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by Tom McParland, 28 December 2018

It’s that time of year again, where I take a break from the prudent car buying advice to give you all a rundown of all the times I said “No. Just no.” Here’s all the cars I convinced people not to buy in 2018, including a few Jalopnik favorites.

For those of you just tuning in, I’m a professional car shopper. Folks hire me to find cars and negotiate deals on their behalf. All of the car buying advice columns and tips you see from me here on Jalopnik come directly from my experience working hundreds of new and used car deals over the course of the year.

Most of the folks I work with have a general idea of what they want and need a little guidance narrowing it down while others have a specific car in mind. Sometimes, I make a case that the car they picked may not be the best choice and they may want to be open to other options.

Here are the cars I convinced people not to buy in 2018.

Ford Focus RS

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I’ll get this one out of the way first since this website has been singing the praises of the Ford Focus RS since it came out. I’ve helped a lot of customers get behind the wheel of the 350 horsepower super-hot hatch, but I’ve also had a few of them come back and be like “This thing is fast, but it’s very loud, very rough, and not super comfortable as a daily driver.”

So I took that feedback and started warning folks that were in the market for a Focus RS that if this is a car that they plan on being in for long rides and or rough roads, it could get tiring very quickly.

While a lot of people heeded my advice and ended up with something like the more livable Volkswagen Golf R or something along the lines of a BMW 340i xDrive, a good friend of mine was looking to upgrade his Focus ST and was set on a Focus RS.

I warned him that the car was a bit extreme for his daily commute, but he caught the bug and picked up a nice white car with the RS2 package. About nine months later he admitted that the ride was getting rough on his back and it was time to step down, so he traded the RS in for a lightly used GTI.

The Focus RS is an incredible performance machine, but a hardcore one. If you’re willing to live with that, more power to you (perhaps literally.) If it’s too much, there are other options that better balance livability and fun.

Dodge Durango SRT

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What is not to love about the Dodge Durango SRT? The MOPAR maniacs took a three-row crossover and shoved a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 under the hood. I was working with a very cool woman from Texas who loved fast cars but wanted something comfortable for the taller folks in her life. She came to me with the Durango SRT in her sights.

After looking at the price points I told her that if she was going to drop $65,000 to $70,000 on a monster SUV she might want something that actually could handle and didn’t have the same interior as a $35,000 rental car.

I suggested the usual Mercedes GLE 63 AMG and BMW X5 M options but when I found a local Porsche Cayenne Turbo for her to try out, she caught the bug. The local car didn’t have the color combo she liked but she ended up with a nice example from a Chicago Porsche dealer and had it shipped down to Texas.

I give Dodge a lot of credit for making a mean family hauler, but the Durango SRT would be a better buy after it has suffered some depreciation.

Certified Pre-Owned Luxury Crossovers

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I’ve actually lost count how many clients I had this year looking for a lightly used luxury crossover. That’s not really surprising as we are in the midst of crossover madness and the sedan market is rapidly shrinking.

For many buyers the $35,000 price point is the sweet spot, and they have been told that they can get a great value by picking up a two or three-year-old European luxury car since it has already taken a depreciation hit and therefore get a “nicer” car than a brand new Honda, Toyota, or another mainstream brand.

The problem is that these buyers wanted a used luxury car but they also wanted the latest technology features like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and advanced safety tech such as collision mitigation, auto-braking, and blind spot monitoring, but those features either weren’t available on the lightly used luxury cars or they were only available on certain high-end trims that are hard to find.

So I would tell them they were better off buying a new “mainstream” car that was fairly fully loaded instead of a used luxury brand. And the one that these buyers gravitated to the most was the Mazda CX-5. While Mazda isn’t a luxury brand, per se, they are starting to punch above their class in an “upmarket” way. Now that the 2019 CX-5 comes with even more luxury features and a turbocharged engine, bet Mazda will be stealing even more used luxury buyers next year.

While a used luxury model might give you more “car for your money” it’s not a value if those cars don’t have the features you want.

Buick Regal TourX

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Finally, General Motors gave us a nice wagon that didn’t cost a fortune. Of course, General Motors did what it normally does with odd cars and bungle the whole thing up.

When the TourX first came out I tried to put in on the radar of anyone I knew looking for a nice wagon. Some people even took one for a spin and found it to be pretty nice. But a bad combination of lousy dealer experiences and non-competitive pricing killed deal after deal. It eventually got to the point where in the rare case when someone did ask about it, I would say they weren’t really worth it and I told them they’d be better off with a Subaru Outback, VW Golf Alltrack or perhaps a BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon.

After months and months of ignoring the TourX, Buick finally decided to throw some deals at them to make it a worthwhile purchase. Our rad man Bradley Brownell just bought one so keep an eye out for that story. Unfortunately, I think it may be a case of too little, too late for the TourX and it’s likely to go down in history as another failed GM product.

What it really comes down to is that sometimes good cars have bad deals, or bad dealers. And other times a cool car might not be a good match for a certain buyer. When you are shopping for your next car, keep an open mind and try out several models and it pays to shop around.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said the Durango SRT has a supercharged V8. It is naturally aspirated. We regret the error.

https://jalopnik.com/all-the-cars-i-convinced-people-not-to-buy-in-2018-1831351680
 

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People are wimps about cars these days! The RS too rough? Lol... Try commuting in a S2000 or on a naked motorcycle.

I was never keen on it, but it's annoying that GM will probably use the TourX as an example of why they think it's a bad idea to make wagons in the future... Nevermind that their marketing for it stunk, they'll say the only reason it wasn't a success is because it was a wagon.
 

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FOMOCO has 3 hierarchy's (levels) of performance cars, with each level being more track focused and less road worthy as far as comfort is concerned:

Focus/Fiesta ST, Mustang GT as level 1
Focus RS & Mustang 350/350R as level 2
Ford GT as level 3

Anyone looking for creature comforts, luxury, fuel mileage, or general "streetabiltiy" & "livability" should have avoided purchasing any Ford product above performance level 1. If you don't consider yourself hardcore then do not buy it! End of rant...……….
 

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Ford really shot themselves in the foot. Imagine if they had released the RS with the revised dampers the 2018s had ended up with.

Also, how is a GTI the logical next step when the RS is too rough? At least go for a Golf R, man!
 

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Just drove 1300 miles with my lady and my 6 year old in my '18. I just fall more and more in love with this car. Seats are supportive and my body isn't sore after a long day like it is in other cars.

Sent from my LGMS330 using Tapatalk
 

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I will agree with two points made in this article: newer used luxury CUV/SUV market is rough. Recently tried getting in to Volvo XC90, the market is dead set on keeping the prices only a few grand under new invoice and dealers won't budge.

If the RS had dialed the sport setting down a bit, the reviews (both from journalists and owners) would be singing non-stop praises and the HG FSA would be a footnote. Nonetheless, for the price, you simply can't get anything that rivals the RS in all categories.
 

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Rubbish article. The RS is placid compared to old school cars.
Happy New Year
 

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RS and crossovers in the same article. Someone should hand this guy some alcohol and wash the mouf out.

If the RS was made to be super comfortable and “soft” people would complain it’s not hardcore enough. They ***** no matter what. So I’m glad one mfr. had the balls to make a hardcore awd turbo hatch because not Subaru, nor anyone else can be bothered to do it. The RS is hardcore, and I’m just a hardcore guy. Go hard or go the F home. Oh it’s too hardcore, maybe buy yourself a pillow cupcake or stick to a CUV. The world has gone soft. The movement is real. :D
 

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Above ~40mph this car is actually pretty comfortable. It just crushes your spine if you're on some rougher roads below this speed. Like a proper hot hatch.

The Magnaride suspension is a $1600 option on the new Mustang. Would I have paid that or closer to $2000 for the opportunity? Absolutely. This car would have been about perfect for me with that option. But then there would be two tiers of RS out there.

I'm seriously considering the Tractive + DSC option in about 18 months, but that's $5k. I've weighed the other coilover options but don't want a drop in ride height...
 

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Shame about the TourX. I saw one on the road last week and man was it a good looking wagon.
 

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Wants to buy sports car, drives it for x months, sells it because it is too much of a sports car.
He should drive my car in track mode on the autobahn. It feels like we are on a pogo stick and our teeth are falling out.
 

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FOMOCO has 3 hierarchy's (levels) of performance cars, with each level being more track focused and less road worthy as far as comfort is concerned:

Focus/Fiesta ST, Mustang GT as level 1
Focus RS & Mustang 350/350R as level 2
Ford GT as level 3

Anyone looking for creature comforts, luxury, fuel mileage, or general "streetabiltiy" & "livability" should have avoided purchasing any Ford product above performance level 1. If you don't consider yourself hardcore then do not buy it! End of rant...……….
Have you driven a GT350? It has awesome ride quality that I would love the RS to have. Seriously nice over bad city roads.

Coilovers fixed the issue for me and the car does not feel any less sporty.

If the stock setup is liveable for you guys, more power to you. The bad streets here kept me from enjoying the car.
 

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My RS is a plush ride compared to my lifted F-350 - not that it rides rough, mind you - and my Harley can be a bit uncomfortable after awhile but none of them are complaint worthy.
 

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Have you driven a GT350? It has awesome ride quality that I would love the RS to have.
And the Voodoo engines are burning oil so much that if you are topping the oil off regularly you probably will never have to do an oil change.

I actually was on the fence between the Shelby and the RS. I was going to buy the Shelby but remember my last RWD cars and how awful they were to drive in the rain, snow, and the cold. Fair weather cars. RS is fast in any condition. Magnaride would have been awesome, but it would have jacked up the price even more and people would have avoided the RS due to expense. Easier to put it on a car with a higher MSRP.
 

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Didn't know buick made a wagon...

If the RS is too harsh for you, go buy a VW R, or a crossover.

I do agree with the used luxury crossover comment though. The features we have on our 17 Rav4 are far superior than those available on a 14-15 Q5/X3. However, that Q5 or X3 is going to have a lot more punch than the 168hp Rav4
 

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I don’t see how you guys can rip on Ford all day long about the popping head gaskets and dissolving undertrays, but you can’t seem to admit that Ford tuned the suspension wrong.

I still have the stock suspension, I daily drive mine, and it hurts my enjoyment a little bit. It also makes it trickier to drive fast because the combination of super sharp steering (a “hardcore” feature that I love) with a pogo body means I have to expend effort holding the wheel straight.

Do I wish Ford had given us magnaride or a 3-mode damper or even a better tuned 2-mode damper? Yes.
Do I wish I had bought a CTR or Golf R (both of which have a truly comfortable comfort mode and a better damped track mode)? Hello no.

Guys, it doesn’t make you any less of a badass hardcore dude to admit that Ford screwed the pooch on our suspension.
 
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