Can you guess which Japanese model took the top spot?
It’s that time of year again, the time when Consumer Reports drops its annual list of the seven cars owners regret buying. This year’s list differs a bit from the one released in 2015. The categories are different, with the luxury, sporty and sedan categories all eliminated. The new categories are small car, mid-size sedan and mid-size SUV. The survey size was also expanded to 300,000 respondents, up from 230,000 in ’15. Despite the changes two cars managed to make it onto the list yet again.
The Jeep Compass (small SUV) and Nissan Frontier (pickup) made the list for a second year in a row. The other models that made the list include the Dodge Dart (small car), Chrysler 200 (mid-size sedan), Dodge Grand Caravan (minivan), Nissan Pathfinder (mid-size SUV) and Acura ILX (least-satisfying overall).
Most of the complaints came down to quality issues, such as too much cabin noise and confusing HVAC controls. Others were more serious, like the Pathfinder’s inability to stay out of the shop. The good news, if there's any to glean, is that many of these cars should not be on next year’s list. The 200 and Dart are both dead. Nissan updated the Pathfinder; we found it to be good but a bit boring when we drove it. The Compass got a complete makeover so it should be able to escape the wrath of Consumer Report’s respondents. The Frontier is due for a makeover, although we’re not holding our breath since the current model is selling OK and isn’t as bad as its age would suggest. As for the Grand Caravan and ILX...better luck next year!