40 Worst Cars to Buy in 2021
There’s a lot of reasons to buy a car. But all it takes is a couple key reasons not to buy one, and that’s all you need. So, without further ado – here’s the list of cars not to buy in 2021. For whichever reasons, and there are plenty, these cars have been viewed unfavorable by many. But it’s up to you to decide for yourself. Check them out! (Hopefully, yours is not on here.)
40. 2018 Porsche Cayenne
The 2018 Porsche Cayenne scores well in just about every category. It’s certainly a pretty SUV, offers great performance, and the interior is among the best in its class. So how did the seemingly well-regarded Cayenne wind up on this list? Take a guess. If you guessed the cost of ownership, you guessed right. The Porsche Cayenne appears to be reasonably reliable but when something does break, you’re going to be paying out the nose to get it fixed.
39. 2018 Mercedes Benz G-Wagon
The 2018 Mercedes Benz G-Wagon was largely lambasted for its terrible reliability. While the car looks sharp and offers a decent interior, when something goes wrong, you’ll be shelling out a lot of money for that pretty Mercedes-Benz logo on the grill. Further, both performance and the interior are lacking for a six-figure SUV. And while the G-Wagon handles great off-road, it’s not so comfortable on asphalt. Ultimately, if you want a Benz, there are plenty of better choices.
38. 2015 Chrysler 200
The most recent Chrysler 200 generation has generally received positive reviews for styling and a nice interior. Still, Chrysler discontinued the 200 and for good reason. Sadly, quality with the Chrysler 200 runs only skin deep. While the car has sharp looks, it offers infamously poor reliability and sub-par performance. Rear seats are cramped as well, and the base engine is under-powered and mated to an underwhelming transmission. Unless you’re a mechanic looking for something to work on you probably want to skip the 200.
37. 2008 Chrysler Sebring
We just ripped the Chrysler 200 but believe it or not, the bar can be lowered even further. You see, the 2015 Chrysler 200 was a big step up from the Chrysler Sebring that preceded it. The Sebring’s looks were dated before the car even hit the production line, reliability has proven to be poor, and the interior can best be described as cheap and tacky. The Sebring did fill up a lot of rental fleets, however, so there are plenty of them floating around on the used car market for cheap.
36. 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid
First, let’s tip our hats to Kia for building a hybrid back in 2012. Only a few companies were seriously jumping into the market, and Kia was one of them. Unfortunately, the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid simply wasn’t a good hybrid. The sedan got great gas mileage, getting 39 miles on the highway and 34 in the city. From there, it’s mostly downhill. The interior is cramped and uncomfortable, performance is underwhelming and reliability is bad. Safety is great, however, and the total cost of ownership is pretty good, so long as you don’t have to change the battery.
35. 2019 Acura ILX
Honda doesn’t strike out too often, but the 2019 Acura ILX is one of those rare, unqualified flops. The exterior is decent enough albeit a bit plain. However, performance is underwhelming, indeed terrible for an expensive luxury sedan. The same could be said of handling and overall ride quality. Meanwhile, the interior would be a better fit for a Honda Civic, and even reliability is questionable. Honda usually doesn’t mess up reliability, so it’s a wonder what happened with the Acura ILX.
34. 2019 Mercedes CLA class
There are lots of knocks against the 2019 Mercedes CLA class. The biggest one, however, is the fact that the panned 2019 Mercedes CLA will be replaced by a reportedly much nicer 2020 CLA. This could severely hamper the CLA’s resale value. The 2019 Mercedes CLA is known for bland styling, a poor interior, and overall boring handling and ride. Arguably, its only redeeming quality is the sub- $35,000 price tag but you can pick up the much better regarded Mercedes A-Class for even less.
33. 2015 Jeep Compass
Jeep has been trying to build the perfect compact SUV for some time now, and the 2015 Jeep Compass represents one such effort. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very good effort. The 2015 Compass often sports a hefty price tag, even used, but has been poorly reviewed. Bad reliability, poor safety ratings, and an outdated platform all make the 2015 Jeep Compass a poorly used vehicle to buy right now. Perhaps Jeep will get the formula right soon but for now, the Compass remains an under-performer.
32. 2018 Volkswagen Beetle
This one comes with a caveat. Volkswagen has officially ended the Beetle line, so if you want a car to stash in the garage and sit on for a few decades, the Beetle might turn into a decent investment. If you want something to drive now? Look elsewhere. There’s a reason the Beetle is being discontinued. While the exterior is cute, the interior is cramped. Meanwhile, despite decades of production, the Beetle remains unreliable and repairs are quite expensive for what is supposed to be a budget car.
31. Maserati Ghibli
You wouldn’t think that an ultra-luxury automobile maker would make it onto this list, but some companies simply find a way. Maserati has put together plenty of great cars over the years. However, the Maserati Ghibli isn’t one of them. The car is built on the Chrysler 300 platform, which doesn’t scream ultra-luxury. The engine and performance are great for a family sedan but underwhelming for a car that starts at $75,000. Meanwhile, the handling leaves a lot to desire. Given the high bar that Maserati usually sets, the Ghibli simply doesn’t step up.
30. 2014 Jeep Patriot
The Jeep Patriot’s basic design philosophy hasn’t aged well and even in 2014, the small SUV looked clearly out of date, if not out of time. Add in poor reliability, a common theme on this list, and subpar performance, and there are few reasons to pick up a Patriot. The interior cabin is also rather cramped for an SUV, and it’s not particularly comfortable. Fuel economy is underwhelming as well, and there isn’t even that much storage area. Come to think of it, it’s hard to find many redeeming qualities.
29. 2014 Dodge Avenger
Fiat-Chrysler has been all but abandoning the American car market, focusing on trucks and SUVs instead. While the car segment hasn’t fared well in recent years, Chrysler consistently under-performs. If you have ever ridden in or driven the 2014 Dodge Avenger, you’ll know why. The car had dated styling, a low-quality interior, middling gas mileage, poor trunk space, and so-so reliability. It’s not so much that the 2014 Dodge Avenger is bad, per se, but that it offers few compelling reasons for you to buy it.
28. 2008 Chevrolet HHR
The Plymouth PT Cruiser is a controversial albeit interesting car. The Chevrolet HHR is an unimaginative knock-off of the famous PT Cruiser. While it features good reliability and safety, the ride itself is lackluster, at best. The handling is poor and all of the engine options fail to offer any oomph worth talking about. Meanwhile, the interior has some interesting marks in its favor but overall is sub-par. While not the worst car on this list, there are plenty of better options out there.
27. 2019 FIAT 500X
The Fiat 500X features a distinctive profile, interesting design cues, and a flashy interior. Unfortunately, the Fiat 500X’s beauty runs skin deep. The compact car has gained a reputation for frequent breakdowns and the repairs can often be quite expensive. And while the interior might look nice, many of the materials are of questionable quality. Performance has improved over previous years (which you also want to avoid) but still remains middling. The engines are under-powered and the steering is nothing to brag about. Meanwhile, the 25 city, 33 highway MPG is very unimpressive for a compact car.
26. 2019 Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta has sharp looks but there are lots of caveats. Subcompacts never really gained any traction in the United States, with most Americans simply considering them too small for daily use. That’s true for the Fiesta. The Fiesta has also started to look dated, getting only minor refreshes over the years. Problems with transmissions have dogged Ford’s cars, including the Fiesta. While the transmission has improved, Ford’s car brand has been damaged, and elsewhere, the car gets low marks for reliability.
25. 2013 BMW X5M
You can occasionally pick up a 2013 or earlier BMW X5 for a reasonable price, especially considering it’s a luxury SUV. Unfortunately, that discount is due to the older BMW X5’s poor reliability. And BMWs are notoriously expensive to repair, so when something does go wrong, you’ll be shelling out a lot. The interior is also lacking and the ride is a bit too firm. Rear seating is cramped as well. Handling is good, however, and the engines don’t lack for power. Still, it’s not enough to make up for the BMW X5’s flaws.
24. 2017 Jaguar F-Pace
There were a lot of hopes for the Jaguar F-Pace when it was launched in 2017. It was Jaguar’s first foray into the hot SUV market and the vehicle featured sharp, good looks. Then Consumer Reports started digging in and quickly found numerous reliability issues. And Jaguars can be very expensive to fix. Meanwhile, the interior isn’t bad until you remember this is a premium luxury SUV and realize it falls behind class standards. Performance is solid but not exceptional.
23. 2018 Dodge Caravan
You might have trouble believing that the 2019 Dodge Caravan is, in fact, a 2019 model. It looks at least 10 years old, and because the styling hasn’t really changed since 2008, it pretty much is. Of course, when buying a minivan, you’re probably not obsessing over looks. Still, the 2019 Dodge Caravan has been plagued by quality and reliability issues, offers poor performance (even by minivan standards) and features a mediocre interior. Meanwhile, with minivans going out of style, they’re risky investments no matter which model you get.
22. 2019 GMC Acadia
The 2019 GMC Acadia is a handsome midsized SUV that features a nice interior, high safety scores, and decent performance. So how did it end up on a “worst” list? As is often the case, reliability plays a major role. The Arcadia is made mostly out of American parts, but unfortunately, those parts aren’t well put together. Further, gas mileage is rather poor and there’s not much cargo space, at least for such a large vehicle. The third row of seats is quite cramped as well.
21. 2019 Chevrolet Spark
If you are one hundred percent positive that you simply need a city car to occasionally pick up groceries or zip around town, the Chevrolet Spark is a solid choice. It’s a generally reliable car with decent technology features for its price point. However, the interior is very cramped, cheap, uncomfortable, and only fit for two adults. Acceleration is exceptionally slow as well. All of that’s manageable if you’re occasionally zipping across town. As a general family car? You’ll want something larger and more robust.
20. 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse
The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse has unrealized potential. The compact SUV offers a smooth ride and scored high on safety tests. Reliability is okay but not great. Yet when it comes to performance, the Mitsubishi Eclipse lags far behind the competition. The interior is plasticky and hard as well. However, rear legroom is surprisingly decent. On the other hand, cargo space is quite limited for an SUV. Meanwhile, gas mileage is quite poor for such a small vehicle. The real killer, however, is the Eclipse’s high starting price (<$25,000), which is hard to swallow given all of its flaws.
19. 2015 Chrysler Town & Country
The updated Chrysler Pacifica has gotten generally positive reviews, so you might think that you could pick up an older Town & Country on the cheap and get a good deal. Unless you’re a mechanic who doesn’t mind fixing up vehicles, however, that’s not the case. Consumer Reports actually rates this as the worst used vehicle you can buy, owing to poor reliability. The interior, performance, and handling are okay but what does that matter if you can’t count on your ride?
18. 2018 Land Rover Discovery
The 2018 Land Rover Discovery offers sharp styling and solid performance. The turbodiesel has plenty of pep and provides great fuel economy, but the gas engine is a gasoline hog. The interior is nice as well, although other in-class SUVs offer a better interior. As with many cars on this list, where the 2018 Land Rover Discovery really falls short is in the reliability department. It’s simply not a reliable SUV and is expensive to repair. When you’re paying Land Rover prices, you should be able to expect better quality.
17. 2019 Toyota Tundra
The 2019 Toyota Tundra isn’t a bad truck, per se. However, there are so many highly-reviewed full-size trucks out there that it’s hard to justify the aging Tundra. While many automakers have been unveiling new models, the 2019 Tundra is still based on the 2014 platform. The truck suffers from below-average fuel economy, a comparably poor safety rating, and can’t tow or haul as much as its rivals. Add in limited engine and cargo bed options and it’s hard to recommend the Tundra over its rivals.
16. 2019 Nissan Frontier
The 2019 Nissan Frontier might have been a good truck a decade ago but it currently lags well behind its competition. The Frontier has a cheap, uncomfortable interior, a dated exterior, and features a cramped backseat. It’s a reasonably reliable truck but received low safety marks. The Frontier offers decent performance but towing and hauling capacity fall behind class averages. It does have a great transmission. Still, no matter how you cut it, there are better compact pickup trucks than the Nissan Frontier.
15. 2012 Nissan Titan
The 2012 Nissan Titan can often be picked up on the cheap. As usual, there’s a catch. The 2012 Titan features a harsh ride and low-quality cabin. It has terrible fuel economy, so even if you save a bit on the sticker price, you’ll end up paying in the long run. The 2012 Nissan Titan also offers questionable build quality and may suffer from reliability issues. Long story short, if you’re looking for an affordable used full-sized pickup, there are better options.
14. 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage
The Mitsubishi Mirage features a starting price of less than $14,000 and has pretty good styling for the class. It’s not hard to blame people for being tempted by the Mirage. However, unless you are 100 percent positive that you simply need a car for getting around town, avoid the Mirage. The car can be terrifying to drive on the expressway. It’s slow and has pretty poor handling. Add in low safety marks and it’s not a car you’d want to trust with your health.
13. 2019 Dodge Challenger
The 2019 Dodge Challenger is an attractive, muscular car with a lot of personality. Its powerful engine and great performance make it a lot of fun to drive. And for a muscle car, it’s pretty roomy. So what’s the problem? The Dodge Challenger has already been recalled twice by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) for airbags and failing instrument panels. The Dodge Challenger also has spotty reliability. If you’re looking for a daily driver, the Charger probably isn’t for you.
12. 2019 Ford Taurus
The 2019 Ford Taurus has received a lot of lukewarm marks in nearly every category, lagging behind its in-class competitors. The Taurus certainly doesn’t feel nimble on the road, and combined with its underwhelming engine (unless you get the SHO), it makes for a poor drive. Along the way, you’ll be treated to a dated interior. Meanwhile, even for a big car, it gets bad gas mileage. The Taurus is being phased out as well, and large cars are out of style. So unless you get a really good deal, you’d be better off buying something else.
11. 2018 Jaguar XJ
The 2018 Jaguar XJ would be a great car… if it were priced like a budget sedan. For a luxury sedan that had a starting price in excess of $60,000? Not so much. First, many find the XJ’s styling rather bland, but hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, the XJ’s interior is cheap for a luxury sedan, while reliability has proven to be poor. On the other hand, handling is great and the engines are powerful but don’t offer the best gas mileage.
10. 2011 Audi A4
The 2011 Audi A4 is a solid-to-great car in most ways. The styling is a bit understated but classy. The interior is nice even by luxury standards. Performance is solid overall. The Audi A4 also secured great safety scores. But it’s also one of the most unreliable luxury cars out there and frequently suffers from engine problems. The A4 also has a reputation for burning through oil. So while you might find a good deal on a 2011 Audi A4, its long-term value proposition is very questionable.
9. 2016 Infiniti Q50
The Infiniti Q50 is yet another luxury car that suffers from reliability issues. The Q50 also falls short in other areas as well. By luxury car standards, the interior isn’t all that luxurious and the infotainment system has a reputation for being a mess. This sedan also gets bad gas mileage. So if you’re looking for a luxury sedan, there are better options. That being said, if you want a performance sedan, the Q50 does offer some powerful engines. Keep the middling reliability in mind, however.
8. 2007 Mercedes C-Class
It’s often tempting to pick up an older used luxury car. You get to enjoy the brand and prestige at a fraction of the price. However, the 2007 Mercedes C-Class is one car you probably want to avoid. As the years have gone by, the 2007 Mercedes C-Class hasn’t aged well. The car is prone to rusting, especially around the trunk lid. The infotainment system is known for malfunctioning as well and the seats tend to burst the stitching. Door mirror issues, headlamp problems, and other annoyances are common.
7. 2016 Volvo XC70 estate
The 2016 Volvo XC70 estate has been plagued by minor problems. The fuel hose is known for cracking, the fuel gauge will sometimes show incorrect fuel levels, and electrical problems can knock out the power steering. Some 2016 Volvo XC70 estates have even been found to have faulty driver-side airbags. Some of the alloy wheels are also known for corroding and various software bugs have been reported. There aren’t many station wagon options, but if you are looking for a wagon, you may want to look elsewhere.
6. 2019 Toyota C-HR
Toyota doesn’t find itself on “worst-of” lists often, but the C-HR certainly merits a spot. The biggest issue is the power train. First, the C-HR is slow, simply getting on the expressway can be a scary experience. Despite being so sluggish, the power train is also noisy, making the ride an often uncomfortable experience. Interior space, both for passengers (especially in the back) and cargo, is limited. And the infotainment system is known for being cumbersome. So while the 2019 Toyota C-HR is offered at an attractive price, there are better sub-compact SUVs available.
5. 2019 Cadillac Escalade
The Cadillac Escalade once set the high-mark as far as luxury SUVs were concerned. However, the 2019 Cadillac Escalade lags behind the competition in many ways. The interior isn’t bad but not as nice as you’d expect for a premium SUV, featuring uncomfortable seats and dated styling. The infotainment system is a mess as well and cargo space isn’t generous for such a large SUV. Reliability is also questionable and when you do have to take your Escalade to a repair shop, expect to fork over a lot.
4. 2019 Buick Cascada
Unlike many cars on this list, the 2019 Buick Cascada receives high marks for reliability. Unfortunately, the good news stops there. Tepid styling and weak performance make the Buick Cascada an under-performer as far as luxury convertibles are concerned. The Cascada also looks about a decade out of date and the seats don’t provide a lot of support. Fuel economy is also poor for such a small car, getting just 21 miles per gallon in the city. Point is, there are many better luxury convertibles out there.
3. 2019 Cadillac ATSM
There’s a lot to like in the 2019 Cadillac ATS. The exterior is stylish and you can get a variety of powerful engines. Handling is sharp and the ATS comes with a long list of standard features. Unfortunately, the interior is among the worst in the small luxury car class. Gas mileage is terrible for a small car, with some models getting just 16 miles to the gallon in the city. The infotainment system is also hard to use and it’s shaping up to be an unreliable luxury car.
2. 2019 Ford Fusion Energi
The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi is arguably the worst plug-in hybrids you can purchase. All-electric range is sub-par by class standards and the power train feels under-powered. Simply getting on the highway can be a bit harrowing. The Ford Fusion, in general, hasn’t had a serious update in years and the age is showing on the Energi. There are some bright spots, however, including a nice interior and user-friendly infotainment system. Still, there are better hybrids out there selling for considerably less.
1. 2019 Nissan Sentra
The Nissan Sentra features a good amount of interior space for such a small car. The trunk is also quite spacious. Unfortunately, that interior is out of date and lags behind most of the competition. Reliability is okay but there are more reliable small cars out there. Safety is good, especially for a sub-compact. While the Nissan Sentra isn’t a bad car, per se, there are a lot of better cars available for the same price. So unless you get a great deal, you’d be better off picking a more refined, better performing rival.