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5 New Cars to Avoid Unless Someone Gives Them to You Free

Updated December 5, 2014

It appears that the “cash for clunkers” program is a big hit with new car buyers and dealerships are finally seeing an uptick in showroom traffic. For most consumers this will end up being a very good thing because most new cars are incredibly reliable and fuel efficient. But that is not true of every vehicle. Far from it. Beware, consumers. There still are a lot of dogs out there on the new car market. But to call these vehicles dogs is to almost be unkind to the canines of the world. These cars and SUVs are so bad that you would probably be better off investing in a bus pass. Not only will your friends make fun of you for buying one of these cars, you will no doubt get on a first name basis with the owners of your local towing company. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. And yes, all these “clunkers” qualify for the “cash for clunkers” discount. (As of this writing it appears Congress is attempting to free up another $2 billion to extend the program.)

Chrysler Sebring – Be it in sedan or convertible form this is the absolute worst car on the new car market. Beware even if you are offered one on a rental car lot. The Sebring convertible was rated dead last in a recent Consumer Reports survey with over 300 times the number of problems suffered by an average car. If you think Fiat could somehow ruin Chrysler quality you really are deluded. No one could have ruined Chrysler quality more than the morons running Cerberus. (Better similarly priced options: Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata.)

Mitsubishi Outlander – If you are looking to buy an SUV this is the worst choice you can make. Exterior build quality is so bad that it looks like the body panels were lined up manually by near-sighted rhesus monkeys. And as for the interior the plastics look like they are made from recycled Big Mac containers. The Outlander also offers a third row of seats so flimsily designed that I doubt it could withstand the weight of two whole Olsen Twins. And in this brave new economic world how long do you think the #6 Japanese automaker is going to last? (Better similarly priced options: Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Edge.)

Jeep Compass – Based on the poorly built Dodge Caliber and 3 times as ugly, this is a Jeep without any purpose. Totally devoid of any off-road capability, the Compass looks like a banana slug that was exposed to radiation during the Chernobyl accident. Ugly, slow and with one of the worst CVT transmissions on the market-only buy the Compass if you like to hear moo-ing noises from your transmission whenever you attempt to accelerate. (Better similarly priced options: Kia Sportage, Nissan Rogue.)

Dodge Caliber – People complained when Fiat decided to keep the PT Cruiser in production for another six months but that is a far better car than the Caliber. Ugly, noisy and slow-the Caliber has some of the worst interior plastics since the AMC Gremlin. And at least the Gremlin was so ugly that it was cute. The Caliber rides on giant SUV tires so it rides horribly and features giant, poorly fitting wheel arches that could suck unsuspecting third world nations into them long before U.N. Leader Boutros Boutros Ghali could give them a word of warning. Avoid. (Better similarly priced options: Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra Touring, Mazda3 Five Door.)

Pontiac G6 – When Oprah tried to give away a fleet of Pontiac G6 sedans away to her studio audience all it did was make them really mad. (Granted that was because they were going to have to pay exorbitant taxes on their “prize.”) Currently there is a semi-stylish G6 coupe that looks good but is utterly impossible to get into unless you are under 5 foot 4 or are actually a piece of origami. There is also an utterly unreliable hardtop convertible version with a top so overly complex that it always looks like it is about to eat the driver’s head when it is being lowered. Recent GM models have really made leaps and bounds when it comes to design and quality. The interior of the G6 is truly a remnant of “The Old GM” as the plastics look like they were previously used to make McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys. (Better similarly priced American cars: Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Saturn Aura, anything except a Sebring.)

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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