10 cheap and stylish cars that will ruin you with repairs and maintenance bills

Getting a stylish car that offers decent economy and impressive performance at a great price is the dream of many budget-conscious buyers. However, sometimes looks can be deceiving and a bargain isn’t really a bargain. When a used car the deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is.


Some vehicles are offered at a very affordable price, but they will spend more time at your mechanic than on the road. We used data provided by the Car Buyer Advocacy site, CarEdge.com to compile this list of stylish but shoddy cars that will bankrupt you just after a few years of ownership.

Related: Here’s How to Save Money on Car Maintenance and Repairs

10/10 Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler comes to life off-roading, so it’s no surprise that off-road enthusiasts are seeing their budget drift towards it. However, it is far from perfect. The Wrangler will shell out around $10,397 for maintenance and repairs during the first decade on the road, per CarEdge. That means the Jeep Wrangler costs over $1,264 more than the average SUV.

The automotive research platform says there’s a 31.13% chance a Wrangler will need major maintenance in its first 10 years. Wrangler customers often complain of clogged fuel injectors, engine exhaust leaks, water leaks in the cabin, and a malfunctioning ignition switch.

9/10 Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevrolet Equinox lets you show off your sporty side without breaking the bank, as a base 2022 model costs just $25,800. But Chevrolet isn’t promising a trouble-free experience, as the Equinox is plagued with issues ranging from excessive oil consumption and leaks to engine failure.

CarEdge estimates the Chevrolet Equinox will cost around $291 for repairs and maintenance in the first year of ownership, but by the end of the decade, you might have spent around $8,616. This figure exceeds the industry average SUV repair cost by more than half a thousand dollars.

8/10 Dodge the trip

The Dodge Journey is one of the least expensive three-row SUVs on the market, so it naturally appeals to price-conscious buyers who prioritize practicality. But keep in mind that it comes with a bland engine, uneven handling and a lack of driver-assist tech.

It’s not uncommon for Dodge Journey owners to complain of overheating engines, a stiff and erratic transmission, interior water leaks and prematurely worn brakes. Keeping the Dodge Journey on the road for 10 years costs you around $10,031, and it depreciates over 40% after five years.

Related: Here’s How the 2022 Dodge Journey Compares to the Competition

7/10 Ford Escape

There’s no denying that the Ford Escape is a versatile and sporty SUV that delivers a lot of fun. However, you can’t ignore the abrupt shifts in the transmission and its lackluster handling. Owners spend most of their money fixing engine, transmission and brake issues.

CarEdge estimates the Escape to cost owners about $8,721 for maintenance and repairs over 10 years. After spending so much on maintenance, the Ford Escape still loses over 54% of its value after five years.

6/10 Jeep Cherokee

Without a redesign since 2014, the Jeep Cherokee isn’t the sleekest SUV on the market, but it doesn’t look dated either. The sluggish acceleration and less cargo capacity compared to other small crossovers raises red flags for performance- and practicality-conscious buyers.

A decade-long maintenance and repair cost for the Cherokee is quite high at $10,244. In fact, that figure is $1,111 higher than the industry average cost for SUVs. Cherokee owners have to deal with engine stalls, faulty tailgates and transmission-related issues.

5/10 dodge challenger

The iconic Dodge Challenger isn’t lacking in style or performance, but some would say it’s heavy with cumbersome handling and rear visibility isn’t exactly the best. Keeping the Challenger on the road for the first year of ownership only costs you about $313, but in 10 years you’ll be spending about $8,436.

Although the gorgeous muscle car promises character and speed, it usually suffers from electrical issues resulting from the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM). In addition, the Dodge Challenger is not immune to engine failure and a sudden transmission change.

Related: These Are The Dodge Challenger Model Years You Should Avoid Buying Used

4/10 Ford Ecosport

The Ford Ecosport’s sporty looks and feel appeal to many customers, but the sluggish three-cylinder engine is an annoyance. The Ecosport offers below-average fuel economy and a responsive ride on most surfaces.

ABS errors, transmission problems, oil pump failure, poor outward visibility and blind spots are some of the worst problems plaguing the Ecosport. At the end of the first year, routine service costs should be approximately $283. However, in 10 years you would have spent around $8,660 to keep the Ecosport in shape.

3/10 Buick Envision

Embracing European-style elegance, the American-made Buick Envision looks great, to say the least. But it falls short of luxury expectations and offers below-average cargo capacity. If you’re not ready to part with about $8,521 for maintenance and repairs for 10 years, you might want to consider another SUV.

The interior materials, steering, fuel system and transmission are the Buick Envision parts that break the most. Owners of the 2016-2017 Buick Envision raise the most complaints, so maintenance costs must be costing them.

2/10 Chevrolet Trax

Although the Chevy Trax has remained substantially unchanged since its introduction in 2015, it doesn’t look outdated. But when you consider the jerky ride quality on the highway, disappointing acceleration, subpar fuel economy, and high repair costs, you might be better off with the Chevy Trailblazer.

Trax maintenance costs cost you $280 in the first year, by the end of a decade you might have saved around $8,512. Much of this money is usually spent on repairing the transmission, engine, power steering, electronics, and wheels.

1/10 Kia Rio 5 doors

The Kia Rio 5-door is an affordable car for city trips. It’s clean and sleek but offers below-average cargo space. Additionally, owners can often experience engine misfires, noisy power steering, fuel leaks, as well as malfunctioning lights and brakes.

For a car that costs less than $20,000, the Kia Rio 5-Door is very expensive to keep on the road for a long time. The first-year service cost is around $481, and if you’re going to keep it for up to 10 years, be prepared to spend around $8,432. CarEdge points out that the Kia Rio 5-Door’s 10-year maintenance costs exceed the hatchback average of $1,668.

About Dwight E. McCray

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