- Jan 5, 2017
The Worst Cars We Drove in 2016
Most cars have their merits. These we're not so sure about.The statement "there are no bad cars anymore," is largely true, but that doesn't mean we love everything we get behind the wheel of. And if you drive as many cars a year as we do at Autoblog, a few are bound to make it to the dislike column. Here, for your sadistic reading and viewing pleasure, are the cars our editors liked the least in 2016. Click through the images above.
2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
The Sentra SR Turbo encapsulates all the things that used to make the compact segment unappealing. Every aspect of the car seems adequate at best, and phoned-in at worst. The interior brings back "economy" as an adjective for cheap, emphasized by a chintzy handbrake lever and an adjustable steering wheel that wants to drop into your lap whenever you try to adjust it. The driving experience hammers home the penalty-box experience. The shifter is truck-like, the clutch is long with a friction point way too far off the ground, and the chassis is less than eager. Add to that an uninspired exterior, and you have a car that is a solid D- student. It does just enough to pass, but nothing more.
– Joel Stocksdale, Associate Editor
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2016 Buick Cascada
The Buick Cascada is the best Sebring convertible Chrysler never made. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the car – as we've pointed out, few vehicles today are truly and intrinsically flawed. This one just commits the sin of being boring.
Maybe this car isn’t for me. Correction - this car isn’t at all for me. Almost everything about the Cascada, a aged and rebadged Opel brought to the US, is merely adequate. It’s a shoulder shrug, the automotive personification of meh. And then there are the actual annoying features, like the over-complicated, button-intense HVAC and radio controls. The Cascada fails to make any positive impressions memorable. That said, it's first in a segment of one - the non-performance convertible category - so simply being on sale could be considered solid product planning. If the Cascada has proven anything to me, it’s that I dislike boring cars more than I dislike bad ones.
– Reese Counts, Associate Editor
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2017 Toyota Sienna
The Toyota Sienna is comfortable, big, and reasonably well-equipped. But it's also outdated. It launched in early 2010, and the interior looks and feels like it's from another time. The styling is bland compared to the Chrysler Pacifica and, well, modern exterior design in general. The V6 is plenty competent (and for the 2017 model year it's backed by an eight-speed automatic), but that's the best thing I can say as far as attributes for this Toyota. Sales are down 6.8 percent this year, which clearly indicates the market has tired of this minivan. The ray of sunlight for the Sienna? A new one is expected for 2018.
– Greg Migliore, Senior Editor
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2016 Volkswagen e-Golf
As someone who tends to trust a majority of scientists over your drunk uncle, I believe that climate change is a thing. I also recognize not everyone can afford to pay a premium to drive green, and tax incentives won’t always make up the difference. If EVs are going to make an impact in reducing local emissions in the near term, it’s critical that automakers develop compelling, uncompromising plug-ins and BEVs that feel worth the extra scratch.
That’s why I was so disappointed by the Volkswagen e-Golf. If it had been my first exposure to an electric vehicle, I’d have a rather dim view of the technology's potential. For me, one simple gauge was the vehicle’s undoing: its range estimator. Think of this as an EV's gas gauge. Now imagine if your gas gauge fluctuated in unexpected ways. Primarily, sharply downward throughout your wintery commute. Yards stretch into miles as the dreaded "range anxiety" sets in. Granted, it's tough sledding for any electric vehicle in Michigan; what we lack in EV infrastructure, we make up for in bitterly cold weather. All EVs share some form of “mileage will vary” disclaimer, and they tend to perform worse in extreme temperatures, but whatever behind-the-scenes calculations govern the e-Golf's range estimates should take these conditions into better consideration.
– Adam Morath, Executive Producer
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2016 Dodge Dart
I drove a lot of cars this year, and most of them were, at the very least, decent. Not so the 2016 Dodge Dart SXT. The only option this particular Dart had was an automatic transmission for $1,250, and that's the one option I'd probably have preferred to be without. There was no large-screen Uconnect system, no heated seats, no sunroof, and no sign of the gimmicky-but-cool digital gauge cluster. The paint was a boring shade of blue, the interior was a ho-hum wasteland of black monotony, and the driving experience was dull. I can't think of a single reason to recommend the Dart SXT, especially considering its as-tested price of $21,740. That sum will get a decently-equipped Chevy Cruze or Ford Focus, or even a low-option Honda Civic. About the only nice thing I can say about the Dodge Dart SXT is this: at least it isn't a Caliber SXT. No wonder Dodge decided to kill off the Dart.
– Jeremy Korzeniewski, Consumer Editor
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2017 Infiniti QX30
The Infiniti QX30 is one of those vehicles that disappoints both in theory and in practice. There’s the cynicalness of restyling an already mediocre Mercedes-Benz small hatch-crossover thing and passing it off as an Infiniti – an overstyled, uncharismatic Infiniti. And then there’s the driving experience, which is strictly GLA-Class, and that's not a high compliment. The engine sounds like a rock tumbler full of nickels, and it runs out of puff at just 5,000 rpm, but more importantly there’s no compelling reward for pushing this little crossover around. Neither is there much reward for the buyer on the interior, a jarring parts-bin mishmash topped off with a tacky instrument cluster bezel. The best I can say of the QX30 is that it would be an interesting choice in its segment – nothing else combines German mechanicals and Japanese styling, but it’s a shame that neither country’s contributions were very successful.
– Alex Kierstein, Senior Editor
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2016 Mercedes-AMG G65
Let me be clear: I absolutely love, love the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. Always have, always will. Which is why I was disappointed when the G65 finally came to the US and I finally got to drive it. You'd think that adding a stupid-powerful twin-turbo V12 engine to this already insane rolling anachronism would make it even better, but not for me. The problem with the V12 is that it's too smooth and cancels out a lot of the brutishness you get with the V8 G63 and even the standard-issue G550. Put that V12 in an S-Class coupe and you've got the world's prettiest isolation chamber, but here, the anger and violence are lost and it turns the AMG G into a quiet freight train shaped like, well, a freight train. I'm sure the people who buy a G65 instead of a G63 because it's a larger number won't care one bit, but you know what? They should.
Oh, and those chrome wheels have to go. Yeesh.
– David Gluckman, Executive Editor