New cars just aren’t what they used to be. No, we’re not getting all crotchety and decrying the evolution in styling and technological breakthroughs that have literally reinvented the automobile during the last quarter millennium. Rather, we’re bemoaning the fact that, unlike as in past model years, there’s a dearth of truly wretched cars on the market for us to openly and readily ridicule.
Despite the recent spate of recalls in the auto industry, it’s difficult to find catastrophic fault with today’s new cars. It’s been ages since the industry produced vehicles that were so mechanically misbegotten they’d, say, drop a transmission to the pavement within days after being picked up at the dealership.
We don’t even have a particularly gruesome-looking model like the oft-vilified Pontiac Aztek crossover SUV to kick around these days or even an unfortunately executed flop like the Chevrolet SSR sport truck to deride. Heck, what was until recently the poster child for ungainly contemporary cars – the Chrysler 200 – managed to morph into what is now a capable and downright amenable midsize sedan with its model-year 2015 redesign.
So for this, our perennial pillory of the most forgettable new cars on the market, we’ve compiled a rogue’s gallery of models that, while they’re not particularly horrible in and of themselves, simply tend to fall short with regard to tangibles like performance, value and reliability. Though some may not have been particularly well conceived or executed in the first place, many of the models we’ve singled out have just languished in the market for far too long without a major redesign.
Now it’s devilishly easy to simply single out models that we just don’t like for one reason or another, but if we’re going to point the bony finger of j’accuse at a given automaker’s product line, it should be for good reason. Thus we’ve based our list of 15 New Cars To Avoid – highlighted with supporting data in the accompanying slide show – on a bevy of reliable sources, tempered with the results of our own test drives. (Full disclosure: we typically put around 80 models through their respective paces in a given year, with all of them provided by their respective automakers.)
We consulted J.D. Power for the latest results in the company’s initial quality and long-term reliability surveys and its scores for performance and design; rankings for resale value depreciation came from the automotive valuation experts at ALG. Finally, we weighed in with no less an expert source than Consumer Reports to check which models received particularly paltry scores for performance and overall value.
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