By on June 11, 2015

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

I’m all for cheap cars. What I’m not for is unnecessarily cheap cars. And if I was given a new, fresh-out-of-the-Thai-takeout-box Mirage, I’d probably give it right back.

Lately, I’ve noticed a massive uptick in the number of Mirages skulking around the streets of my home town. I’d like to think the people who’ve bought them didn’t test drive anything else and don’t actually know there are better options available.

The reality is probably a bit worse. A Mitsubishi dealer is more likely than a Nissan dealer to welcome a subprime borrower into the F&I office.

That said, the Versa sedan (and Micra in Canada), while ugly, is better than the Mirage in almost every conceivable way – except fuel economy, as the Mirage has a CVT.

I totally understand the selling points of Mitsubishi’s multi-colored zit mobile: low price, easy financing, long warranty and great fuel economy. But, for all those things, you have to put up with driving a car that feels like it was engineered in 1992 by a blind guy named Takumi who has a daily affection for saké.

On the other hand, if given a Versa (or Micra), I’d drive it ’til the wheels fell off.

What free car would you straight up turn down?

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178 Comments on “QOTD: What Car On Sale Today, If Given To You Free, Would You Give Right Back?...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nearly all of them.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Pretty much all of the compact cars for me. I wouldn’t want anything smaller than a Fusion, and that would be pushing it for me.

      If a new Audi A6/7/8 were to show up, I don’t think I’d send it back.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      “Nearly all of them.”

      That’s pretty much where I am these days. A far better question would be “which vehicle would you not give back?”

      I didn’t feel this way until very recently. I was last in the market for a car five years ago. Quite a bit has changed since then. I’m shopping again but have been disheartened by the relative sameness everywhere I look coupled with a general emphasis on everything that I either don’t want or don’t care about. Very depressing.

      Sorry for being so negative. I realize this is supposed to be a fun question.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I was in the market in 2010 as well and did make a purchase at the time. I agree its gone a little topsy turvy since then.

        “A far better question would be “which vehicle would you not give back?””

        I agree. My thinking is what would I [realistically] buy with my own money today if I had too. I come back with MY12-15 Mustang (V6 or V8), MY03-12 Lexus car model (or any clean SC300 if I could find one), or a new pickup truck (not sure on brand). The truck would run the most money and since used trucks are a non starter from a price standpoint, you have to buy new. I’m not really interested in much else for my own larger amount money. Now for 2-4 grand for S&G, my list opens up.

    • 0 avatar
      S1L1SC

      Not a single one of them – I would sell it and buy what I wanted.

    • 0 avatar

      Smart Car. If I’m going out there with no protection, I at least want a cycle’s power and maneuverability in trade.

      I’d also give back a big wheel pickup, as it would be pointless. A regular pickup I’d keep though.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    None – a free new car is a FREE new car. If I won’t drive it the Mrs or one of the kidlets will.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      It is FREE. Don’t give it back, sell it.

    • 0 avatar
      PeterKK

      Nothing is free. You gotta put a lot of money into a free car. Always. Even brand new.

      • 0 avatar
        mmreeses

        ***You gotta put a lot of money into a free car***

        i’ve always wondered how long an el-cheapo (or a BMW) new card would last if you literally did nothing (no oil changes, etc) except fill the tank and replace bald tires.

        i wish mythbusters or top gear or some random youtuber wouldn’t mind burning through some money for the sake of knowledge.

        • 0 avatar
          daver277

          Back in the 70’s some racing team got a Monte Carlo and didn’t open the hood for 30,000 miles.

        • 0 avatar
          SoCalMikester

          seems like every day on reddit /justrolledintotheshop theres a car engine being overhauled because of sludge and carbon due to neglect, like no oil changes for 30 or 40k miles

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          @mmreeses:

          My step-brother-in-law did that to a brand new Toyota Tacoma in the 1990s.

          The answer was it lasted about 20,000 miles with no oil changes before the engine seized.

          He’s much older and wiser, now.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Meh. It’s paid for so I can go liability only – which would add about $300 a year to the family insurance policy (know this from other recent quotes). Maybe another $150 a year if I put comp on it with a low deductible. If it’s stolen I want the cash. If it’s wrecked and it is our fault – meh – we have a $2 mil umbrella policy anyway.

        Warranty exists for 3 to 10 years and 36K to 100K miles depending on make and model – and most will give me free service for at least the first 24K miles these days.

        I’m putting gas into ANY car regardless. I’m putting tires on any car regardless. I’m replacing wipers on any car regardless.

        My capital investment was zero so I’m not taking a depreciation hit on paper on the asset.

        The first 2 to 3 years ownership costs of a free new car is pretty low assuming it gets even a modicum of care.

        • 0 avatar
          Skink

          What is referred to as umbrella coverage is to protect one’s assets and future earnings from liability claims by others against you when you cause them bodily injury or damage their property. Umbrella liability coverage doesn’t have Anything to do with physical damage to your cars or your other stuff.

          Self-insuring an asset like a car- when one owns it free and clear, and it was a gift – is easy if one can afford to lose it.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Amen. My feelings exactly. And if I hated it, I’d still drive it for the amount of time it would take me to save up the money to buy something new with that car as the trade-in.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Really. The more appropriate question is “What new car would you turn down if you had to exchange it for a car you’re currently using?”.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I like question more as well, again with some sort of stipulation that the exchange is permanent, or only for a year or something. My answer would change significantly.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    Any small “Cute-Ute” SUV. I have a truck to haul and tow things with 4wd for the winter. I have a car for everything else. It would be completely useless to me.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      Whilst CUVs are not for me in general, its very clear there are some ok ones and some not ok ones.

      I do like the Mazda CX5, Nissan Xtrail and Honda CRV. They are ok and I see a place for them.

      I do NOT like the Korean ones (Tucson? Sportage?) and the GM Daewoo Captiva is deplorable, in fact there’s a cute review of the rental one on this very site.

      The fact these CUVs are so popular makes me not want one.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Let’s clarify this QOTD a little:

    1. Do I have to drive this car I’m being given, like, regularly, say as my DD?

    2. Can I, upon receipt of the free car, sell it and take the money and buy something else I like better/more?

    3. If I can’t sell it, and I have to drive it yet do not want to, and I choose to give it back, that means I get nothing, right?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You bring up interesting points but I will add one, when I give it back does it have to be fully intact/showroom condition?

      • 0 avatar

        For the sake of hilarity, let’s go with “You can keep it for an hour and do whatever you want with it before giving it back.”

        • 0 avatar
          Skink

          This question asks, how full of yourself are you, or are you extremely wealthy and/or busy?

          You’d be so insulted by the gift of a car you don’t like, that you can’t deign to sell it and profit?

          Or your time is so valuable the the time it would take you to make that money works out to an hourly rate that’s an insult?

          Or are you so wealthy and lazy that such a small amount of free money just isn’t worth the bother?

          Come off it.

    • 0 avatar
      beastpilot

      Don’t forget:

      4) Do I have to pay income or sales taxes on the MSRP?

      That would make this QOTD “what car wouldn’t you keep for 30% of the MSRP”?

    • 0 avatar

      1. It must be your DD or, at the very least, a second vehicle.

      2. You can’t sell it within the first year of ownership.

      3. Correct. You get nothing (but you get to keep your pride).

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        In that case, there are quite a few cars I wouldn’t want. I’m parking-space limited, so something I like and paid money for would have to go.

        The list of cars I would take for free is much shorter. Other than a few items that are out of my price range, it’s the list of cars that I would consider buying today if one of my cars got hit by a meteor, or by a Mercury Meteor (the odds are about even).

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    Dont think of it as refusing a free car. Think of it as refusing to drive a particular car because…

    I remember close onto 20 yrs ago I hired a car due to accident etc. and they gave me a Daewoo something Leganza, Lanos whatever. It was by far one of the worst cars I’ve ever driven. I cant pin down why but it seems the people who designed it never driven a car before so had nothing to go on.

    I personally despise slow cars saddled by bad transmissions. That generally means sub 1.5 liter cars with 4 speed autos. These are terrible. It means anything approaching highway speeds is a penalty box.

    By the same token I have driven some 1.2 or lesser capacities but they had manuals and even though they were slow in certain conditions, the box meant you had direct control over it so it wasnt that bad. Very small Toyotas have left a good impression on me.

    • 0 avatar

      The All-New “Daewoo something Leganza, Lanos whatever”. It doesn’t matter. It’s barely a car.

    • 0 avatar
      Skink

      What is referred to as umbrella coverage is to protect one’s assets and future earnings from liability claims by others against you when you cause them bodily injury or damage their property.

      Self-insuring an asset like a car- when one owns it free and clear, and it was a gift – is easy if one can afford to lose it.

    • 0 avatar
      Skink

      But it is was originally proposed as a free car.. Simple as that. Now that others have thought the premise through, the proposition gets changed, and narrowed. Oh, OK, let’s discuss the second idea.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I’d take anything with an overall height of <64" to the returns counter and ask for an exchange.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      Which is funny, because I refuse to purchase anything over 60″. Personal preferences I guess.

      For my daily driving needs, 54″ seems to be about right for me. Not too high, not too low. My current daily is 55″ and my “toy fun car” is 48″. My previous daily drivers were 55″, 49″, and 51″.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “Personal preferences I guess.”

        Yep. Mine are for a seat at hip height and a door opening tall enough that I’ll never hit my head. Give me that and I’ll love it long time.
        It could even be available only in *shudder* silver.

        • 0 avatar
          DevilsRotary86

          My first car was 54″ tall when I was 17. I am now 33 and my current car is 55″ tall. As I have said in between I have had cars anywhere from 48″ to 55″ high. Now you may call me a liar here, but in 16 years of driving little cars I have never once hit my head on the door opening.

          Now, I won’t lie by omission. At 5’9″ I am not breaking any height records. And I am on the long-legged/short body side of things. So it isn’t so bad for me.

          And after 16 years I have gotten it down to an art. Pretty much it involves me grabbing the A-pillar with my left hand, supporting my weight on the seat and floor board with my right leg, and swinging in. I really don’t think about it anymore after all this time.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    A white four cylinder base model Camry. I wouldn’t even accept one as a rental.

    Same goes for all Corollas and that Mirage.

  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    I think I’d even take the Mirage. Keeps miles of the daily guzzler.

    An i-MIEV, on the other hand..woof. That (assuming I wouldn’t be allowed to trade it for a couple five-dolla footlongs) would be politely refused.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Yugo

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    any full-size pick-up.

    seriously, these things are worthless to me as a daily driven vehicle.
    they get crappy fuel economy, are nigh-undrivable on tight city streets, you can’t see things 2′ from you on any side, and like 99.99999% of commuters, I don’t tow anything to work every day.

    • 0 avatar
      daver277

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Do you follow all 99.99999999% of those commuters to make sure their job doesnt require towing or hauling? Maybe they dont tow or haul on the way home or to work, but that doesnt mean they never do it.

      Im tempted to buy a full size truck just to piss you whiney truck haters off that much more. Do you ONLY buy what you need, or do you buy what you want instead? If you dont drive a Mirage, you have no right to judge anyone else for buying what they want.

      • 0 avatar
        statikboy

        Why so much vitriol?

        There is a difference between a “comfortable margin” above what you need and “conspicuous consumption”. Most truck drivers appear to be in the “conspicuous consumption” category.

        • 0 avatar
          DevilsRotary86

          And there is nothing wrong with conspicuous consumption. Conspicuous consumption is awesome in my book.

          I just don’t like driving trucks, that’s all. Thankfully, there are plenty of expensive cars around to blow excess money on that aren’t trucks. So I am happy, truck lovers are happy, everyone is happy!

    • 0 avatar

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      Hear hear!

      I know people all over the US love these. Most of my Uncles love these things. I think they are utter garbage to drive. Too tall, too long, too heavy, handle like you are piloting a two story house from the 2nd floor window. I just do not get the appeal of driving these things. And don’t try to explain it, I will probably never get it.

      Of course, I am glad they make them. I know people love them, and I don’t wish anyone to be unhappy. And I know there are plenty of people who just don’t get why I love such tiny little cars and I know I won’t be able to make them get it either.

    • 0 avatar
      99GTI

      No kidding. Today’s trucks are like yesterday’s Corvettes- wang extender first, vehicle second. Today’s f-150 has a load lift height at least a foot higher than two generations ago. Ten years from now they’ll have to have ladders on the corners like locomotives.

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    Anyrhing Korean and the new cherokee. I’d rather ride the bus.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      Thanks!
      I was trying to think of a vehicle that I can’t stand and would never drive. I couldn’t think of anything until you mentioned the new Cherokee. God those things are hideous! I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but that could be the ugliest vehicle made since the Aztek (with all due respect to Walter White.).

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Jetta.

    I loved the MKIV design, but can’t stand the current design. It’s more bland than a Toyota to me.

  • avatar
    Vince Greene

    Buick Encore. No question about it. I could accept a cute ute but that sucker is a bridge too far. I’m sure it’s better to drive than a lot of things and I’m generally not one to care what my car says about me – hence the silver 94 Saturn SL I drove for years – but I can’t think of a more effeminate car on the market.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    What a crock of…stuff.

    Quit ragging on the dang Mirage. It’s like a stand-up comic going after Swanson TV dinners. It’s low hanging fruit. It’s a dead horse…only with a lot more horses under its skin.

    The only free car (assuming taxes were taken care of) I’d give back would be a car I couldn’t afford to maintain, like a high-end luxury or sports car.

    Giving back a free Mirage is just stupid. Even if it’s not your DD, it’s a perfectly servicable A-to-B appliance/back-up car. SMH.

    • 0 avatar

      No, I will not stop. When cars are unnecessarily cheap, they deserve this hate. You can pay the same amount of money and get a car that’s far superior.

      • 0 avatar
        ItsMeMartin

        Mark, what in your opinion makes the Mirage unnecessarily cheap? I sat in the Euro version of it – didn’t drive though – and I found it mediocre in every aspect – nothing to write home about but nothing horrible either. So what’s the deal with it? Why is it blasted in the media so much?

        • 0 avatar

          I think it’s the combination of being cheap and unendearing that makes the Mirage such an auto journo punching bag. Also, it’s subprime sales fodder and not much more.

          The closest thing I can compare it to on the U.S. market is the Spark.

          When I drove the Mirage, I came away with the overall feeling it was cheap AND old. Also, I’ve never seen a sub-compact car with so much body roll. It’s laughable. That’s on top of everything being incredibly bland and uninteresting inside.

          On the other hand, the Chevy Spark is at least fun and has about 10 more horsepower. It might not be a superb handler, but it’s lightyears ahead of the Mirage and feels like its welded together with some care.

        • 0 avatar
          DevilsRotary86

          In many ways, the Mirage really reminds me of my parents 1991 Honda Civic that they bought when I was little. Especially the manual transmission model. If anything the Mirage is nicer. It was my parents first new car and it was decidedly basic. They didn’t spring for the STD Hatch, but it was a DX sedan.

          – No radio
          – Manual locks
          – Manual windows
          – No passenger side mirror (that was optional in 1991!!!!)

          Now would I drive a Mitsubishi Mirage today? Absolutely not. I am rather proud to say that I am in a position in my life where I can safely afford a rather nice car and can be picky about what I drive.

          • 0 avatar
            ItsMeMartin

            I love simple, basic cars but making the passenger mirror optional is ridiculous. I was almost sure that practice ended somewhere around the early 80s, if not earlier!

          • 0 avatar
            DevilsRotary86

            “I was almost sure that practice ended somewhere around the early 80s, if not earlier!”

            For Honda it ended in 1992. The 5th gen Civic made it standard. My parents 91 was the last year it was an option. And my dad didn’t spring for the option.

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            No, the 6th gen Civic still had stripper models with no passenger side mirror. My friend’s father had a 92 or 93 Civic DX sedan that became his first car and it had no passenger side mirror.

            It was also the only “modern” car with a manual transmission and no tachometer than I can recall seeing/driving.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        Sounds like a real 1st world problem. Hope it stays that way.

        I’ve always thought we put way too much emphasis on what’s cool over what’s functional. We always have and the “we” includes me. Otoh, I would take this mirage and drive the P**s out of it with no worry. If it broke down I have no problem leaving it where it died. Knowing me though, no matter what I say I would probably try to get 200k out of it. I wish someone had made this offer to me when I was driving 100 miles per day as a commute.

        Of course, like many I needed to take a trailer from time to time. In fact, I no longer commute but do use a small trailer perhaps three times a week. I guess I would have a hard time functioning without that. That’s why I have two cars. I could sure have used the free miles then.

    • 0 avatar

      I really don’t think they are that bad when considering value for money (features size etc) they had to make cuts somewhere I think it’s an excellent value and if I was in need of cheap reliable transport and couldn’t wrench myself this would be right up there on the list. PLus you can load it up with Nav and everything ans still only hit 18k amazing really

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        How dumb do you have to be to drop $18k on a loaded Mirage instead of getting a Fit, Civic, Corolla, Focus, Cruze, Sonic, etc?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The thing starts at $12K and is worth 9 about the minute its titled to you. Adding 5K in options is 28% of the 18K figure, so options packages can comprise nearly 30% of the total cost and 42% of the base cost? This alone would have me running away.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Any 3-row SUV/crossover. Why would I want something less practical than my minivan? Makes no sense, so I’d give it back.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

    Jeep Wrangler. Aside from doing daily car-things poorly, it has a serious case of gender contamination that makes me want to avoid such an emasculating vehicle.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Smart car or Scion iQ.

  • avatar
    jimble

    Anything bigger than a compact because it’s too much trouble to deal with in the city. And any BMW because I don’t want people thinking I’m a douchebag.

  • avatar
    Marone

    Give right back? None.

    Sell immediately? Anything badged Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Cadillac, Buick, Tahoe/Escalade/Suburban, any pickup, and any micro car.

    Keep it for a bit and then promtly sell? Anything Hellcat, GM, Toyota, Nissan, Dodge.

    Definately a keeper? Porsche, BMW, Merc, Alfa, Tesla, Lotus, Mustang, Maybe Audi. Strong consideration, convertible.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    I would give pretty much any of them back. The better question for me is “what car would I accept for free”? For me, my car is a very personal choice and I did not pick it lightly. So for someone to just drop a random free car in my lap, that just wouldn’t work for me.

    For me, my requirements are:
    – Must be 2-door
    – Must be 3,100 lbs or less
    – Should be 3,000 lbs or less
    (the above two requirements say that I want <3,000 lbs but am willing to wiggle a little on it)
    – Must be manual transmission
    – Must have 4 seats
    – Must have adjustable head rests on the front seats.
    – Should have around 160 to 200HP.

    If I were to look for a car now, I would be looking at Scion FR-S, Mini Cooper S, FIAT 500 Abarth, VW GTI, or a used RX-8.

    So right now if some kindly person dropped say a Honda Accord or Audi A3 or Toyota RAV4 in my lap my answer would be "thanks but no thanks, I am quite happy with my current Acura RSX-S".

    • 0 avatar
      Speedygreg7

      After driving an FC for so many years, I don’t know how you would be truly satisfied driving a FWD car. It seems like the modern FC is the BRZ/FRS and it’s what I would buy if I needed an almost direct replacement. I’m not saying that there aren’t fun FWD cars to blast around for a bit, but none would be long term keepers for me.

  • avatar
    On Edge

    Any CUV, pickup, SUV, or sedan.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Are you kidding? If someone gave me a free car I hated, I’d sell it. Or give it to my daughter.

    Duh!

  • avatar
    Irvingklaws

    Any vehicle capable of autonomous operation.

    • 0 avatar
      ItsMeMartin

      I was inclined to say I wouldn’t give back any car but you’re making a good point here. I would give back any car that steers or brakes for me, especially if it attempted to do so in dangerous situations.

  • avatar
    stodge

    Toyota’s new hydrogen thingy, whatever it’s called. I’d rather give up my driver’s license than drive something that looks like that.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I think I’d have to return anything that couldn’t pull at least a small trailer (my Corolla can pull 1500lbs – although on a practical basis, I really only care about yard waste duty, which is much less).

    Aside from that, almost any gift vehicle which could be sold in a year would probably involve a net financial gain, so what the heck…

    Some vehicle prizes, lately, are one-year leases for the vehicle. I think I’d turn that down, unless it was a vehicle I’d really, really want to drive or one of the vehicles I owned at the time of the award had become troublesome and I was suspicious of it and had decided to dump it, anyway.

    Even so, accepting the lease isn’t looking attractive. If I accepted the lease, I’d be on the hook for the taxes but with no real enduring financial gain and no actual gain in resources available to me. I’d also be suspicious of the lease terms; I expect the lease would have the usual potential penalty clauses and I don’t need that BS.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    OK, I’ll play along with this game. The car I’d give back would be a Nissan Leaf. Being an apartment dweller, I have no access to overnight charging, plus I would find the limited range to be – well – limiting. I also find it to be singularly unattractive.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      That approach is only logical. If you nowhere to recharge the car, it is essentially a paperweight. A really big one.

      I currently have a single family detached home so I could use an electric car. I also currently have a 2.25 (one way) mile commute, for which said car would be perfect. But I’m too cheap to spring for any new/used car right at the moment, so in nice weather, my 29er it is…

  • avatar
    mcarr

    Given your additional criteria, and being the pragmatic person that I am, I would have to keep any free vehicle for at least the one year term, but I’d hate every minute of anything with less than 100 hp, a CVT, or horror of horrors, the combo of both. I would promptly sell/trade them at the end of the required one year term. The biggest offenders that come to mind are:

    Mitsu Mirage
    Chevy Spark
    Smart
    Nissan Versa

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    A sub prime buyer who buys a Mirage is buying this car because they need transport because, lets face it, they arn’t buying it because they want one. They are also considering “new car” warranties to. This is not a bad thing, not as bad as buying a far bigger, more expensive car you cannot afford, right?
    I am with the crowd that would take any car given to me and promptly resell it, if I don’t need it, because I can’t or won’t turn down the value that represents. I might put the money towards paying of my current car or moving to something I like more.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I wouldn’t give anything back, but anything without a manual transmission is going straight to Carmax.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I can’t imagine giving a free car back, unless trade-in value is so out of sync with retail value that I’d lose money after paying all relevant taxes and registering/insuring the vehicle.

    But there are some cars that would give me trouble because they don’t fit in either my parking space or my garage. I’d have to park them on the street in a nearby single-family neighborhood and walk there every time I wanted to drive them. In this category are full-size trucks, the SUVs based on full-size trucks, and large vans.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I have to drive it? So the real question is which new cars do I like less than my current used car.

    Between the cars I can’t sit up straight in, see out of, and/or have any respect for myself after pulling up in the answer is nearly all of them.

  • avatar
    daver277

    If you were like 90% of the drivers to whom a car is simpley an appliance and had to pay for your own fuel, I bet you would love it.
    BTW, I admire those brave enough to buy one in the anti-theft metalic pink color.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I wouldnt give any car back. Id simply drive it to the nearest Ford or Honda dealership and trade it in. I probably wouldnt care what for, but if its a Fit, Fiesta, Focus, Civic or Accord, itd have to have a manual.

    That said, what car would I refuse to keep? Any Toyota/Lexus/Scion or any current Nissan, though I might reconsider if it were a Frontier or Z (or a GT-R, goes without saying). No, I probably wouldnt keep a Mirage either, but since it wouldnt be worth trading in, Id eBay it.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      So, you’d refuse *any* Toyota product, even a Lexus (IS or F-anything, even) … but you’d take a manual Fit or penalty-box Fiesta?

      Well, “de Gustibus non est disputandum”, I guess.

      But I think you’re *insane*.

      (Not that I’m an anti-Honda man, or a Toyota-can-do-no-wrong person.

      But to take a manual Fit over an IS350 is … incomprehensible to me.)

  • avatar

    Probably the Jeep Renegade. I just don’t like the design. But I’d at least sell it and make a profit. Why give it back?

  • avatar
    Fred

    Exotic supercars, can’t afford the insurance, probably loose my license or worse kill someone. Not that I wouldn’t take it for a drive or troll for bimbos.

  • avatar
    italianstallion

    Chrysler 200. Dodge Avenger. Jeep Compass. Jeep Patriot. Nissan Sentra. Nissan Versa sedan. Toyota Prius C. Smart For Two. Scion iQ. Fiat 500L. Buick Encore. Cadillac Escalade. Lincoln Navigator. Chevy Trax. Chevy Spark. Lincoln MKS.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    If the choice is strictly take-it-or-leave-it, then I’d leave about 90% of what’s on the market today.

    I would take the Mirage home. Light, rolly, and a manual? One can have all kinds of legal fun with that.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    There are probably no new cars I would refuse if given to me. If I couldn’t really use it, I bet one of my kids could…

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    If you took any potential out of the equation (ie, I couldn’t turn around and sell it) these are the things I’d say thanks but no thanks to:

    • Pretty much any Mitsubishi, they are just absolutely terrible.
    • Automatic transmission sports cars that are obviously more fun with a stick that would be embarrassing to be seen in (think Miata or Boxster/Cayman)
    • Camaro (It looks like a cartoon…and if I can’t see out of it, I don’t want it)
    • Evoque (I hate fashon trend cars…and again, stupid visibility)
    • Smart cars
    • Lifted trucks
    • Hummers
    • Suburbans/Tahoes etc (i hate Walmart special quantity over quality thinking)

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    Mitsubishi anything.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Tata Nano

  • avatar
    duffman13

    Maybe I’m a bit too utilitarian – I mean, a free car is a free car. I’d take basically anything they give me, though there are some that I’d absolutely be pretty meh about. I guess a Nissan Leaf – I commute ~90 miles round trip for work, so it couldn’t get me there and back as far as I know unless they’ve improved the range recently.

    I’m not particularly a fan of anything in the B segment, but I could absolutely use it as a cheap commuter if it had power windows, power locks, AC, and Bluetooth. Obviously this would be contingent on me still being able to keep my S2000 for weekend fun.

    I don’t think I would really want to drive anything larger than a half ton pickup either – half tons are already too big IMO, but they at least have passable mileage for commuting, and more than enough utility and towing capacity to get me to track days in relative comfort. The extra bigness associated with anything larger/more powerful is just unnecessary. I guess I’d take it though just because of the resale value when I dump it in a year though.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    I gladly accepted a free Alfa Romeo 164 diesel, which should be saying enough about my current situation.

    However, even accounting for better reliability and maybe even lower running costs of a new car, there are some I’d just give back and keep driving the crappy Alfa instead.

    Such cars include Chevy Spark and similar penalty boxes, most Dacias, but probably also Citroëns with robotic manual transmission. Oh, and Lancia Ypsilon.

  • avatar
    EAF

    I would not give back any free car, I would make use of it in some capacity.

    If given the choice of a free car and the options were the Mirage vs the Versa, I would take the free Mirage.

    The Mirage is more fuel efficient and, based on the several first-hand Versa stories, likely more reliable as well.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Uh oh, what happened to the versas? From a strictly pragmatic point of view, one of a person that commutes on the highway, I’d take the versa any day.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I test drove a Versa in 2006 and it was a decent vehicle. I was surprised when the review of the second gen version was published. I guess maybe they engineered it more toward developing markets.

        Car and Driver on the first gen Versa (2007):

        “On the road, what you notice first about the Versa is that it feels large, “like a real car,” noted one driver . . . Our complaints were few . . . at least two of us judged the Versa the best all-around value here . . . It proved an exemplar of packaging efficiency . . .”

        2nd place out of 7.

        http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2007-nissan-versa-18sl-page-7

        Car and Driver on the second gen Versa (2012):

        “It’s surpassingly rare for an essentially all-new car to arrive on the scene and be so uncompetitive. Nissan mandated a car with the lowest MSRP in America—$11,750. And it feels like it . . . Here we go. It was the slowest to 30 mph, to 60 mph, to 100 mph, and through the quarter-mile. It offered the least skidpad grip. Its 15-cubic-foot trunk tied it with the Kia for least cargo space. It offered cabin surfaces “that would work better in a prison” and the least driver comfort. It displayed the worst ergonomics, the fewest features and amenities, and the worst transmission (a CVT that relentlessly catapults the engine to a screaming 4800 rpm with you screaming along with it). It laid bare the worst fit and finish, the nastiest engine NVH, and the spongiest brake feel. It was the most susceptible to crosswinds, “a nervous lamb with almost no sense of straight-ahead.” We attempted to identify a single styling cue, inside or out, that said anything at all, that evinced the slightest spark of imagination or creativity . . .”

        6th place out of 6.

        http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2012-nissan-versa-comparison-test-car-and-driver-page-2

        Subcompact comparison tests are usually good for a laugh. While they don’t explicitly state it, it’s obvious they would recommend only the top two or three finishers regardless of circumstances. Usually the last place finishers in a comparison have at least a couple virtues. Not in those!

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          The first generation car was very heavily Renault influenced, as was the Sentra of those years. Heavier, larger, with bigger engines than the class norm (1.8 in Versa vs 1.6 in Yaris and Fit, 2.0 in Sentra vs 1.8 in Corolla and Civic). The Versa was, as noted, very comfortable and even had a very plush interior in the SL trim cars. Things started to change in 2009(?) when they released the bargain priced “Base” versa with the now standard 1.6L with 107hp, for $9995 as I recall. I think it was definitely a paradigm shift in the car’s position in the market from going for the high end of the segment by offering bigger car comfort and power, to going after the low end with the cheapest of the cheap. The 2nd generation in 2012 made it official, the 1.6 was the only engine, and rather than the basic trims being decontented nicer ones, the nicer ones were the bottom barrel cars with some gingerbread tacked on.

          I’ve driven both generations, a 2008 SL sedan with the regular automatic as I recall, and much more recently a 2014 Base sedan with a stick shift. Definitely feel like wholly different cars, although I liked them both. The one piece seats in the new car reminded me of seats in a Lada 2107, and in general the car had a ‘third world taxi’ vibe, which I get a kick out of. I seriously considered trading my 2012 Civic with 38k miles for a brand new one in a straight-across trade, but thought better of it. The Versa is just so damn charming in how brutally honest it is. It’s a roomy sedan with air conditioning and nothing to break engine or suspension or transmission wise (with the 5spd). It’s the modern day stripper Tercel/Sentra/Colt/Civic CX, but with a heck of a lot more legroom and safety (and power steering and air conditioning, among other things).

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          First-gen was a rebadged Tiida while the 2nd is a rebadged Note, so they are different cars.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Apparently the 1st gen car is on the Nissan “B” architecture based off the Renault Megane, whereas the 2nd generation is Nissan “V,” and no longer any mention of French roots of any sort.

          • 0 avatar
            wstarvingteacher

            I drive a cube with CVT so you may want to discount this as coming from a fanboi…. I have driven both Versa generations as rentals and the last one seemed to give about 40mpg and drive comfortably. I also rented a Corolla and think they are about the same but the versa gave higher mpg. If I were going to buy one I would probably choose the Corolla because I cannot yet trust the CVT transmission. At 65k miles I’m getting there.

            I actually wish they were still selling the cube or first gen Xb. Very reliable and functional cars. I will be ready for a new one again in about 2017.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Anything lacking an MT.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I would take all the free cars bequeathed to me by the kind souls here and do the following.

    $500 down

    $50 a week.

    For forever.

    Free maintenance for 10 years and 200,000 miles.

    I would retire a multi-millionaire so long as I could skip town before the indictments became official.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Mazda Miata.

    I don’t want to get flagged down by every balding middle aged man within a 50 mile radius.

  • avatar
    markf

    Easy:

    1.Any “Smart” car
    2. VW Beetle, any year, any style.
    3. Any BMW Built Mini Cooper.
    4. Any Harley, yeah this is a car site but I could not resist…….

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      That is a fair point. Harleys are suitable for dropping off cliffs (although they are still slow even if you accelerate them that way) and lighting on fire, and not much else.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        As a hard core vintage Japanese motorcycle guy and someone who now owns a Bandit 1200S, and enjoys motorcycle touring, I’d love to take a big bagger Harley touring across Big Sky country. I’d just make sure it had the stock exhaust on it :)

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Good list, though I have to add Mazda. Drivers over 6′ tall still don’t fit comfortably.

  • avatar
    markf

    Easy:

    1. Any “Smart” car
    2. VW Beetle, any year, any style.
    3. Any BMW Built Mini Cooper.
    4. Any Harley, yeah this is a car site but I could not resist…….

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Give back?

    None – I’d sell that sucker.

    Even with depreciation and taxes, that’s still at least $5k in my pocket.

    (Now, if I had to actually keep it, insure it, drive it?

    Lots of them; anything inferior to my existing fleet in any important respect – and this includes fuel economy, since I have a truck, and a nice, fast wagon, and a little runabout [SO’s car, in practice] so I don’t *need* to fill those roles.)

  • avatar
    STS_Endeavour

    Smart Car.
    Audi S6
    Land Rover
    MG3
    Holden Barina
    Fiat 500
    Chevrolet Spark
    Citroen Nemo

  • avatar
    jthorner

    There are very few really horrible cars on the US market today. Heck, if someone gave me a New Old Stock 1980 Lada I would get a huge kick out of driving it, and that was one of the worst cars of its time.

    As far as things on the US market today which I would kick out of the garage, so to speak ….. probably just the Smart car. The name alone annoys be because what is “Smart” about a car half the size of a Honda Fit, yet which gets worse fuel economy while being inferior in every other way?

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      The smart gets 34mpg city according to the EPA. No Fit gets better than 33.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The smart is for city parking. Full stop. It has no other reason for being. If you don’t have to park on city streets on an everyday basis, it’s not the car for you. If you do, it’s a godsend.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I wouldn’t just accept a free Lada (one of the old RWD ones), I’d pay full MSRP on one if they sold them here in the US. Granted, especially with the USD/ruble exchange rate, that MSRP is probably in the $4000 range. Not bad for what is basically a sturdier Fiat 124 with fuel injection and an OHC engine. Super fun cars to bomb around in at low speeds.

  • avatar
    PeteRR

    Anything front wheel drive, except for maybe that Mini with the squished roof-line.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    After a brief period of offroading, seven neutral drops, and a hilariously staged car tipping scene in the case of the Smart I would prompt give back

    Mitsubishi Galantasaurus
    Toyota Priapism
    Mini ALL4 XXL WTF
    Smart Kart

    or possibly use them to build a retaining wall.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Corvette C7 or a Mercedes CLA. Couldn’t pay me to look like king of the d-bags.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    I’d pass on anything German, British, or bespoke.

    Fortunately, people aren’t likely to give me those sorts of cars. I’m much more likely to end up with a run-out old Fords on my hands — which I would accept gladly, and put to good use either in the family, or with someone who needs it.

    I’ve had my fill of dealing with expensive low-volume bespoke engineering at work. Vehicles that are optimized for impressing rich people aren’t very interesting. I’d *much* rather have something optimized for practicality and TCO — like a Ford or a Toyota.

    I might make an exception for Tesla, but only because what they’re doing is innovative and I’d like to see what it’s like to live with fundamentally different technology.

    Another possible exception: Cars with sentimental value within the family, if I had a place to store it. My father in law has a red two-seater from a German manufacturer that I’m not a fan of. I’d keep it in running order as a favor to him, if I had the space, and he asked. He has a garage for it now, though.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I was once given a free ’03 Hyundai Accent – everything available today is a step up from that, so by that metric, there’s nothing I’d turn down. On the other hand, I currently have a car I like, and no where to store a second vehicle (well, I could probably barely squeeze a second motorcycle into my parking spot with the car and bike already in there). But, realistically, for me to take a free car at this point, it’d have to be something I want more than what I already have (but couldn’t justify paying extra for). So, I mean, if there’s free Fiesta STs, or GTIs (even Golf wagons) or FRSs or similar out there, I’m interested?

    Separately, I drove the Micra when car-shopping, and was completely underwhelmed. I admittedly drove an absolute stripper (the one manual the dealer I visited had on the lot), and there was nothing awful about it, but there just wasn’t enough to like. I found the suspension crashy, the shifter sort of notchy, and there just wasn’t much special about it. Even the fuel economy’s pretty mediocre for something with so little power. I didn’t try the Mirage, but from sitting in it, I can’t see it being significantly worse, just a different variety of cheap.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    I trust none of the “I’d give the car back” folks would count themselves among the over 50% of Americans who don’t have $400 in hand – or in their bank account – to use in an emergency. Otherwise, there’s a lot of smoke being blown.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “the remarkable literacy of the commenters here”

    A certain continent with giant, hopping marsupials appears as yet unrepresented.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    If the vehicle had to replace my low mileage 11-year-old Mazda3 that I purchased new and maintained well, and I could never benefit – financially or otherwise – from its sale or donation, there’s a lot of new vehicles I’d give back. Far too many to list. There’s also a lot that I’d keep. Again, far too many to list.

    The two vehicles I maintain for others – a ’99 Sunfire GT and a ’93 MX-6 – would be traded immediately for any new mainstream vehicle I can think of in this scenario if it were up to me. While both have been near-perfectly reliable vehicles for their owners over the last fifteen years (with someone available to immediately diagnose and repair any hints of problems, of course), and I’d miss them, they’re tired and don’t have much value left. Plus, they’re automatics anyway.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I’d sure keep an i-MiEV! Saw my first one ever today and, damn, it looked cool!

    Forget cab-forward, this thing is ALL cab. And tall, too!

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Change it to you must drive as primary vehicle and cannot sell it. Might have been said above. Opens whole broad new vistas of rejection.

    All BMWs. They jumped their shark in 1977 as far as I am concerned.

    Do they still sell the flying vagina?

    Pickup trucks, all of them.

    Thats all I have on my shit list.

    The Mirage I would keep if it had its wheels aligned properly. I doubt its as bad as is said, if you remember what it is and what it is not.

    I could live with a freaking Chrysler minivan, for a while. Its not actually obnoxious on a standalone basis.

    So I leave it that if its not obnoxious I can do it.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    since it has to be DD or used frequently, any track special two seater that can’t clear a speed bump. This just means I don’t like the clarified rules. pretty much any Mitsu. Versa. Yaris. Sonic. Forte. Rio. Smart. Soul Patriot Xb Renegade compass Trax NV200 Transit … There’s just a lot that I will not drive regularly.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    In the mid-80’s I was offered a Volare from my dad’s friend for a $1. Needless to say I passed. Ricardo Montalban weeps.

    Basically the penalty box sub-compacts Mitsubishi Mirage (God the 80’s and 90’s versions were much better), Toyota Yaris (They replaced the Tercel with this?, Jesse Pinkman weeps), Chevrolet Spark and Nissan Versa.

    I very much like the Fiat 500 especially the Sport and Sport turbo versions. I actually don’t mind the Smart especially with a few tasteful mods like the center exhaust pipes and Fuchs like wheels on the Brabus models. The new Twingo based version with a manual makes one optimistic that a city car can be cool and a good performer.

    There is a lot of distain for the Patriot/Compass. I would pass on a Compass but the Patriot seems worthwhile, has enough Jeep cred and is a decent value since it has been improved under Sergio.

    Mercedes CLA-No thanks. They downgrade the brand, and the engine makes a weird sound. I see lots of younger folks driving these. “Gee not much more than a Camry”

  • avatar
    nrd515

    Anything small enough to not be comfortable for me. Anything gutless enough to frustrate me, and anything ugly enough to be embarrassed to be in. The car that comes to mind is a Toyota Yaris, an awful little penalty box FWD POS that I see almost every morning on the way home from work. It’s sort of a sickly green. The guy driving it, who has to be pushing 60, looks as miserable as I would be if I had to drive it. Just being seen in it would be bad enough.

    There are a lot of others, but that one comes to mind because I see it 4 out of 5 days a week.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I wouldn’t accept anything from MY2015 and beyond except for maybe a Ram pickup (I prefer the 2003-07, though), a 300, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, a Ford Fusion or (gasp) a Honda Accord. If I had kids I’d take the Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town and Country. Volvo? Subaru? I don’t know. I can’t think of anything else I’d want. I’m content with my 2013 Chrysler 200 Limited, it’s just right.

    Nothing’s appealing any more. FCA is slowly turning Chryslers, Jeeps and Dodges into unrecognizable mush. The last-gen 200, which I have, looks like a Chrysler. The new one looks like a Kia. The Dart looks like a jellybean. The Charger, which I’ve never liked from day one, now looks worse.

    Mercedes-Benz, a company that other manufacturers traditionally imitated, is now taking lessons from Hyundai. Is Hyundai that prestigious these days that Mercedes-Benz decided to axe their traditional, classy and conservative styling in favor of the jellybean movement?

    The new Chevy Suburban/Tahoe and pickups look strange. Nissan/Infiniti looks terrible, and has for some time. Volkswagen/Audi is about the only manufacturer that has conservative styling across their lineup. However, looking at a mechanical standpoint, I wouldn’t touch anything they have with a ten-foot pole.

    It’s not all about the looks, either. The cars have become much more complicated: so many gadgets and gizmos; any attempt to DIY anything looks to be stonewalled. Interiors all look like a shuttle cockpits, not a motor vehicle. And what about the feature where the engine shuts off when at a stop light? Such a great way to wear it out…I’ll take the penalty of the small increase in fuel usage over a $5-10k engine that’s toast conveniently after the warranty period.

    I would never even think about a Toyota, Lexus, Volkswagen, Audi, Kia, Hyundai or Mitsubishi for various reasons. And I would never, ever take a hybrid or electric car. I’ll take a Tesla, I’ll just put a Hemi in it.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Any Jaguar. I just don’t fit into them.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    If it’s FWD and/or has less than 3L of displacement or its German I’m not interested. Also if it has a high beltline I’m not interested unless it says “Corvette” on it somewhere.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Anything with a CVT or an automatic transmission. (Nothing that drives like a rental car, which is now about 90+% of what’s for sale new.)
    Anything that won’t let me check the oil with a dipstick, or let me change it myself.
    Escalade (“bling” is for the gullible and the brainless).
    Anything with narrow windows like a Camaro, or smaller. (What are they thinking?! You gotta see to be able to drive!)
    Any BMW – that’s just not me, and most BMW drivers that I know or have seen fit the stereotype.
    Anything that won’t get at least 20 MPG in real-world driving.
    Anything with overpriced replacement parts, a la Mercedes Benz.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    As the old saying goes, “Never look a gift horse in the mouth”.

    I’d take any freebee new vehicle but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t sell it the next day after the transfer papers went through.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    I’d keep something that is similar to our 2000 Corolla with 188,000 miles that my wife bought new, but I use to commute to the office. (she stays home with the kids, and the minivan)

    Looking at the features, even the Mirage has more than I really need – I don’t waste my time downloading music etc., so I don’t care about entertainment features in a car. I enjoy silence in the car – gives me time to think while I’m driving. Also – I cannot remember the last time anyone looked in the passenger side vanity mirror of the Corolla.

    I turn my own wrench on repairs as much as possible, so simple is a big plus for me. (3 spark plugs and only 3 quarts of oil in the crank) Also, the bonus of 10 mpg more than the Corolla makes even more money available for my kid’s parochial school tuitions.

    Local dealer is selling Mirage DE trim with CVT for $12,348 including destination. They sell well for them.

  • avatar
    ilkhan

    None of them.
    But 90% of cars, if someone handed me the keys, would be on another dealer’s lot as a trade-in the next day.

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    Anything with a CVT. But most of the cars I see that I would give back are so unremarkable and so unnoticeable that I haven’t even learned their names.

    But it would be any one of those econobox pieces of crap with less than 100 hp, thirteen inch wheels, or thereabout, the afore-mentioned CVT, maybe a pushbutton transmission, no trunk, a sealed coolant system, bumpers made of metal that you could twist with your bare hands, or bend by looking cross-eyed at them…a whole lot of cheesebox entry level specials.

    Or as one letter to a car magazine once said “I have a Yugo. A friend of mine gave me a car stereo. Does this mean I need to buy a car?”

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      If you gave me a Range Rover Evoque, I wouldn’t give it back, but would arrange an immediate trade for a new Trailhawk, or perhaps a Mustang GT.

      But I wouldn’t even want it to appear in my driveway. Mostly, I don’t care what people think about what I drive, but I don’t want to ruin my reputation for having some sense of what is a good car ruined, either.

      Would also wholesale out a Jeep Patriot so fast it would make your head spin.

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