What Are the Worst Used Cars to Buy?

Used cars have become more and more popular over time. But not every used vehicle offers good value.

SUVs used to refer only to body-on-frame SUVs equipped with four-wheel drive systems, but now cover any number of models from barely lifted hatchbacks to monsters carrying Hummer badges.

Unfortunately, certain SUVs have much poorer reliability records than others. Here are a few models you should try to avoid.

1. GMC Acadia

GMC Acadia is a reliable three-row SUV, featuring attractive design and offering a comfortable ride. If drivers desire additional safety features or driver assist technology, however, a premium package must be purchased.

Cargo space maxes out at 79 cubic feet when both rows are folded down; many midsize SUV rivals offer more. Acadia’s 280-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder and 310-horsepower V6 provide adequate acceleration; however, they cannot match more modern competitors.

The 2023 GMC Acadia has received some minor cosmetic updates and features a newly wrapped steering wheel in SLE ($38,195 including $1,395 destination), SLT, AT4 and Denali trim levels. Its user-friendly infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto remain highlights, though some owners report transmission problems such as stalling and stuttering along with high oil consumption and engine noise issues as significant flaws.

2. Chrysler PT Cruiser

Chrysler’s compact PT Cruiser first made an impactful statement when it entered the market in 2001. One of the first cars to capture retro styling trends, it offered a distinctive appearance while remaining enjoyable to drive.

PT Cruisers were highly affordable to buy and run, making them popular with families on a budget. Unfortunately, they’ve proven unreliable over time due to breakdowns. Furthermore, with the arrival of more practical small hatchbacks such as Chevrolet’s HHR redesign, Mazda 3 wagon, and Scion xB’s offerings; their relevance may now have diminished over time.

Still, if you’re searching for an economical car that pays homage to classic American automobiles, the PT Cruiser could be worth looking into – just be ready for any necessary repairs or servicing costs.

3. BMW 5 Series

With turbocharged sophistication and numerous power options to select, the BMW 5 Series makes an appealing, upscale sedan choice. Its subtle styling harkens back to an earlier time when BMW did not emphasize exterior design as much, yet still looks sharp and modern.

BMW’s cabin is luxurious and well-crafted, offering ample room for passengers and cargo alike. Every model comes equipped with BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system displayed on a 12.3-inch screen that can be controlled using voice command or the somewhat amusing gesture control found in their Tech Plus Package.

Buyers can upgrade the BMW 5 Series’ safety and convenience features with optional head-up display, surround view camera and driver aids – the BMW is recognized as a Top Safety Pick+ with excellent reliability ratings.

4. Audi A4

The Audi A4 is one of the most desirable compact luxury cars on the used market, yet one of its worst performers when it comes to reliability. A recent survey conducted by WhoCanFixMyCar revealed that an A4 can experience many issues that cost around $4,000 to fix.

Audi launched its fifth generation A4 sedan and wagon models in 2015, and upgraded them once more for 2020. Available both as sedan and wagon body styles with both front-wheel drive and Quattro all-wheel drive options available, Audi’s flagship A4 model remains popular with customers today.

The Audi A4 offers an infotainment system featuring a 10.1-inch touchscreen that is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Bang & Olufsen sound system and digital gauge display from COOLDiDGE. In addition, its standard Bosch ESP 8.0 Electronic Stability Programme comes standard and provides anti-lock braking as well as side airbag protection.

5. Chevrolet Traverse

The Chevy Traverse may appear like an ideal three-row SUV option; however, be wary when shopping used car lots. “Buy here pay here” lots often sell these vehicles to people unfamiliar with them and may sell these models at reduced rates to them.

Traverse features a 310 horsepower V6 and nine-speed automatic transmission to deliver maximum performance and seating for eight. A $650 Trailering Equipment package increases maximum towing capacity to 5,000 pounds; four trim levels (LS, LT Cloth, RS Premier and High Country) start from $35,9115 with front wheel drive (front drive only option available); all wheel drive is an available upgrade for $2,000 more on base models; standard equipment includes three months of SiriusXM Radio subscription as well as several driver assistance features.

6. Chrysler Town & Country

Chrysler’s Town & Country minivan has been continuously produced since 1996 on its Chrysler NS platform. The third-generation vehicle included features such as an easy-out roller seat system, seating management features, and 8-way power-adjustable seats.

Problems associated with the Town & Country have been widely reported. Most commonly reported is transmission-related issues which lead to stuttering and stalling; additional engine maintenance will help avoid oil consumption which leads to wear-and-tear and excessive wear-and-tear wear and tear.

Used vehicles are commonly sold at “pot lots” or “buy here pay here” dealerships. Before making your decision, do your research; Ginn Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram serving Conyers drivers is here to assist in finding you the perfect used car to fit your needs.

7. Dodge Journey

Dodge’s Journey midsize SUV resembles a small car and features an intuitive 8.4-inch infotainment system for easy navigation. It can accommodate seven people; however, legroom in the third row may be restricted and best reserved for kids.

The Journey’s 2.4-liter inline four engine boasts exceptional gas mileage. On highway driving conditions it can achieve 25 miles per gallon and will allow you to cover over 500 miles with one tankful.

Dodge’s Equipment Group bundles many of its finest options into an attractive package for its SE Value and Crossroad trims, including six-way power-adjustable driver seats, Uconnect with voice command and Bluetooth connectivity, three-zone climate control, remote start/security alarm functionality. Consider opting for Crossroad if you desire sportier styling with faux skidplate and roof rails.

8. Ford Focus

The Mazda Miata is an affordable sports car to own and run, easily accommodating two occupants at once while offering great gas mileage and won’t break your bank!

The Mercedes-Benz CLA may look promising, but in truth it has proven less than reliable. Although initially intended as rental fleet filler, due to poor reliability ratings many CLA models ended up on used-car markets instead.

Avoid purchasing cars from so-called “pot lots” or “buy here pay here” used-car lots that spring up around name brand dealerships. These lots typically purchase their inventory through wholesale auctions and are full of vehicles that seem reliable but could end up costing a fortune in repairs in the long run. Instead, consider shopping with an affiliated private party instead.

9. Volkswagen GTI

Manufacturers invest millions in research and development, so one would think that their cars would provide comfort, reliability, and driving enjoyment – but unfortunately that isn’t always the case.

For example, the Jaguar X-Type is a beautiful car with impeccable aesthetics and capable handling. Unfortunately, however, its poor engineering means that it has numerous problems, including engine failure.

Mercedes CLA is an attractive model with excellent performance and comfort features, but unfortunately has low reliability ratings due to numerous reported issues such as oil consumption, electrical problems and power steering problems. That’s unfortunate as this luxury convertible would be an amazing car in the right hands; we hope more buyers give this entry its due consideration today – more so than most of these other entries on this list do.

10. Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan is well known for manufacturing family SUVs with stellar reliability ratings, such as their Pathfinder SUV. Inside is plenty of space and many upscale features are also included.

The 2023 Pathfinder features second-row captain’s chairs that make it easy to get kids in and out of the back seats, as well as NissanConnect infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as well as Safety Shield 360 driver assistance technologies.

While the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder isn’t necessarily an ineffective midsize SUV, its performance doesn’t compare to rival models when it comes to comfort, convenience and capability. Furthermore, it has a lower predicted reliability score and lacks off-road capability of Jeep or Ford Explorer – placing it among our worst used car purchases list. While you might get lucky and find an incredible deal on one, otherwise this car should probably be avoided as much as possible.