Five popular cars to avoid
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The five models here may be on a lot of buyers' shopping lists, but we suggest you steer clear. They didn't perform well in our testing or they suffer from subpar reliability. Either way, there are better choices.
For years, the Civic has been an iconic small car. But Honda took too many shortcuts in its latest redesign. The Civic is still one of the more reliable and fuel-efficient cars in its class. But the current model suffers from a choppy ride, noisy cabin, vague steering, and mediocre interior quality. The Subaru Impreza, Hyundai Elantra, and Mazda3 are better small cars with similar or better fuel economy.
You might be drawn to this SUV's rugged looks. But that style comes with an equally rugged and unrefined driving experience. The Liberty can tackle tough off-road terrain. But on pavement its ride is unsettled and handling is clumsy. The interior is cramped and cheap feeling. And the engine is noisy and thirsty, getting only 16 mpg overall. All of this has earned it one of the lowest road-test scores of any vehicle we've recently tested. You'll give up some off-road prowess, but the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester are much nicer SUVs overall, with notably better gas mileage.
Toyota Prius C
It's all the buzz: a less expensive