Careful! These 10 Cars Look Nice, but They’re Made Cheap
Try as they might, automakers aren’t always able to deliver the goods at the end of the day. Even though a car may look good, it doesn’t always mean that it will be well-built. Whether they’re getting slapped with recalls, aren’t measuring up in the safety department, or are just poorly constructed, cheap cars are a live landmine that must be dodged if you reallywant to outsmart the local dealership. Otherwise, get used to spending a lot more time and money there.
Over the years there have been numerous automobiles that have hit the highway and were destined for failure right from the start. Remember the Chevy Citation, first-generation Audi A4 Allroad, or Daihatsu Charade? Maybe it’s best you didn’t. While particular trim lines will occasionally do a bit better than others, once a car gets labeled “cheap,” it typically tarnishes the nameplate forever.
Now, it appears a new breed of bad has been born. A recent flurry of activity on Consumer Reports’ site has just crushed the growing misconception that all contemporary cars are made to last. While modern amenities, overall quality, and safety features are outstanding compared to what Americans were tolerated in the 1980s and 1990s, plenty of crappy cars are still out there today.
The following is a list of ten automobiles that are deceptively sharp looking, but have a few reasons why they don’t have the quality to back up all that curb appeal. Some of them will likely surprise, while others might not. So brace yourselves, because here comes “The Cheap Sheet.”
1. Mitsubishi Mirage ES
The Mirage ES tops out at $17,000, averages 37 miles per gallon, and has been restyled for the 2017 model year, which should make it a great entry-level commuter car. But critics slam the Mirage, calling it out for being “perhaps the worst-handling new car on sale,” warning that drivers will hate how much road noise emanates within the cabin.
All those aesthetic updates can’t hide the fact that it’s still being powered by an anemic, rough-idling three-cylinder engine that delivers laughable acceleration. Being so small, you could assume that this subcompact handles nicely, but think again. Despite having a fairly roomy cabin, critics and consumers alike find it to be “drab, cheap, and insubstantial,” leaving shoppers with little reason to buy one when a base Honda Fit costs about the same.
2. Fiat 500L
Year after year the Fiat 500L continues to be labeled as one of the worst cars being sold in America. The bubbly compact may respond reasonably well on twisty roads and sports a spacious interior, but that’s about where the fun stops. Road-test scores give the 500L low points for its stiff ride, flat seats, and uncomfortable driving position.
A quick look at owner satisfaction surveys show that most people soon regret buying this Italian atrocity, and having one of the worst reliability scores among all new cars only compounds the equation. But perhaps the most alarming fact is probably that the 500L received a “Poor” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) during small-overlap crash testing.
3. Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV is one of the cheapest, smallest all-electric cars on the market today, but we think you’d be better off spending the extra dough and looking elsewhere. Critics refer to this miniature machine as, “underdeveloped, slow, clumsy, and stiff riding,” and being so small, the i-MiEV has the crumple zone of a beer can.
It’s cabin is about as base-looking as it feels, and it takes 6 to 7 hours to juice one up with a 240-volt, Level 2 charger, while a full 21 hours is required if you only have a 110-volt plug. Although the EPA gave the i-MiEV a 62 mile rating, critics often find this electric jelly bean often averages well below that mark.
4. Chrysler 200
Critics have been slamming the poor 200 ever since it hit dealers, and the latest and final version is accused of offering a vague driving feel that seems like it’s straight out of the 1980s. Testing finds that the 200’s base four-cylinder engine struggles to inspire, and that its automatic gearbox remains both uncooperative and plagued with recalls.
The backseat is cramped in leg, head, and hip room, design cues hamper visibility, and poor suspension tuning creates a sedan that’s neither agile nor comfortable to drive. In the midsize sedan class, Consumer Reports gave the 200 the lowest overall score, lowest road-test score, as well as the lowest predicted reliability rating.
5. Nissan Altima
Despite being a bit on the roomy side, the Altima sedan receives low marks from critics and consumers alike. Complaints start with the CVT transmission, which hampers driver enjoyment, then spread to issues with spongy handling and overly assisted steering.