Buying a pre-owned car is filled with uncertainty. Despite vehicle history reports, you never really know all the details of a car’s background—this information isn’t always comprehensive. It’s common to wonder if you’re “buying someone else’s problem” and have numerous doubts. A good start is staying away from certain vehicles with reputations for trouble. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of used cars you would hate if you buy them.
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These cars are in the bottom haystack mostly because they don’t meet the standard set by their predecessors. This is why it is important to know them so you don’t make the mistake of buying. One thing to note is that these cars are not necessarily cheap, which is kind of surprising because their performance is subpar.
2002 Ford Explorer
While most 20-year-old cars will have their share of troubles, the 2002 Ford Explorer is in a league of its own. Look beyond the scores of complaints about body and interior accessory problems, and you’ll find a mind-boggling number of transmission and drivetrain issues. Most owners say to “avoid like the plague” when advising on this Ford. If that doesn’t encourage a shopper to run, not walk, away from this vehicle, seven NHTSA defect investigations should.
2003 Honda Accord
Reputation only goes so far. And despite Honda’s strong background in building dependable cars, the tradition didn’t carry forward with the 2003 Accord. Hundreds of owner trouble reports and complaints centre on one area: an abysmal transmission. This is also a car that was subject to 24 manufacturer recalls. Admittedly, most of this involved airbags (an entirely different problem), but sure enough, one of the recalls involved a transmission gear failure. If an Accord is a must-have, scratch the 2003 model year off your shopping list.
2019 Toyota RAV4
And here’s another head-scratcher, the 2019 Toyota RAV4. Not only is this vehicle from an automaker with a stellar reputation, but it’s only a few years old. Among all the complaints reported by owners, one trouble area stands out: the transmission. And given that this is a newer RAV4, more reports are likely to come. Consumer Reports ranks this Toyota as a 2 out of 5 for reliability, so that’s another warning to be aware of.
2013 Nissan Altima
The 2013 Altima is a classic example of good intentions gone bad. Nissan uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to enhance fuel economy, but these highly complex gearboxes can be troublesome when engineering and manufacturing fail. That’s the case with this year’s Altima, as evidenced by hundreds of transmission-related complaints. Consumer Reports says that owners of this Nissan give it a 1 out of 5 for satisfaction. That alone should eliminate this car from consideration.
2011 Honda Pilot
Why mess with success? Well, Honda didn’t heed this advice with the fourth-generation Honda Pilot. Instead of incorporating many successful aspects of the relatively bulletproof third-generation model (2005–2010), the automaker decided to reinvent the wheel. And disaster ensued. Much of the trouble centres on this car’s electrical system. These are problems that can be difficult to diagnose or may not arise for years. Consumer Reports ranks it I out of 5. Need we say more?
2011 Hyundai Sonata
Among the worst used cars to buy is the infamous 2011 Hyundai Sonata. Its 2.4-litre Theta II engine has a dubious reputation among mechanics and has been at the centre of a class action suit, which Hyundai vigorously fought for years. Excessive oil consumption and fires are just some of the engine-related troubles that plagued the 2011 Sonata. The company did extend the engine warranty (to 10 years or 120,000 miles), but that coverage has expired.
2022 Lexus GX 460
The 2022 Lexus GX stands out among luxury SUVs for its remarkable off-roading capabilities, but you would have to make some compromises to enjoy that. For starters, you would have to make do with a clumsy, old-school design that’s outdated by today’s standards.
The Lexus GX rivals offer more comfort and storage, not forgetting that the SUV’s interior amenities hardly justify the estimated ₦50,000,000 to ₦60,000,000 price tag. Also, the 2022 Lexus GX is a gas hog, returning an abysmal combined fuel economy of 16 mpg.
2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE
The GLE offers the ride comfort everyone expects from Mercedes-Benz, holding its own in several ways with its potent engine, quiet interior, supportive seats, and impressive fits and finishes. The GLE has experienced 11 recalls in recent years, with reliability spiralling down because of problems with the engine, body integrity, in-car electronics, and electrical and climate systems.
But that’s not the end. The finicky steering controls, complicated infotainment system, and not-so-smooth shifting have shoppers opting for alternatives like the BMW X5. The GLE got a 1/5 rating for predicted reliability and a 5/100 rating for overall reliability, which is much less reliable than the average new
Buying a car shouldn’t be a hassle in any way but when some automakers decide to make cars that come with bad performance and reliability issues, it makes buyers spend more than they should on maintenance and repairs. But with the list compiled, you know the cars you should stay clear of if you want peace of mind.
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