By on March 1, 2017

2015-cadillac-ats-sedan

Navigating the new car market can be treacherous, but the used market is significantly larger and riddled with more hidden pitfalls. Used cars also offer the best potential value for your money, provided you don’t end up with a lemon. Even something that passes your initial scrutiny might be a few months away from becoming a clattering heap.

Fortunately, Consumer Reports keeps a running tally on the worst second-hand garbage that money can buy. Taken from its most recent ranking, here are some of the more common models from the last 10 years that scored so poorly in reliability that they aren’t even worth your consideration.

Luxury vehicles, which used to have over-sized and under-strained motors, were a fairly safe bet in the past. You could scoop one up for a fraction of what it was new and comfortably watch the odometer rack up the miles. Things are a little more complicated now that the segment doesn’t only include only soft sedans with a detuned engine. Avoid Infiniti’s JX from 2013 and the QX60 from 2014. Other bad eggs include Lincoln’s 2015-2016 MKC and 2013 MKS, Volvo’s 2015 S60 and 2016 XC90, and Acura’s 2015-2016 TLX.

Buick’s 2008-2011 Enclave isn’t worth your time, nor is the 2009 Lacrosse or 2008 Lucerne. Cadillac’s ATS from MY 2013 and 2015 suffered from well below average dependability, as did Escalades from the last three model years.

If German cars are more to your liking, BMW’s 3 and 5 Series both have a poor reputation for reliability between the 2008 and 2012 model years. The 4 Series also didn’t do well in 2014. Mercedes-Benz had at least one bad year for most of its models. Among the more common choices was the 2015 C-Class, 2011 M-Class, 2015 S-Class, and 2016 GLE. Audi’s 2009-2010 A4 and last year’s A3 should also be avoided.

Volkswagen had a smattering of duds, largely dependent upon model year. The ones you’re most likely to see in used lots are the 2010 and 2016 Golf, 2012-2013 GTI, 2007 and 2014 Passat, 2011-2013 Tiguan, and basically any Jetta from 2010 to 2016 — though some years were better than others.

Mini’s Cooper should also be sold with an optional red flag for the 2007-2011 and 2015 model years.

On the North American front, other commoner-friendly cars to watch out for are the 2011-2013 Chevrolet Cruze, 2010-2011 Chevy Equinox, 2012 Sonic, 2007-08 Chrysler PT Cruiser, 2013 200, the 2014-2015 Dodge Charger, 2013 Dart, basically every Dodge Journey ever made, Ford’s 2013 Escape, the 2011-2014 Fiesta, and 2012-2016 Focus. I also wouldn’t sign off on payments for a GMC’s 2007-2014 Acadia anytime soon.

If you’re into larger vehicles with more ground clearance, the trucks and SUV segments had some exceptionally deficient offerings. The worst included Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD’s from 2012 onwards, (obviously) GMC Sierra 2500s from the same years, Yukon and Yukon XLs from 2014-2015, Chevy Suburbans from 2014-2016 and 2008, 2014-2016 Tahoes, Ford F-250s from 2008, 2010, and 2014, the 2012 Expedition, 2014 and 2016 Ram 1500, and most 2500s from 2012 or later. Toyota’s only dud turned out to be the 2016 Tacoma.

Japan and Korea faired much better overall, however there were some dark spots on its resume. Last year’s Honda Civic is a no-no, as is the Nissan Rouge from 2014, Juke from 2012, and 2013 Sentra. You should also take a pass on the 2009 Subaru Impreza and 2008 Outback, along with Mazda’s 5 and 3 from 2008 and 2016, respectively.

Minivans that didn’t make the grade were Chrysler’s Town and Country from 2008-2012 and the Dodge Caravan from those same model years.

Jeep was chock-full of ill-advised purchases, with the 2007, 2008 and 2015 Wrangler being the most heartbreaking. Other potential lemons included Cherokees and Renegades from the last couple of years and practically every Grand Cherokee built after 2011. Additional FCA flotsam and jetsam came in the form of the 2012, 2013, and 2015 Fiat 500.

While vast, this collection is by no means complete and focuses on more typical passenger vehicle offerings from used car dealerships. I would recommend checking out Consumer Reports’ complete listings to see if a model you’ve had your eye on might begin to evaporate once you take ownership.

[Image: General Motors]

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151 Comments on “Nothing but Trouble: Used Cars to Avoid Like the Plague...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Avoid cliches like the plague.

    ;-)

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I would guess in some of these it is minor stuff say ford sync or the like vs tranny’s on a FCA mini van, you gotta dig down in the numbers hit the user forums to get a mic better idea what the issues are , and of course check which is first year models which tend to do worse.

    • 0 avatar
      mik101

      It’s a combination of my Ford touch and the PowerShift dragging down the Fiesta and Focus. The early Fiestas had a few quality issues regarding fuseboxes corroding and snow/water freezing up the heater blower motor (mitigated by turning the climate controls off when you park) but I’d have no issues recommending a manual model of either of those if given a good check over by the purchaser or a mechanic. The automatics, well your mileage my vary as they say.

      Nothing’s gone wrong with my 14 Fiesta S 5spd other than the passenger door speaker. Ford and likely most companies just use the most cheaply constructed speakers they can find it seems haha.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Even though pretty much every GM K2XX SUV appears on this list, we’ll still see a million posts on here urging people to buy the poorly packaged, poorly executed SUVs because “they’re more reliable.”

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      No Silverado or Sierra 1500 on the list though.

      So truck FTW I guess.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Wasn’t there a story on this very website about the issues that GM is having with its 8 speed automatics and how that was driving down reliability ratings for the Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon etc?

        Fortunately a Suburban with Z71 package (the one I desire the most) keeps the old 6 speed auto that GM seems to have figured out.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The engines aren’t helping either. The Gen V, so far, has not been anything like as solid as its Gen IV predecessors. I’m sure that will improve over time but it will affect the 2014-2015 ratings forever.

          • 0 avatar
            suburbanokie

            I’m pretty sure this has a lot to do with the “Chevy Shake” — a hum, buzz, or buffeting coming from the roofline of the fullsizers.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @suburbanokie – I’m sure you are an Okie with a Suburban but when I read your user name my first thought was Suburba Nokie. Lots of room in a Suburban for nookie.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      No ones saying the GM SUVs are the greatest vehicle ever, but let’s be honest we have so few good vehicle choices today that there is just no K2XX competition.

      GM would be much better suited to drop all the fancy crap in the SUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “there is just no K2XX competition”

        For the tiny percentage of buyers who have a reason to care whether the rear axle is solid, there is one competitor: the Land Cruiser/LX570.

        For the vast majority of buyers who use these as people carriers and have no reason to care about that, there’s tons of competition. Of course the Expedition and Navigator, brand-new this year, are the big dogs. But there’s also the Armada and Sequoia at the low end and an entry from almost every luxury brand (except BMW) on the high end.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Sales totals says buyers do care, just like construction companies buy trucks to throw stuff in the bed – Fullsize SUV buyers that aren’t naive go with the solid rear.
          There’s no justification for a Fullsize SUV without a solid rear that a minivan can’t handle.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            We’ve been through this before, but if GM switched to IRS tomorrow, sales numbers wouldn’t change. They might lose a few sales to hard-core trailer towers, but they’d gain them back from people who like the bigger third seat. The construction buyer you’re talking about is usually the third owner of a full-size SUV.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Ignoring the fact that data suggests otherwise, what about the buyers that don’t want the 3rd row? It wasn’t that long ago you could buy them without the 3rd row.
            For the vast majority of consumers the 3rd row is not a deciding factor. Having one disadvantage is not enough for GM to completely abandon the multitude of consumers that require the solid axle.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Your hypothesis is that the higher sales of the GM twins are *because of* the solid axle.

            Having seen how most of them are used in the real world–as kid-hauling shuttles–my hypothesis is that their higher sales are *despite* the solid axle.

            Unfortunately, we won’t get to see who’s right unless GM goes IRS with the next generation. How well the 2018 Expedition does may help determine if that happens.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            The “theory” relies on the fact that Ford, Nissan, Toyota all build non luxury FS SUVs and none of them sell nearly as well. Despite the fact that Ford owns the related Truck industry. Ford could easily make the expedition into a vehicle that could sell half as many copies as they sell trucks a year but they make no effort.

            Take notice that the next expedition looks exactly like a minivan, its very likely that the generation following the 2018 won’t even have a frame.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            There are “a multitude” of customers who “require” a solid axle? For what purpose? And before you say towing, the Expy is rated for 1000 lbs. higher towing than the Tahoe/Suburban.

          • 0 avatar
            skygreenleopard

            Sure, practically speaking you’re correct, but the fact that minivans are dead and large SUVs and crossovers still sell show 99% of consumers disagree. In your world we’d all be driving Mazda CX-9s and minivans under the speed limit, but consumers simply don’t behave that way, especially in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            A Ram 3500 has a tow rating of 30,000 lbs that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do it. When your towing those rear wheels on the IRS toe out like a ricer.

            Consumers want something that will last, as easy as those independent diffs like to explode in normal IFS situations the IRS differentials would stand no chance if they saw real work.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            So you don’t trust the cadre of engineers and other experts whose very job it is to make sure that said vehicle actually can tow that much, safely, for the functional life of the vehicle? Who should we trust, then?

            Thanks for not answering the question concretely, BTW.

          • 0 avatar
            John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

            Yes, the Ford’s are so awful, that’s why the Expedition appears for one year only.

            Clearly “the data suggests” that the Expedition is more reliable than the GMs. If all of them need to be rebuilt every 5,000 miles, why is only the 2012 model year on the list?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I love the pic you chose.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Seconded!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yep, click-baity perfection.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Run, Grango, for the lives in you! Run far, Grango!

      http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-ct6-forum/935898-depreciation-ct6-awd-3-6-luxury.html

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        I can’t really read her post too far… Because I get so enraged…
        …I’m not sure why…

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Grango, let us not be unclear. I too share your sincerity in having gravity for shady dealership strategies.

          But Grango, let I and you also heretofore be in agreement that her’s will be a plight echoed by the very many hundreds of bespoken transactors of new Cadillac CT6 luxury automobiles!

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            ¿Quién es Grango?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Those retained values remind me of my friend buying an off-lease 2001 BMW 740i Sport for about $22K. It had depreciated by 67% in three years, making him think it was bound to have limited downside risk in the near future. It still managed to depreciate by over 60% more in the next three years, never mind over five figures in repairs in its last year in his ownership. It’s a travesty that people aren’t taught to respect markets.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        ***This is your CT6 update for March 1st, 2017*** (and f**k there are a lot of combinations).

        MY16 AWD I4 TURBOZ (and boom goes the dynamite!)

        01/26/17 Manheim Detroit $25,200 16,777 Above Black 4GT A Yes
        01/26/17 Manheim Detroit $25,000 7,174 Above Black 4GT A Yes
        01/26/17 Manheim Detroit $24,200 5,153 Avg Gray 4GT A Yes
        01/26/17 Manheim Detroit $23,800 15,043 Avg Black 4GT A Yes
        01/26/17 Manheim Detroit $23,800 12,639 Avg Silver 4GT A Yes
        01/26/17 Manheim Detroit $23,600 16,679 Avg Silver 4GT A Yes

        MY16 AWD I4 TURBOZ “Luxury”

        02/28/17 Manheim Portland $28,400 15,162 Avg Gray 4GT A Yes
        02/23/17 Manheim Detroit $30,600 8,838 Above Blue 4GT A Yes
        02/23/17 Manheim Detroit $29,400 11,469 Avg Silver 4GT A Yes
        02/23/17 Manheim Detroit $28,800 19,429 Avg Black 4GT A Yes
        02/22/17 Manheim Nashville $25,400 37,996 Below Black 4GT A Yes
        02/22/17 Manheim Milwaukee $30,000 7,020 Above Red 4GT A Yes
        02/22/17 Manheim Milwaukee $28,500 15,186 Avg Blue 4GT A Yes

        MY16 AWD I4 TURBOZ “Performance”

        12/28/16 Manheim Detroit $34,600 9,412 Above White 4GT A Yes
        12/15/16 Manheim Detroit $34,200 3,421 Avg Black 4GT A Yes
        12/15/16 Manheim Detroit $33,800 9,903 Avg Black 4GT A Yes
        12/15/16 Manheim Detroit $30,000 8,767 Avg Black 4GT A No
        12/15/16 Manheim Detroit $27,400 25,214 Below Black 4GT A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Detroit $35,000 8,851 Above Black 4GT A Ye

        MY16 RWD I4 TURBOZ “base”

        02/23/17 Manheim Detroit $25,300 9,764 Avg Gray 4GT A Yes
        02/16/17 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $28,000 7,535 Above White 4GT A Yes
        02/16/17 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $26,000 1,559 Avg Blue 4GT A Yes
        02/09/17 Manheim Tampa Lease $27,600 4,265 Above Red 4GT A Yes
        02/09/17 Manheim Detroit $26,200 8,746 Avg Black 4GT A Yes
        01/26/17 Manheim Mississippi $25,200 247 Below Brown 4GT A Yes

        MY16 RWD I4 TURBOZ “luxury”

        02/24/17 Manheim Digital Marketplace Regular $29,900 6,539 Avg 4CY A Yes
        01/26/17 Manheim Tampa Lease $31,000 644 Above Black 4GT A Yes
        01/26/17 Manheim Detroit $24,200 17,008 Below Brown 4GT A No
        01/11/17 Manheim Nashville $30,000 2,967 Avg Gray 4GT A Yes
        12/28/16 Manheim Detroit $31,200 6,756 Above White 4GT A Yes
        12/28/16 Manheim Detroit $29,000 10,315 Avg Black 4GT A Yes

        MY16 RWD I4 TURBOZ “performance”

        02/09/17 Manheim Detroit $32,100 5,460 Above Black 4GT A Yes
        01/26/17 Manheim Detroit $28,000 10,548 Below Blue 4GT A No
        01/12/17 Manheim St Louis Lease $32,400 5,696 Above Black 4GT A Yes
        01/09/17 Manheim Orlando $31,800 8,956 Above Gray 4GT A Yes
        12/15/16 Manheim Detroit $32,200 14,237 Above White 4GT A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Detroit $35,000 5,336 Above Black 4GT A Yes

        MY16 RWD V6 TURBOZ VSPORT

        01/12/17 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $36,200 7,733 Avg Black 6GT A Yes
        12/28/16 Manheim Detroit $36,500 12,783 Avg Silver 6GT A Yes
        12/15/16 Manheim Detroit $36,900 2,113 Avg Red 6GT A Yes
        12/15/16 Manheim Detroit $36,200 7,580 Avg Gray 6GT A Yes
        12/14/16 Manheim Nashville $35,000 4,301 Below Silver 6GT A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Detroit $40,400 6,882 Above Black 6GT A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Detroit $39,600 7,852 Above Red 6GT A Yes

        MY16 RWD V6 TURBOZ VSPORT “Prem”

        02/20/17 Manheim Orlando $45,000 13,397 Avg Black 6GT A Yes
        02/16/17 Manheim Texas Hobby $42,500 12,977 Below Red 6GT A Yes
        02/01/17 Manheim Texas Hobby $41,200 5,519 Below Black 6GT A No
        02/01/17 Manheim Nashville Regular $45,700 2,864 Avg Red 6GT A Yes
        01/17/17 Manheim Texas Hobby $46,250 4,187 Avg Black 6GT A Yes
        01/17/17 Manheim Texas Hobby $44,750 7,237 Avg Black 6GT A Yes

        MY16 AWD V6 N/A “base”

        11/03/16 Manheim Mississippi Lease $44,700 1,070 Avg White 6G A No

        MY16 AWD V6 N/A “Luxury”

        01/19/17 Manheim Tampa Lease $45,200 465 Avg Gray 6G A No
        12/14/16 Manheim Nashville Lease $47,000 3,529 Avg Black 6G A No
        10/11/16 Manheim Statesville Lease $49,500 107 Avg Black 6G A No

        MY16 AWD V6 N/A “Prem Lux”

        12/28/16 Manheim Detroit $52,000 1,488 Avg White 6G A No

        MY16 AWD V6 TURBOZ “Luxury”

        08/19/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $54,000 2,013 Avg White 6GT A No

        MY16 AWD V6 TURBOZ “Platinum”

        02/24/17 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $65,000 1,692 Avg White 6GT A No
        12/27/16 Manheim Orlando $52,000 4,099 Avg Red 6GT A No
        09/22/16 Manheim Detroit $70,800 707 Avg Black 6GT A No

        MY16 AWD V6 TURBOZ “Prem Luxury”

        12/22/16 Manheim Detroit Lease $52,300 8,303 Avg Black 6GT A No
        12/12/16 Manheim Orlando $38,200 250 Avg Gray 6GT A No

        ***This has been your CT6 update***

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @28 – Thanks for reminding me that there is an I4 Turbo AWD version of the current flagship.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You’re quite welcome. You’ll notice how popular it is on the block :D

            Evidently the “performance” I4 is worth a roughly 9K premium though, seems like much for Brembos and a better suspension IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Give me a V6 turbo AWD XTS V before the abomination known as the CT6. At least I’d have the world’s finest Impala.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I see where you’re going with that, but aside from the styling I personally can’t get on board with an AWD XTS. Given a choice, its FWD Conti for me.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The depreciation curve on the CT6, as a % of both MSRP & real-world transaction price, is going to be so epic that it will be something rare and beautiful to behold!

            Unleash 560 to 720 a$$-pummelings per month!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Seems it will just be on the I4, so you will have a mix of original/CPO V6 owners and ghetto fabulous I4 owners. This will ironically mirror Escalade ownership.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Seems like the base VSport is the sweet spot for the used buyer.

          The Platinums are actually kind of holding their value, a bit!

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          It looks like half of them are GM management lease vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Those were my thoughts as well. The Detroit examples are probably from the factory sale (but possible some of the others as well).

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Or lemon-law buybacks (seriously, check out Ye Ole Transmission & Other Woes).

            Zing!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Which transmission does it use?

            Btw this was the first result in my search string when looking to the CT6 wiki:

            “$597/Mo 2016 CT6 Lease – $0 Security Deposit at Cochran‎”

            $579 is mighty steep, try $199.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            It uses the 8L transmission. That transmission is mostly used on trucks and SUVs with the 6.2L. It should eventually be replaced by the 10L (10R in Ford speak).

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            CT6 lease rates will be shot to he!! Buy incredibly low residual values.

            Standard of the …. CLIFF DIVE.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So isn’t the 8L good? Why does this POS have transmission issues DW?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Not sure.

            There are many complaints of it “locking up” in both 3rd or 4th gear, and breaking in reverse.

            The CT6 is off to an awful start even judging by complaints of the fanbois crowd at GMInsider forums (let alone Cadillac owners forums).

            Ride quality (really bad), noise issues (people buying new tires immediately), paint quality, interior trim (really bad), etc.

            Standard Of The World!

            Zeee Mercedes/BMW/Audi/Lexus Super-Saloon Slayer!!!

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            The 8L is fine. It would be the least of my worries with the CT6.

            My Cadillac of choice right now is the CTS VSport. It has an Aisin transmission that GM doesn’t put in any other vehicle. I wonder why it doesn’t have the 8-speed.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The CT6 is really cheap feeling inside and out in person. A real POS that is hilariously priced.

            BUT AT LEAST THEY DID NOT USE THE ATS (AND NOW, BASE XT5) GAUGE CLUSTER!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            They did focus groups who all said, didn’t that guy Deadweight say the dash was too cheap?

    • 0 avatar
      jmiller417

      FWIW, the last time I looked at CR, the biggest issue with the ATS was infotainment/electronics (go figure). The metrics for mechanical items all checked out fine.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        I bought a 2013 ATS4 2.0T used and only put 8,000 miles on it with a 8 mile to work now. The ATS is a fantastic driving machine and never had a problem except for CUE screen delamination. I could have bought a replacement from Alibaba but eventually traded it in on a 2017 Acadia Limited, which is basically a Denali minus shocks, vented seats and some satin exterior trim.

        I got a good deal because of higher miles and went to trade it in I was a couple hundred ahead which the sakes man said with a smirk. So much for those bad Cadillac residuals….

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    To heck with CR’s new-car survey. THIS is the kind of information that can give you useful guidance about what kind of reliabiliy you can expect from a given vehicle. J.D. Power’s reports on initial vehicle quality are useless. I want to know what’s happening three years out and beyond. Michael Karesh’s True Delta is very useful. Come to think of it, we don’t hear much from Michael on this aite any more, do we?

  • avatar
    JimZ

    LOL at including the MKC. Go look at the individual reliability ratings, none of them are below average. That doesn’t seem to align with a “much worse than average” overall prediction, and it certainly doesn’t justify calling it the “worst second-hand garbage.”

    you can tell The Truth About Cars without including a bunch of needless manufactured snark. but I guess that’s par for the course for Millennials; everything has to be delivered with a snarky, dismissive attitude.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Yea, that is often the case for a lot of cars. Same story with the TLX. Hopefully that drives down prices on them so I can grab one. CR can be a bit weird at times, but at the end of the day it’s on the individual to dive deeper into the data. These lists seem to be largely meaningless.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Whatever dude. Just, whatever.

      (channeling my inner millennial)

    • 0 avatar
      RedRocket

      Everybody at TTAC can tell you that only GM and Chrysler make bad cars. Every other make is perfection personified.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        I’m actually talking more about CR here. I’m a subscriber, so I can see their ratings. The MKC in the years they list has fairly good ratings for the individual categories, which wouldn’t seem to justify them giving it a “much worse than average” overall verdict. It certainly doesn’t justify being called “garbage.”

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      I had the same suspicion when I saw the Honda Civic. Either pigs are flying, or something is wrong with the conclusion. If the Honda Civic were unreliable, we’d be hearing about it on the blogs and in the comment sections by now.

    • 0 avatar
      TomHend

      Love ya like a brother JimZ.

    • 0 avatar
      USAFMech

      TTAC is Canadienne, not Millinials. So, more annoying.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      “everything has to be delivered with a snarky, dismissive attitude.”

      Go look in the mirror, jackass. Sounds like everything you post here.

      And yeah, you know everything because you subscribe to the awesome magazine that recommended the Sable and said to avoid the Taurus in the most ridiculous case of sampling bias ever.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    So after filtering through all the data CR’s bottom line is to buy a Camry.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Looks like Lexus and Mitsubishi have nothing on the avoid lists?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I defended CR on the previous article, but I have to say I don’t like these kinds of articles from them. There’s little context, the analysis is unseen, the magnitude of difference between these must-avoid cars and their competitors isn’t provided, the bigger picture isn’t present. They may well be right, but the amount of “just trust me” involved is a bit arrogant here.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      It just seems so arbitrary. Picking one model year out of a 5-7 year run seems more like an anomaly than some useful info.
      The Legacy and Outback were the same cars from 2005-2009 yet only the 2008 Outback has problems? As an owner of a Legacy from that time period I can assure you that isn’t the case.

      Then you have the 500 for 3 out of 4 years? Why was the 2014 so much better?

      It seems like CR is good at some things and needs to generate clicks for others.

      • 0 avatar

        This and this. The one that stood out for me was citing a series of years for the BMW 3, but only one year for the 4. There’s an issue with sample size, or there’s a lot of noise in the data, or something.

        I recognize that an article summary like this is going to elide over the details, but it can’t be said enough: discussing the effect size (average number of repairs per year, for example) and the type of repairs (I don’t care if every right rear window on the 2012 Steel Panther fails, if the drivetrain holds together for half a million miles…) is pretty important.

        OTOH, these are ultimately details, the advice to buy a Camry probably still holds :).

    • 0 avatar
      pdieten

      The context exists, but they don’t give it to the hoi polloi that reads the site for free. Subscribe, or pick up the April auto issue at your local magazine rack if you still have one of those anymore.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Every last American vehicle on sale are all pieces of crap? I’m sorry but I’m not buying it.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    Oh yeah…Consumer Reports, that bastion of journalism dedicated to urging the paying public to avoid certain items, specializing it seems in electronics and the automotive market. Sorry, they have been proven wrong on so many fronts based on my personal experience, as well as personal experiences of friends and familily, I simply ignore most of their drivel. As someone mentioned, they accept trivial, minor issues as reason to avoid particular vehicles and products, when in fact quite often the issue is user error, or a problem created by user ignorance.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    What’s wrong with the Cruze? That one surprised me.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      It’s garbage, didn’t you know?

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      My 2011 Cruze needed a water pump in 3 yrs of operation, I think they also did a reflash on the body computer for some HVAC service bulletin. (roughly 36,000 mi)

      My 2014 was perfect, only dealer visits were for the free maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      for 2011, it’s “much worse than average” on engine minor, engine cooling, transmission minor, climate system, and body integrity. “Worse than average” in drive, fuel, and electrical systems.

      The Cruze has steadily improved, but the 2011 at least seems to have earned its spot on this list.

    • 0 avatar
      HeyILikemySaturnOK

      I’m really interested to see what happens for long-term reliability on the 2nd (2016 onward) Generation Cruze in CR. They have consistently rated the 1st gen as a poor vehicle, yet this year’s model is their top choice for non-hybrid compact cars and they have nothing but praise for it.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    The data is not passing the sniff test, primarily because it seems to pluck model years out of nowhere for vehicles that had no changes for at least three years. Screams of tiny sample sizes skewing numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Agreed. I think this list is most useful with respect to the vehicles that appear every, or almost every, year of production than the ones that appear randomly once.

  • avatar
    phxmotor

    How can an 08 Impreza and an 09 Outback be culled out of all the other Subarus from the last 6 or ten years?
    Same engine for years.
    Same transmission for years. .
    Same rack and pinion…
    Same brakes…
    Same ABS…
    What could possibly sets these two apart?
    It is nice to have reliable aids in choosing top of the line high quality and reliable used cars. We live in a world of magic. And lead when it comes to the magic cod cheap quality cars. Crazy cheap… high quality used cars … we have a never ending river of them. Alfred Sloan would be happy to see his “idea that built GM” continuing to be the backbone of much the of the industry. .
    The only trick for buyers who prefer to buy with cash…buyers who prefer to never …ever… be subjected to having to interact with a dealer…is knowing which cars are actually reliable. Articles like this are good. For neophytes. For buyers who seem to be unable to figure out how to change their own flat tires. … But…
    For the rest of us…..there is a much much more
    reliable approach to finding the most reliable and the highest quality used cars. It’s so simple.
    Why this approach is constantly given the cold shoulder in TTAC is beyond me.
    It’s soooo simple(!)

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “Garbage”…blah blah blah.

    You need to dig deeper into these ratings to see what’s really up with any of these.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    Not much has changed regarding brands and their reliability over the last 15 or so years. It’s clear some are “comfortable” pumping out cars that have a lot of issues.

    Chrysler/Jeep is almost always at the bottom and seems fine with that being part of their business model. Most European makes have only improved around the margins.

    Over time, the brand that’s probably fallen off the most is Nissan/Infiniti. Seemed to have struggled since the mid 2000’s and on.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    As a 2008 Mazda 5 owner, I can understand CR’s verdict. Ours has been reliable and relatively troublefree( though low mileage at 55k) there were a few problems with the suspension early in its life. Earlier cars were worse on many fronts.

    Mazda did not include a service interval for the ATF and when I changed mine at 30k, it was very brown and dirty. I can only imagine how many 5’s died early due to transmission issues. But since they never sold in great numbers, it’s not like there was a Honda level outcry.

    I’ve maintained mine well and it still has rust issues, typical of Mazda from the time and living in the rust belt. The underside and its bits are more rusty than I think they should be given the miles and care given. Since most buyers don’t care for their cars like many enthusiasts do, I can see why they aren’t well regarded. Any car can last if you care for it, but mediocre stuff dies quickly if you don’t. The interior in our Grand Touring is fine, the leather makes it better, but it is a sea of plastic. Rattle free and the main squeaks come from the door openings.

    It’s still an amusing little box to drive and you can drive it fairly hard. And if Mazda had gotten the diesel here in the 5 or had done more to it, it might have done better. We leased an Odyssey when the kids came and are now considering a Sienna SE to replace the Odyssey. The Mazdas downfall was its “people or stuff” preposition. Yes, I know people use this type of vehicle the world over as family transportation, but Americans like space.. Also, the flexibility of the large vans and the Mazdas mediocre real world economy and lack of power didn’t make it a great value. Not when an FCA van could be had for nearly the same money or less. Mazdas driver focused mission is greatly appreciated by drivers, but most family drivers could care less about dynamics. And if an FCA van had more room, power and was quieter, why wouldn’t you choose it over the Mazda?

    Your mileage my vary…

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I had my 98 Protege. And few years after purchase I realized how rusty all the suspension components are. It wasn’t pretty under there. But 16.5 years and 195K miles, I did not have to replace neither a bushing or arm or cvboot, nothing. Rear wheel wells started rust at 13. So, patched them with food can material and Bondo, and drove another 3+ years

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Yeah, I’ve had no suspension issues since I did the rear sway bar links at 20k ( for the second time, warranty covered the first at 8k) and the failed rear shocks also at 25k. Both of which were common issues with the 5. I’ve also had work done on the AC system since it was freezing at highway speeds ( Mazda paid for labor, since the car was barely out of warranty).

        Mechanically it’s still pretty sound. Our 5 is still with us and might be for awhile, but it’s days as a daily driver are over.

    • 0 avatar
      stevelovescars

      I owned two Mazda5s, my sister had one, and a friend also drove one. All three (different model years) had cracks in their rear shock mounts after 70k miles. The symptoms started with clunking when driving over bumps. My sister (who lived near Detroit) experienced the problem first and I wrote it off to horrible roads and salt corrosion. The other two were in California and had no visible corrosion at all. They also rarely carried more than a couple of kids in the back seats. I sold my first example with only about 40k miles on it (realized I could sell the manual transmission example for a lot more than I owed on it) so I never experienced any issues with it in that time.

      So, yeah, it’s anecdotal, but 3/3 for an expensive repair seems to be a design fault in my eyes.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Since the 5 is a larger 3, it obviously shares many of the same underpinnings. But I’ve heard that Mazda really didn’t engineer those bits to take the added weight of the van body of the 5, so the suspension suffered greatly.

        Mine has the factory 17″ wheels and 205/50/17 tire and Pittsburghs roads are similar to Detroit in their largely broken composition. Add together a small sidewall, under-engineered suspension and corrosion and it doesn’t surprise me that many of these vans probably caused their owners pain and therefore a poor CR report.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Must be a conspiracy. Not a single Ford F150 Ecoboost on the list. No “I told you so’s” from Big Al today.

    I am surprised that Chevy/GM HD 2500’s are on the list. Other than poor mpg and the need for a bit more HP, I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about them. My brother had one that never shifted right under load despite multiple trips to the dealer. The one he had before and after were fine. The fit and finish of the GMT900’s were crappy so maybe that is where the complaints came from.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      None of the 3/4 tons had a good showing. CR is stingy with data but I’m guessing a lot of the issues are diesel specific.

      The GM trucks are on for ’11, ’12, ’15, and ’16. The Duramax got a big overhaul in 2011 and 2015 was the new body style.

      The F-250 is on for ’08, ’10, and ’14. Which I think corresponds to PowerStroke changes.

      Ram 2500 for ’07, ’12, ’14, and ’15. So first year of the 6.7 and then any year the Cummins gets tweaked.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      AFAIK Ford’s issues have been typically electrical systems. apart from the DPS6, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      I love my ’15 F-150 3.5 TT Ecoboost.

  • avatar

    I stopped reading at ‘2009 LaCrosse.’ Stick to appliances, CR.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I’ll wait for ponchoman’s best impression of Baghdad Bob as he tries to defend the array of GMs on that list.

    My brother has recently dealt with a whole slew of troublesome Lambda CUVs, all electrical issues stemming from various “black box” modules. Not just minor interior glitches, we’re talking “car won’t start” glitches.

    RE: Sentra, a coworker has had a strut and a wheel bearing go out within the space of 2 years and 25k miles on a car he bought new, and it gets driven on nicer suburban roads almost exclusively.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      I do not trust the Lambda SUVs for longevity, at all. After a former coworker ignored my advice and bought a 2014 Traverse (new) in early 2015 – and had all sorts of stability and airbag lights.

      The dealer denied the problems at first, and then couldn’t fix once they accepted the issues were real. It was bad enough that he got it Lemon Law’d and they took it back, in exchange for another new 2015 Traverse.

      Within a few months, I got another email from him. “The 2015 Traverse that I received from the lemon law case has some issues: Service Stabilitrack & Service Traction Control message on the control panel. The car was driving with reduced power and felt like the transmission was going out. Everything I have read states it is a throttle body issue. Chevy contacted me yesterday and said there were no active codes and they could not find anything wrong with the vehicle.”

      Avoid.


      Oh and this year, a present day coworker ignored my Pilot/MDX advice and chose… a Traverse. No troubles yet that I know of, but it’s only been a couple months. He test drove no other vehicles on my prepared list, only the Traverse he’d seen the most driving around.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Yeah in my brother’s case it was a ’13 Acadia with the same “low power” issue. In his case he had traced it down to a fuel pump module (as I recall). Before that it was a ’12 Enclave with intermittent no-power, but without even throwing codes.

      • 0 avatar
        John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

        Damn. My cousin’s wife had one and it was trouble free, aside from getting poor MPG. She had no problems with it, just didn’t need or really want it.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, whoever came up with “Service Stabilitrak Soon” and “Reduced Power” needs to be beaten severely. Cutting engine power to basically nothing is dangerous on a highway. Worse, it often isn’t a traction control issue. After a lot of searching, turns out my throttle position sensor was going, but tossing other codes. (100k miles).

        I don’t get how cutting engine power does anything other than get you to a dealer on a flatbed. I would clear the codes and restart.

        OK, for under $200 I fixed the TB and the car is fine.

        Still, I want to know about the thought process that has them make the car undrivable because a sensor craps out….and this is the response for a fair number of inputs. Actively dangerous !!!

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      These are seriously unlucky and statistically un-representative people.

      GM no longer makes “crappy vehicles,” straight from Mary’s mouth.

      The 4 GM rentals I’ve had in the last 7 months that were all giant, off-gassing, piles of excrement that would shame Kia (circa-2006, let alone now), were all built on Friday.

  • avatar
    CarDesigner

    Avoid “expert” car rags like “Consumers” Reports like the plague!

    They always have a bias in their writing about the Detroit based companies, and their sampling comes from the arrogant coastal elites. NOT accurate information.

    The Truth About Cars should tell this story, not the media Propaganda.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      cdn.meme.am/cache/instances/folder636/26650636.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      THE COASTAL ELITES are at it again.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You caught me.

      I spend all my time lying my a$$ off to CR about GM and Ford vehicles I don’t actually own. That Ford in my driveway is just a hologram, courtesy of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

      But you should appreciate that because it keeps me distracted from other, more nefarious “arrogant coastal elite” projects like sending a third of my tax dollars to other parts of the country.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Don’t wait for TTAC to tell the story. You have plenty of comment space to post evidence of your claims here.

      I mean, you’ll have to ignore stuff like the Cruze and Impala being rated highest in their classes and the biased, anti-domestic propaganda on the Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300, Fusion and Malibu:

      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/jeep-grand-cherokee.htm
      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/chrysler-300.htm
      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/ford-fusion.htm?searchToken=ford%20fusion
      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/chevrolet-malibu.htm

      But I’m sure you can provide a convincing argument because there is no way you yourself are biased and inaccurate.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        Again, even though CR has given it “much worse than average” overall, none of the individual categories are “worse than average” for 2016 (except for “audio system.”)

        Hardly sounds like a piece of junk to me. But Internet Car People who have probably never had their butts in the seat of a Grand Cherokee will happily proclaim it so because they read a sound bite on a web site.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          I didn’t reference the GC for the reliability rating. I referenced it (and every other car linked) for the very positive road test notes that don’t align with his “bias in their writing about the Detroit based companies” claim.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      @CarDesigner…..CR = more “Fake News”, who would’a thought?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      What about elites who don’t live on either coast, but are arrogant anyway? And arrogant people who live on the coasts but aren’t elite? You know, just regular arrogant people?

  • avatar
    ItsBob

    I think when I need a new toaster or vacuum cleaner, I will skip the CR recommends.
    When you are familiar with a product (like vehicles) and see the absurdity that goes on at CR, how can you believe anything they print?

    I sure hope the guy who works in the toaster factory doesn’t use CR in his automotive decisions

  • avatar

    The signal to noise can be fierce, but I’ve learned that you don’t buy a car that doesn’t attract a following. You then troll the forums on that car. Of course, folks only post bad things, but I knew “timing chain” and “wheel bearings” for the caddy, and when the VW began to spit parts, I knew “TSB and DPF”. The GM was built after the chain issue and there was oil change history, but wheel bearings are now 3/4 replaced.

    If the car doesn’t attract a sophisticated audience, then you won’t get the fixes for common problems and sources of uprated/fixed parts.

    Some things will never happen to you. I have ONE radiator on my BMW in 300k. Forum says I should be on #4. Timing Chains are often a result of low oil and delayed changes, and you can track the changes via forums. I had the Torque Converter problem with the Honda, also commonly reported on forums-and I was able to go to the dealer with that knowledge…if I hadn’t pointed out the TSB, learned of on the forums, I’d have paid for the fix. (local Acura shop is horrible)

    If you care about that car, you will at least go into the used world with knowledge.

    I’d not know that gaskets are a problem with subaru, but when a non-automotive friend called with just that problem, I was able to tell him it was a known issue, for him, Subaru had already said “too bad” having goodwilled the fix 15k ago, and he still had a car with oil leaks and no recourse. He doesn’t read forums, isn’t a geek, and was shocked “they knew” and “they all (a bunch anyway) do that”.

    The reactions of folks to when stuff goes wrong is interesting too. Someone can’t get bluetooth to work, they lose it and it is 25x posts. Other folks go in for an engine swap, two posts. Still, when I considered a diesel BMW, the information in the forums saved me a LOT of money……that 335d was a good price, before you have to rebuild the top end due to EGR issues-a 10K day, and folks posted the repair orders so you knew exactly what was the problem.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “You should also take a pass on … Mazda’s 5 and 3 from 2008 and 2016, respectively.”

    Ok, I have Mazda3, 10 and 11, both 2L, 95K and 73K, and no issues. Ok, I’ve replaced horn on the ’10

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    What bugs me about CR is that they can show their math without giving away any super-secret info—eg the per 1,000 transmission failure rates on minivans.

    instead everything is rolled into the circle and one or two bullet points.

    Buying a used car—-buy models that sold well during their run. Easy to obtain parts, plus a decent mechanic already will have worked on the common repair issues on that model.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Someone mentioned above, but my biggest thing is I don’t know what is the meat of the issues.

    I have to see dealer visits per year or X failures per 100 kinda thing, and know what they’re on to really make any sort of decision. Extra great if they give us some standard deviations too. How am I supposed to know if that failure of the nav system to boot properly is what they’re talking about vs failure of a high pressure fuel system?

    Do they weight anything more/less than anything else in the way they calculate their scores?

    All I seem to get from CR is Above, Average, Below. Ok Great. So chrysler is still below average. If the average dealer visits per year is 1.3 and chrysler is at 1.6, yup below average. But really that doesn’t mean anything to me. And maybe 15 years ago the average was 6 visits per year? That would be a huge improvement and yet it gets buried.

    Yet all I see is “below average” and a lot of folks will see that and say “Chryslers are crap”.

    I don’t know the truth, Chryslers may be crap. But without knowing details it becomes very hard for me to use CR data. But give CR credit, they get clicks, they get talked about, they got automakers paying them attention. All of it = $$.

    Last note to those asking about particular model years on cars that otherwise didn’t change: There are running changes in the auto industry. It is very possible a supplier had a quality problem, fixed it kinda thing. Or there was an issue with a part on the 2008 model year that caused issues and it was updated for 2009 while the rest of the car didn’t change. I could certainly see that kinda thing happening.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Soooo…basically, buy a bicycle or take public transportation because just about every vehicle on the road is a flaming POS.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Agree 100% with those who criticize CR’s lack of detail/disclosure, but equally disheartening is TTAC’s lack of insight. Just a few hundred words rehashing CR’s findings, with some random musings about under-stressed engines thrown in as original content.

    Whatever happened to investigative journalism? Anything – even a “CR did not return our call” – would be better than nothing.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    “the 2011-2014 Fiesta, and 2012-2016 Focus”

    Lemons with an indefinite powertrain warranty to prevent people from burning down their corporate offices just tucked down in there?

    This list, as presented here, really just underlines that you should do your due diligence.

    At least the qualifying statement at the end tacitly admits that this lazy submission will likely not pass muster here.

  • avatar
    cft925

    No love for the FCA minivans! I owned a 2011 GC and put about 75k miles on it. The only problems were the rear-view camera (warranty repair) and the ongoing transmission problems (all fixed under warranty). Also, we had to put three sets of brakes on it. The tranny was a major issue, and I got rid of the truckster as soon as the odo turned 100k and the powertrain warranty expired, but, all things considered, the car served our family well and I would by no means refer to it as a lemon.

  • avatar
    statikboy

    I think that Nissan should make available a “Bordel Red” colour option for their “Rouge” model.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    Consumer Reports is a joke. I take everything they say with a molecule of Na. I don’t even give them a benefit of taking anything they say with a grain of salt.

    And I’m driving one of the models that they are flailing their arms about, telling me to stay far, far away, lest I find myself in imminent danger of inheriting such a lemon: a Chrysler 200, a 2013 to be exact…which is what they listed specifically. Why a 2013 is so bad from a 2011, a 2012 or a 2014, I don’t know. Nothing changed throughout the whole production span.

    But, I haven’t had any problems at all. Not a one. Not even a minor problem, like the stereo or a window motor. Could it be that I’m lucky? No. I just take care of my stuff. I follow the maintenance schedule. Also take into consideration that Chrysler is not all that bad overall. Yes, there’s still problems here and there but it seems as if CR, the media and automotive journalists want to single them out. They’ve rebounded from the dark days of the 2.7 and the first few years of the Ultradrives. That’s all in the past but CR fails to see it that way. I’m confident that my 2013 will continue to give me years of trouble-free service.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I’m not buying the 2009 Lacrosse or the 2008 Lucerne. These two years only do not even make sense as nothing changed on these cars to affect reliability. In fact the 2009 LaCrosse should be at it’s height as the W-body version of this car was in it’s last year and the 3.6 with it’s timing chain issues was deleted from the lineup leaving the bulletproof 3800 series III and a handful of LS1 5.3 V8’s in the Super. The Lucerne if anything should be showing as more problematic for 2006 in it’s first year with headliner and other interior issues being common.
    This is what bugs me about CR. They come up with certain oddball years where these cars should not be any worse and in fact should be better in the latter half of there model runs.

    My close friend gave his son his 2009 Lucerne with 150K miles and it was a very trouble free car up to that point. It now has 168K and just needed a wheel bearing. Other than that it has been bulletproof. I doubt a 2008 model would be any different

  • avatar
    bkrell

    So two of my cars, 2015 Lincoln MKC and 2015 GMC Yukon XL are on the list. I’ve got 125k miles between the two of them and they’ve never been to the shop for more than an oil change or new set of tires. I’m indifferent on the Yukon XL. But the MKC is the best SUV I’ve ever driven.

  • avatar
    C W

    Reading CR’s complete list –
    So why did the 2014 Tesla Model S make the list?

    (Not that I’ll ever own one. My wise and sensible wife yanked me back to earth from my own mental Ludicrous mode with one question: “You’re seriously thinking about spending nearly $100,000 on a commuter car?” I can’t argue with that logic.)

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    While visiting a dealer to place an order for the new XC60 I thought I had the deal of a lifetime when I found a 2016 XC90 there for 42k with 10k on the clock. It turns out that one and four others on the lot were all lemon buybacks. It turned me off. But I couldn’t be happier with the Forester Touring I picked up at the Subaru dealer next door.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    While your take on the 2011 Grand Cherokee (issues with the new, first year WK2 model?) seems to mirror other published reports, not so beyond that. I bought a 2012 in 2015, have put 30,000 miles on it and have been very happy with it. Nothing has gone wrong and that pretty well mirrors what I read in Consumer Reports long term experience before making the purchase.

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