- The average new car price is about $45,000, so you’ll want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.
- It’s important to take a holistic view of any vehicle you consider because many cars lead in some areas and lag in others.
- Whether you want a new SUV, sedan, sports car, minivan, or pickup truck, the following list has models to avoid.
When it comes to buying a new vehicle, the options can be overwhelming. Fortunately for consumers, not many genuine lemons hit the market these days. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any cars to avoid in 2023. We’ve rounded up 40 vehicles that, for one reason or another, may be disappointing to drivers. Some have reliability issues, while others have outdated designs or uncomfortable cabins. And a few make the list mainly because of high dealer markups.
Due to a variety of factors, including a global microchip shortage and inflation, car prices have climbed over the last few years. According to Kelley Blue Book, the price of the average new car rose by $3,301 in 2020 and $6,220 in 2021. The price of the average new vehicle reached about $45,000 in late 2022. Given the expense, it’s worth spending some time weighing your options.
Since its introduction in the early ‘90s, the Ford Explorer has established itself as a household name. In fact, Ford says it’s the best-selling SUV of all-time in America as of 2020. However, according to Consumer Reports, the latest Ford Explorer is one of the least reliable vehicles.
On a scale of 1 to 100, the vehicle earns a reliability score of 16. In particular, Consumer Reports notes the 2023 Explorer’s “clunky transmission, noisy engine, and stiff-edged ride.” That said, the Explorer has long earned praise for its quiet and roomy cabin.
Tesla Model Y
While Tesla has the most satisfied customers according to Consumer Reports’ owner satisfaction survey, the brand’s Model Y may not be your best bet. For one thing, the Model Y has a history of recalls. It’s previously been recalled for loose bolts and faulty suspension.
Additionally, Tesla doesn’t support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. So, if you use either to connect your phone to your car, you may want to look at electric SUVs from other brands. Considering the price of a Model Y starts at nearly $66,000, you’ll want to make sure it meets your expectations.
The subcompact Fiat 500X may catch the eye of anyone looking for a small crossover vehicle, but there are a few reasons you may want to go another route. While U.S. News & World Report says the Fiat 500X has a stylish interior and an intuitive infotainment system, it isn’t the most comfortable driving experience.
For instance, the vehicle doesn’t drive very well over uneven roads. And while the cabin has retro flair, it can feel cramped, and the seats aren’t especially comfortable. Given these points, the Fiat Panda could be a good alternative to have on your radar.
The Chevrolet Suburban is a huge vehicle. If you haul things often or have a big family, that may be a good thing. On the other hand, the sheer size can make it unwieldy to maneuver. It can also make parking tricky, and vehicles this large aren’t the most fuel-efficient.
There’s also the resale value to consider. The Chevrolet Suburban is only worth 32% of its original value after just five years. So, anyone who plans to replace it with a new model sooner rather than later may want to keep that in mind. Of course, that isn’t a big deal if you plan to hold onto it for the foreseeable future.
The Mitsubishi Mirage has some commendable features. For example, it has an affordable base price that starts around $16,000, and it’s known for its fuel efficiency. Both the 2023 Mirage hatchback and Mirage G4 sedan get 37 mpg. However, the Mirage has a couple of notable downsides.
Car and Driver points to the Mirage’s insufficiently powered three-cylinder engine that only produces 78 horsepower. That matters because it means the Mirage drives relatively slowly, and the engine is noisy. So, those with more wiggle room in their budget may want to consider other subcompact cars.
Those looking for a large three-row SUV probably have the Kia Telluride on their shortlist. It’s earned a reputation for reliable performance and a comfortable cabin. Consumer Reports praises the 2023 Kia Telluride for its “refined driving experience, user-friendly controls, thoughtful features, and vast cargo room.”
So, why would you avoid it this year? The model’s become so popular that dealers are selling it at significant markups. When you combine low supply with high demand, you may need to pay more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Tellurides are moving for 18% over MSRP. In short: great SUV, but not for its currently inflated price.
Nissan Titan XD
The Nissan Titan XD aims to strike a balance between the standard Nissan Titan and heavy-duty pickup trucks like the Ford Super Duty and the GMC Sierra HD. Unfortunately, instead of achieving its best-of-both-worlds goal, the Titan XD lands awkwardly in between the two camps.
Consumer Reports says the Titan XD is “just as clumsy in the corners as HD trucks,” and Car and Driver says its heavy-duty competitors can tow significantly more. Additionally, both the Titan XD and the Titan have a 400-horsepower engine. With this in mind, many drivers might be just as happy with a standard Titan.
In many ways, the Toyota Mirai is a great vehicle. It uses the rear-wheel-drive platform that also supports the Lexus LS sedan. The Mirai has a clean, sleek body that sits low. And that’s not to mention its powerful performance and stylish interior.
However, the fact that the Mirai is a hydrogen-powered vehicle is limiting. As of 2023, there are only 53 publicly accessible hydrogen fuel stations in the United States, and all but one of them is in California. So, unfortunately, it’s a bit too cutting-edge to be practical for many drivers.
While the Mercedes-Benz GLE has an upscale look, luxurious seats, and the latest tech, Consumer Reports says it’s one of the least reliable vehicles of the year. Out of a possible score of 100, the Mercedes-Benz GLE has a reliability score of 23.
Additionally, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLE has underwhelming handling and distracting controls. If you’re open to a slightly smaller vehicle, Mercedes Benz’s other mid-size SUV, the GLC, could be an alternative. It’s considered comfortable and sophisticated.
Compared to other luxury sedans, the interior and exterior of the Infiniti Q50 are both somewhat dated. And some drivers may find the dual-touchscreen infotainment system unnecessarily complicated.
Those interested in a sporty luxury vehicle may be more satisfied with the look and feel of options from other brands. And those who generally like Infiniti, the luxury division of Nissan, may want to consider the more affordable Nissan Altima. While it doesn’t have a V6 engine, the Altima still has good acceleration.
All in all, Subaru is regarded as a reliable car brand. However, the Ascent is an exception. Compared to the average new car, Consumer Reports predicts says the Ascent has reliability issues. In fact, they ranked it as the 10th least reliable car of the year with a reliability score of 18 out of 100.
Car and Driver also says the Ascent’s combination of a four-cylinder engine and gearless transmission can be slow and noisy on highways. And while it has three rows, the third row is cramped for adults. That said, the second row has the option for comfy captain’s chairs.
The Maserati Ghibli is generally considered overpriced for what it offers. While its sporty Italian exterior is striking, both Consumer Reports and Car and Driver come to similar conclusions that the Ghibli doesn’t justify its $82,300 – $118,500 price tag.
Despite the high price point, it uses the same steering-column stalks as the Chrysler Town & Country and window switches as the Jeep Cherokee — more affordable vehicles. Plus, the cabin feels tight. Perhaps these downsides are why the Ghibli is reportedly in its last year of production.
Since many drivers who choose a minivan depend on their vehicle to haul around their family, reliability is key. Unfortunately, the Chrysler Pacifica doesn’t stack up in this regard. According to J.D. Power, the Pacifica has a predicted reliability score of 67 out of 100.
Regarding reliability concerns, the Pacifica has a history of transmission issues, including leaks and total system failures. It’s worth noting that the Pacifica does shine in a few areas. U.S. News & World Report praises the Pacifica for its smooth handling, seating capacity, and roomy cargo space.
There are good things to say about the Jeep Renegade. It offers solid off-roading capabilities while being the most affordable Jeep. And its chubby design is fun and eye-catching. Despite these upsides, only 46% of Jeep Renegade owners would purchase it again.
The Renegade’s lack of owner satisfaction may have something to do with its sluggish acceleration and unimpressive fuel economy. Additionally, Car and Driver notes that the Renegade only has two disappointing powertrain options.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Even though Consumer Reports says the 2023 Silverado 1500 improves on past years, it still makes the publication’s annual list of least reliable vehicles. Notably, it’s the only pickup truck to do so. Problem areas include the engine, transmission, and infotainment system.
On the plus side, the Chevrolet improved the towing capacities and fuel economy with the new model. Nevertheless, drivers may want to consider the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD instead. It has a higher starting price point, but it gives drivers more oomph.
The 2023 Honda HR-V is a flashier SUV than the previous model years. Its old nondescript exterior has been swapped for a sleeker look. The HR-V also has a noteworthy issue under the hood. However, Consumer Reports says it has some notable shortcomings.
For example, the source knocks the 2023 Honda HR-V for its slow acceleration, noisy cabin, and stiff ride. Honda teased a 2023 HR-V complete redesign. While the updated vehicle seemed promising, the result doesn’t really stack up to other vehicles on the market.
Visually, the Nissan Sentra is an attractive enough vehicle. It isn’t the sportiest-looking compact sedan, but it isn’t a dated option either. Car and Driver also likes the current Sentra’s comfortable seats, ample driver-assistance technology, and handsome interior design.
However, the Nissan Sentra has reliability issues. For instance, it makes the Consumer Reports list of the least reliable cars of 2023. With a reliability score of 9 out of 100, Consumer Reports expects the 2023 model will be significantly less reliable than the average new car.
The Chrysler 300 hasn’t kept up with the times. As Car and Driver puts it, the 300 is “well past its prime.” The exterior is classy, but its rather bulky design looks more like 2013 than 2023. And its interior is also stuck in the past. Some of the interior design choices look inexpensive in comparison to competitors.
That said, Chrysler’s large sedan does have its selling points. For instance, U.S. News & World Report says it has a spacious cabin and strong engine options. Buyers can choose from an effective V6 engine or a powerful V8 engine.
The Chevrolet Bolt has a history of fire-related recalls. The first recall was in 2020 after it was discovered that some Bolts caught fire while charging. General Motors, which owns Chevrolet, then issued a software update. However, fires continued after the company’s initial fix. As a result, GM recalled all Bolts from 2017 through 2022 to replace the battery.
Production of new Bolts was halted for a time due to the issue. Consumers may want to consider alternatives given this record. Of course, the price is an upside to keep in mind. Its starting price of about $27,000 is very affordable for an electric car.
The Ford Mustang is a classic sports car, but MotorBiscuit says Consumer Reports has raised some issues with its reliability. As a matter of fact, the iconic vehicle trails its competitors in the source’s estimation.
Despite these concerns, the Mustang continues to be a fast and fun ride. Car and Driver praises its robust V-8 engine option. So, the classic sports car does have its upsides. It just may not be everything you were hoping.
Much like the Toyota Mirai, the Hyundai Nexo makes the list primarily because it’s a hydrogen-powered vehicle. Unfortunately, there isn’t hydrogen-fueling infrastructure across the country. Until we reach that point, the Nexo won’t be very workable for many drivers.
The Nexo is similar to other small crossover SUVs in terms of size and comfort. Both the front and back seats have enough space for adults, and the back seats can be folded down to create more cargo space.
The Kia Forte has a polished exterior that looks more expensive than its starting price tag of $19,490. The minimalistic design of the interior is stylish, and between the trunk and back seats, the Forte has a surprising amount of cargo space.
Car and Driver says the Forte can hold one more carry-on bag than its top competitors, the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla. However, the Forte’s performance doesn’t match its style. Consumer Reports says the 2023 model has “regressed to basic transportation.”
The Volvo XC90 has reliability issues, according to Consumer Reports. The source predicts the 2023 XC90 will be less reliable than the average new vehicle. That said, the Volvo XC90 is an elegant mid-size SUV.
U.S. News & World Report says the XC90 has an upscale three-row cabin and ample cargo space. It’s worth pointing out that you can get much of that style and greater reliability with the Volvo XC60 — for less money.
According to Consumer Reports’ owner satisfaction survey, MotorBiscuit says the Toyota C-HR is the least satisfying SUV. In fact, only 29% would buy it again. While it has a cool, futuristic exterior and high-quality interior, Car and Driver says the C-HR has remarkably slow acceleration.
A generally underwhelming driving experience isn’t the only issue with the C-HR. Consumer Reports says the Toyota C-HR only has average reliability. So, the C-HR’s unique style likely isn’t enough to overcome its faults in many buyers’ estimations.
With its MSRP price range of $21,700 – $24,120, the Chevrolet Trax is an affordable subcompact SUV. Unfortunately, the Trax is otherwise unremarkable. Both the exterior and interior are dated, and overall, the Trax is too stripped down to be a great value.
For instance, Car and Driver points out that driver-assistance features are an extra you need to pay more to get. And the climate controls and plastics used throughout the cabin look and feel inexpensive.
Unreliability is the Volkswagen Tiguan’s primary flaw. According to Consumer Reports, the 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan is predicted to be less reliable than. the average new vehicle. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report says it has a “so-so engine and finicky climate and steering wheel controls.”
On the other hand, the Volkswagen Tiguan is an attractive compact SUV that looks modern. Volkswagen gave the Tiguan a styling refresh in 2022, which gives it an upscale look. So, the latest model is more aesthetically pleasing than the older model years.
Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe is a comfortable and attractive SUV, but it has a few things going against it. In particular, buyers may want to avoid the base engine. That’s because Car and Driver says the “base engine is a slouch.”
Additionally, Consumer Reports says the 2022 Santa Fe has two significant recalls. One has to do with the electrical system and increases the risk of crashing. The other has to do with the fuel system and increases the fire risk. And the 2023 model already has a recall.
The 2022 model is the last Ford EcoSport. That’s because Ford is discontinuing the model, which isn’t a huge loss to consumers. According to the Consumer Reports owner satisfaction survey, it doesn’t rank well in customer satisfaction — only 30% would buy it again.
While the EcoSport has all-wheel drive and a high towing capacity of between 1,400 and 2,000 pounds, it’s an otherwise lackluster subcompact SUV. For instance, Car and Driver is underwhelmed with its fuel efficiency, ride, and interior.
If you do a lot of off-roading, then buying a rugged Toyota 4Runner could make sense. But many drivers may prefer a mid-size SUV that looks more upscale and current. Its signature boxy shape helps make the 4Runner feel roomy and creates cargo space. On the other hand, the boxiness is dated compared to the latest SUV designs.
U.S. News & World Report also notes that on paved roads, “you’ll feel every bump and pothole you drive over.” So, those who plan to mostly drive in the city may be more satisfied with a Toyota Highlander or RAV4.
Even though the Cadillac XT5 has several attributes, it doesn’t rise to the top of the luxury SUV market. On the plus side, the cabin is spacious and quiet, and the exterior looks deluxe. However, it’s a middling option in other regards.
For example, while there are two engine choices — a turbocharged four-cylinder or a V-6 engine — neither offers an exciting driving experience, according to Car and Driver. Additionally, it has mediocre handling and acceleration.
With an MSRP of $13,600 – $18,100, the Chevrolet Spark is one of the cheapest cars on the market. However, some dealers have been selling it for 17% over MSRP. So, it may not be as cost-effective as it seems at first glance.
Unfortunately, the Spark doesn’t offer enough to justify the markup. In fact, “it doesn’t even have power windows or power door locks” in its least expensive option, according to U.S. News & World Report. Of course, its small size is convenient when parking.
If you’re looking for a luxury SUV, then you may want to consider something other than a Cadillac XT4. As Car and Driver puts it, the XT4 “falls short of its luxury mission in too many areas.” The source knocks the XT4 for its rough ride and disappointing finishes.
Additionally, Consumer Reports says the 2023 Cadillac XT4 is expected to be “less reliable than other new cars.” That said, the exterior is polished and elegant. And the XT4 has a spacious cabin and plenty of cargo space.
Despite its rugged image, Car and Driver says the Subaru Crosstrek doesn’t have the off-road chops of many Jeeps and Land Rovers. For instance, the source says the Crosstrek’s “home is on the road, not on the trail.”
Plus, it has been selling for 17% over MSRP at some dealerships. It isn’t all bad news, though: as previously noted, the Crosstrek has an outdoorsy, adventurous look. And an eco-friendly plug-in-hybrid option is available. Both of which are attractive.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
While the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has a similar price tag as competitors, Car and Driver says it “fizzles” compared to its rivals that “sizzle.” And despite its name, Consumer Reports says “it’s not exactly a sporty SUV” to drive.
Furthermore, the Outlander Sport has adequate but not outstanding handling and acceleration. On the flip side, the Outlander Sport has a sleek and modern exterior. And Car and Driver says it comes with a lengthy powertrain warranty.
In 2022, Consumer Reports said, “shoppers should be driven in another direction” from the Compass for several reasons. The source says the 2023 model replaced its engine. Even so, Consumer Reports doesn’t think it’s agile and predicts it’ll have reliability issues.
Plus, only 46% of owners would buy it again. On the positive side, U.S. News & World Report says the Compass has “superb off-road ability” and an intuitive infotainment system. So, it does have upsides as a vehicle.
Mini Cooper Countryman
On the one hand, some drivers may appreciate that the Countryman is the largest Mini Cooper on the market. So, that means it combines the brand’s cute retro style with a bit more size, which may be more practical for some.
But on the other hand, Car and Driver says “its size hinders the fun.” In other words, the Countryman isn’t as nimble as the original Mini Cooper. So, drivers gain more legroom but sacrifice driving capability.
The Infiniti QX50 earns points for style. Car and Driver says it “blends beautiful bodywork with an innovative interior in a compact luxury crossover package.” However, it doesn’t rank well in customer satisfaction.
As a matter of fact, it’s one of the 10 least satisfying cars to own, according to Consumer Reports. Only 40% of drivers would buy it again. Given these points, luxury SUV drivers may be more satisfied with other vehicles.
If you’re in the market for a subcompact car, then you might have the Hyundai Accent on your shortlist. After all, U.S. News & World Report ranks it #1 in subcompact cars. And Car and Driver says the Accent is a “small car you won’t be ashamed to drive.”
Unfortunately, it’s been selling significantly over the MSRP at some dealerships. According to Torque News, the Accent has been moving for 19% over MSRP. Considering the markup, potential Accent buyers might consider the Hyundai Ioniq instead.
Subaru gives shoppers two Impreza options: a sedan model and a hatchback model. Unfortunately, both versions have dated exteriors. And both have sluggish acceleration. As Car and Driver puts it, “the Impreza is a tortoise in a class of hares.”
That said, it is notable that all-wheel drive is standard with both models. So, it stands out from many compact cars on that front. All in all, the Subaru Impreza is a lackluster vehicle, though.
Nissan Rogue Sport
Despite being smaller than the original Nissan Rogue, Consumer Reports says the Rogue Sport is “slower than its big brother.” And it isn’t much more agile, according to the source. Perhaps that’s at least partly why only 42% of owners would buy it again.
Additionally, U.S. News & World Report says the Rogue Sport’s acceleration is lacking, and the rear seating is tight. As a result, drivers might find it makes sense to spend a little more to get a Nissan Rogue instead.