Consumer Reports' annual auto report doesn't just recommend the best new cars to buy, based on its data. It also tells you the new cars it thinks you should avoid - no matter the deal or the bit of styling that appeals to you.

And it's perhaps a more interesting list than the menu of good cars. At least it can be a good place to start an argument.

Here are the cars to avoid, by category, with some of CR's comments on why they rejected them:

Subcompact cars

  • Smart ForTwo (tiny, two-passenger cabin, a herky-jerky transmission, an under-powered engine ... a dumb choice)
  • Scion iQ (rear seat is awful, the cabin is loud, acceleration is molasses-like)
  • Chevrolet Spark (ride is stiff, the dinky 1.2-liter engine is slow, and handling is lackluster)

Compact cars

  • Scion tC (lack of driving enjoyment, hard ride)
  • Mitsubishi Lancer (under-powered engine, noisy interior)
  • Dodge Dart (unrefined ... more expensive than most competitors)

Midsize sedans

  • Chrysler 200/Dodge Avenger (corporate cousins ... plenty of them on dealers' lots at a discount. Don't be tempted.)

Large sedans

  • Ford Taurus (ridiculously cramped for such a large car ... controls for its MyFord Touch infotainment system are complicated and distracting ... reliability has been sub-par)

Luxury sedans

  • Lexus IS (falls short - very short)
  • Lincoln MKS (doesn't cut it as a luxury sedan)
  • BMW 7-Series (a ponderous, technology-laden vehicle with ... ungainly handling)

Wagons & minivans

  • Honda Crosstour (ungainly handling ... unintuitive and complex touch-screen radio system)

Small SUVs

  • Jeep Compass (2.4-liter engine is rough and sluggish ... cabin is cramped, cheaply trimmed)
  • Jeep Patriot (compliant ride and mostly simple controls. But little else stands out.)
  • Jeep Cherokee with 2.4-liter engine (half-baked ... under-powered and not very fuel-efficient, and the nine-speed automatic transmission is unrefined and unresponsive)
  • Mitsubishi Outlander (handles clumsily, the ride is fairly stiff, and the interior feels cheap)

Midsize & large SUVs

  • Ford Edge (unrefined powertrain ... ride is jittery and road noise invades the cabin. And the MyFord Touch system is convoluted to use)
  • Nissan Armada (overall fuel economy of 13 mpg is abysmal, reliability is poor and ownership costs are the worst in the category)
  • Dodge Journey (below-average reliability ... lack of agility ... transmission is reluctant to downshift)

Luxury SUVs

  • Volvo XC90 (an old design that wasn't that competitive when new)
  • Lincoln MKX (handling is clumsy, the My Lincoln Touch control system is frustrating, and it has been unreliable)
  • Land Rover Range Rover Evoque (choppy ride, a noisy cabin, and disconcerting emergency handling)
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