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The One Car You Should Never Buy Used, According to 2021 Data

This popular SUV is the one car to steer clear of, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Whether we're taking a trip to the grocery store three miles away or cruising 3,000 miles across the country, many of us depend on our cars to get us to our destinations safely. And while having a reliable car is key, it doesn't have to mean your car has to be shiny and new. Most people in the U.S. actually drive used cars, according to Statista, which reports that 39.3 million used cars were sold in the U.S. in 2020 compared to 14 million new cars.

If you're looking to purchase a vehicle without breaking the bank, buying a used car is probably your best option—but of course, not every used car is created equally. No matter how great the deal and features may seem, some used cars are just not worth buying. To find out which ones fall into that category, we turned to 2021 research from U.S. News and World Report. The outlet looked at 30 car models, which were from 2015 or later, and scored them based on five different categories: critics' rating, performance, interior, the total cost of ownership, and safety. Those numbers were then used to give each car an overall rating out of 10.

At Best Life, we looked at the 15 cars that received the lowest scores (under 6.4) to find out which car you should never buy used, according their findings. Read on to find out what it is!

RELATED: This Is the Most Unreliable Car in the U.S., Owners Say

2016 Cadillac ELR

a 2016 black Cadillac ELR car outside
Raymond Hall/GC Images

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 6.3

U.S. News and World Report gave the 2016 Cadillac ELR a 6.3 out of 10, noting that though the car is comfortable to drive, it comes with a few setbacks, like cramped seating and a loud engine. The outlets says, "It's not hard to see why the Cadillac ELR went out of production after just two years on sale," pointing out its "lackluster performance, frustrating tech features, and little usable interior space." And if that's how it reads as a new car, you probably wouldn't want to buy it used.

2015 Mitsubishi Lancer

a blue Mitsubishi Lancer car driving on the road
nitinut380 / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 6.3

Mitsubishi's 2015 Lancer also earned a 6.3 out of 10 from U.S. News and World Report. Mitsubishi stopped making the Lancer in 2017, and on the car review site Edmunds, some drivers have noted that this compact car struggles when it comes to its fuel efficiency, transmission, and comfort. Even though it has a decent overall score of  3.7 out of 5 stars, owners had major problems with the vehicle much sooner than they expected—not a great sign if you're considering buying one used.

"With about 15,000 miles on it, the car started having problems where it would have to crank for quite a while before starting," one wrote. "Now it has some sort of creaking in the suspension with only 30,000 miles on it. I'm just crossing my fingers at this point and hoping it doesn't need major repairs before we can pay off enough of the loan to justify selling it."

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander

A silver 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander
Teddy Leung / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 6.3

Like the 2016 Cadillac ELR and 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer, the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander also scored a 6.3 from U.S. News and World Report. Though it also has a good reputation on Edmunds, with a 4.2 out of 5-star overall rating, drivers have noted some performance issues that make this car less than ideal to buy used.

"It's slow … 148hp in the base 2.0 engine doesn't give you a lot to work with," one reviewer said. "Let's just say the car doesn't inspire much confidence on the roads. … Always make sure you have a firm grip on the steering wheel if you're going to hit the gas. The tires will spin, and so will the steering wheel."

Another reviewer said: "The transmission went out at 75,000 miles … I only had it a year [and] a half," noting they did regular maintenance.

2019 Ford EcoSport

a white Ford EcoSport car
alecsps / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 6.2

U.S. News and World Report gave the 2019 Ford EcoSport a score of 6.2. Though it has a 4.3 rating on Edmunds, owners have said that once they brought this car home, it caused a lot of stress, something that doesn't tend to lessen over time.

"It has no power, but only a week after purchase when attempting to accelerate to get out of being sandwiched between 2 semi-trucks, the gas pedal kept going to the floor," one reviewer said. "Luckily there was a brake override, which they only started doing in 2013. It has never been a calm drive … always something, from the auto stop/start engaging too soon while not even at a complete stop … to the auxiliary staying on."

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2015 Land Rover LR2

a green Land Rover LR2 car
Jim Mahoney/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 6.2

The 2015 Land Rover LR2 may be a luxury SUV, but according to U.S. News and World Report, it has its fair share of issues. With an overall score of 6.2, the vehicle lost points because of its expensive repairs and rough rides on the road, which a used car driver certainly wouldn't want to inherit.

"The LR2 has poor throttle response and weaker acceleration than its rivals," U.S. News and World Report's reviewer wrote. "It has sluggish steering, and its tall body leans heavily during cornering. It has a generally composed ride but feels stiff over small bumps."

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

A 2018 blue Mitsubishi Outlander Sport car
Everyonephoto Studio / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 6.2

Similar to the Land Rover LR, whose score it tied with, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is another unimpressive SUV, U.S. News and World Report found. The Outlander Sport has minimal safety features and a noisy engine, neither of which is music to a used car buyer's ears. The vehicle has also had a few recalls, including one in September 2018 for its Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM), which is used to help detect objects in front of the car.

While the Outlander has a 4.2 out of 5-star overall rating on Edmunds, drivers have noticed that it isn't the easiest on the road. "Car rides rough," one wrote. "Gets bad gas in city, 18 mpg when it said 23. There is no storage in this car, paint peeling already in the back on the bumper part… Cheap[ly] made. Bluetooth is worthless … can't talk and say, 'Call home.' You need a cell phone to use the navigation."

2019 Fiat 500X

a white Fiat 500X car next to a mountain
Oskars Kupics

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 6.2

U.S. News and World Report called the 2019 Fiat 500X out for its rough ride and minimal cargo space. On Edmunds, drivers appear to be bigger fans of this Fiat, as it has a 4.3 out of 5-star overall rating, but some still feel like the sports car isn't worth it.

"These vehicles do NOT have good horsepower," a reviewer wrote. "My grandmother's car is better… The transmission lags behind badly… sometimes I have to slow down because it's not shifting gears properly… The gas mileage in my opinion [is] not good… Seems like I'm ALWAYS putting gas in it all the time." And considering the fact that as cars age, their fuel economy declines, this is an issue that a driver who bought the car used would certainly be burdened with.

2019 Dodge Journey

Dodge Journey car in a parking lot
Rudiecast / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 6.1

Although the 2019 Dodge Journey (a model that was discontinued this year) has an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Edmunds, issues with design, the engine, and a lack of space seem to have brought the car's score down.

Similar to reviewers' feedback on Edmunds, U.S. News and World Report noted that the seats were cramped together. "The Journey has cumbersome handling, and the base engine is noisy and underpowered," the site's reviewer wrote. "The interior looks and feels outdated, cargo space is below average, and almost no driver assistance features are available." And if a car feels cramped and outdated when it's new, that's not a good sign for buying one used.

RELATED: This Popular Car Is Being Discontinued.

2019 Fiat 500L

a white Fiat 500L car
Jarretera / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 6.1

U.S. News and World Report explained in its findings that the 2019 Fiat 500L wasn't a very popular vehicle when it first went on the market, and it doesn't sound like that reputation has improved. This compact minivan also had a weak acceleration and an unimpressive interior. On Edmunds, a reviewer who gave the car an overall rating of 5.8 out of 10 noted that it's also uncomfortable to drive and has issues that seem to pop up later, which makes it even less appealing to buy used.

"The seats are hard, the ride is rough, and road and wind noise is palpable," the driver wrote. "These offenses don't manifest until you drive around for a little while, but the cheap interior plastics are immediately apparent upon entering the cabin. The low-rent materials felt underwhelming when the 500L debuted in 2014, and look even worse now as newer rivals raise the bar."

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2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

a 2018 Mercedes Benz G Class in front of a building
Max Anuchkin / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 5.9

With a score of 5.9, U.S. News and World Report gave the 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class some brownie points for how great it is for off-road driving. However, the site notes that it can be difficult to maintain, a big downside when it comes to a used car.

"Uncomfortable for everyone except the driver," a reviewer wrote on Edmunds, where it has a 3 out of 5-star overall rating. "The door latches break on a regular basis, the distinctive pop sound they make when opening and closing is cool but that's about it. I've been trapped or unable to open the doors or trunk at least three times. The bracket that fastens the side exhausts to the chassis fell off for no apparent reason."

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

a white Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross car
Mariaprovector / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 5.8

The 2019 Eclipse Cross is the fourth Mitsubishi out of five on the bottom of U.S. News and World Report's used car ranking. While the outlet gave this car props for its exterior and safety features, multiple reviewers on Edmunds have pointed out that it's a rough car to ride in and its cargo space leaves something to be desired.

"Unfortunately, it's hampered by a deeply subpar suspension that hurts ride quality and handling, making the small crossover a chore on anything but smooth, straight pavement," one driver wrote. "It's also not the most practical option if you need an SUV to carry lots of stuff."

RELATED: If You Notice This While Driving, Get Out of the Car Immediately.

2019 Alfa Romeo 4C

a 2019 red Alfa Romeo 4C
MM Mukhin / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 5.7

The 2019 Alfa Romeo 4C may look like a beautiful sports car, but according to U.S. News and World Report, it is not a fun vehicle to drive. Its score of 5.7, the third-lowest score in the report, comes from the fact that the car flinches too much when going over a bump, and also gets noisy when you put the pedal to the metal. A reviewer on Edmunds also agreed, noting that the car isn't very smooth or relaxing to drive.

"The 4C is a very loud car," they wrote. "The level of engine and wind noise is the biggest problem, followed by road noise, pebbles, rocks, and other debris bouncing off the bottom of the carbon-fiber tub and wheel wells. Forget conversation and consider earplugs for longer drives. Engine and road vibrations are ever-present." In short, if you see this one up for sale, you may want to reconsider.

2016 Jeep Patriot

A black Jeep Patriot car driving off road
mariakray / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 5.3

The 2016 Jeep Patriot has a whole host of issues that led to it tying for the second-lowest score from U.S. News and World Report, with a 5.3. The outlet noted that this box-shaped SUV has a poorly designed interior, a weak engine, and bad ride quality. The model was also discontinued in 2017, which isn't a huge shock when you read the negative reviews on Edmunds that are likely to steer any used car buyer in another direction.

"In terms of power, it's non-existent," one driver wrote. "Don't try passing anyone on the highway. Pedal to the floor and it doesn't go anywhere but you'll lose a quarter tank of gas on the attempt. Handling is good and visibility but very basic interior. Road noise is loud and the engine sounds like a lawn mower. As you can tell, I hate the vehicle and I've owned many but just saving you from making the same mistake I've made."

Another driver on Edmunds said that this car caused them nothing but trouble. "I have been locked both in and out of my car with the door locks not working. Have been stranded on the side of the road for half-hour increments where my car will not work. And this is after it drops from 60-75 miles to hour to 40 miles per hour without warning," they wrote. "I have had my brakes not work when I have used them, almost causing accidents both times."

2019 Mitsubishi Mirage

A black Mitsubishi Mirage on the road
nitinut380 / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 5.3

As the final Mitsubishi on this list, the 2019 Mirage is a very difficult car to drive on a daily basis, according to U.S. News and World Report. Like the 2016 Jeep Patriot, it received an overall score of 5.3, due to how it shakes when driving over pavement and its lackluster interior and loud engine. A reviewer on Edmunds also gave this car a low overall ranking of 5.9 out 10, emphasizing how much sound it makes.

"The Mirage is a very noisy thing," they wrote. "The engine sounds like a cement mixer, and wind noise is excessive. At idle, the car vibrates like it's misfiring. Once underway, wind noise becomes noticeable at moderate speeds and is loud enough at highway speeds to drown out the beleaguered little engine."

2016 Jeep Compass

an orange Jeep Compass car driving
Jan Klimen / Shutterstock

U.S. News and World Report Overall Score (out of 10): 4.9

According to U.S. News and World Report, the 2016 Jeep Compass has a plethora of problems that make it one of the worst cars to buy used, from its cheap interior, to tech features that are difficult to understand, to its weak engine. It's gotten a lot of criticism on Edmunds as well, with a 2.8 out of 5-star overall rating. Many drivers were disappointed by the car, citing its lack of power, comfort, and poor gas mileage, all qualities that make it even less attractive as a used car.

"This vehicle is ridiculously underpowered and poor on gas," one reviewer wrote. "The seats are not comfortable at all. No lumbar support and headrest is way too far back from your head. On normal highway driving, the engine revs past 6000 rpm to try to keep up with 65 mph traffic."

Another driver expressed their regret over buying the 2016 Jeep Compass in the first place. "These Jeeps are straight trash," they wrote. "Nothing but problems nonstop, now I have an ABS light on, and my traction control light is on. It burns oil, and when you turn it off, all you can smell is gas. There are no recalls."

They also said the car "leaks water into the driver's front floorboard." "The leak is coming from the light next to the rear view mirror, which is leaking into the shifter and making my feet wet when it gets into the floor," they said, calling the issue "so unsafe."

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