What Used Cars To Avoid Buying?

Thinking about buying a used car? Here we will guide you which options are better to leave behind.   

New or Used? Introduction

Having chosen to buy a new car, you contact the sales agency and consider the main features like performance, ride quality, safety and technology aspects, etc. You have no reasons to worry about warranty, and your new vehicle’s long-term reliability goes without saying. 

For all that, things are different when you start thinking about owning a used vehicle. It is pretty obvious that some cars and vans are a better investment than others, and many performance ratings and customer reports will prove that to you. Such info will show you, for instance, that car models from Porsche, Mazda, Lexus, Subaru, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, and Toyota presume that their used vehicle will serve you well the longest as their reputation for consistently building high-quality used vehicles is undeniable. 

It is a great choice to buy a two- or three-year-old car, this way you save a lot of money, because an older car has already gone through its critical point of loss of value. Besides, used vehicles’ insurance is also cheaper, and certified pre-owned ones often come with warranties. 

Nevertheless, not all used cars are good buys. Some can be a hassle. So which ones should you stay away from? If you are about to buy a used car, you would like to consider the price situation first, right? And then we move to the used cars which are the worst in performance and safety features. 

Budget First: 

Different Car Brands Show Different Increase In Prices 

Used cars prices in the beginning of 2022 increased an average of 35% or 9 thousand USD year over year. Vehicles with the largest price increases are mainly economy, and fuel efficient cars of all things hybrid used car prices are up 47%. Electric car used prices are up to 43%. Amid a surge in gas prices. 

As the microchip shortage continues to impact the automotive industry. According to iseecars.com’s latest analysis of nearly 2 million used cars sales last February, this is down. It’s not a big positive but it is down from 37% in January. “After coming down slightly in February, used car prices remain elevated due to the lingering supply constraints, and they are expected to rise again due to geopolitical factors as aggressor Russia used to be a key supplier of materials used to make car parts and microchip”, an executive from IseeCars. He goes on to say: “We are also seeing a significant increase in demand for used hybrid electric vehicles as the result of high gas prices. With the cost of hybrids increasing by almost 47% and electrics increasing by 43% compared to last year.” 

Although the average used car has increased significantly in price, they also found that some vehicles have lower than average increases, making them smarter buys for people in the market for a used car. 

Take a look at this chart below. 

Top 10 Cars with the Greatest Price Increases (YoY) - 

iSeeCars May 2022 Study 

Average Used Car Price (May 2022) - $ Price Change from May 2021 - % Price Change from May 2021 

(Source - https://www.carpro.com/blog/iseecars-top-10-used-cars-with-the-greatest-increase-in-prices)

The vehicle with the largest price increase is the Sonata hybrid which had a price increase of almost 48% since May of last year. Five small gasoline cars make the list including the Spark subcompact, Kia Forte compact, Kia Rio, Kia Soul subcompact wagon, and a Corolla compact car. You’ll see two electric cars making the list including the LEAF and Model S from Tesla, and the Mercedes-Benz G class rounds out the list. 

Choose Carefully. Used Cars To Avoid

  • Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

The GLE represents the comfortable ride like everything from Mercedes-Benz, and its powerful engine is well-known, as well as hushed interior, cozy seats, and other details. Yet, the GLE has experienced more than 10 recalls recently. The car got a 1/5 rating for predicted reliability and its general safety and security was rated a 5/100. This is much less reliable than the ordinary new car. Electrical and climate system issues, detached bars, communication failed, etc. Moreover, the intricate infotainment system and steering controls issues, and shifting not being so smooth made buyers move to BMW X5 and similar. 

  • Fiat 500

Fiat 500

Here our advice is to stay away from the 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2019 Fiat 500 models. This little car is cute and has so much cinematic charm and character. Yet, not all of its owners are happy. Unfortunately, Fiat’s reputation is in manufacturing some of the new cars with the lowest performance. The Fiat 500 has low reliability records and is one of the worst creations by Fiat.

The model from 2012 will probably give you a headache with suspension, brake, power equipment, and other issues. The most annoying thing is pressure plate mess, clutch that is slipping, and a troublesome shifter. This all leads to costly repairs, as a rule. Talking about the 2015 version, it comes with a turbo, sadly, the compressor in it breaks, and you are unable to drive until the car is fixed.

  • Ford Explorer 

Ford Explorer

The Explorer is a homely name, with most drivers in love with its perfect handling, and cabin that is big, comfortable and quiet. Yet, 2022 Consumer Reports show that there are a few aspects to be taken into account. Ford Explorer has given problems with power equipment, a heavy transmission, too loud engine, in-car electronics, and even outside paint. The 2020 model, for instance, got 14 recalls concerning suspension and back over prevention which directly contribute to the risk of a car accident. What is more, the room for legs in the third row is quite tight, and fuel economy is not enough if we look at today’s market. 

  • Chrysler 300

Chrysler 300

Chrysler's crown jewel sedan, the 300, is beloved since it's as refined, extravagant, functional, and luxurious as it's ever been. But that's also the issue. In most aspects, the major spec sheet shows an old-school highway cruiser. 

The Chrysler 300 shows off a design that's clearly outdated by modern norms, and the vivid lack of common tech features hardly saves the case. It is like manual control Leica compared to the modern highly functional cameras - you really have to be a fan. The handling and performance are of no comparison with full-size muscle sedans of other brands, hence 300 is considered rather as a money waste. 

  • Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper

Probably the most popular of its type, nowadays, the tiny Mini Cooper is not as perfect as the drivers would have wished. Just like with the Fiat 500, its performance history is questionable, especially the 2006 and 2012 years versions. Luckily, more recent models are much more advanced and trustworthy in terms of reliability and technical performance.

Mini Cooper’s engine is what causes the most common complaints among owners. The issues are different, varying from the electrical system to the cooling. The owners who happened to be especially unlucky, got total engine failure, bad working tailgate, exhaust rattle, turbocharger breakdown, or a clutch slip. 

  • Cadillac Escalade

Cadillac Escalade

Cadillac Escalade 2015 and 2016 models demonstrate the brands’ performance ratings crisis. Owners reported lots of transmission issues, problems with powertrain, as well as some body components were disappointing, and also low paint and finish quality (mostly in the 2015 version). At the same time, the 2016 year Escalade fixed a lot of them except power equipment and audio system performance. According to the experts, drivers should stay away from buying both no matter what. 

  • Audi Q7

Audi Q7

In the long run, Audi creates reliable cars. Sadly, the Audi Q7 is an exception in their lineup. Although looking splendid and deluxe, together with various comforts come some significant flaws. The most wicked year for Audi was 2015, the one right before a complete renovation was about to perform. Luckily, models from 2017 and newer are high in ranks again.

Engine failures were the most serious issue with the Q7. Especially when you start it cold and the situation even worsened with time and miles of run. Then there were problems with the fuel system: the leak of fuel could increase a fire danger. Moreover, in case of a crash, the air bags and/or the seat belt did not function well, putting the passengers under higher risk of being injured. 

  • Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta, sadly, is way down in the reliability ranking than its top rated bro Ford Focus. Try to ignore the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 models, they are especially frustrating. The 2013 year is probably the black list number one for drivers’ complaints. Most issues tended to appear after the vehicle passed the 25 thousand mile run. More than half of these fault-findings are about the transmission, stuttering, stalling, and lagging, in particular. Other owners didn’t like unsecure door latches that could easily open while in motion. And the airbags troubles created the risk of injuries.

  • Dodge Journey

Dodge Journey

Among the midsize SUV the Dodge Journey is ranked somewhere in the bottom. But let’s keep in mind its relevant price, it is also the lowest in this car category, which makes Dodge Journey a really desirable and winning candidate for many drivers. 

If you are one of them, set aside the 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2019 models. These are the cars that got the highest criticism and the most complaints among owners. With every mile issues will accumulate, unfortunately. The most vivid include the engine, suspension and the acoustic system. 

  • BMW X5


Before its redesign and upgrade in 2014, the BMW X5 has undertaken many performance problems. The following model years are especially advised to skip: 2011 and 2012. The models from 2007 to 2013 do not boast the best reputation either, so be careful. 

Many issues are frustrating, if we are talking about such a famous brand above all. For example, finding out about the climate control system not working well is one thing. But fuel system defects, when the broken pump leads to an engine stall while on the road, or head gasket collapse, or issues with rod bearing, or the steering, etc. give you despair, and this is not an exaggeration. 

  • Jaguar X-Type

Jaguar X-Type

Luxury midsize sedan Jaguar X-Type is one more disappointing surprise in its category.  Never consider buying the 2001 and 2008 models, they are not worth your investment. The vehicle is proud of its powerful engine, cool handling experience, and space. Unluckily, there is also a tricky and unstable front-wheel-drive system. 

According to Consumer Reports, the most of owners’ complaints touch upon transmission breakdown as well as cooling system issues and a leaky engine. This may be due to Ford's great influence. Based on a Ford platform, the X-Type 2008 lacks Jaguar’s manufacturing standards. So give it a nice consideration, please.  

  • GMC Canyon

GMC Canyon

Our attention here mostly belongs to Canyon’s 2008 and 2015 models, because the other ones are well appreciated, as a rule, some years models even on top in reliability reports. Apart from low payload and towing capacities, the 2008 version is famous for having a number of electrical issues. 

As for the year 2015, even though it was the total redesign, there were consistent issues with automatic trucks switching to the wrong gear. Moreover, many owners experienced bad work of the steering system where the vehicle would pull to the left risking a car accident. 

  • Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen Jetta

The Never Buy label also goes to Volkswagen Jetta even though it was among the most popular models in the USA. In models produced since 2010 a lot of complaints started to appear. 2014, 2015, 2016 ones are famous for audio system problems, interior finish imperfections, windows equipment functioning badly, problematic climate system, and cruise control not wonderful in terms of reliability. 

  • Mini Countryman

Mini Countryman

According to Consumer Reports, luxury sport-utility Countryman was the car brand with the lowest reliability on the U.S. market. The BMW sub-brand failed in 21 century. The compact cute car model from 2007 up to 2011, received some of the least pleasant reliability ranks. And then there was 2015 year with not much difference: engine and cooling system issues were the main reasons for recalls. If overheated, there was a direct risk of fire. And the transmission problems did not contribute to the high ratings either. 

  •  Chevrolet Traverse

Chevrolet Traverse

You should not give much hope and trust to any Traverse from 2009, ‘10,  ‘11 and ‘13. The vehicles of this brand have a low rating in performance, according to the Consumer Reports. Suspension and climate systems issues were the most common complaints from the owners. There were also problems with air bags, side curtains in particular, resulting in security loss and injury dangers. Besides, there might have been a chance of an inflator explosion with the risk of sharp metal fragments hitting the driver or passengers. 

  • Dodge Challenger

Dodge Challenger

Consumer Reports demonstrate that models from 2015 are the lowest in reliability ranking because of the imperfections with body paint and finish, as well as power equipment. Challenger has always been at the top of style, but its performance got frustrating for two 2013 and 2014 model years. 

If you are in love with these cool cars, feel safe, nowadays Challenger has quite the same charm as classic era models. Yet, just accept some inevitable sacrificing in terms of performance, especially the years we have mentioned a

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