Consumer Alert: Popular cars you shouldn’t buy and better alternatives

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Memorial Day sales draw lots of new car buyers.  And Monday I showed you the best cars currently on sale.  Now I have a really surprising list – popular cars that Consumer Reports says you shouldn’t buy.  These cars are so popular, the manufacturers sell hundreds of thousands each year.  But according to Consumer Reports, they get really crummy scores.  So the non-profit came up with a list of alternatives in the same price range that rate higher. Consumer Reports looks at road test performance, owner satisfaction. reliability and safety.

A popular small car you should avoid:  2023 Nissan Sentra.

  • Price range: $20,050 – $22,940
  • Rating: 48

Consumer Reports says it performs well, is roomy and has good fuel economy. But it’s unreliable, so much so it gets a score of only 48 out of 100.

A popular small car better alternative: 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid.

  • Price range: $21,700 – $27,425
  • Rating: 82

I scoured all the Consumer Reports’ ratings, and the highest it gives any car is a 92, so a score of 82 is a strong rating.  It earns it for its fuel economy, comfort and safety systems like automatic emergency braking.           

A popular small SUV you should avoid: 2023 Ford Escape

  • Price:  $28,000 – $40,500
  • Rating: 59

Consumer Reports says the vehicle is unreliable.

A popular small SUV better alternative: 2023 Subaru Forrester

  • Price:   $26,395 – $36,795
  • Rating: 87

Consumer Reports says it has a roomy interior, is fuel efficient and comes standard with automatic emergency braking systems.

A popular midsized SUV you should avoid: 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee It’s one of Jeep’s best sellers with more than 223,000 sold in just the U.S. last year. But Consumer Reports says you should look elsewhere.

  • Price:  $39,535 – $72,595       
  • Rating: 55..

Consumer Reports says while it’s nicer than previous models, it’s unreliable.

A popular midsized SUV better alternative: 2023 Subaru Outback.

  • Price:  $28,395 – $42,295
  • Rating: 80

It’s less expensive than the Jeep Cherokee and gets a high rating because of its comfort and safety features.

Remember, if you’re hoping to take advantage of Memorial Day sales, May 31st is the last day for many of them.  If you don’t absolutely need another car right now, experts say there are six days of the year when you’re likely to get the best price for a new car.  That’s December 26 -31 as dealers work to get rid of that year’s inventory.