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5 New Vehicles to Avoid

Updated December 5, 2014

There are so many new vehicles on the market today that making a decision about which vehicle to buy can be a very difficult decision. On top of this, pricing is often mired in negotiation and manufacturer rebates to try to lure you into the showroom. Every salesman and every car manufacturer is going to tell you that their vehicle is the best. However, from previous model years of that same vehicle as well as analysis of the cost of ownership, there are some vehicles that are absolutely not the best. Of them, the five worst new vehicles are listed here:

5. Jeep Liberty Price Range: $23,225 – $39,495 The Jeep Liberty received a pretty systemic overhaul only a year ago, yet still fails to impress the staff at Consumer Reports. It is ranked as one of the lowest scoring vehicles for various reasons but the most notable are body motion issues, a slow emergency lane change speed and various issues with the interior. The reliability has improved however there are many concerns about the integrity of the body. As with many Chrysler products, the resale value of the Jeep Liberty is very poor as well and it has made numerous lists as a unwise choice from this perspective. Cost of ownership, without considering resale value, is fairly expensive for this category of vehicle, requiring more maintenance tasks than many other vehicles.

4. Smart ForTwo Price Range: $11,990 – 20,990 The Smart cars hit the market as a 2008 model and were a huge hit. However, people have found that they are not as smart as they would like and have many issues with them. Owner satisfaction, overall, is incredibly low because of the level of sacrifice that one must tolerate to drive one with very few benefits. The reality is that there are much larger vehicles that get similar gas mileage and some which get close to the Smart’s real world mileage that are comparably priced as well. With so few areas of the country allowing face-in parallel parking of the Smart microcar, there is really no advantage to owning one. On top of this, they are very slow and no one, including the most gung-ho lovers of the Smart car, likes the automated manual transmission that is the only transmission offered in the United States. Resale value, however, remains quite good because they are difficult to find and many owners that like them plan to hold onto them for a long time.

3. Ford Ranger Price Range: $17,820 – $28,650 The first thing that most people think about the Ford Ranger is “They are still making that thing??” and they are right. The people have Ford decided that the Ranger was good enough over ten years ago and since then, the model has only had minor tweaks. However, they continue to sell in decent numbers because they offer decent fuel economy and fleet pricing options. For the person that decides they need a small pickup, however, it becomes very obvious, very quickly that they are driving a relic of a different age of pickup trucks. The rear seat of the extended cab will only hold children that are old enough to not need booster seats, as they are jump seats that fold down from the sides and the engines, while efficient, produce wheezy power compared to the engines in comparable pickup trucks from other makers. On top of this, even with over ten years to get it all right, the reliability of these trucks is still questionable.

2. Chevy Colorado/ GMC Canyon Price Range: $16,985 – $34,094 When the Chevy Colorado was conceived, it was destined to replace the aging S-10 pickup which had competed poorly with the Ford Ranger. The Colorado, instead of being a revolution like the other new small pickups, was simply an evolution; albeit one that offered an interesting, modular 5-cylinder engine that claimed to be as powerful as a six cylinder while getting better fuel economy. The reality is that the Colorado and its GMC sibling simply were outdated the before they were released, much like every computer ever built. The 2010 models offer a V-8 option which is a big upgrade and the fuel economy does not really suffer with the addition of the V-8 engine, however, the truck is still very small. The reliability, according to Consumer Reports, has been very rocky and GM didn’t even sell enough 2009 models for CR to publish statistically significant results. Resale has been poor, because many of these vehicles end up as fleet vehicles, not to mention buyers selling fairly quickly when they realize the vehicle is not going to meet their needs.

1. Jeep Wrangler Price Range: $21,165 – 38,620 Scoring the worst score ever known to consumer reports, the Jeep Wrangler stoically continues to be a vehicle that occupies a unique niche that the average person really does not get. Consumer Reports has its reasons for giving it a poor score and if you are not a Jeep person, you will agree with the low score. However, Jeeps are something different and amazing for those that love Jeeps. If you are on the fence or think you want a Jeep, rent one for a week or two before committing to buying one and read and understand the compromises that come with a Jeep. They are the best at anything but acting like a billy goat. Their gas mileage is poor, their stability is poor, emergency maneuvers are again poor but they will tow quite a bit and can go places that virtually no other factory built vehicle can. For the average person, the compromises make the vehicle unlivable. The new model’s reliability has been shaky yet resale is actually stronger for the Wrangler line than any other Jeep model. That said, it still not excellent, just better than poor.

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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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