In today’s climate of escalating interest rates and inflated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRPs), the decision to purchase a new car, truck, or SUV requires thoughtful consideration. Maneuvering through this challenging market involves maximizing the value of every hard-earned dollar.
According to Lauren Fix, an automotive sector analyst at Car Coach Reports, navigating a market where the average new car price hovers at approximately $48,000 is a substantial financial undertaking. She underscores the importance of prioritizing safety and cautions against compromising on this critical aspect. Some brands are imposing additional fees for safety features that should ideally be standard.
Additionally, with the average car loan approaching 7%, the decisions made in the finance office carry as much weight as those made on the showroom floor. Lauren Fix advises against succumbing to the allure of extended 72- or 84-month loans, as they have the potential to place consumers in an unfavorable financial position.
Even when attractive loan offers present themselves, exercising caution is crucial, as some new car models should prompt drivers to pause and reconsider, irrespective of the tempting financing arrangements.
Priced below $18,000, the Mitsubishi Mirage may attract budget-conscious drivers as one of the last remaining subcompact hatchbacks. However, it’s essential to recognize that its affordability comes at the expense of performance.
According to Melanie Musson from AutoInsurance.org, owners frequently express dissatisfaction with the Mirage, citing a lack of power and an overall unenjoyable driving experience. Sporting a modest three-cylinder, 78-horsepower engine, the Mirage struggles to provide sufficient strength for both city and highway driving, resembling more of a glorified golf cart than a capable vehicle.
Musson notes that minimal updates signal no significant improvements for the 2024 model year. Therefore, individuals prioritizing performance may want to explore alternatives with more substantial capabilities.
Range Rover and Most of the Land Rover Lineup
Referring to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, Joe Giranda, director of sales and marketing for CFR Classic, labels Land Rover as the least reliable car brand on the market. In 2023, Land Rover surpassed the industry average of 186 problems per 100 vehicles, registering an unimpressive 273 problems per 100 vehicles.
Giranda emphasizes Warrantywise’s findings, placing a Land Rover model at the bottom of their list. The Range Rover, in particular, received a discouraging 20.2/100 score due to frequent electrical and mechanical issues, resulting in an average of at least two repairs annually for owners.
Nissan’s largest vehicle, the Armada, boasts a powerful V8 engine but faces criticism for its notable drawbacks. Talha Atta, a mechanical engineer and editor of Auto Globes, points out the Armada’s subpar fuel efficiency and challenges in maneuverability, particularly in tight or urban spaces due to its substantial size and weight. Despite Nissan’s gradual improvement in reliability, potential buyers may need to consider future maintenance costs.
MotorTrend rates the Armada’s five-year ownership costs as “poor” across all trim options, highlighting a “cramped” third row.
While the Jeep Wrangler holds iconic status, off-road enthusiasts might want to explore other options. According to Robert Luterzo, an automotive engineer and editor of Automotive Widget, the 2023 Jeep Wrangler is strongly advised against due to its subpar fuel efficiency and, more significantly, concerns regarding reliability.
Luterzo highlights a range of issues reported throughout 2023, encompassing faulty electrical systems, troubled engine performance, powertrain problems, steering performance concerns, structural integrity issues, compromised visibility, and lane departure difficulties. He attributes potential engine troubles to quality control lapses during manufacturing, affecting overall performance, fuel efficiency, and dependability.
For those in the market for sedans, the Nissan Sentra’s recent recall of over a quarter-million units for steering control issues may raise concerns. Azzam Sheikh of Carifex acknowledges the Sentra’s reputation for excellent gas mileage but cautions that it is also known for being one of the least reliable vehicles currently available. Common areas for faults include the engine, transmission, and electrical systems.
Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
While not specifically mentioned by experts, the 2023 VW Atlas Cross Sport earns a spot on this list. Consumer Reports indicates it has the lowest consumer satisfaction rating among all cars, with only 38% of owners expressing a willingness to purchase it again.
J.D. Power rates its reliability at 72 out of 100, and Car and Driver warns about its “mediocre interior materials,” “substandard fuel economy,” and an underperforming available V6.
Photo disclaimer: Please note that photos are for representational purposes only and may depict a different year, make, and/or model than the one listed.