6 American Cars To Stay Away From Buying

In this article, “6 American Cars To Stay Away From Buying,” we delve into the latest consumer insights and expert opinions to highlight which models you might want to avoid when shopping for a new ride. Whether it’s due to reliability issues, subpar performance, or a history of costly repairs, certain American cars just don’t make the cut. By staying informed, you can make better decisions and steer clear of potential automotive pitfalls. Let’s uncover the vehicles that have garnered a less-than-stellar reputation, helping you invest wisely in your next car purchase. Have you ever found yourself eyeing a shiny new car and wondering if it’s really the right choice? You’re not alone; car buying is a big decision, and getting it wrong can be a costly mistake. In this friendly guide, we’ll walk you through 6 American cars that you might want to think twice about before buying.

6 American Cars To Stay Away From Buying

1. Chevrolet Cruze

Common Issues

The Chevrolet Cruze has had its share of issues over the years. From engine stalling to transmission problems and electrical failures, the Cruze has a reputation that could make prospective buyers cautious.

Performance and Reliability

Despite being marketed as a highly reliable and efficient vehicle, many owners have reported varying levels of underperformance. It might seem like a good deal at first, but long-term reliability is a major concern with the Cruze.

2. Ford Focus

Transmission Troubles

The Ford Focus has had consistent issues with its PowerShift transmission. Many models from various years have been reported to have jerky shifts, unexpected acceleration, and even complete transmission failure.

Recalls and Repairs

Ford has issued multiple recalls for the Focus, particularly for transmission-related problems. While recalls are meant to address these issues, the recurring nature of the faults is alarming for potential buyers.

3. Jeep Cherokee

Engine and Electrical Issues

The Jeep Cherokee, especially models from 2014 to 2015, suffers from numerous engine issues. Owners have reported problems ranging from engine stalling to complete engine failure. Electrical issues, including software malfunctions and lighting problems, are also quite common.

Off-Road Capabilities vs. Day-to-Day Use

While renowned for its off-road capabilities, the Jeep Cherokee can fall short in everyday use. The fuel efficiency leaves something to be desired, and the maintenance can become a financial burden.

4. Chrysler 200

Transmission Failures

The Chrysler 200 has been heavily criticized for its problematic 9-speed automatic transmission. Owners have reported rough shifts, sudden acceleration issues, and complete transmission failures.

Depreciation Rate

Another key factor to consider is the depreciation rate. The Chrysler 200 loses its value rapidly compared to other cars in its class, making it a less financially sound purchase in the long run.

6 American Cars To Stay Away From Buying

5. Dodge Journey

Safety Concerns

The Dodge Journey scores poorly on various safety tests. Despite being marketed as a family-friendly SUV, its lower crash test ratings make it a less appealing choice for safety-conscious buyers.

Reliability Issues

Additionally, the Dodge Journey has seen numerous issues related to its braking system, suspension, and electrics. These recurring problems have led to a decline in consumer trust over the years.

6. Cadillac ATS

Engine and Transmission Problems

The Cadillac ATS, especially models from 2013-2014, has seen numerous complaints about its engine and transmission. Owners report frequent issues that require costly repairs, such as timing chain failure and transmission malfunctions.

High Maintenance Costs

Luxury cars like the Cadillac ATS often come with high maintenance costs. While you might enjoy the premium feel initially, the cost of upkeep can become a significant financial burden.

Alternatives to Consider

Opting for a Cadillac can seem luxurious, but if reliability and cost-efficiency are your priorities, there are plenty of other cars in the same class that might offer better long-term value.

6 American Cars To Stay Away From Buying

Important Factors Before You Buy


Always research before you make a buying decision. Websites like Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, and NHTSA provide valuable insights into vehicle reliability and safety ratings.

Test Drive

Never skip the test drive. It’s your best opportunity to get a feel for how the car handles and to spot any immediate issues.


If you’re buying used, always get a pre-purchase inspection from a trusted mechanic. This small step could save you from unexpected headaches down the line.

TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)

Consider not just the upfront cost of the car but also the TCO, including maintenance, repairs, insurance, and depreciation. Websites like Edmunds provide valuable information on TCO.

Consult Reviews and Forums

It’s helpful to consult user reviews and car forums to hear from current owners about their experiences. Sometimes, the issues highlighted in these spaces can be more telling than official reports.

Summary Table

To make it easier for you, here’s a quick reference table summarizing the key issues with each of the cars we’ve discussed:

Car Model Common Issues Additional Concerns
Chevrolet Cruze Engine, transmission, electrical failures Long-term reliability
Ford Focus Transmission troubles, jerky shifts Multiple recalls
Jeep Cherokee Engine stalling, electrical issues High maintenance costs
Chrysler 200 Transmission failures, rough shifts Rapid depreciation
Dodge Journey Poor safety ratings, braking system, suspension Overall reliability
Cadillac ATS Engine, transmission problems, high maintenance Cost of upkeep

6 American Cars To Stay Away From Buying

Final Thoughts

Buying a car is a significant investment, and it’s important to make an informed decision. While American cars have many fantastic models, some may not offer the reliability and performance you expect. By doing thorough research and staying cautious of the models listed above, you can steer clear of future headaches and enjoy a smoother driving experience.

Remember, the goal isn’t to discourage you from buying American cars altogether, but to help you make a decision that you’ll be happy with for years to come. Happy car hunting!