1. 2012 Dodge Caliber
It’s no secret that the Dodge Caliber is one of the worst entries in a compact car segment including stalwarts like the Civic and Camr. The automatic Caliber manages just 22 city/27 highway mpg, while the automatic Ford Focus Hatchback achieves 28 city/38 highway. Dodge will soon replace the Caliber with the new 2013 Dart.
2. 2012 Kia Forte
The Kia Forte is more expensive than its slightly smaller sibling the Rio but is an inferior car. It uses an older engine while the Rio gains 40 mpg and direct injection, and its interior is also not up to par. The blandly designed Forte line just doesn’t have the appeal of the rest of the Korean automaker’s portfolio.
3. 2012 Chrysler 200
The 200 may have received some updated and exterior sheetmetal when Chrysler switched its name from the Sebring, but it’s still the same car underneath. Its 2.4-liter four-cylinder can’t produce either the power or fuel efficiency to make this car exciting. One would hope its softly sprung suspension would bring a comfortable ride. It doesn’t
4. Any Saab Cars
Saab is slowly going the way of the buffalo, with the company bankrupt and its U.S. dealership network causing quite a stir over refusing to honor customer warranties. You will still be able to find brand-new Saab models but they are a terrible buy without a company to service them, and were not all that reliable to begin with.
5. 2012 Chevrolet Volt
While the Volt may be innovative, it is overpriced at around $40,000 and doesn’t have a large enough electric-only range to make a great financial impact. Better to get a Prius, which is nearly $20,000 cheaper and offers far superior hybrid fuel efficiency.
Trucks, SUVs and Crossovers
1.2012 Ford Escape
Ford brings to market an all-new Escape compact crossover for 2013 that improves on the 2012 model in space, efficiency, power, comfort, technology and value. The last Escape is nearly a decade old, the new model with its 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine will save you well over $1,000 per year on gas.
2. 2012 Mazda CX-7
The Mazda CX-7 is supposed to sit above the newer CX-5 in Mazda’s portfolio but is only slightly larger and actually has less cargo capacity with virtually identical passenger space. The CX-7 can’t match the CX-5 in handling or fuel efficiency, either.
3. 2012 Ford Edge
The Explorer went through a paradigm shift for 2011 in moving from a truck platform to unibody crossover platform, leaving the similarly sized Edge Ford’s new ugly duckling and unnecessary. Buying an Edge won’t save much over the Explorer and you’ll get older technology, similar space and a poorly designed interior.
4. 2012 Porsche Cayenne
As it has been since its introduction, the Cayenne is a strange beast. It’s supposed to be a performance SUV but in all but the Turbo models it can easily be outran by more mainstream competitors. It’s also ridiculously overpriced. Porsche lovers should stick to the company’s sports cars.
5. 2012 Nissan Titan
Nissan makes some great passenger cars, but its Titan full-size pickup just can’t match the quality of GM and Ford. Its fuel efficiency in the V8 models is dreadful, it comes with a meager list of standard equipment and it cannot be optioned up to the luxurious levels of the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado.
With so many credible new car choices on the market it is inevitable that there be a few lemons. Most important when buying a car is that you like it; that it stirs something within you that makes a hefty purchase make sense. That said, not all cars are created equal.