Given the time, effort and expense involved with buying a new ride, Consumer Reports’ list of the 10 Least Satisfying Cars is well worth considering.
The list comes from the magazine’s survey of its subscribers, as well as Consumer Reports own testing and reliability data. That said, given the data comes from Consumer Reports own subscriber list, it’s not a true random sampling like some other surveys.
However, it can still be a good guideline for vehicles you might want to avoid, particularly if they show up on another list of unreliable or unremarkable vehicles, such as that from J.D. Power’s U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, which is a random sampling of vehicle dependability after three years of ownership.
Nevertheless, here’s CR’s list of regrettable rides, and the percentage of buyers the magazine says would not buy another one in parenthesis.
10. Kia Forte (53%)
Coming in dead last in compact sedan ratings by the magazine, the Forte’s forte isn’t reliability; it’s much worse than average, according to CR, which describes it as, “basic transportation. It suffers from a stiff ride and its cabin is extremely loud even by the category’s modest standards.” If you want one, CR advises getting the GT-Line or GT trim for its better seats, as well as blind spot warning and rear cross traffic warning.
9. Cadillac XT4: (53%)
Scraping the bottom of the barrel among entry-level luxury SUVs, the Cadillac XT4’s poor reliability drags down what the magazine admits to be “nimble and engaging” with space and amenities “on par with most of its competitors.” But the CR didn’t care for its stiff ride — a once unimaginable complaint about a Cadillac, but too common now.
8. Jeep Renegade: (54%)
“Judged on appearance and presence alone, there is plenty to like,” CR says, but adds, “handling proves cumbersome, the ride is choppy, front seats are uncomfortable, and the view out is restricted. What’s more, that fancy 9-speed automatic doesn’t quite have its gear-juggling act together. It’s reluctant to downshift.” And among subcompact SUVs, it has much worse than average reliability.
7. Jeep Compass (54%)
“Earning the dubious distinction as the lowest-rated model in its class,” CR says the Jeep compact SUV’s performance “feels even slower than the numbers suggest.” Steering “is rather vague, denying the driver a feel of precision or control” and “The jittery ride is neither very absorbent nor entirely well controlled.” Still not convinced? Its reliability is much worse than average according to CR.
6. Infiniti QX50 (54%)
Paying more for a vehicle doesn’t ensure satisfaction. While CR praises the QX50’s “innovative engine and a roomy, quiet, and well-furnished interior.” However, CR found that “the engine doesn’t provide the promised performance or fuel economy gains, and the controls are confusing to use, all of which combined to leave us underwhelmed.” Nonetheless, reliability has been average, so it’s not all bad news.
5. Nissan Rogue Sport (58%)
Ranked second of 15 subcompact SUVs by CR, the Nissan Rogue Sport has much better than average predicted reliability, above average test results, and yet has much worse than average owner satisfaction. This is despite CR saying that it “feels more mature and substantial than most of the subcompact SUVs it competes with.” The disconnect calls into question CR’s testing expertise. What are they missing?
4. Infiniti Q50 (60%)
Another Infiniti makes the list, this time, its compact luxury sedan. CR rated it much better than average in both track testing and reliability. But owners are far from happy, with much worse than average satisfaction. One guess is that it stems from the infotainment system, which is “is cumbersome and behind the curve.” That and “expensive packages, wiping out any theoretical price advantage Infiniti might have.”
3. Chevrolet Trax (63%)
Rated mid-pack among subcompact SUVs at eighth, CR’s track testing rated it average, and reliability is said to be much better than average. Yet owner satisfaction is in the toilet. Maybe because, as CR says, it’s “a model cheaply cobbled from the underwhelming, built-to-price Sonic. … the plodding Trax is a disposable, forgettable appliance.” CR also cited its “dour interior” and “rock-hard cabin materials (that) are the stuff of cost-cutting memos.”
2. Ford Eco-Sport (70%)
While this subcompact cute-ute made the list, it’s being dropped later this year by the automaker. According to CR, reliability is worse than average and owner satisfaction is much worse than average. Yet the magazine that once recommended using dishwashing liquid as a low-cost substitute for shampoo claims “the EcoSport drives more like a sporty car than a dull SUV” despite “outwardly goofy styling and tiny-looking wheels.” Really?
1. Toyota C-HR (71%)
According to CR, the least satisfying car you can buy is a Toyota C-HR. Most car enthusiasts would heartily agree. But the magazine knocks it for its lack of all-wheel drive, its abnormally slow pace, while saying it “is quite loud” and has “horrendous” rear and side visibility. Reliability is only average, and owner satisfaction is much worse than average. Oh, what a feeling.