And what to choose instead
There's no such thing as a bad new car. Over the last several years, that idea has blossomed as vehicles become more advanced than ever before, leading to increased performance, efficiency and technology that you wouldn't have been able to fathom just a decade prior. But is it true? Have cars gotten so good overall that there's no such thing as a bad new car?
Not if you ask Consumer Reports. The organization isn't like most magazines that test cars, instead of taking short-term loans, Consumer Reports buys vehicles straight from the manufacturer before putting them to the test. And, according to CR's testers, there are four vehicles that are bad enough in 2015 that they need to be singled out.
We don't necessarily agree with this list in its entirety – there's a lot about cars and trucks that's subjective, after all – but Consumer Reports at least offers legitimate reasons why they feel these four models are the worst.
Without further ado, click on the image above to get started. We also offer some alternate choices to consider for each segment you may be shopping in.
2015 Chrysler 200
CR specifically calls the Chrysler 200 out for having an unrefined four-cylinder engine and transmission, poor handling and a back seat that's smaller than its main competitors.
For our part, we don't think the 200 is quite that bad. It's got pretty styling and a dramatic roofline, though that's also the reason why it's rear seat is cramped, and it boasts what may be the best in-car infotainment system on the market. We do agree with Consumer Reports that the V6 engine is the best bet for driving enjoyment, though that will obviously come with an efficiency penalty.
Research the 2015 Chrysler 200
2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport
Up next is a brand-new SUV from Land Rover called the Discovery Sport. According to Consumer Reports, the Diso Sport's engine is "flat-footed," and the transmission is often in the wrong gear. Further pummeling the 'ute, CR says it rides like its wheels are made of concrete. Ouch.
We had similar complaints when we reviewed the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Our own Jonathon Ramsey put it this way: "The most pressing problem is that the automatic gearbox hates to downshift. You've got to stomp on the throttle and hold the pedal down before the transmission will switch gears."
We did, however, note the very attractive styling of the new Disco, and we were very impressed by the new car's beautiful interior.
A few models to consider if the Land Rover Discovery Sport is on your shopping list are the Acura MDX, Audi Q5 and BMW X3. If you need better off-road capability and can sacrifice the third row of seats, consider the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Research the 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport
2015 Lexus NX
Consumer Reports doesn't have many nice things to say about the 2015 Lexus NX crossover. According to the magazine, the NX has a "firm, jostling ride" with handling that is "no match for its German rivals."
We don't really agree. While the NX doesn't boast the supple quality of a larger crossover like Lexus' own RX, it's also much cheaper and quite a bit smaller. For its asking price, we don't think too much of the car's Toyota-based underpinnings show through.
Where we do agree with Consumer Reports, however, is in the car's infotainment and technology package. Not only is the overall look and feel behind the times, the touchpad used to move from screen to screen is highly irritating and difficult to master, especially while driving.
Research the 2015 Lexus NX 200t
2015 Kia Sedona
The fourth and final on Consumer Reports' list of the worst vehicles of 2015 is the Kia Sedona. CR says the Sedona suffers from a "pounding ride" that "is accompanied by a raucous chorus of squeaks and rattles." Also drawing ire from the magazine are the second-row seats, which aren't adjustable as they are in competing vans.
When we tested the 2015 Kia Sedona, we found it "an incredibly compelling package" that boasts bolder styling than most of its competitors. Ward's Auto liked the interior enough to name it one of the 10 Best of 2015.
We did fault the Kia Sedona for poor fuel economy, and we noted that the second row of seats does indeed offer less space than its primary competitors. In the end, a mixed bag, then.