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10 Cheap Compact Cars That Will Bankrupt You With Maintenance Bills And Repairs – HotCars

by Nov 6, 2022Blog0 comments

As manufacturers rush to meet the increasing demand in the compact car segment, some overlook the cars’ reliability.
Compact cars are your best bet if you want affordability, dependability, and fuel efficiency as opposed to full-sized sedans, sports cars, and SUVs. Compact cars in 2022 will provide many benefits for customers. It's like heaven for seekers of compact cars as there are many enticing options in the compacts and subcompacts category. Various choices are fun-to-drive, stylish, punchy, and practical hatchbacks. The Honda Civic Type R, the Volkswagen Golf R, and the Toyota Corolla Hatchback demonstrate that this segment is as promising as ever.
But as manufacturers rush to meet the increasing demand in the compact car segment, some overlook the cars' reliability. It might not be visible from the outside styling or interior comfort, but it's the last thing you want to ignore when owning a compact car. The following cars have a history of common problems requiring you to pay hefty bills for maintenance and repairs.
The smallest hatchback from Audi, the S3, is a direct competitor to BMW125i, Golf R, and the Mercedes-AMG CLA35. Enthusiasts love this little car for its 306-hp turbocharged four-cylinder that makes the car fun to drive. However, RepairPal reports its yearly maintenance costs to be high as the Audi luxury parts don't are by no means cheap.
Warrantywise rated this hot hatch with one of the worst reliability scores. Major expected issues include engine problems, electronics, fuel pump, and sensor failures.
The budget-friendliness and sporty appearance may be a huge selling point for the Ford Ecosport, but its wheezy three-cylinder engine quickly disappoints its customers. It has sub-par fuel economy and poor ride quality on most surfaces.
Issues such as oil pump failure, transmission problems, and ABS errors commonly plague the Ecosport. Estimated ownership costs for the Ecosport are above average due to high routine costs.
This car needs no introduction as it's one of the best-selling hot hatches. Surprisingly, Ford decided to end its production in favor of electric options.
Even though this car has been around for many generations, poor reliability in the most recent years has been its main letdown. A 2021 What Car reliability survey ranked the Ford Fiesta as the least reliable car in the small car category. Major issues in the "Powershift" dual-clutch transmission system call for expensive repairs. Other problems lie in the suspension, engine, and cooling systems.
Related: Here’s What Happens When A Ford Fiesta ST Gets A Substantial Power Boost
Since its introduction in 2015, the Chevy Trax has stayed the same without looking outdated. A better option for a compact SUV would be the Chevy Trailblazer since the Trax has underwhelming acceleration, choppy ride quality, high repair costs, and poor fuel economy.
A used Chevy Trax may be cheap, but repair costs seem to grow yearly. Expect to throw money at the problematic engine, transmission, electronics, power steering, and wheels.
It's no secret that the classifieds are full of cheap used BMWs. Some BMWs are excellent choices for project cars, but some manufacturers' products are a source of many headaches to the owners. If anything goes wrong, their repair and maintenance bills can be excessive.
The 330i G20 is arguably one of the weakest offerings from BMW. It faces problems such as a lack of structural integrity, fluid losses, and other engine issues that render it a money pit.
The Kia Rio is an affordable option for those looking for excellent city commuting vehicles. Although the design looks classy and clean, the cargo space is barely sufficient. The car suffers from engine misfires, fuel leaks, noisy power steering, and likely brake and headlight malfunctions.
The maintenance and repair costs are very expensive given its low starting price. According to CarEdge, this car exceeds the average 10-year maintenance cost of cars in its class by $1,668.
Related: 10 Things To Know Before Buying The 2022 Kia Rio
Chevrolet made the Cruze by rebadging cheap imported designs to make a cheap car for the masses. These cars may be cheap to buy and drive, but they are not cheap to maintain in the long run. The wonky build quality and questionable reliability are some of its major drawbacks.
Buyers of these cars only got disappointments due to the recurrent engine problems. The Cruze is prone to cracked pistons and failing water and coolant leaks.
Buyers of a Fiat 500 may think it's the perfect cheap compact car until the problems start piling up. It's not uncommon to buy a new radiator, ball arm joint, or clutch seal with only a few thousand miles on the odometer.
The stop-start function can fail, probing the "check engine" light to pop up. The fuel pump might also fail abruptly, leading to further headaches for the owner. A Honda Jazz would be a more refined choice than this little hunk of junk.
Due to a faulty electronic throttle body, this car is prone to misfires, poor acceleration, and poor fuel economy. The throttle body might accumulate dirt and debris that then affect its efficiency.
Related: This Is What Makes Chrysler Sebring One Of The Most Expensive Cars To Maintain
The Sebring also has many problems involving the wheel bearings. These wheel bearings wear out too fast, and moisture and debris might accumulate in the wheel bearing. The AC system is also faulty, with a poor condensation drain.
The Chevy Cavalier was a mainstream car in the crowded compact segment for 23 years before its replacement by the Cobalt in 2005. The Cobalt seemed to be an overdesigned, more refined compact car than customers were accustomed to.
Related: Here's Everything You've Forgotten About The Chevy Cobalt SS
Today, the Cobalt averages higher than industry standards for such a compact car. Repairpal highlights the engine to be problematic, alongside a faulty ignition and braking system. These repairs are not cheap, making this car a potential money pit.
K. N’njagi has been a writer in the auto industry since 2017 and keeps getting okay at it. A staff writer with a taste for high mileage, rusted-out projects, and amateur endurance racing.