did not live up to the standards of other luxury vehicles, with testers reporting several major mechanical issues. Hopefully, future models help fix these problems, because the Giulia is an aesthetically beautiful machine.
The Mercedes CLA Was A Missed Opportunity
Another moderately-priced Mercedes has made the list — the Mercedes CLA. Noted by consumers for poor acceleration and a lack of overall power, sitting in the CLA is the opposite of what the Mercedes experience is supposed to be.
With a base price of $36,000, you might be able to look past some of the car’s problems to say you own a Benz, but is it really worth it? We think not.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV Is A Glorified Golf Cart
When we first heard about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, we scratched our heads. An electric vehicle that looks like a small car, but only has a range of about 60 miles? It sounds more like a glorified golf cart than a road-ready vehicle. Critics gave it very low road-test scores.
When you buy an i-MiEV, you get less than what you pay for. When it was initially released in the United States, it was given a base price of $27,000.
The Audi S5 Is A Manual Disaster
On the surface, there is nothing not to love about the Audi S5. The automaker essentially upgraded the A5 to make it bigger and better in every way. The problems with this luxury machine arrive when you buy it with a manual transmission.
Consumers who made the unfortunate purchase quickly discovered that the S5’s manual transmission had trouble working with the car’s super-sized engine. Replacing the clutch will cost around $6,000, and has to be done more often than it should.
The Range Rover Evoque Convertible Is All Style And No Substance
Have you ever considered going off-roading in a convertible SUV? If that sounds like the perfect day, then the Range Rover Evoque Convertible is the car for you. For everyone else, it’s an unfortunate release by the automaker that’s all style and no substance.
Originally revealed as a concept vehicle in 2012, the convertible, Range Rover began producing the Evoque Convertible in 2015, bringing it to the United States in 2017.
The Volkswagen Phaeton Was Too Heavy
The Volkswagen Phaeton had a three-year lifespan in the United States. Released as the highest-end VW at the time, it was basically an Audi in sheep’s clothing. The high-tech vehicle was the first to apply the brand’s adaptive cruise control and now iconic W12 engine.
While all that sounded great on paper, Volkswagen designed the car to be heavy, adding stress to the engine and ruining the car’s fuel economy.
The Audi A4 2.0T Needed To Be Recalled
To say a lot went wrong for Audi with the release of the A4 is an understatement. Audi gave consumers the option of a 2-liter turbocharged engine. Those foolish enough to buy one discovered the car burned through oil like no other vehicle available.
When consumers confronted Audi, the automaker assured them it was normal. Not believing it, customers sued, and Audi was forced to recall 126,000 cars. At least anyone who opted for a different engine didn’t have to deal with that headache.
The Citroën C3 Is A Minivan/SUV Mash-Up
The Citroën C3 isn’t sold in the United States and let’s all be thankful for that. The brand that was once considered a pioneer of the auto industry has been struck with quality and reliability issues in more recent years.
The C3 is no exception. Looking like a cross between a minivan and an SUV, the oddly-shaped vehicle comes standard with an under-powered three-cylinder engine that doesn’t come close to justifying the price tag.