Reviews Good and Bad Cars For 2020

Vehicle Reviews For 2020

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Today’s new cars just aren’t what they used to be, and that is positive. That’s because it’s become increasingly difficult to find a true and terrifically bad car, truck, or crossover sitting on a dealer’s showroom floor. Gone are the days of monumental mechanical calamities, finger-sized fit-and-finish gaps, uneven trim, and overall shoddy workmanship. While no vehicle is perfect, the average model today performs at a higher level, is safer, offers more amenities, is built better, and is much more durable than at any time in motoring history.

And yet the proverbial cream still rises to the top. Some models lead while others lag with regard to their designs, measurable performance attributes, and the degree to which their buyers are ultimately satisfied. Some are plagued by questionable reliability and/or poor resale values, while others are saddled with dated designs and/or technology. Certainly, with the average vehicle selling for $33,871 (according to Kelley Blue Book), astute car buyers should ensure they’re getting the most for their hard-earned money.


Acura RLX

MSRP Range
$54,900 – $61,900

Acura offers only two trim levels on the 2020 RLX. The first is the RLX P-AWS, a well-equipped front-wheel-drive sedan with all-wheel steering. The second is the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, which upgrades to all-wheel drive and a hybrid powertrain, as well as a bevy of standard luxury and safety features to justify a big bump in price.

The entry RLX P-AWS offers an array of standard luxury features, coupled with a trick up its sleeve. The sedan is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine (310 hp, 272 lb-ft) mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Though it’s a front-wheel-drive, it also has a rear-wheel steer, meaning the rear wheels will subtly turn in the opposite direction of the front wheels to help the back of the car swing around turns. Leather-trimmed, heated front seats that can be adjusted 12 ways are standard. So are navigation and a suite of driving safety aids.

One step above that is the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, which adds a hybrid powertrain and front and rear electric motors, giving the car an all-wheel drive. Though both trims are powered by the same engine, the lithium-ion battery in the Sport Hybrid model ups total output (377 hp, 341 lb-ft). Power is sent through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for better performance. A premium audio system and parking sensors are among the standard features on a long list of upgrades.

While the midsize RLX luxury sedan is likable enough, it lags behind the segment leaders in terms of performance, accommodations, and brand cachet. What’s more, its lofty sticker price prevents it from being a bargain-priced alternative. With an overall score of 59 (out of a possible 100) and a reliability rating of minus-68 (out of a possible plus-100), Consumer Reports liked the RLX’s spacious interior and standard safety systems but felt its ride was choppy and its handling ungainly, and overall found it to be a poor value. It scored below average in the JD Power Initial Quality Study and is expected to hold onto just 47% of its original value after three years and 30% after five years.

Here are a few reasons why the Acura RLX has fallen into this Category:

  • The dual-screen infotainment system is outdated and non-intuitive
  • The interior design looks dated
  • Subpar ride and handling for the class
  • The hybrid fails to offer standout efficiency
  • Some dull cabin materials
  • Small trunk
  • Unfortunately, that sedan is the RLX. The flagship Acura sedan is well-made, offers a strong engine, and comes with loads of standard features to undercut the competition. But its ride quality is not befitting of a luxury car

Cadillac ATS

Cadillac ATS

Likable enough in many regards, the compact ATS luxury/sports sedan is neither as sporty as the BMW 3 Series it targets, nor is it as luxurious as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. With an overall score of 57 and a reliability rating of minus-120, Consumer Reports appreciated the ATS’ driving dynamics and exterior/interior styling but was less enamored of its gruff and under-powered turbocharged engine, very cramped seat and trunk, difficult entry and exiting, and its confounding controls. It scored below average in all three of the JD Power studies (Initial Quality, Dependability, and Design/Performance), and is expected to hold onto just 43% of its original value after three years and 31% after five years.


Chrysler 200

We had high hopes for the good-looking 200 midsize sedans when it debuted, but it’s ultimately outranked in a crowded and competitive market segment. With an overall score of 51-53 and a reliability rating of minus 46, Consumer Reports liked the 200’s styling, available features, and its optional V6 engine, but found its interior room and design to be lacking, the standard four-cylinder engine to be underpowered and unrefined, and its automatic transmission to be fussy.

It scored below average in all three of the JD Power studies (Initial Quality, Dependability, and Design/Performance), and is expected to hold onto just 41% of its original value after three years and 29% after five years.

The forthcoming 2020 Chrysler 200 will offer the same two drive train options as before. Literally, customers can make a choice between fuel economy figures and performance. If you are an economical person, the standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is perhaps the perfect choice. This engine is producing 185 HP and 175 lb-ft of torque.

Fuel economy is rated at 23 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. On the other hand, an optional 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar engine delivers 295 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is significantly lower, 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Both units are available with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

The price of the brand-new 2020 Chrysler 200 will stay intact. A starting price of $24,500 sounds good for such a luxurious sedan. However, the range-topping trim level will cost $40,000.

Chevrolet-Suburban The full-size Suburban SUV is as purposeful a vehicle as there is, built for large families and/or those who require the ability to tow a large boat or trailer. In truth, for this type of vehicle, it’s hard to beat. But beware that it’s big and ungainly, and is sheer vehicular overkill in the absence of such special needs. With an overall score of 54 and a reliability rating of minus 154, Consumer Reports liked many of the Suburban’s attributes but found it underpowered, hard to maneuver and park, difficult to load with cargo, and overpriced.

It scored below average in all three of the JD Power studies (Initial Quality, Dependability, and Design/Performance), and is expected to hold onto just 47% of its original value after three years and 32% after five years. It’s substantively similar to the GMC Yukon XL, and the somewhat smaller Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon models, which tend to score somewhat higher.

Is the Chevrolet Suburban a Good SUV?

Yes, the Suburban is a good large SUV. It delivers the sumptuous interior that you would expect from a vehicle costing north of $50,000, and it boasts modern safety and infotainment technology. Two potent V8 engine options get this behemoth moving quickly, and it has fairly composed handling for its size. You might notice a bumpy ride over broken pavement though.

Because the Suburban is built on General Motors’ extended SUV platform, it has some of the best cargo figures in the class. Still, third-row space isn’t as great as that found in other large SUVs. Some rivals in the class earn higher predicted reliability ratings than the Suburban.

2020 Chevrolet Suburban Dimensions

  • Length: 18 feet, 8.4 inches
  • Height: 6 feet, 2.4 inches
  • Curb weight: 5,586 to 6,021 pounds

How Much Does the Chevrolet Suburban Cost?

The 2020 Chevrolet Suburban starts at $50,800, which is one of the highest base prices among large SUVs. The two higher trims start at $55,800 and $65,500. Rear-wheel drive is standard in all of these models, and adding four-wheel drive raises the price by $3,000.

The Suburban comes standard with a 5.3-liter V8 engine. A 6.2-liter V8 is optional in the range-topping Premier trim, and a model equipped with that engine starts at $70,925.

Suburban Performance

Suburban Engine: Two V8s

The Chevy Suburban comes standard with a 5.3-liter V8 engine that makes 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and that combination capably moves this large SUV with ease.

A 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque is optional and comes with a more modern 10-speed automatic transmission. Models with this powertrain have quicker acceleration, but they come at a premium of nearly $20,000 over the price of a base Suburban.

Suburban Gas Mileage: About Average

There isn’t a lot of disparity in overall fuel economy among large SUVs, and the Suburban places are right in the middle. With its base engine and standard rear-wheel drive, this Chevy returns an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. Four-wheel-drive models get 14 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.

Estimates for the 6.2-liter V8 engine aren’t much different: Rear-wheel-drive models get 14/23 mpg city/highway, and those with four-wheel drive get 14/20 mpg city/highway.

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Chevrolet Suburban a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average. All large SUVs boast a rating of three or above.


Dodge Journey

The midsize Journey crossover SUV is slated to undergo a complete redesign next year, and it couldn’t come soon enough to cure its inherent ills. With an overall score of 45 and a reliability rating of minus 79, Consumer Reports liked the Journey’s ride quality, quietness, and cabin storage, but otherwise called out its poor handling, unresponsive transmission, fuel economy, rear visibility, tiny third-row seat, and its poor small-overlap frontal crash test rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

It scored below average in the JD Power Dependability study and is expected to hold onto just 38% of its original value after three years and 24% after five years. Dodge Journey relies on hefty cash rebates to spur sales. It lacks many key features and seems crude and unrefined compared to the top models in its segment. Consumer Reports rates it as below average with poor reliability

For 2020, the Journey lineup is simplified to just two models, the SE Value trim and Crossroad. Also gone is the 3.6-liter V-6 engine as well as the option for all-wheel drive, which leaves just an anemic 4-cylinder under the hood and front-wheel drive. Rear parking sensors are now standard. A popular equipment package adds Bluetooth with voice command, tri-zone climate control, a power driver’s seat, cloth upholstery, and more to the SE Value trim and navigation, premium sound, and heated front seats and steering wheel to the Crossroad trim.

With the V-6 killed off, the Journey’s only engine is an overworked 2.4-liter inline-4 with 172 horsepower and front-wheel drive. An ancient 4-speed automatic sloshes through the gears, and while the ride quality is fine, gas mileage (21 mpg combined) and handling leave a lot to be desired.

Besides its low price, the Journey’s only redeeming quality is its versatile interior, which offers surprising space and room for up to seven occupants in a compact package, though the third row is best used only for children.

Crash-test scores negate its appeal as a cheap new family vehicle, however, with poor frontal scores from both the federal government and IIHS. Automatic emergency braking is nowhere to be found, and a rearview camera was only added when the government required it.

With the V-6 and all-wheel drive no longer available, the 2020 Dodge Journey is even less compelling than it was last year. We give it 2 out of 10 here.

We’re not sure why Dodge did away with the V-6, all-wheel-drive Journey, as it was the more popular model for all except rental fleets. Buyers are left with an anemic 2.4-liter inline-4 with 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque, hardly enough to motivate the Journey’s 4,000-pound husk. What’s worse is the 4-speed automatic – even lowly microcars like the Mitsubishi Mirage feature at least 5 gears – that somehow manages to be both sluggish and unmatched by the engine. Front-wheel drive is the only configuration now that all-wheel drive is gone, again limiting the Journey’s value proposition.

Ride quality is fine, but steering and body control feel as outdated as the platform. Nearly any other crossover offers a better driving experience.

The 2020 Dodge Journey is one of the least safe new vehicles you can buy.

The 2020 Dodge Journey just isn’t up to modern safety standards, full stop. For that, we give it the lowest possible score of 1 out of 10.

The NHTSA gives the Journey four stars out of five overall, which sounds okay at first, but comes with the caveat that nearly every one of the Journey’s competitors gets five stars. The IIHS is similarly concerned with its frontal crash test scores, giving a “Poor” rating for the small front overlap test on the driver’s side and another “Poor” for the halogen headlights.

Arguably worse is the fact that Dodge has never bothered to fit the Journey with any active safety features like automatic emergency braking, and only added rear parking sensors to the standard equipment list this year. It earns a sole point for decent outward vision.

The 2020 Dodge Journey earns subpar EPA ratings.

The 2020 Dodge Journey still isn’t efficient despite getting rid of its more powerful and thirstier power train. We give it 4 out of 10 here.

The front-drive 4-cylinder Journey earns EPA ratings of 19 mpg city, 25 highway, 21 combined. Those would be low figures for a large crossover SUV with a big, powerful V-6 engine.

Ford Fiesta Ford Fiesta ST

Like many subcompacts, Ford’s smallest car tends to compete with larger late-model used cars on price and doesn’t necessarily succeed in that regard. With an overall score of 44 and a dismal reliability rating of minus-267, Consumer Reports thought the Fiesta sedan/hatchback felt substantial, with good fuel economy and ride and handling qualities, but found the car to be overpriced, with the very tight rear-seat room, and featured poorly designed controls; it also found the available three-cylinder engine to be lacking.

(The sporty ST version fares better, but is costly.) It scored below average in the JD Power Dependability study and is expected to hold onto just 44% of its original value after three years and 29% after five years.

The new Fiesta ST will be priced from $31,990 plus on-road costs when it arrives in dealerships in late January or early February 2020, giving it a drive-away price of close to $35,000.

As before, the new Fiesta ST is only available with a six-speed manual transmission; there is currently no automatic available globally.

Although the new Ford Fiesta ST has more power and torque than before, the vehicle’s weight has increased due to the slightly bigger body and extra equipment (up 65 kg to 1262 kg on equivalent European models).

Unfortunately, the brakes have not increased in size to match the new model’s extra mass, although the calipers are painted red. The vented front discs and solid rear discs are the same sizes as before. There is currently no Ford Performance-approved brake upgrade package available.

Ford Focus Ford Focus ST

The compact car market is traditionally one of the industry’s most cutthroat segments, and it takes a lot more than the Focus can muster to stand out in a crowded field. With an overall score of 54 and a reliability rating of minus 118, Consumer Reports gave the Focus sedan/hatchback good marks for its ride, handling, and fuel economy, but criticized it for its awkward controls, a too-cramped rear seat, and its poor reliability.

September 1, 2019: The new 2020 Ford Focus ST hot hatch will start from $44,690 plus on-road costs when it arrives in January – and a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission will be a no-cost option.

The price of the new model has risen significantly – by between $5700 and $6400 – to $44,690 plus on-roads (almost $50,000 drive-away) but Ford has loaded it with the works.

A heated leather steering wheel, partial leather seats, a sensor key with push-button start, power-folding side mirrors with puddle lamps, ambient LED interior lighting, and dual-zone air-conditioning are also standard.

The full suite of safety tech includes autonomous emergency braking, blind-zone warning and rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance, and a rear camera and rear sensors. Front parking sensors are not available. Automatic models gain radar cruise control with traffic jam assistance.

As with its smaller sibling, the Ford Fiesta ST, which is due in local showrooms at the same time, the only options for the Focus ST are a panoramic sunroof ($2500) and metallic paint ($650).

Dodge Dart Dodge Dart

Another compact car that misses the mark, the Dart sedan receives an overall score of 53 and a reliability rating of minus-81 from Consumer Reports. CR liked the Dart’s solid and substantial feel and rear-seat room but found its engine choices to be lackluster, with unimpressive fuel economy and uncomfortable seats. It scored below average in the JD Power Initial Quality and Dependability studies and is expected to hold onto just 42% of its original value after three years and 28% after five years.

While the Dart is uniquely styled, it is otherwise a rather disappointing offering. A 160-hp 2.0-liter four, six-speed manual, and front-wheel drive are standard; a 160-hp 1.4-liter turbo-four and 184-hp 2.4-liter four are optional. Six-speed automatics are offered on the 2.0- and 2.4-liter engines. An available 8.4-inch touchscreen is easy to use, and several appearance packages provide considerable personalization.

Jeep Cherokee

Jeep Cherokee

More stylish than the norm among compact crossover SUVs, the Cherokee–unlike most competitors– is able to venture off-road when properly (and expensively) equipped. Consumer Reports gives the Cherokee an overall score of 40-47 and a “poor” reliability rating. CR found it to be solid and quiet, and gave high marks to its infotainment system, V6 towing capacity, and off-road abilities; however, it criticized the standard four-cylinder engine, nine-speed automatic transmission, entry/exiting, cargo space, front-seat comfort, and forward visibility. It scored below average in the JD Power Initial Quality Study and is expected to hold onto just 45% of its original value after three years and 33% after five years.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The standard four-cylinder engine and optional V-6 are joined by an all-new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It makes 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque (56 more than the V-6) and slots at the top of the power train pyramid. While we’ve yet to test the new engine at the track, we’ve spent time with it during our first drive. We found the turbo four to be lackluster compared with the V-6 due to its dull responses to throttle inputs; the new four-cylinder Cherokee also has a less towing capacity (4000 pounds maximum towing capacity versus the V-6 Cherokee’s towing capacity of 4500 pounds).

Relatively firm suspension tuning controls body roll in corners without compromising the ride quality. Impacts are absorbed without much excess reverberation, and the Jeep never feels floaty on the highway. We wish the steering provided more feedback from the road, but it’s nicely weighted and accurate. A firm-feeling brake pedal engenders calm in panic-braking scenarios, and the Cherokee’s 70-mph-to-zero emergency-braking performance is average for its class.

The Cherokee has among the worst fuel economy in its compact crossover and SUV segment, according to both the EPA and our real-world testing. While we’ve yet to subject either four-cylinder version to our highway fuel-economy test, their EPA estimates aren’t much higher than those for the V-6. Compared with the last Overland we subjected to our testing regimen, the latest version earned 25 mpg highway—or 1 mpg more than before.

Jeep Compass

Jeep Compass

Here’s another crossover SUV that’s gone for far too long without a full redesign, and it was never exactly class-leading in the first place. With an overall score of 43 and a “poor” reliability rating, Consumer Reports found little to like about the compact Compass, other than its controls and fuel economy; it received low marks for engine noise, acceleration, seat comfort, rear visibility, cornering, and braking. It scored below average in the JD Power design/performance study and is expected to hold onto just 36% of its original value after three years and 26% after five years.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The four-cylinder engine that powers every Compass is lethargic and the optional nine-speed automatic transmission is slow to execute shifts. A six-speed manual, available with both front- and all-wheel drive on the Sport and Latitude models, is the base transmission. Buyers who choose an all-wheel-drive will enjoy a variety of terrain-conquering modes. An automatic setting allows the car to direct torque to the wheels as it sees fit, while Snow, Sand, and Mud modes allow varying amounts of wheel slip for improved traction.

Trailhawk models add a low “crawler” gear ratio and a Rock mode, which keeps the Compass in first gear and directs torque only to the wheels that can find grip. The Compass feels more agile than its tall, boxy profile would suggest, responding ably to inputs from the nicely weighted steering wheel. There is some lean during tight cornering, but overall the Compass feels well-controlled, solidly planted, and capable on the road. An off-road course we braved when we first drove the Compass revealed that it can hold its own at least over moderate obstacles, and we noticed nary a stumble from the all-wheel-drive system.

Jeep Patriot Jeep Patriot

Mechanically identical to the Jeep Compass, but with a more traditional Jeep-like look, the dated Patriot hardly warrants a salute. With an overall score of 40 and a reliability rating of minus 45, Consumer Reports noted zero “pros,” but had a long list of “cons,” including engine noise, acceleration, driving position, seat comfort, a too-complicated optional radio, and a poor small-overlap frontal crash test score.

It scored below average in the JD Power design/performance study and is expected to hold onto just 37% of its original value after three years and 27% after five years. Most everything said in the previous caption about the above Jeep Compass applies here, except that the Patriot assumes more traditional Jeep exterior styling. Consumer Reports says it benefits from “a compliant ride and mostly simple controls, but little else stands out.”

Nissan Pathfinder Nissan Pathfinder

Originally a burly truck-based SUV but now a more passive midsize crossover, the Pathfinder falters in what’s become the most competitive market segment. With an overall score of 53 and a reliability rating of minus 126, Consumer Reports liked the Pathfinder’s spacious interior, easy access, and handy second-row seat, but determined it otherwise had no exceptional abilities, with poor acceleration, clumsy handling, and a cheap finished interior. It scored below average in the JD Power Dependability study and is expected to hold onto just 44% of its original value after three years and 28% after five years.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Pathfinder’s V-6 engine can best be described as adequate. It’s far from the quickest in its class, but it’s not painfully slow, either. The 284-hp 3.5-liter engine is about average in this class, but clearly, the Nissan doesn’t use its ponies as well as jackrabbits such as the Chevy Traverse and the Honda Pilot. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard on all Pathfinders, and it’s mostly unobtrusive and smooth in everyday driving.

It’s when you press the accelerator harder to merge or pass that you’ll notice the engine droning, which can be annoying on extended drives. The Pathfinder can tow up to 6000 pounds, which is 1000 more than most competitors. Overly light steering and lots of body roll make the Pathfinder feel bigger from behind the wheel than it is. The upside is a mostly plush and quiet ride that makes highway trips a breeze—but most of its better-handling rivals can make this claim, too.

Based on the EPA’s metrics, both front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the Pathfinder sit near the top of the class—only the Mazda CX-9 with its turbocharged four-cylinder beats the Nissan in a few categories. The all-wheel-drive Pathfinder we tested was an underachiever, hitting only 22 mpg on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route—significantly lower than its EPA highway number of 26 mpg.

BMW 7 Series BMW 7 Series

BMW’s flagship sedan seems to have lost its edge in recent years. It’s wrapped in languid styling and just doesn’t feel as sporty as it did in earlier renditions; an odd product lineup includes an expensive and not especially efficient gas-electric hybrid model. Consumer Reports takes the 7 Series to task for being “a ponderous, technology-laden vehicle with ungainly handling,” and is included in the publication’s lists of lowest-scoring cars, worst overall values, and most expensive operating costs in its class. Not to pile on, but it also gets a rock-bottom resale value rating from ALG and a below-average performance score from J.D. Power.

Pros & Cons

  • Strong engine options, including a plug-in hybrid and a turbo V12
  • Standard adaptive air suspension delivers a comfortable, controlled ride
  • Exceptional rear passenger space
  • Abundant standard equipment, including safety tech
  • No standard-length wheelbase model is available
  • Not the driver-focused benchmark it once was
  • Expensive options menu

Cadillac XTS

Cadillac XTS

To tell the truth, we find the big and benign full-size front-drive XTS sedan to be something of a guilty pleasure. Unfortunately, a boulevard cruiser like this falls short in today’s ultra-sophisticated luxury car market. Consumer Reports cites the XTS as being among the industry’s worst values, and we think the Chevrolet Impala offers equivalent accommodations for less money. The biggest Cadillac also gets low marks for initial quality and performance from J.D. Power and below-average resale value from ALG.

Jeep Wrangler Jeep Wrangler/Wrangler Unlimited

Though some might argue the iconic Wrangler and its four-door Wrangler Unlimited version are among the best-performing off-road vehicles, they suffer from limited passenger comfort, harsh and erratic ride and handling abilities, and excessive wind noise at higher speeds. True, they get great resale value, but the Wranglers placed among the lowest-scoring models in Consumer Reports testing, with the Unlimited also falling on its worst-values list; the original Jeep’s descendent also gets low marks in initial quality, performance, and reliability from J.D. Power.

Lincoln MKS Lincoln MKS

Continuing with little more than just cosmetic revisions since its debut for the 2009 model year, this full-size Ford Taurus-based model, in the words of Consumer Reports, “doesn’t cut it as a luxury sedan.” Powered by a choice of a turbocharged or non-turbo V6 engine, it gets a below-average performance rating from J.D. Power and a below-average residual value ranking from ALG. CR’s editors further cite it as being one of the worst values among new cars. Adding insult to injury, the MKS is fitted with the MyLincoln Touch multimedia operating system that confounds and distracts drivers at every turn.

Lincoln MKT Lincoln MKT

The luxury version of the boxier-looking Ford Flex seven-passenger crossover SUV shares its engines and many features with the aforementioned MKS and has been around for nearly as long as that model without undergoing a major update. It receives below-average scores for initial quality and reliability from J.D. Power and below-average marks for depreciation from ALG.

Mitsubishi iMiEV Mitsubishi iMiEV

The small and oddly shaped four-door i-MiEV is an all-electric car that’s rated at the equivalent of a meek 66 horsepower with an EPA-estimated operating range of just 62 miles on a charge (or less, depending on vehicle speed, ambient temperature, and use of accessories). Mitsubishi hasn’t released 2015 model information as of this writing, but the automaker lowered the price by $6,000 last year, which makes it one of the most affordable EVs on the market. Unfortunately, it not only receives a rock bottom rating for residual value from ALG, but Consumer Reports also gives it one of the publication’s lowest overall performance scores.

Mitsubishi Mirage Mitsubishi Mirage

Widely panned, Mitsubishi’s return to the subcompact car market provides affordable transportation and a little more. It falls short in so many regards, none the least of which is a sluggish acceleration from its 74-horsepower three-cylinder engine. Not only does J.D. Power give it below-average marks for performance, but it’s also among Consumer Reports’ lowest-scoring models.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage was created with the most price-conscious car shoppers in mind. Starting at less than $15,000, this subcompact hatchback is one of the most affordable new cars on the market. However, the Mirage’s performance in certain areas is rustic at best. Its engine sounds coarse when pushed, and the cabin looks down-market, even by the standards of cars in this price range.

On a positive note, the Mirage delivers good fuel economy, and it comes with solid warranty coverage that will be appreciated by shoppers who are trying to keep an eye on their finances. This Mitsubishi also offers an attractive selection of optional features, including modern must-haves such as Apple Car Play/Android Auto smartphone integration. If you’re on a tight budget and would rather shop new than used, the Mirage might be worth a look, but we’d recommend checking out its rivals such as the Hyundai AccentKia Rio, or Toyota Yaris before making a purchase.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

All 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage hatchbacks come with a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that generates a modest 78 horsepower and 74 lb-ft of torque. That’s less muscle than you’ll get with rivals such as the Chevrolet Spark (98 horsepower). The Mirage’s base model comes with a five-speed manual transmission, but all other trims are equipped with a CVT. Power is sent to the front wheels. When driven on city streets and highways, the Mirage exhibits lackluster acceleration. Heavy throttle inputs are required for passing maneuvers on the freeway, and the engine gets raucous when pushed. Also, there’s a lot of engine vibration within the cabin.

According to the EPA, the 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage achieves a fuel economy of 36 mpg city and 43 mpg highway with the optional CVT. These numbers are extremely impressive, and they make the Mirage a more fuel-efficient choice than the Chevy Spark (up to 30/38 mpg). With the manual transmission, the Mirage’s fuel economy dips to 33/41 mpg.

Nissan Armada Nissan Armada

Nissan’s large and lumbering SUV is based on the Titan full-size truck and while it’s roomy and capable of towing a decent-sized boat, it’s a handful to drive with a bouncy ride and heavy handling. The Armada gets low marks from J.D. Power for initial quality and reliability and garners among the lowest overall scores from Consumer Reports. According to CR, “its overall fuel economy of 13 mpg is abysmal, reliability is poor and ownership costs are the worst in the category.”

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

A powerful V-8 engine with a civilized seven-speed automatic transmission is the Armada’s only power train. That combination pairs with either rear- or all-wheel drive and is capable of towing up to 8500 pounds. Although the Armada has impressive quickness, it lacks engine options, and its passing power trails speedier rivals. Still, its 390-hp V-8 has a satisfying thrust that is especially evident around town. The Armada takes only 5.9 seconds to zip from zero to 60 mph—matching the Nissan Maxima sedan—and makes hearty exhaust sounds while doing so.

Despite what its size suggests, the Armada handles surprisingly well. Sure, its soft suspension has an air of floatiness, but that doesn’t negatively affect the driver’s sense of control. Our test car had a very comfy and quiet ride even though it rolled on large 20-inch wheels (18 inches are standard). While it is far from sporty, the Armada feels more refined than its GM rivals; those alternatives, however, have much better steering feedback than the Nissan.

Imprecise and slow to react, the Armada’s helm allows the SUV to wander on the highway like a member of its Spanish namesake. The Nissan had the shortest emergency-braking distance of these tests, stopping from 70 mph in 182 feet. Its brake pedal had minimal travel and consistent, progressive feedback.

None of the gargant-UVs in this class have spectacular fuel economy, but the Armada is by far the most unspectacular. Its EPA estimates and real-world test results are the lowest among the rivals we tested. The all-wheel-drive version matched its 18-mpg highway rating on our 200-mile fuel-economy test route. That was less than its competitors, but most of them underachieved in our test.

Nissan Titan Nissan Titan

Long in need of a refresh, Nissan’s full-size pickup truck tends to be an also-ran in an intensely brand-loyal segment; it’s handily outclassed by entries from Chevrolet/GMC, Ford, and Ram, and to a lesser degree, Toyota. The Titan is rated both below average in residual value from ALG and in performance from J.D. Power; it’s also noted as being among Consumer Reports’ worst values.

For 2020, Nissan rejuvenates its half-ton pickup truck by giving the Titan a mild makeover. It includes a fresh face that boasts a bolder grille, and a new front bumper and offers more striking headlights. The cosmetic changes continue outback with unique tailgate plaques and different taillights. The 2020 Titan also makes more horsepower and torque than before and now features a nine-speed automatic transmission instead of a seven-speed unit. The Nissan also has more standard and optional driver assists as well as an updated infotainment system. It has minor interior revisions such as a larger display in the gauge cluster, better interior cubby storage, and several newly available features.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Unlike the variety of power trains available on light-duty rivals, the Titan makes do with a single engine and transmission combo. The 5.6-liter V-8 produces 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque and pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission. As with its pickup-truck brethren, the Titan trades handling and ride quality for off-road ruggedness and potent hauling capacities. While it can giddy up and go and has sufficient stopping power, its ride, steering, and handling aren’t as refined as its competition.

Although the Titan and the kinda-heavy-duty Titan XD (reviewed separately) share cabs and other components, they have their own specific chassis and suspensions. The Pro-4X version swaps the stock shocks for an off-road set better suited for rough roads, but we noted that they feel stiffer than rivals with similar setups. The single-cab version we drove lost its composure on unruly roads but felt acceptably compliant on smooth surfaces.

Scion iQ Scion iQ

The eccentric iQ is a micro-sized two-door hatchback with oddly aligned seating that’s said to accommodate three adults and one small child, though it’s best driven solo, if at all. It gets below-average ratings across the board for residual value from ALG and initial quality, performance, and reliability from J.D. Power. It’s also among Consumer Reports’ lowest-rated cars (to quote CR: “The rear seat is awful, the cabin is loud and acceleration is molasses-like”).

Smart For Two Smart ForTwo

Easy parking is arguably this two-passenger micro-car’s only virtue; it gets decent fuel economy, but any savings at the pump are negated by the car’s need for premium-grade fuel. While the ForTwo is reasonably affordable, it’s rated below average for depreciation; it’s also among Consumer Reports’ lowest-scoring new cars. CR slams the unfortunate ForTwo on the basis of its “tiny, two-passenger cabin, a herky-jerky transmission, and an underpowered engine,” going so far as to call the Smart, “a dumb choice.”

Maserati Ghibli Maserati Ghibli

This is largely a case where one can do a lot better for the money. Though the midsize Ghibli comes wrapped in seductive Italian styling and carries a high degree of brand exclusivity, it’s a mediocre performer. Consumer Reports ranks it 17th out of a field of 17 midsize luxury cars, citing its overly firm ride, sloppy handling, and lack of rear-seat room. CR also gives it poor marks for projected reliability.

Pros & Cons

  • Angles, curves, and lines as only Italians can do
  • Sharp handling makes it fun to drive
  • Front seats are supportive and comfortable
  • Sound from the tailpipe is a symphony unto itself
  • Interior fit and finish don’t have the refinement of others in the class
  • Entering or exiting the rear seat is tight
  • Lacking some of the latest technology features
  • Limited dealer network

Jeep Wrangler JK

Jeep Wrangler JK

This is essentially the previous generation of Jeep’s iconic Wrangler, which remains on sale for 2018 alongside the newly redesigned “WranglerJL.” The JK remains second to none with regard to its off-road abilities, but it’s cramped, noisy, unrefined, and brutal over the bumps as a daily driver. The new version is by all accounts more sophisticated. The JK, meanwhile, gets a rock-bottom score of 26 out of 100 from Consumer Reports, further receiving poor reliability grades from both CR and JD Power.

Ford Taurus

Ford Taurus

One of a handful of full-size non-luxury cars on the market, the Taurus is the “oldest” of the bunch, having last been redesigned back in 2010. It performs well enough, though the back seat room could be more generous, and it’s a much better value as a gently used model. Both Consumer Reports and JD Power give it poor marks for reliability.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

All 2020 Fiat 500X models come with a turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 177 horsepower. A nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. The all-wheel-drive system has three driver-selectable settings to optimize traction in varying conditions. All models come with 17-inch aluminum wheels, except the Sport, which has standard 18s (optional on both Trekking models) and available 19-inch wheels. Regardless of trim level, the 500X isn’t the quickest crossover in this class nor is it the most fun to drive. The Fiat’s suspension is comfortable for highway cruising but loses its composure on curvy back roads. If you’re looking for a more entertaining SUV, we’d suggest the Kona or the Mazda CX-3.

Fuel economy is so-so for a pint-sized crossover, as the EPA rates the 2020 Fiat 500X at 24 mpg city/30 mpg highway.

Fiat 500

Fiat 500

This stylish subcompact coupe/convertible is Consumer Reports’ highest-rated Fiat, but that means it still scores a below-average 45 out of 100. It’s entertaining to drive but is smaller inside and rides rougher than many motorists would tolerate. It’s also rated poorly for reliability and suffers among the industry’s worst resale values.

Dodge Grand Caravan

Dodge Grand Caravan

The last of the original minivans, the Grand Caravan was supposed to have been discontinued after the introduction of the Chrysler Pacifica last year, but it remains the brand’s best-selling model. It’s lingered for too long in its present form, however, and lacks the latest safety features; both Consumer Reports and JD Power give it low marks for reliability. A used version is probably a better deal.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Regardless of trim level, there is but one power train option: a naturally aspirated 283-hp V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Offering familiarity above all else, the proven power train has no secrets to tell. Although of pedestrian pedigree, the Grand Caravan’s engine emits a surprisingly baritone growl when the driver is deep into the throttle. Sadly, the exhaust note doesn’t translate into surprising performance, as the Grand Caravan returned the slowest zero-to-60-mph time of all the recent minivans we’ve tested.

That said, it’s more than adequate for the task at hand. While the six-speed transmission suffers a little gear envy with the eight-, nine-, and 10-speed automatics offered by competitors, it shifts smoothly and rarely makes a fuss, the exception being its reluctance to downshift during passing maneuvers. Likewise, the ride quality and handling are innocuous with the exception of the occasional harsh jolting of the chassis from larger road imperfections. Body roll is managed admirably for a top-heavy vehicle, and the Grand Caravan feels poised through corners and relaxed when cruising.

Considering the number of gray whiskers on its carryover power train, it comes as no surprise that the Grand Caravan’s EPA fuel-economy estimates lag behind those of most of its more modern rivals. It did especially poorly in our real-world highway fuel economy test, registering just 22 mpg—less than its 25-mpg EPA rating—at a steady 75 mph for 200 miles. Adding insult to inefficiency, the Chrysler Pacifica, the Honda Odyssey, and the Toyota Sienna all beat their EPA estimates by at least 2 mpg in the same test.

According To Forbes, Cars To Avoid 2020:

 Subaru WRX

Subaru- WRX

The WRX is Subaru’s rally car-like version of the Impreza, and if you’re of a certain disposition it can be a fun ride. However, it’s the least amenable Subaru in the showroom, with a skittish demeanor that makes it feel underdeveloped when held up against more sophisticated performance-minded models. It’s also pricey, especially in its top STI versions. Consumer Reports gives it a low overall rating among sports cars. It gets poor ratings for reliability from both CR and JD Power, with the latter ranking it below average for initial quality. Consider a Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86, or a Honda Civic Si or Type R instead.

Smart EQ ForTwo

Smart-EQ-For Two

With slim sales, the tiny Smart EQ ForTwo full-electric subcompact coupe and convertible flies are under the radar of Consumer Reports and JD Power owner surveys, so this pick is entirely our call. While it’s cleverly styled and is the cheapest EV you can buy, its two-seat interior is cramped, there’s little in the way of cargo space, and highway driving can be unnerving. Worse, the ForTwo’s operating range on a charge is feeble, at an anxiety-inducing 58 miles. A used Nissan Leaf is a better pick for the money.

Nissan Titan XD

Nissan-Titan XD

The heavy-duty version of Nissan’s full-size Titan pickup truck sells in only minute numbers, and though it’s capable, comfortable, and drives well enough for its size and weight, the domestic brands’ biggest trucks beat it in terms of its critical towing and hauling capacities. Consumer Reports gives it a low overall score and predicts poor reliability down the road. CR ranks it among the worst vehicles of the year. The Ram 2500 is a great alternative, here.

Mitsubishi Mirage

Mitsubishi Mirage

There’s little to like about the subcompact Mitsubishi Mirage other than an affordable price tag. It’s slow, noisy, and unrefined compared to most other small cars. JD Power gives it sub-par scores for both reliability and initial quality, and Consumer Reports pegs it as the lowest-rated vehicle in its class. If you’re one of a dwindling number of small car shoppers, look at a Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, or Kia Rio instead.

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover Discovery Sport

While the Land Rover Discovery Sport is handsome looking, with a particularly appealing interior and decent off-road chops, it falls short compared to its European rivals among compact luxury SUVs. It gets low marks for reliability from both Consumer Reports and JD Power, with CR giving it a dismal overall rating, citing its sub-par overall acceleration and handling abilities. Consider a BMW X3 or Audi Q5 instead.

Jeep Renegade

Jeep Renegade

Though smartly styled, the subcompact Jeep Renegade gets low marks for reliability from JD Power and Consumer Reports. CR also gives the vehicle’s driving experience a poor rating, citing issues with engine and transmission response, a rough ride, and an uncomfortable interior. Again, the Honda HR-V, Nissan Rogue Sport, and Hyundai Kona are better choices.

Fiat 500X

Fiat 500X

The Fiat 500 X is a likable subcompact crossover SUV that nonetheless suffers low marks in owner surveys. Both JD Power and Consumer Reports cite a lack of reliability as an issue, with CR giving it the lowest overall score in its class. It’s modestly revamped for 2019 with a new turbocharged engine but retains its fussy nine-speed automatic transmission. You could do better with the Honda HR-V, Nissan Rogue Sport, or the Hyundai Kona.

Fiat 500L

Fiat 500L

This small wagon offers a novel design that affords a roomy cabin and terrific outward visibility, but it otherwise comes up short. Consumer Reports gives the 500 L the lowest overall rating among compact cars and cites it as being among the worst vehicles of the year. Hatchback versions of the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, and Subaru Impreza are top-rated alternatives.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia

We loved driving the energetic Alfa Romeo Giulia when we had a chance to test it, as it’s a terrific performer. But it’s lacking in terms of comfort and cabin ergonomics. Worse, it gets a dismal reliability rating from Consumer Reports. Some auto reviewers reported encountering mechanical issues during their evaluations. In fact, we know someone who was considering buying a Giulia and had not one, but two models off the dealer’s lot breakdown during a test drive. The Audi A4, Acura TSX, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class models are less dicey alternatives.

Acura RLX

Acura RLX

While the midsize RLX luxury sedan is likable enough, it lags behind the segment leaders in terms of performance, accommodations, and brand cachet. What’s more, its lofty sticker price prevents it from being a bargain-priced alternative. With an overall score of 59 (out of a possible 100) and a reliability rating of minus-68 (out of a possible plus-100), Consumer Reports liked the RLX’s spacious interior and standard safety systems but felt its ride was choppy and its handling ungainly, and overall found it to be a poor value. It scored below average in the JD Power Initial Quality Study and is expected to hold onto just 47% of its original value after three years and 30% after five years.

Infiniti Q50

Infiniti Q50

Another also-ran within the European-dominated compact luxury sedan segment, Consumer Reports gives the Q50 an overall score of 57 and a reliability rating of minus-64. CR liked the compact Q50 luxury sedan’s acceleration, outward visibility, and roomy interior, but criticized its unrefined power-train, fuel economy, ride and handling, controls, and front-seat comfort. It scored below average in the JD Power Design/Performance study and is expected to hold onto just 46% of its original value after three years and 32% after five years.

Acura ILX

Acura ILX

Acura’s compact sedan gets lost in a fading market segment as U.S. drivers trade in their passenger cars for crossover SUVs. It’s nice enough but isn’t particularly fun to drive, and isn’t a whole lot posher than the top versions of many non-luxury-branded small cars. It gets a below-average overall rating from Consumer Reports and is cited for poor reliability in both CR and JD Power surveys.

I apologize for the missing data and the significant reviews on some of the models. It seems too early for some of the reviews to have been made available to the public.

Always research the vehicle you are about to purchase. Seems money does not mean quality necessarily. The Maserati, the Cadillac, BMW’s 7 Series flagship vehicle, the Lincoln, and the Infiniti Q50 are all expensive vehicles and yet they do not meet the quality standards.

Thank you for reading,


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