Tag Archives: buying a car

lemon car 2

There are some lists everyone wants to be on, while other lists are not so popular. When a national-recognized consumer advocacy organization like Consumer Reports publishes results from a study they’ve conducted, the difference between one list and the other can definitely affect sales.

Recently, the group released its list of worst cars for 2016. The magazine chose the vehicles based on various criteria, including road-test score, projected reliability, owner satisfaction and safety. To maintain the integrity of its reports, the group purchases vehicles anonymously directly from dealerships. No special auto company perks are allowed.

Here are the ratings:

  • Lowest-rated subcompact: Mitsubishi Mirage. Cheap to buy and good gas mileage, but its “tiny, tinny” and the three-cylinder engine vibrates.
  • Lowest-rated compact: Fiat 500L. “More people than usual who own this car wish they didn’t”
  • Lowest-rated midsize sedan: Chrysler 200. “A mediocre car.”
  • Lowest-rated compact luxury car: Mercedes-Benz CLA250. “The ride is punishingly stiff.”
  • Lowest-rated midsize luxury car: Lincoln MKS. – “Outdated and outclassed.”
  • Lowest-rated family SUV: Dodge Journey. “This crossover is a poor value anywhere outside of an airport rental lot.”
  • Lowest-rated luxury compact SUV: Land Rover Discovery Sport. “Struggles in comparisons even with mass-market small SUVs.”
  • Lowest-rated large luxury SUV: Cadillac Escalade. “Falls down on the fundamentals as a luxury SUV.”
  • Lowest-rated minivan: Chrysler Town & Country. “It doesn’t even score high for interior room and fuel economy, two areas you’d think a family minivan would do well in.”
  • Lowest-rated green car: Mitsubishi i-MiEV. A “This half-step up from a golf cart is slow, clumsy and still riding.”

“Those models with low predicted reliability and mediocre, or worse, road test performance are simply those that we wouldn’t recommend to family and friends,” said Jeff Bartlett, deputy editor of cars for Consumer Reports. “And combining these ratings puts data behind that guidance.”

Hopefully, your new car is not among the “winners.”


The jaw dropping odometer on Rajah Sellathurai's 2001 Toyota Corolla - which required only regular servicing and new tires to achieve! (CNW Group/Toyota Canada Inc.)

When buying a car, one of the first things people do is check the odometer. After all, the mileage is one of the key factors in determining how much a vehicle is worth. Buyers know it and sellers know it. That’s largely why over 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with incorrect or faulty odometers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Even though sellers are required by law to include an odometer reading, and if the odometer is not correct, a statement to that effect must accompany the sale. However, vehicles ten years and older are exempt from the written disclosure requirements. The NHTSA has created s a list of tips to help car buyers determine if an odometer reading is correct.

  • Ask to see the title and compare the mileage on it with the vehicle’s odometer. Be sure to examine the title closely if the mileage notation seems obscured or is not easy to read.
  • Compare the mileage on the odometer with the mileage indicated on the vehicle’s maintenance or inspection records. Also, search for oil change and maintenance stickers on windows or door frames, in the glove box or under the hood.
  • Check that the numbers on the odometer gauge are aligned correctly. If they’re crooked, contain gaps or jiggle when you bang on the dash with your hand, walk away from the purchase.
  • Examine the tires. If the odometer on your car shows 20,000 or less, it should have the original tires.
  • Look at the wear and tear on the vehicle — especially the gas, brake and clutch pedals — to be sure it seems consistent with and appropriate for the number of miles displayed on the odometer.
  • Request a CARFAX Vehicle History Report to check for odometer discrepancies in the vehicle’s history. If the seller does not have a vehicle history report, use the car’s VIN to order a CARFAX vehicle history report online.

With digital odometers, it is more difficult to determine accuracy. A vehicle’s condition and a detailed history report are the best clues a buyer has. Just use a little common sense and remember “let the buyer beware” and you should be OK.