Consumer Reports Names 7 Least Satisfying Cars
As automotive journalists, we have plenty of opinions on the best and worst cars. But what about cars that shoppers loathe enough that they wouldn't buy them again? Consumer Reports took a crack at naming the worst, drawing from its annual owner-satisfaction surveys to find owner-reported stinkers among 2014-17 models.
Not to say we told you so, but here they are…
For Jeep's outgoing SUV, just 42 percent of owners surveyed by Consumer Reports said they would definitely repurchase it. Drivers complained the Compass "doesn't have any power" and suffers a "bulky dash" over which short people can't see, according to the publication. Maybe that's why the Compass is so cheap, but Jeep fans can hope the forthcoming redesigned Compass fixes a lot of these issues.
Only half of Pathfinder owners that responded to Consumer Reports expressed high satisfaction with the family SUV's value. Owners complained of "quite a few issues" that required dealer service, plus low gas mileage, shoddy exterior trim and uncomfortable seats. Given that the Pathfinder placed last in our 2016 SUV comparison, we aren't surprised.
Dodge parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles killed the Dart last September — and if Consumer Reports' respondents are any indication, shoppers gave a big fat good riddance. Dodge's compact sedan garnered plenty of owner complaints, from reliability problems to a stiff ride and uncomfortable seats. It ended up the third least-liked car in the publication's survey. Hey, we can relate.
Like the Dart, the Chrysler 200 has gone the way of "Duck Dynasty," but not without sharp criticism on its way out: Consumer Reports respondents complained of difficult entry and exit and excessive road noise. One owner said he or she had "never had a car in the last 25 years that was so noticeable when shifting," the publication said. FCA redesigned the 200 sedan for 2015, and it's rare to see a car fall so fast. We liked the 200 at first, but it didn't hold up to comparison soon afterward.
Dodge Grand Caravan
The Grand Caravan garnered complaints of a transmission that "shifts gears at the wrong time," as well as cheap upholstery and uncomfortable seats, according to Consumer Reports. Indeed, the aging Grand Caravan didn't fare well in our 2015 comparison. Wonder if FCA's redesigned Chrysler Pacifica is better? Here's the answer.
Like smartphones and PlayStations, cars tend to be more competitive with periodic redesigns. The Nissan Frontier never followed that memo, and the 2017 model walker-shuffles into its 13th model year without a full redesign — seriously, Blink-182 was still near its peak cultural relevance when this Frontier debuted. Fittingly, owners complained to Consumer Reports of all the small things: an unhelpful satellite radio display, poor dashboard and door materials, poorly sealed doors and road noise. Predictably, the Frontier placed last in our latest mid-size pickup truck comparison, though it's less of a stinker than you might think.
The ILX, a sedan based on the Honda Civic (Acura is Honda's luxury brand), garnered the lowest owner satisfaction in all categories, Consumer Reports says. Owners complained of poor acceleration, a "shaky ride," an upshift-happy transmission and "very pronounced" road noise. We're scratching our heads on the whole segment, frankly; we don't know why you'd choose entry-luxury sedans like the ILX and Mercedes-Benz CLA250 when similar money buys a non-luxury car with more features and room — and a tiny bit more gets a cheap sport sedan like the Volvo S60 or Acura TLX.