Volkswagen, Nissan, And Kia Declared Least Satisfying New Cars To Own

Industry News / 9 Comments

But some luxury brands also featured.

Consumer Reports has revealed the ten least satisfying cars on the market based on information from its latest member survey, along with its own ratings. Obviously, this is a list that no automaker wants to find itself on, so Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Nissan, and Kia will be unhappy about making more than one appearance.

While accepting that not every survey will have the same outcomes, the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport emerged as the least satisfying vehicle, with a mere 38% of owners saying that they'd buy the crossover again. Not performing much better was the Mercedes-Benz GLB, with just 39% of owners saying they'd repurchase one. These were the only two models to rate below 40% in the survey.

The overwhelming majority of underwhelming cars to own were on the cheaper end of the spectrum, so it's perhaps scary to see the two worst performers were two of the more expensive models.

2020-2023 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Frontal Aspect CarBuzz
2020-2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB Front Angle View CarBuzz

The Atlas Cross Sport is let down by its underpowered base engine, mediocre gas mileage, and a high number of recalls - that includes 13 recalls for the 2021 model alone. Recalls have also held the Mercedes GLB back, with a staggering 18 for the 2020 model year and ten more for 2021 models. It's worth mentioning that the survey applies to 2023 cars specifically, but these results point to a pattern of reliability issues for these models.

Other models that made CR's least-satisfying list include the Infiniti QX50 (just 40% of owners would buy one again), Mercedes GLA (45%), Jeep Compass (46%), Kia Seltos (48%), Volkswagen Taos (48%), Nissan Kicks (49%), Nissan Altima (51%), and Kia Forte (51%).

2019-2023 Infiniti QX50 Rear Angle View Infiniti
2023 Kia Seltos View Out Back KIA

Despite the Forte sedan's place on this list, it remains a strong seller for Kia, having just achieved its best-ever January sales. As for the Seltos, many of its flaws - a spartan interior and sluggish base engine - are somewhat balanced out by its attractive starting price of $23,340. An improved 2024 Seltos is on its way later this year, including a version with a more powerful turbo engine.

The Infiniti QX50 is an average luxury SUV in a segment where average simply won't do, so it's not a shocker that it appears on this list. Its engine and noisy transmission are two fairly significant issues we found when evaluating it.

As with the Seltos, the Nissan Kicks has a very low starting price, so some compromises have to be made, including an interior that feels cheap in some aspects and an underpowered engine. The Altima, meanwhile, is a dependable sedan but is outclassed by the extremely popular Toyota Camry and Honda Accord; Honda recently unveiled an all-new Accord.

2022-2023 Volkswagen Taos Rear View CarBuzz
2021-2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV Forward Vision CarBuzz
2022-2023 Jeep Compass Rear Angle View Jeep

What is clear from this list of least-satisfying vehicles is that most, including the VW Taos and Jeep Compass, represent more affordable alternatives in their respective manufacturers' ranges. These are not necessarily terrible cars, but the decisions that have been made to save on costs have not endeared them to buyers.

Affordability remains a concern for many Americans, however, so we expect several of the cars on this list to continue selling in high numbers. While prices in the used car market are finally cooling down, high demand and low supply have contributed to high new car prices that are only expected to slow down later this year, although this trend has already begun in the EV space with the likes of Tesla and Ford.

2021-2023 Nissan Kicks Frontal Aspect CarBuzz
Front Angle View CarBuzz
2022-2023 Kia Forte Front View Driving KIA

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2020-2023 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Frontal Aspect
2021-2023 Nissan Kicks Frontal Aspect
2019-2023 Infiniti QX50 Rear Angle View
2022-2023 Jeep Compass Rear Angle View
2021-2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV Forward Vision

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