The average American driver spends close to an hour driving each day. In fact, Americans travel more than 220 miles per week, adding up to a whopping 11,498 miles behind the wheel each year! That's the equivalent of two round-trip drives from San Francisco to Washington D.C. Because of this, many Americans look for fuel efficient vehicles to serve as their "daily driver," or automobile they use to commute to and from work. (After all, a sports car really doesn't make the best commuter car.)
With that being said, not all compact cars are built the same. In fact, some cheap cars don't hold up for more than a few years, making them terrible choices when you're considering shopping the used car market. If you're looking for a new-to-you car this year, we highly recommend these 15 cheap daily drivers... because they'll definitely fall apart.
15 Chevrolet Spark: Starting Around $3,500
The Chevy Spark is an adorable, yet affordable, car to buy new. According to U.S. News & World Report though, not all cheap compact cars on the used market are worth your time. In fact, they say that “used Chevy Sparks have poor reliability ratings, which means that maintenance and upkeep may erode any potential savings.”
14 Ford Focus: Starting Around $4,000
Following back-to-back top selling years in the early 2010s, the oh-so-popular Ford Focus hit a wall for reliability ratings. In fact, many of the mid-2010 model year Focus cars dealt with transmission and other issues. Maybe that’s just one reason why Ford decided to discontinue this once popular sedan without warning?
13 Dodge Grand Caravan: Starting Around $3,900
Although their Stow ‘n Go seating and family-friendly features make the Dodge Grand Caravan a top choice among America’s soccer moms, the vehicle has low reliability and safety scores compared with some 3-row SUVs. What’s more, these vehicles quickly show their age once kids climb in and out of them for a few years.
12 Suzuki SX4: Starting Around $4,500
Here’s the deal: Suzuki isn’t around in the United States anymore. Which means, as Business Insider covered last year, the cheap cost is immediately negated by the astronomical repair costs. This is because parts are hard to find and repair shops are less willing to take on these cars now that they’re no longer available stateside. Just avoid them and move on, trust me.
11 Pontiac G6: Starting Around $2,900
Although the Pontiac G6 looks like it would deliver plenty of frills and comfortable passenger space, it contains some glaring issues. Namely, this car has some of the worst reliability ratings out there. Also, the interior is very low quality and the engine delivers almost no real power. Leave this one to that 2010 song and stay away.
10 Smart Fortwo: Starting Around $3,900
While we can’t ignore the Smart Fortwo’s size and fuel economy, we can definitely list all the reasons why you should never buy one. The car is impossible to drive on the interstate due to its lack of acceleration capabilities, not to mention it has a clunky transmission. Oh, and besides the lack of cargo space, this one also doesn’t come with any sort of sound system or air conditioning.
9 Hyundai Accent: Starting Around $5,000
Let’s be real: The Hyundai Accent is not impressing anyone on the city streets... or anywhere else for that matter. Besides the weak 1.6 liter engine, the car also lacks most features you would want in a car you spend hours in every week. Although you’ll save a lot on gas with this car, it’s really cramped.
8 Volkswagen Passat Wagon: Starting Around $3,500
The Volkswagen Passat Wagon isn’t at all swift-moving nor is it even mildly reliable. In fact, the four-cylinder engine lags a lot, and the standard six-speed automatic transmission downshifts roughly at best. If that’s not enough, then you should start looking at some of the repair costs for German autos in the United States — that will turn you off.
7 Chevrolet Aveo: Starting Around $3,700
The Chevy Aveo completely lacks acceleration, reliability, features, and safety ratings. In fact, many used Aveos battle issues with the timing belt that go well beyond normal wear and tear expectations. This is probably just one reason why Chevrolet discontinued this compact car and didn’t even try to replace it with something different.
6 Ford Fiesta: Starting Around $5,000
Although several recent Ford models lack reliability, the Fiesta is by far the worst of them all. In fact, the 2011 to 2014 model years had excessive issues with the transmission, body integrity, and audio system. This is just one of many issues Ford faced with reliability in the last decade.
5 Fiat 500: Starting Around $3,900
Fiat-Chrysler has had many recent issues with their cars. With 19 models listed on Consumer Reports’ poor reliability rating list, it’s really not a brand you want to mess with in the used market. The Fiat 500 is probably one of the worst ones on the list, especially the 2012 model year. That specific one proved to be a disaster in brakes, body finish, and suspension.
4 Chevrolet Cruze: Starting Around $5,000
The Chevy Cruze has been plagued with issues for years. Between problems with engine cooling, faulty transmissions, climate control issues, and general body integrity problems, the Cruze was doomed during much of the past decade. In fact, the Sonic scored far better than the Cruze during most of the last decade in terms of reliability.
3 Chrysler 200: Starting Around $5,400
While some may argue that the Chrysler 200 isn’t that bad of a car, we say that honestly it’s just all a painted pig. In fact, Consumer Reports listed the Chrysler 200 as one of the top cars people regret buying. Lots of road noise, lack of comfort… the list goes on and on.
2 Mitsubishi Mirage: Starting Around $5,700
The Mitsubishi Mirage isn’t the most desirable vehicle on the market, and it’s easy to see why. While it delivers great fuel efficiency, that comes at the expense of any power the engine might have contained. What’s more, the interior leaves a lot to be desired and it just doesn’t really do anything for anyone — especially when you can get so many better cars for the same price.
1 Scion iQ: Starting Around $6,000
Although the Scion iQ only came to the United States for a three-year stretch from 2012 to 2015, those years were enough to leave a sour taste in people’s mouths. Besides the very serious sizing issues, the iQ doesn’t hold its value and is one of the lowest-scoring cars in terms of safety ratings. In fact, this car almost drove Toyota into the ground.