With the recent string of comeback brands like the Hyundai and Ford, there remain a list of perennial contenders for poorest value and least innovative auto makers. These are the brands who have proven to lack commitment to match the pace at which its competitors have stepped up with everything from fuel economy to redesign.
Here is our list of top brands to avoid for 2011.
Mitsubishi has been dogged by poor brand perception for years. Its best seller Galant is largely known for underpowered, outdated engines (160HP compared to the 170+ of the leading Fusion and Accord) and a cheaply designed exterior last redesigned 7 years ago. Its fuel economy (21/30) is nothing to write home about. Its SUV, the Outlander, also suffers from a sluggish engine, bad fuel economy (21/27 mpg), and higher price than the Toyota RAV4 and the Chevrolet Equinox. Finally, compact car Lancer, has virtually no industry recognition with poor acceleration scores and a higher price than leaders Ford Fiesta and the Honda Civic.
Suzuki has climbed the ranks with the Kizashi, which has achieved rave reviews for its sporty handling and available all wheel drive despite being one of the smallest midsize cars. However, the Sonata, Fusion, and Mazda6 offer far better value, with the Sonata’s GLS’ 24/35 mpg and leading satisfaction scores, the Ford Fusions SYNC system and interior, and the better ride of a Mazda6.
General Motors’ Saab has no name recognition outside of its 9-5 model, languishing at the bottom of the luxury midsize car rankings with an underpowered engine, a worst 17/27 for its class, and its $37,000 asking price – highway robbery compared to the $33,000 BMW 3-Series and the $26,000 Buick Regal which are arguably No.1 and No.2 in this class.
Mercury, masquerading as a luxury car brand despite being nothing but, has the phased out Mariner, Grand Marquis, and the Mountaineer out of the top 10 in its classes. The Mariner’s safety features does not excuse its well documented braking issues with some of the longest braking distances ever in an SUV. Its Mountaineer has a class worst 14/20 mpg, a sluggish base V6, a cheap interior, and a poor value. If you see any of these models in a used car lot, avoid.