Consumer Reports’ road testing is one of the most rigorous and punishing automotive tests in the world. Its in-depth and fair minded methods separate the serious contenders from the also-rans, and gives a straightforward view of a car’s real-world performance. Along these lines, the magazine has the unique position of being able to make or break a new car in a way that no other publication has. Another thing to note of their report card-like rating system, everything from the quality of interior trim to a car’s handling in emergency situations can be summed up in their five-point rating system ranging from excellent to poor.
On certain occasions, cars fall below even the lowest rating, earning a harsh and alarming “Not Acceptable” rating. And from data for the last decade, that’s when all hell breaks loose. During the 1980s and 1990s, automakers has been rushing the release of SUVs to the market to serve the growing demand. Consumer Reports ended up having its hands full warning consumers about the increased risk of rollovers, and fending off lawsuits from irate automakers who felt the magazine’s tests were unfairly biased against SUVs.
But CR issued its fair share of “Not Acceptable” ratings long before the SUV dominated American roads, and history has largely relieved the magazine, as it’s now conventional wisdom that older full-size SUVS are a bigger rollover risk than their smaller counterparts. From microcars to big SUVs, here is a list of 25 cars that Consumer Reports wants you to avoid.
The Smart ForTwo didn’t bode well in America as Mercedes-Benz had hoped it would be. Its 38 miles per gallon rating may have been something to boast about when it was introduced in Europe in 1998, but after 19 years, it’s middle of the pack for economy cars. Along with polarizing styling, an old interior, limited space, and a transmission with a name for being one of the worst in the world, it’s not hard to see why the little Smart didn’t get that much love.
Consumer Reports says: “This tiny two-seater is good on gas and a snap to park. After that, the positives pretty much run out.” An all-new ForTwo arrived in 2016, and it’s a lot better in every corners. Although we still have to see if that’s enough to make American buyers forget about the car’s disappointing first production.