Small SUVs dominate CR’s list
consumer reportsThe results of the annual satisfaction survey are often trumpeted by automakers whose entries top the list. But there is also a dark side to these rankings. Down here in the dregs of the listwe find cars that most owners say they wouldn’t buy again, and that list is dominated by subcompact and midsize SUVs that have slowly replaced economy sedans and hatchbacks.
These 10 new models were rated by CR subscribers who were asked if they would make the same purchase again under the same circumstances in hindsight, meaning it’s not just a simple measure of brand or model loyalty. The sheer amount of small SUVs on this list suggests that owners may be dissatisfied with “big” options that aren’t really big. Even the most satisfying car on this list, the Kia Forte, only managed to win over 47% of owners. For those in slots #1 and #2 (we won’t spoil them for you), the number of owners who would buy the same car again drops to less than 1 in 3. Oops.
So, without further ado, here they are: the 10 least satisfying new cars to own in the United States.
10 – Kia Forte
Kia’s second-smallest model needs some upgrades, and customers seem to have taken notice. We like its enthusiast-friendly GT Line and GT offerings, but customers don’t seem to embrace it as an everyday car.
9 – Cadillac XT4
We have our own doubts about the XT4’s value proposition, and it seems buyers find it lacking too. It’s not particularly fun to drive, the interior is a little underwhelming, and the price isn’t as aggressive as we’d like. Perhaps the secret to success lies in modifying this formula.
8 – Jeep Renegade
The Jeep Renegade has always been a sedan in disguise, and the early manual transmission and all-wheel-drive models were great fun to navigate on a narrow road, but that combination hasn’t been offered for years. What’s left is a Fiat 5-door with a Jeep badge, and that doesn’t seem to cut the mustard with current owners.
7 – Jeep Compass
We would say “see above”, but that doesn’t seem right. The Compass fixes the Renegade’s dimensional shortcomings, but we suspect its lack of powertrain diversity combined with the lazy nine-speed gearbox is contributing to owner dissatisfaction. Updates are on the way and Europe’s 4xe plug-in hybrid may eventually make its way to the US.
Nissan and Infiniti performed poorly on this list, with three vehicles appearing between them. A QX55 ‘coupe’ model has just been added to the lineup and the QX50 has received a few content updates for 2022, but there’s not much else visible on the horizon for the small SUV from Infiniti.
5-Nissan Rogue Sport
Before the Rogue’s regular redesign, the Rogue Sport actually had some advantages over its big brother in terms of refinement and styling. The fact that the Rogue didn’t make this list is a testament to the scope of its redesign, but that doesn’t help the Rogue Sport cause.
The Q50 sedan completes the Nissan/Infiniti section. This descendant of the G35 and G37, friends of enthusiasts, failed to capture the magic of its predecessors and obviously left its buyers dissatisfied.
An old Autoblogger called the Trax a “simple little jelly bean” that wasn’t very good value for money and provided a lackluster driving experience. It seems buyers have noticed.
2 – Ford EcoSport
Ford’s subcompact stopgap was long in the tooth when it arrived on American shores in 2017, and things haven’t improved since. This staple of the rental fleet is cheap for a reason. We’re frankly amazed the EcoSport didn’t take first place in this “competition” by a meaningful margin, and this was likely its last chance to do so, as Ford is dropping the model from its US lineup this year. Good riddance.
1 – Toyota C-HR
Toyota is no stranger to topping Consumer Reports’ lists, but we suspect it’s an honor they’d hand over to the competition sooner. The C-HR was initially seen as one of the most egregious SUV contenders on the market given its lack of all-wheel drive, even as an option. The lack of decent cargo space (thanks in large part to that sporty little hatchback roof cone) probably doesn’t help. We’re surprised the C-HR edged out the EcoSport, but we’re not this surprised. Only 29% of buyers would pull the trigger on the little Toyota again, according to CR.