We have good cars and we have bad cars. There are some that you should buy if you can spare the cash and some that you should not buy even if you have a million dollars burning a hole in your pocket. This article is about the vehicles that you need to avoid, no matter what.
While some vehicles have landed on this list because they are unreliable, others are vastly overpriced. In any case, buying these cars will not be your best decision!
Toyota Tundra – Uncomfortable Fuel Guzzler
A Toyota might not be the best vehicle to start the list of cars to avoid but hear me out. This truck has earned a spot on this list for two reasons. First off, it does not deliver the features that other trucks at this price point offer. The ride quality is poor and the steering is light to the point where it becomes scarily dangerous.
Secondly, this thing has a horrendous fuel economy. It does not sip the gas, it chugs it like an average American does to beer on a Friday night. Unless you don’t mind feeling every little bump in the road and have your own refinery, you’ll be better off without the Tundra.
Lexus LX570 – A Rebadged Land Cruiser for Six Figures
I am not a Toyota hater. I can justify why there is another Toyota on this list (there are still two more). For starters, Lexus is a subsidiary of Toyota dedicated to making luxury cars and SUVs. What you are looking at is the flagship of Lexus, the mighty LX570.
This 6-figure full-size luxury SUV is actually a Toyota Land Cruiser at its core. Lexus just threw in a better infotainment system, an ugly grill, and a bunch of leather. All that fancy bodywork actually decreases the ground clearance and the approach and departure angles of the car while all the added weight makes it less fuel-efficient. It would be a better option to save money and buy the LC, which is better than this model in every aspect other than soft-touch surfaces.
Honda Ridgeline – Not a Pickup or Sedan or Minivan
This pickup truck is not here because of reliability. It is not even old. It is fairly capable too. However, the trouble is, we are having a hard time deciding what exactly it is. The cabin is designed like a minivan, but it has a bed in the rear. It drives like a sedan but also has an all-wheel drive.
It is Honda’s attempt to incorporate the properties of a minivan, a truck, and a sedan into one vehicle. It will not be true to say that this is a failed attempt but it is surely not a pickup truck, according to the American definition. If you want to try a different vehicle, be my guest, but if you want a pickup truck, this isn’t that.
Land Rover Discovery Sport – Most Unreliable Large SUV
If reliability is what you look for in a car, you should avoid anything that comes from Land Rover other than the classic Defender. These things are extremely unreliable and the last thing you’d want would be for an off-roader to die on you when you are off the road.
A shameful 49% of all Discovery Sport units reported a failure and one-third of them had to be carried to the repair shop. Another problem with these SUVs is that they are costly to fix with the average repair bill being $500. If you do want to get an off-road vehicle, do yourself a favor and buy something reliable.
Tesla Model X – Doesn’t Have Much Sports Utility
It is the quickest SUV on the market, it is green, and is made by a company with a very Charismatic CEO. However, what they don’t tell you is that this is a very unreliable car. In addition to that, Tesla might call it an SUV but it does not have a lot of ‘Sports Utility.’
Imagine running out of gas on a trail, you send someone to fetch gas and you can go home. Now imagine your Model X’s battery goes flat, what would you do? If you really want a dependable off-road car, spend $81,000 wisely and get a better car.
Range Rover Evoque – Luxurious But not Dependable
It is stylish, luxurious, and classy but NOT DEPENDABLE. Many experts rank it as the least dependable luxury SUV on the market. According to surveys, 40% of all Range Rovers broke down at some point. Even more disturbing is the fact that a third of them experienced engine issues.
There have also been problems with bodywork, engine and non-engine electronics, suspension, and brakes. Sure, it is a luxury to have a glass of champagne in the back seat of a Range Rover but if the same car breaks down while you are out in the wild, you’d wish you had bought a Toyota instead.
Tesla Model S – The Least Reliable Tesla
There is no doubt that the Model S was the very car that made EVs cool. It has a practical range of around 400 miles and the driving dynamics that can put any gas-powered car to shame. It also has the looks to match the performance.
However, it is also one of the least reliable cars on the market right now. Add to that the fact that these things are outrageously expensive to repair and even a minor problem can render the car useless. In short, if you want to buy an EV and reliability is important for you, buy something else.
Toyota Mirai – Hydrogen is Still the FUTURE
Of all the things Toyota could do to make cars good for the environment, they made one that runs on hydrogen. The concept is great and there are stats pointing out that it is even better for the environment than electric cars but there’s a catch.
There were only 43 hydrogen fuel stations in the entire US as of 2020. With a driving range of under 200 miles, hydrogen cars are not very practical at the moment. Then there is the operating cost of the vehicle which is considerably higher than EVs. If you want to act in an environmentally responsible way, buy an EV– hydrogen cars are not the feasible way to go. At least, as of now.
Toyota Supra – Not a Toyota
It is one of the best sports cars ever, it is cool, it has huge tuning potential, blah, blah, blah. However, it is not a Toyota. For some strange reason, Toyota decided not to design a new Supra and instead opted to rebadge a BMW Z4 and call it a Supra.
Those who know cars can tell that the Z4 is undoubtedly a great sports car but reliability has never been its strongest suit. Then, Toyota decided not to offer a manual gearbox in this car. So, let me ask you again, do you really want to buy a Supra that is not a Toyota and does not have a manual transmission?
Toyota 4Runner – A 13-year-old Vehicle
The 4Runner is reliable, affordable, and does not cost a lot of money to fix. It is also one of the best-selling SUVs in the North American market but do you think this vehicle is still relevant in 2021?
The current generation of the 4Runner came out in 2009 and it has not seen any notable change or improvement over the last 12 years. Even if you want to get a 4Runner, just wait for a few months as there are rumors that Toyota will soon be releasing the sixth generation of this legendary off-roader. Don’t waste your money on an antique vehicle, please.
Porsche Panamera – Costly to Get Fixed
Germans do make some of the coolest cars on the planet but reliability has never been the characteristic of most of the cars made by them. The Panamera, a vastly capable sports car on paper, is no different. A whopping 47% of the Panameras had to pay a visit to the auto shop.
The most frequent problems with this car are those involving the bodywork, air-conditioning, exhaust system, interior trim, brakes, and even the engine. On top of that, a visit to the auto shop with this German car can set you back $1,500. If that doesn’t bother you, buy a Panamera.
Subaru Ascent – Not True to the Brand
Subaru is a Japanese car brand built around reliability but this one is not true to the brand, to say the least. It is, in fact, one of the most unreliable cars of 2021. It is probably because this is the first attempt by the brand to make such a car – and they could not perfect it in typical Japanese style.
Even if you are willing to take the risk, the vehicle does have other issues. The small 2.4-L engine is too noisy and underpowered for a car of this size and the third row is not useable by any adult of reasonable size. If you are looking for a three-row SUV, there are better options on the market than this Subaru.
Jeep Renegade – Just Disappointing
For starters, this vehicle has poor ride quality and even poorer gas mileage. If that is not enough for you to avoid this car, Consumer Reports has blessed it with titles of cheap build quality, bad handling, and unimpressive driving dynamics.
Of all the owners of this car, only 45% said that they would buy one of these again. Even if that is not enough to prevent your inner patriot from buying this American car, Consumer Reports gave it a one out of five (the lowest possible) consumer satisfaction rating. If you do have to buy a crossover, consider what Honda and Toyota have to offer for the same amount of money.
Mercedes-AMG GLA45 4Matic – The Best Luxury Subcompact
This car is ranked the best luxury subcompact by Car and Driver and it deserves the title by all means. The base vehicle, GLA45 is a pretty impressive car in itself and AMG has blessed the engine with 150 more horsepower making it an amazing piece of German engineering.
However, the 382hp turbocharged I4 is a gas-guzzler. This tiny station wagon goes just 20 miles to the gallon. We know if you can buy a $56,000 car, you can very well afford to quench its thirst but it is not good for the environment. Do the ecosystem a favor and buy a car that’s gentler on the environment.
GMC Sierra – Not as Great This Year
The Sierra often gets a spot on the list of the legendary American trucks but that, sadly, is not the case for the 2021 model. It does have some really potent engine options and a bunch of cool quirks and features but it has been ranked among the most unreliable cars of the year by Consumer Reports.
Not only that, but customer reviews also suggest that the interior lacks quality as compared to other offerings at the same price point. So, if you want a reliable truck with an interior at par with the price, skip this one and buy something else.
Infiniti Q50 – Not as Good as the Competition
The Q50 is one of the best cars to be produced by Nissan’s luxury vehicle division, Infiniti. It even secured a place among the top 10 best luxury compact cars, as ranked by Consumer Reports. The V6 under the hood of this car is potent and the handling is nimble.
However, when you consider the price of this car, it pales in comparison to what the Germans have to offer at the same price. You can get an Audi A4 or a Mercedes C-Class for the same money and those cars are more comfortable and technologically advanced as compared to this one.
Ford EcoSport – Not a Good Option Even for this Price
The Ford EcoSport is one of the most affordable cars of this year. The keyword is affordable, not rightly priced. Once you step inside this car, you will find yourself surrounded by cheap, unimpressive materials and questionable build quality. Passenger space is severely limited in terms of both head and leg room.
The engine is equally disappointing with weak acceleration and poor gas mileage. If that is not enough to make you avoid this car, it also has the lowest predicted reliability of any Ford. If you want a reliable car that is satisfying to drive, don’t fall for the low price of this one.
GMC Canyon – Not the Best Truck
The GMC Canyon has never been the best truck on the American market but this year’s model is particularly bad. It got a 37 out of 100 score from Consumer Reports, the lowest for any truck in its class. There is a wide range of problems with this truck.
For starters, the steering and seat adjustments are not comfortable, ride quality is harsh and emergency maneuverability is non-existent. Some reviewers also had issues with the brakes of this truck and when you are hauling loads, brakes are the last thing you want to underperform.
Jeep Compass – Simply Uninspiring
Jeep is an automaker that started by making utilitarian vehicles for the military. It is common sense that such cars need to be 100% reliable and dependable and Jeep has always made sure of that. However, this year’s Compass seems to be far off from the reputation of Jeep. The car you are looking at is ranked among the least reliable on the market by Consumer Reports.
Not only that, but the powertrain is also unimpressive, the interior feels cheap and it is generally defined by lack of confidence and dependability. If you want to go off-road, buy something that won’t have you stranded on the trail.
Nissan Titan – Underpowered With No Looks
Starting with the good things this Japanese truck has to offer, it has a dynamic V8, lots of safety features, and the fifth spot on the list of the most reliable trucks. However, that’s just one side of the bigger picture. First of all, the asking price of $31,000 is higher than the competition.
The spot on the list of the five most reliable trucks is rather misleading as it is a full 50 points behind the list-topping Toyota Tundra. It also lacks the towing power of the competition and is not the most beautiful truck you can buy. It’s better that you avoid this truck that scores 29/100 in reliability.
Ford F350 – Overpriced for What it has to Offer
If you want to buy this truck as an investment, buy it. It has the best resale value of any truck for this year. However, that is the only good thing about this monster of a truck. According to Consumer Reports, the overall quality and feel of this truck are not on par with even the smaller models like the F150.
Don’t fall for the low price of this truck as the $34,000 price tag won’t get you what you are looking for and you will have to spend close to $50,000 to get a reasonable unit. With everything considered, Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra are better options than the F350.
Jeep Wrangler – Harsh Riding Gas Waster
There is no doubt about the off-road capabilities of this SUV. It is one of the most iconic American off-roaders and the 2021 model lives up to that reputation, by all means. However, the moment you get on the road, the trouble starts.
For one, the ride of this SUV is particularly harsh on paved roads. Secondly, it has poor fuel efficiency. That means you cannot reasonably use this car other than off-roading. Add to that, the worst possible predicted reliability rating and poor safety scores and you’ll simply want to walk away from this car.
Volkswagen Atlas – Against the VW Concept
Volkswagen has earned a reputation for building affordable and reliable cars. The entirety of their marketing emphasizes how meticulously they inspect every unit to ensure top-notch quality. However, this year’s Atlas is ranked among the least reliable cars.
In addition to that, it is also overpriced when compared to similarly equipped cars offered by other brands. All in all, you are looking at a car that is not reliable and is not true to the “People’s Car” concept of Volkswagen. It is better that you avoid this car if you don’t want problems down the line.
Volvo XC90 – The Looks Can Fool You
There are a lot of good things that this car has to offer. It has some of the cutting-edge safety features as standard, the fuel efficiency is great for a car this size, the interior is nice and cozy, and it has some really good looks too. The car also has more space for cargo and passengers than the competitors.
However, this car has its own troubles. The ride quality is not very good and gets worse when you put larger wheels on it. It is also predicted to be among some of the most unreliable cars of the year. So, if you want a car that you can depend on, avoid this one no matter how good the spec sheet is on paper.
Fiat 500L – Nothing Good to Offer
The 500L can be a good option if you want to move to a smaller car to reduce fuel costs. However, what you get for $23,000 of your hard-earned dollars is ugly, unimpressive, and horrendously unreliable. This car has a reliability score of 29 out of 100.
Add to that the fact that Fiat has cramped the interior in the effort to make the car lighter and more fuel-efficient. The rear seats are simply not useful and the trunk is tiny. We’d suggest that you rather buy a used Japanese crossover than this.
Nissan Qashqai – A Lot of Issues
The Qashqai is a nice little crossover SUV that can make a good family hauler. The trouble with this car is that it breaks down quite often. From 2014 to 2021, 40% of these cars broke down. The problems are present in everything from the interior trim to the exhaust.
Data suggests that if your Qashqai breaks down, there is a 25% chance that it will spend more than a week at the workshop. The average repair bill amounts to $200 which is a lot of money to pay for the repair of a non-luxury car.
Volkswagen Tiguan – Painful Acceleration, Poor Reliability
Priced at $25,000 for the base model, the Tiguan seems like a great deal but it is not. The standard 1.4L engine is severely underpowered for this SUV and the 6-speed automatic transmission is just antique. Those two combine to deliver painfully slow acceleration and below-average fuel efficiency.
Then there is the reliability score of the Tiguan which is a solid 15/100 and Consumer Reports has noted that it has been progressively going down over the past several years. Volkswagen probably needs to focus their efforts more on improving their car and less on the advertisement, but that’s up to them. You should just avoid spending $25,000 on this one.
Volvo XC60 – Safe But Unreliable
Just like the other Volvo on this list, this one also has a lot of fans and for all the good reasons. It has a spacious and luxurious cabin. There is not a hint of any cheap material. The engine is potent and the drivetrain is smooth. Safety is also impeccable since this is a Volvo.
However, if you turn your attention towards Consumer Reports, you can see why these vehicles depreciate so fast. This car, just like its bigger brother, is on the list of the most unreliable cars. No matter how luxurious a car is, it is never worth being stranded on the side of the freeway.
Kia Stinger – Not a Sports Car, Not a Family Hauler
The Stinger was once rightfully crowned the best 4-door sports car but things have changed. The latest Stinger comes standard with a turbocharged 4-cylinder that is reasonably potent. However, there is more than one catch. For starters, the ride quality is harsh and the steering and handling of this car are not quite on par with the money you pay for it.
You’ll also notice that the car consumes gas at an alarming rate. The standard engine is okay but if you want a true sports car performance, you’ll have to pay a handsome amount of money to upgrade to the V6. All in all, it is too sporty to be a family hauler while still not being sporty enough to be a true sports car.
Lincoln Nautilus – Far Behind the Competition in Reliability
Nautilus is a good car. So good as to be called at par with the likes of Lexus and German SUVs. The 335hp V6 is really potent for the size of the car and the driving dynamics are as finely tuned and optimized as you can imagine for a car that competes with Lexus or BMW.
However, the trouble starts with the 19 out of 100 reliability score of this SUV. Then there is the poor rear visibility and an antiquated shifting mechanism causing problems for the driver. In short, if you want a car that can be with you for a long time, the Nautilus is not the one.
Alfa Romeo Giulia – Too Many Compromises
Alfa Romeo thought that they could contest with the likes of BMW and Mercedes and ended up creating the Giulia. That was not a good move. This car is nothing like the C-Class or the 3-series. J.D Power ranked this car the 17th best sedan of 2019 which is a way of saying “please make a better car.”
Other than a reliability score of 13/100, this car comes standard with a 2.0L I4 engine – and that’s not exactly the engine you want in a sports sedan. The rear seats have minimal space and the trunk is far from being practical. If you want a sports sedan, buy a German one instead.
Mitsubishi Mirage – Don’t Fall For the Price
The only reason the Mirage is still selling is that Mitsubishi has priced it so low. Other than that, this thing has no positive aspect, at all. The three-cylinder engine in this car is probably the weakest available on the American market. Coupled with the joke of a drivetrain this car has, the tiny motor provides no driving pleasure.
Then there’s the build quality. According to Consumer Reports, it is “drab, cheap, and insubstantial.” As a result, you are looking at a car that fails to impress in any area. It would be a far better decision to buy a used car instead of wasting money on this.
Chevrolet Traverse – A Recall is Always a Bad Sign
The Traverse from 2019 got very positive reviews from the experts and the only complaint was the lack of standard safety features. This year, however, the situation is different. There are problems with the transmission, in-car electronics, and the power system. Units have also been recalled for structural issues.
If that’s not bad enough for the car, it has the tenth spot on the list of the most unreliable cars with an 18/10 reliability score. The fuel efficiency is also pretty bad as compared to the competition. It would be better if you spend $30,000 on some other SUV.
Chevrolet Camaro – The Unreliable American Icon
You might hate me for putting this American Icon on the list but believe me the Camaro deserves a place here. Even if you ignore the reliability score of 5/100, the car does not deliver much value for $25,000. This low-end 2-door sports car is only made for two people and the rear seats are practically useless.
The standard 2.0L I4 is not the engine you’d want in a sports car and you’ll have to spend considerable money to upgrade to the screaming 6.2L V8. Considering that you’d still be able to carry one passenger, the Corvette is a better option.
Acura MDX – An Unreliable Brand
Even though Acura is a subsidiary of Honda, one of the most reliable automakers in the world, it has still managed to get the 28th spot on the list of the 30 most unreliable brands ranked by Consumer Reports. That translates to a 15/100 reliability score for the MDX.
The 2020 MDX is a beautiful SUV with a practical third row and can act as a good family hauler. However, according to Consumer Reports, it has a distracting and frustrating infotainment unit and lacks any driving excitement. If you are looking for Honda-grade reliability, the MDX won’t cut it.
Chrysler Pacifica – A Bad Choice
You should not buy a minivan on general principle unless you have six kids and can’t afford a full-size SUV to haul them to soccer practice. If a minivan costs $31,000 and has a reliability score of 16/100, just stay away from it at all costs.
The Pacifica was Chevy’s attempt to outsell the likes of Honda Odyssey but they never succeeded at that. It couldn’t even make it to the top 10 best-selling vans in the US. The reasons other than reliability are low resale value and severely limited standard features.
Chevrolet Colorado – Fuel Efficiency is the Only Upside
The Chevy Colorado is the most fuel-efficient truck in its class and that’s not the only good thing about it. It can also tow four tons and has a cabin equipped with the latest tech. However, that does not mean you should go and buy this truck before you read the next paragraph.
With a reliability score of 4/100, this year’s Colorado is the last vehicle on the list of the least reliable cars by Consumer Reports. Add to that the harsh ride, noisy cabin, poor steering wheel, and bad seat positioning and you have a truck you will want to sell the next day. More bad news: it doesn’t have a great resale value either.
Maserati Ghibli – Heavily Overpriced
This Italian car is a shame for its maker, to say the least. One of these will cost you under 80 grand. That is more money than what a BMW 550i or Audi A7 would cost you but Ghibli has nothing like the two of them. All you are paying for is a fancy Italian name.
Under the hood, you have an outrageously unreliable V6, not a V8 as you would expect from the price of the car. Other than that, it lacks the styling, space, and luxury features the rivals have to offer.
Hundai Nexo – Another Hydrogen Car
The $60,000 price of the Nexo is the first reason you should avoid it. It is priced well above the far superior Jaguar I-Pace and double the cost of the Kona Electric SUV from Hyundai. That’s not all of the stories.
The main trouble with this car is its fuel. You cannot plug it into a wall socket to charge it or fill it up with gas. It needs hydrogen to run and that happens to be the least available fuel in the US. If having just 43 filling stations for your car in the entire country is not a problem for you, you can get a Nexo.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross – Form Over Function
No car can exhibit the notion of form over function better than this one. It is an impressive car from the outside and is finished with some of the best materials on the inside. The infotainment system controls are also very easy to understand and intuitive.
However, you need to avoid this car if you want any measure of driving excitement. This car has a 1.4L turbocharged gas motor that can hardly manage 150hp on a good day. Also, for that power output, you’ll have to hit 5200 rpm – which can be a bit tricky with its gear ratios. All in all, you’d be better off if you avoid this car.