We wish we could, but...
As car enthusiasts and reviewers, we're always disappointed when we can't find a reason to recommend a car. No car is perfect, but we typically like to believe that every car has its virtues. However, there are some we come across where the cons outweigh the pros to the point it's hard to recommend to any demographic, and there's usually a better option. Aside from buying them for the sake of being different, some cars just don't really have a strong selling point, sadly.
We try to keep things positive here at CarBuzz, but these are cars we've driven and reviewed but just can't bring ourselves to recommend to anyone, knowing full well that there are better options to go with.
The Cadillac XT6 starts off well with what we described as an "authoritative and contemporary exterior design." The interior is spacious but doesn't live up to the promises the exterior makes, then mixes questionable build quality with low-grade materials. While the technology is the latest and greatest and the ride is Cadillac-standard, the four-cylinder engine is underpowered, and the V6 isn't as smooth and easy to drive as it should be. While not a terrible car, it's hard to recommend it based on the premium price and the strong competition it faces - particularly with its interior. With a starting price of $48,595, a sport trim that isn't sporty, and a luxury trim that doesn't up the luxury with any satisfaction, something like the often underrated Buick Enclave is a better option in the same price range.
A Mini with a John Cooper Works badge promises performance, which means the car will be quick, agile, and fun to drive. For the Hardtop and Countryman versions, that is the case. Unfortunately, the JCW Convertible is an exercise in style over substance. The problem is Mini didn't fix the one problem convertibles cause to performance cars. The roof is an important structural element, and torsional rigidity is essential for a vehicle that's supposed to grip and handle well. As a result, the JCW Convertible is a bit of a wet noodle compared to the Hardtop, and yet somehow, it's remarkably harsh and feels like the shocks are too stiff for the car they're in. If you want performance, get the JCW Hardtop. If you want a soft top, get the normal convertible. If you want both together, look elsewhere.
"The soft-roader market is hot right now," we said in our 2022 review of the GMC Terrain, "and GMC is perfectly poised to slip into it with the already aptly named Terrain." Unfortunately, the Terrain is woefully inadequate and massively overpriced. It starts at $29,900 (including a mandatory OnStar subscription) and comes with a 1.5-liter engine making 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque, a dated interior, and a truck-like driving experience from a car-based chassis. The Terrain isn't as premium as its price tag suggests, and as a daily driver, you can throw a dart at a list of Japanese-brand SUVs and come away with something much better. Step up to the off-road AT4 trim, and you're spending $35,859 for something that can't compete with an off-road trimmed Bronco Sport. We wanted to be impressed by the Terrain, particularly in AT4 trim, as we know what GMC is capable of. But we weren't.
Once upon a time, the Impreza was a great family car and a fun daily driver. Now, it's still a great family car, but only an okay daily driver at best, and the fun is sucked out by an underpowered engine and a "whiny, dimwitted CVT auto." If you want what the Impreza was, you'll have to spring for the excellent WRX. Or, if you're not a performance hound but still enjoy driving, you could save your money and buy a Honda Civic. For now, the Impreza is an engine, a gearbox, and an infotainment system away from greatness, and you can get AWD plus turbo power from the Mazda 3.
If you're looking for a value contender for the more expensive large luxury SUVs, wait until the Infiniti QX80 gets its upcoming redesign. Its current old-school V8 is excellent but thirsty, the bodywork is showing its age despite a refresh, and its ride on the road is sea-sick inducing. With a starting price of $71,950, it's just not competitive here in 2022. The good news is that Infiniti based the QX80 on the Nissan Armada, which is cheaper and better. If you're in a hurry, we recommend that instead.
Despite its retro-Jeep looks, all-wheel-drive, and a 'Trail-Rated' badge, what you're looking at is a modified Fiat 500X. Not many owners will be off-roading, though, and for day-to-day driving, the 180-horsepower naturally aspirated 2.4-liter or 177-hp 1.3-liter turbo engines are not great matches for the dimwitted nine-speed transmission. As a result, like the Mini JCW Convertible, the Renegade is a case of style over substance. Unfortunately, the Fiat 500X it's based on is overpriced, so it's hard to recommend over the Renegade. For the same price as the Renegade's second trim up the ladder, Lattitude, you can get a base model Ford Bronco Sport. We would go for that.
Entry-level budget-friendly cars are not as popular as they once were, but that should mean the remaining ones are good, right? Right?
The Mitsubishi Mirage is a baby hatchback that weighs in at $16,245 (unless a dealer marks it up) and goes up against contenders including includes the Chevrolet Spark and Kia Rio. It comes with a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine with 76 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque driven via either a five-speed manual gearbox or CVT automatic (CVT only from 2023 on) to the front wheels. It is one of the cheapest and most fuel-efficient cars you can buy new in 2022, but this is truly a case of cheap = cheap and nasty. Unfortunately for Mitsubishi, the Chevrolet Spark and Kia Rio exist. The Spark is cheaper and has more power, and the Rio has a better cabin and ride quality. Another option is the Nissan Versa, which is a sedan that starts at $15,580, comes with more pep, is surprisingly fun to drive, and has a friendlier and more spacious interior.
Going in the opposite direction price-wise, the Maserati Quattroporte aims to be a large, opulent executive sedan to rival the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class and comes with a price tag to match. Unfortunately, the base Quattroporte GT trim costs $104,700 and has less power than a Chrysler 300S. The Trofeo trim with the 523 hp Ferrari-derived V8 engine is a powerhouse, but it doesn't have the ride quality or handling chops to justify the $151,500 price. We hate to say it, as we wanted to love the Quattroporte, but buy a BMW 7 Series or Audi A8 instead. It seems even Maserati realizes it's not in that category, as the next generation will shrink and replace the Ghibli, which is getting the axe.
Despite numerous updates, the Chrysler 300 has only aged well in its exterior looks. Inside, it's lagging in technology and build quality. It's also heavy on gas, and the base model is sparsely equipped. Sure, it's an old-school cruiser on the road, and nostalgia is a valid reason to choose a car, but you should not be getting that from a brand-new car. Apart from some light refreshes and special editions, it's the second generation car that went into production in 2011. That's a shame because a third generation with the 300s looks, but a turbocharged straight-six-based hybrid drivetrain would be a great American answer to something like the Genesis G80 or Lexus ES.