Top 20 Used Cars to Avoid: Consumer Reports

Top 20 Used Cars to Avoid: Consumer Reports

8. Jeep Wrangler (four-door)

Perhaps a surprise to some, the Jeep Wrangler four-door model is one to avoid on the used car market. The Wrangler originally debuted in 1987 and has since been known as one of America’s most rugged vehicles. Its latest generation originally debuted as a 2007 model year, and got some minor updates in 2010. Still, Consumer Reports found enough issues from used Wranglers to have it on its list.

Though the Wrangler is considered an off-road champ, Consumer Reports found that it suffered from a choppy ride on the road. In addition, it had numb and slow steering, clumsy handling, and road noise was loud and constant. Reliability issues in older models (2007-2010) include Transmission Minor, Drive System, Fuel System, Electrical System, Suspension, Exhaust, Paint and Trim, and Squeaks and Rattles.

  • Alvil

    80% of the list is American cars… always leading!! USA!! USA!! USA!!

  • P.F. Bruns

    The Dodge Grand Caravan dates back to 1987, when it was simply the longer version of the Caravan. Also, both AutoGuide and Consumer reports could have put the Caravan, Grand Caravan, and Town and Country together as one item; they’re basically the same vehicle but for differences in wheelbase and trim.

  • MistyGreen

    for the record, it was 13, not 16.  still a lot though.

  • Lasaxplayer

    This could have been a great article, if we knew the reasons why each car made the list. The Ford F250’s with 6.0L diesels have turbo and head gasket problems. Mini Coppers have engine & transmission problems. The GMC Acadia/Saturn Outlook have power steering issues. The early BMW 7 series had transmission, window motor, and airbag sensor problems. The BMW X5’s have problems with the digital displays (odometer & radio). I think including more specific info would have made this list a lot more helpful for readers.

  • Ryan

    “is the sole vehicle from THE American automaker”, referring to Chevrolet.Not the sole vehicle from AN American auto maker.

  • AgentOO7

    No mention of Acura 01 – 06 MDX’s notorious radiator and transmission issues??  No mention of  04-08 Nissan Titan infamous rear axle issues?  oh wait, by ‘used’ they probably referring to vehicles 2008-2012… :(

  • Joe in DE

    This is a useless article without citing to specific problems each model has encountered with frequency. 

    Personally, given the incredible number of Dodge Caravans sold and how the minivan basically pulled Chrysler out of ruin in the 80’s, I find it hard to believe that all models were failures that are to be avoided at all costs.  In fact, I still own the 1993 Grand Caravan my mom bought new as a spare utility vehicle, still going strong at 178K with the original motor and trans. 

  • Andrew

    I agree. One of the poorest articles I have seen from Auto Guide. They listed the Caravan, Grand Caravan and Town and Country as three different models, but could have easily combined them into one, given they’re practically the same. It’s a little difficult to even believe those three belong on the list though, given how immensely popular they are, and how they pretty much saved Chrysler. 

    Beyond that, they failed to mention why you should avoid them. Seems like a bit of a critical piece of information, if you ask me. 

  • Huggies22

    So you somehow missed the fact that this isn’t AutoGuide’s list? They couldn’t have combined cars into one category, numbnuts. It’s a list released by CR… 

  • thunder eagle

    I’ll stick with my old school 90’s Mercedes sure quirky little annoyances here and there but for longevity and overall build quality I”ll take a Benz.

  • Rschauwecker

    someone really hate dodge / chrysler models here… although styling and driving on audis are top of the line, quality issues are increasing overwhelmingly, maybe to meet demand. even manufacturers with long tradition of quality such as toyota have experienced a decreasing quality… sounds weird, but ford now offers tractor quality at affordable prices, i have a fiesta st, my dad a gt mustang my brother a truck, they never have any sort of quality issues, other than they rattle like old taxi cabs, interior ensamble are quite bad.

  • John McCheap

    That’s funny.

  • Michael Frost

    I am not surprised! I am a CL driver. I was helping a family member look for a slightly used Luxury SUV. Thinking the GL450 would have similar quality to my CL500. The GL 450 was a disappointment at every level. Under powered,poor trim quality and my old Tahoe had a better quality ride and sound insulation..
    Then we went for a drive in a 2011 InfinIti Q56. It had the quality and feel I was expeciting from the GL450. Needless to say,she bought the Infiniti.

  • P.F. Bruns

    Whoops! Good catch. I’m still not sure why they didn’t combine cars that only differed on the surface, though.

  • FordFocusRS29


  • Peter Bernacki

    Let us not forget they are quoting one of the most respected and sometimes controversial C R. Have you ever looked at any used mini van post soccer days? My sister has an older BMW, they are money pits. The PT Cruiser does drive like box with four wheels even the turbo model is a dog it’s the only version I have ever driven and it only took one corner for me to decide not to even to accept one for a rental. But statements regarding the 20 worst cars again these are the people who put 300 pound out riggers on the Suzuki Samurai and then complained it had a tendency to flip, respect C R’s authority, if they say their list is cars you are are simply mistaken.

  • GARY

    I unfortunately own a 2007 Uplander and I wish I didn’t own this money pit. Expensive transmission failure is something you can almost count on not to mention the long list of problems this “junk” has. Thousands of owners are not finished paying for these things before they are into repair bills that are more than the Uplanders worth. If you do not own one, don’t buy a used one, you will be sorry. No wonder GM went to the wall. 

  • Giovanni Vella

    Way to post an photo of the current gen explorer then go on to expalin that the issues only affected late models. dumbass

  • Penis

     What a piece of shit

  • John

    How could someone even think of buying such a crap.

  • Carbuyingvrapshoot

    My mother has a 2001 PT Cruiser and abuses the hell out of it. she has little to no maintenance other than the steering rack 2xs and a clutch once, she has over 200k mi on it now and it still runs strong, I’m sure this car is on the “best used Cars” list someplace.

  • CarExpert

    The BMW 7 Series issues come from the i-drive people couldn’t figure out how to work, and wound up damaging their cars because of it.. BMW recalled the vehicle to make it easier for “Americans” to operate. These cars aren’t a problem in Europe. The owner demographics come greatly into play. typically they have Plenty of Money, No time, and most likely little knowledge of vehicle repairs Therefore:

    1. the dealers are more expensive, and push replacement in stead of repair, for necessary and unnecessary (suggested) maintenance, You know all the things the mechanics say may, could or are close to failing, that most people say no to. these owners say yes and get them fixed…..Every time.

    2. the owners jump and throw money to “replace” things that most people would leave or have “repaired”

    3. the owners complain at every little tick or noise or slight imperfection that most would consider normal. I have actually heard “the air conditioning blowing out of the vents is too loud” and “my directional arrow is too bright can you dim it down” any idea how much it costs to find dimmer interior turn signal bulbs? They eventually put window tint on the back of the instrument cluster. $1500.00 because of the time it took the dash had to be removed. then the customer filed a complaint that the arrow was too bright and cost to repair it should have been covered by warranty. after they requested the repair and were told it wouldn’t be covered..

    4. They offered a 100mi warranty, I’m guessing that was because they knew the issue was fixed and they would come out ahead. not so it would cost them more money and please the customer fixing all the horrible issues, otherwise we would all have 15 year 300k mi warranties.

    This goes for Mercedes, BMW, Audi, any high end or luxury vehicle. The repair shops/dealer assume you fit the demographic above.
    I have owned all of these vehicles in various models and all dealers and most repair shops treat you exactly like that. I even had one dealer tell me my showroom condition Mercedes with uner 150k mi should be “junked” because of the condition it was in.(needed a $500 repair of a valve seal) and I should get a new one. Right because $65,000 and 850/mo payment is a so much better deal than paying $500 for a repair on car that is paid for, in pristine condition otherwise. I have worked for dealers and I am very knowledgeable on Autos and Auto repairs. If I had ever let them talk me into some of the unnecessary repairs and or replacements my service bills would also have been 4-5 times more than what I actually paid to have it fixed. big difference from a Honda or Toyota Dealer.

  • Lexylex

    The mini countryman should be on there …. What a beep of sh*t

  • therealone

    I agree

  • Fu

    Anything from Kia should be on there.
    Most of their junk will develop transmission issues after 100K miles.

  • Matt

    The only vehicle I have personally owned from this list was an Explorer. Sure it had some paint issues and squeaks and rattles but it was a 1994. That thing was plain old reliable. Never had to worry about it leaving me stranded… and I didn’t exactly baby it. I only recently got rid of it because I needed a pickup. Still, I would take CR’s “expert” reviews with a grain of salt. There are many cars that me or my close family and friends have owned that were on this magazine’s “naughty list” that were perfectly reliable for us.

  • Tyrone

    Sorry but you’re wrong

  • Rick S

    You have never driven anything they make past 100K, have you ?
    I have. It’s junk.

  • Learn

    Audi slips past the list…lol at bmw.

  • Joe Blow

    I agree, a weak list – should have made it “20 worst SUVs” since that’s
    mostly all it is anyway, and a model which is poor one year can be good
    the next, so trying to say Model X is a bad used vehicle is a moronic
    oversimplification. And not one Pontiac on the list is laughable.

  • tfortea

    moral of the story is buy japanese..

  • Rich

    I don’t get it with the P/T Cruiser. I have one with just under 200,000 miles on it and it’s still going. OH… wait a minute. I bought mine when Chrysler was offering the Lifetime Powertrain Warrranty. Had to get the engine rebuilt at 125,000 miles (inexcusable!), steering rack wore out at 100,000 miles, had to replace lower control arms TWICE, the drivers sea wore out at 150,000 miles to where I had to have it re-upholstered and restuffed, and gas mileage sucks.

    I guess that’s what they are talking about!

  • Joey P

    Buying a used car usually requires considerable time and effort. If you do a lot of research, you will surely find the right car for you. Remember, knowledge is power. Know the car you intend to buy. Running a VIN check is very important. There are several companies providing car history reports. Carfax is the most popular but also the most expensive. You can use cheap alternatives like VinAudit . It costs $5 but the information is just as good.

  • anoynamouse

    The Vw Toureg is a great SUV. Yes the shaft bearings fail but they are a $90 part and a couple hours of labor at your local indie shop. They fail on the Porsche Ceyanne and you can put the Vw bearing it and save a lot of money too! V8 engine is great…but yes the V10 tdi is a headache and rare like a Yeti

  • anoynamouse

    Terrible styling and crap quality…but it’s on par for the price. Still not sure why 1.5 million were sold but I guess I’m too stylish to understand!

  • anoynamouse

    Unless you can wrench a little on your own. THen I’ll go with the for the $80K european car that sells used for $8K…if I want a go cart or ugly I’ll go Camr/Accord..or worse Acura.

  • anoynamouse

    very untrue. one data point doesn’t make a case.

  • Jon

    My uncle has a Kia with over 180k. I gave him a hard time when he first got it. Its a Kia, they exist to be made fun of. Now I don’t know. Maybe his insane maintenance is the only reason its still on the road.

  • Ken Chamberlain

    the 2002 ford taurus ses. i paid 3000.00 for one used less than 2 years ago, since then i’ve had to have the transmission rebuilt,a blown head gasket,new waterpump, new timing chains, repaired engine cooliong housing,new heater core,new spark plugs twice; and still it has multiple misfires;and gets a crummy 15 miles per gallon, oh i forgot,also 3 new motor mounts. in all ive had to pay about 8000.00 in repairs.

  • iSnark

    I’ve had japanese cars and all of them broke down. so there isn’t a guarantee there either

  • iSnark

    Cause they obviously have something against american cars. they are japanese car worshippers

  • bbigjohnson

    Should have cut your losses a long time ago.

  • Hughson

    What are you expecting from a 12 year old vehicle. Also, who puts that much into a 12 year old Taurus.

  • bigv

    Moral of the story. Buy Japanese.

  • Shane Roeseberg

    And this is why Consumer Reports is literally the most idiotic group of vehicle reviewers in the world, oh, I’m sorry, your Jeep Wrangler 4×4 suffers from a “choppy ride” on the road and too much “road noise.” Because when one buys a Jeep Wrangler, they should expect a luxury vehicle… right. How about it’s performance off-road, Consumer Reports? You know, seeing it an off-road vehicle.

  • Pinga_dulce

    You noticed, right? +100 for you. Many believe if they purchase a German vehicle = quality, think not.

  • Pinga_dulce

    Remember, carfax can only report, what was reported. I have a 2002 Toyota camary. In all those years, the vehicles needs have been: fuel, oil, brakes a couple times, and a radiator, but that was my fault. People complain about them being boring etc. but no one built them like Toyota….Honda my second choice, and then Mazda.

  • Anduha

    Let me sum this list up, don’t buy American.

  • robertrobin10 .

    I learned that lesson 20 years ago!!!