30 Cars That Never Should Have Been Built
The automobile industry is a testament to the history of industrial prowess. It’s full of innovation, brilliance, and the occasional gem that still makes its rounds through today’s collector’s auctions. But it’s also full of failure. And this failure acts as a perspicacious source of entertainment for future generations and those of the past to point, stare, and gawk. So sit back, relax, and take a gander at some of the worst cars in automotive history.
1955 Dodge La Femme
This beast of a tragedy was breathed into existence in the 1950s. Its purpose? To give women an alternative to cars that apparently were only constructed for men. This is a manufacturing trend I didn’t realize was in existence. The car came in pink and white, just the right color for your female counterpart.
The car was essentially just the same as the Dodge Royal Lancer (which was equally terrible). It also had sick pink seats, which I would want for my vehicle. Unfortunately, the pink and white womens-mobile didn’t sell too hot. The car only floated on the market for around two years.
1982 Cadillac Cimarron
1982 was a good year for most things. “Thriller” was number one in the charts, “Smurf Rescue” was released on ColecoVision—all good things. One of the notable failures of this year, however, was the 1982 Cadillac Cimarron. This train wreck of a car hit the market with a lackluster flare, and the sales showed it.
Ultimately, this car was just a remodeled Chevrolet Cavalier with a slightly refurbished coating. The folly of this car sunk so deep that it almost put the Cadillac name into insurmountable disrepair. Fortunately for Cadillac, the name did eventually bounce back. It just took—as is the case with most wounds—a long time to recover.
1974 Mustang II
The second iteration of the Mustang was much like the sequel to many famed movies—“Jaws: The Revenge,” “Highlander 2: The Quickening,” “Dumb and Dumber To” … It was only the car equivalent. In essence, the car was a redesigned Pinto. Also, uncharacteristically of Mustang, the car had very little power for a vehicle of its type.
Apparently, this is because it was developed in the thick of an oil embargo. The Mustang II also had a gas tank mysteriously manufactured in the back of the car. This inexplicable design flaw led many of the cars to burst into flames when rear-ended. Considering that there are 1.7 million rear-end collisions a year, this is a problem.
2003 Saturn Ion
This car was bad on every note, from its interior to its exterior. A big fan of plastic, the inside was a “Toy Story” playground. It was also uncomfortable—probably because of the plastic. The exterior also had a thick and unbearable plastic coating. Why? Saturn’s infamous dent-resistant door technology, of course (dent resistance not guaranteed).
Anyway, Saturn learned from this mistake, manufacturing new models that would greatly exceed the Ion in sales. Unfortunately, its redemption was not enough to save the brand from getting axed by its parent company, General Motors, in the wake of the Great Recession. These quirky Saturns still hold some nostalgia factor amongst the commuters that owned them.
1958 Edsel Corsair
The Edsel was a disaster for many reasons. First off, that grill. Secondly, it was hated by essentially everyone who bought it. Ford apparently spent around $300 million building this monstrosity, and boy did it not pay off. I’d feel bad for the company, but hey, they did it to themselves.
One particularly abominable feature of this car was the push-buttons on the steering wheel. While these are in use today, these early iterations of the technology were perilous. Many people, for instance, would accidentally change gears when they meant to change the radio station or honk the horn. Not exactly the safest feature.
1981 DeLorean DMC-12
The DeLorean, despite its “Back to the Future” fame, was a total flop in the market. This can probably be said of most cars that were modeled after spaceships. While its inventor, John Z. DeLorean, was well-known for his building of the Pontiac GTO, this didn’t help him much with the construction of this bad boy.
Perhaps it was the plague of the so-called “yes-men” guiding Mr. DeLorean down insalubrious design paths. Or maybe it was just a brief stint of unfruitful brainstorming. Either way, the car was bad. If there was an electrical issue, you’d be trapped inside the car. It also tended to leak when wet and took about 20 minutes to get to 88 mph.
1957 Trabant P50
The Trabant was one of those cars that should have never been built. It was drawn out and manufactured in East Germany during a time in which most workers were thoroughly impoverished. The body of the vehicle was built with Duroplast, a material that is neither durable nor completely plastic.
The mix comes from a base of wood and copper fiber mixed with resin to make it all plastic-y. Apparently, the car was so poorly manufactured that its side paneling could fall off at freeway speeds. But, thankfully, because the engine had a staggeringly meek 18 horsepower, the car would rarely reach such speeds. What’s even funnier is that the waitlist for this car was around 10 years long.
2001 Pontiac Aztec
The Pontiac Aztec, despite its purpose for all-terrain fun, was anything but rugged. It’s been suggested, for instance, that its only claim to fame is that it killed the Pontiac brand. But the Aztec had a hilarious introduction to the market as a prize for the winning contestant on the first ever season of “Survivor.” As a performance vehicle, it was the perfect storm of poor reliability and impracticality.
If Pontiac was trying to hurt their brand identity with this car, it at least achieved that—and with surprising acumen. If this crossover had one redeeming feature, it was that it was the iconic daily driver in “Breaking Bad,” the popular TV show about a meth-peddling drug dealer. Most wouldn’t necessarily say that this feature was a positive thing.
1971 Chevrolet Vega
In addition to the failure of Saturn and Pontiac, General Motors can be blamed for much, much more. Another famous blunder of Chevrolet was the 1971 Chevy Vega. Apparently, the engine of this car was so defunct that it couldn’t even hold oil. This meant that after around 100 miles, the car would lose all ability to lubricate its tumblers and pistons. As any car buff knows, this is bad news.
The bumper on this car, for instance, was somehow so tragic that it wouldn’t last more than one icy winter. The moisture led the bumper to accrue rust at a faster rate than Barry Gibb walks out of interviews. The engine would also heat to such a temperature that it would break down the head gasket. This is bad news.
1987 Yugo GV
“Everybody needs a Yugo sometime” was the slogan. And that slogan was a bitter lie. Nobody needed a Yugo. Ever. The car was so terrible, the name should have been changed to YuGone, am I right? Anyway, it wasn’t long before the car ceased to be manufactured in the face of abysmal sales.
Among the litany of errors that plagued this car was the fact that it was assembled on the cheap and rarely worked. It was also small. But hey, some people like small things. The famous ad features an array of people cheering behind the car who are presumably proud because they just pushed the broken car from one district to another.
1971 Ford Pinto
The Ford Pinto, other than having a terrible name, had a terrible reputation. It did, however, deserve this horrible reputation. Like its Ford counterpart, the Mustang II, this model had its gas tank manufactured on the back of the car. And oh man did that not pan out well for the people caught in accidents with this car.
After many rear-end collisions, then, it would burst into flames. And a blazing hunk of metal with you inside is not exactly what we’d call a winning automobile. And if it is, you probably need to reevaluate your understanding of the word “radical.”
2002 PT Cruiser Convertible
The PT Cruiser—sometimes more commonly known as the PT Loser—was an abomination if I’ve ever seen one. While sporting mediocre performance ratings, the problem wasn’t necessarily with the car’s anemic stats. Instead, it was the plight it imposed on all of our eyes.
If there was ever any vehicle to induce early onset glaucoma, this was it. Chrysler was shooting for hot rod design language, but I myself have felt the strong impulse to drive myself off a cliff rather than look into the other lane at the eyesore driving by. The impulse was strong, and I was lucky to have suppressed it. Others surely haven’t been so fortunate.
1973 Reliant Robin
This horrible car—the Reliant Robin—was so terrible that it only had three tires. While it might have saved you a few bucks when changing said tires, it didn’t save you in nearly every other aspect of the driving world. One thing that having three tires (one in the front, two in the back) will do to your vehicle—other than make it unbearable to look at—is make it extremely unstable.
When making a turn at a speed over 15 miles per hour, for instance, you will likely flip the car over and roll to your untimely demise. This is an undesirable outcome for all but drivers who want to go everywhere at golf cart speeds. The Reliant Robin, then, was anything but reliable.
1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV
Another gem of terrible 1970s engineering decisions comes in the form of the 1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV. This blunder of a machine struggled down the street whilst channeling later-years Elvis. Lincoln had curb appeal, for sure. This gaudy land yacht would have people’s jaws dropping, but not necessarily out of desire and appreciation.
Okay, maybe they weren’t that embarrassing. But these showy American icons were deficient in pretty much every other aspect. For the most part, it is the worst iteration of the Lincoln Continental pedigree. It was boring, ugly, heavy, slow, and—ultimately—unpurchasable. Lincoln would have been better off never making this car with the ’70s gas crunch looming.
1978 FSO Polonez
While many people hate the look of this car, we over at Science 101™ disagree. But what we do agree with is the near-ubiquitous hatred of its questionable dependability. The car, for the most part, would break about 20 feet from every dealer they were ever purchased from.
One reviewer is reported to have said the following: “Built by communists out of steel so thin you could use it as a neck curtain, it is as reliable and long-lasting as a pensioner’s erection.” If this is a review on any product, that product should be shelved swiftly and succinctly. And that is what happened with the FSO Polonez.
2002 Citroen Pluriel
While this car may look like it provides you with the fun, breezy, convertible experience, it—for the most part—does not. To get the roof down and the breeze in your long, gorgeous locks, you had to disassemble it and manually roll it back. Ugh. While later iterations of similar cars became fully automized in how the convertible roof functioned, this car didn’t get there in time.
What’s worse is that you then had to put it back together in order to avoid those other tedious things like rain and snow. Although, if you’re driving one of these bad boys, you’re probably not living in an environment that is subject to either of these types of weather. Regardless, this little French companion is too much hassle to bear.
2007 BMW X6
While this car was later remodeled into something bearable, the earliest iterations breathed into existence something that couldn’t perform any of its professed functions. It was supposed to be an SUV mixed with a luxury vehicle. It was, in other words, supposed to afford you the ability to travel both on and off the road with comfort and style.
Unfortunately, the SAV (“sports activity vehicle”) gained acclaim for neither. And, as a result, sales were not as expected. Neither were reviews. And so, it took several iterations more and a public image revamp for this car to become something that people actually wanted to purchase. BMW’s other utility vehicle iterations have been commendable, but the first-gen X6 was so not.
2002 Lexus SC 430
While most Lexus vehicles are designed well enough to avoid this list with their heritage of reliable products, this SC model makes our cut. In fact, it is so bad that writing about it is making me livid. In reality, its designs, interior, and drivability weren’t all that bad—especially when compared to the other cars on the list.
However, when you purchase a Lexus, you purchase a certain name. And that name was most definitely not lived up to, given how excellent the previous-generation SC was. This is especially discouraging considering the $61,055 price tag and backtracking in performance. In 2002, you’d have been better off dumping that money into a trust fund than spending it on such a lackluster coupe.
1989 Eagle Premier
The Eagle Premier has it all. Pretty much from any angle you approach it, you will be disappointed. Its exterior? Boxy as it gets. Interior? Yes, it’s uncomfortable. And what about its drivability, one of the most important factors for any car? Also bad. You could barely drive it 10 feet without having trouble turning or accelerating.
It’s almost as if this car was manufactured to be the most exquisite manifestation of unease in a vehicle possible. And with that in mind, it achieved its goal. Now, who did like this car? People who caught the small-Japanese-car bug of the ’80s but didn’t spring for an Accord or Camry. Because that’s essentially what the car is—a lackluster incarnation of blandness without the quality.
1974 Bricklin SV-1
For whatever reason, designers of the ’70s thought it would be cool to have their doors open vertically. And they weren’t wrong. However, as with most technical leaps, the first iterations are never well done. And that was most definitely the case with this gull wing wannabe. While it may have looked cool, it was anything but.
The car was touted as a safe vehicle (in fact, the SV stands for “safe vehicle”). But, if you’re touting safety, why go with the plastic, tin-can body that this car clearly has? The answer is lacking, but the car still exists. Despite the car’s plastic exterior, it still weighed a ton. This subtracted pretty much every possibility of the car fitting any niche. And so, it has earned a spot on this list of cars that should have never been.
1976 Chevy Chevette
While the Chevette might look like a cute little car to drive, it was anything but. Okay, yes, it was cute. But it wasn’t drivable. It had 51 horsepower, which gave it the drive of a New York City lawnmower. It was also unusually loud. I think the engineers were probably trying to get back at Chevy for unreasonable working hours or too little vacation.
The mystery confounds. Regardless, the car was bad, and this showed in the longevity of the model. Having lasted only around a year after production, the car quickly sank into the recesses of everyone’s nightmares—that is, unless you owned one. For those unlucky few, the car will forever blemish their past. And for that, I offer my generous condolences.
1997 Plymouth Prowler
It’s uncertain why the engineers thought there was a market for this abysmal creation. The Plymouth Prowler seems to have been constructed such that it would cater to the “American Graffiti” enthusiast that exists within each of us. The problem is, this car did the movie and its fans a great disservice.
Exposed front wheels and drop-top hot rod styling were not enough to mitigate the car’s laughable performance. A great handler this car was not, but most puzzling was the lack of reasonable power under the hood. The Prowler was truly all bark and no bite. If you’re going to pay tribute to the street beasts of yesteryear, at least give the thing some punch in the horsepower department.
1957 King Midget Model III
Made in an era when tact and kindness were apparently in short supply, this car was beyond abominable. The idea behind this car was that it would be a savvy alternative to the fancy (and expensive) cars that were then making the rounds among the narrow streets of foggy London.
You could even buy the car as a build-it-yourself kit. And, I think it’s safe to say, many of us wouldn’t feel comfortable driving a car we assembled like a LEGO spaceship. And for those of us who would, clearly there weren’t enough to keep the car in long-lasting production. I, for one, am glad—and so was the government. The car, as it turns out, was banned from the highways in the 1960s.
1958 Zundapp Janus
While the Germans have crafted themselves many a wonderful vehicle, the Zundapp Janus was not one. Having entryways at both its rear and front sides, this car not only looks too quirky for most consumers, but it was also uncomfortable. Though, it’s fair to say that we need blunders like this to enjoy the car market in the way we do today.
The top speed of this car was drastically unexceptional—a mere 50 miles per hour. Despite this ugly affinity for the strange, the car was heavily marketed by its own German engineers. They must have thought that with enough advertising they could guide the market in their direction. But oh, how wrong they were. They essentially just doubled down on their wasted money. Good job, Zundapp.
1961 Chevy Corvair
While many cars have become niche hits because of their rear-wheel drive, the Turbo-Air 6 spec 1961 Corvair is not one of them. The reason? It made them spin out far more frequently than you’d want with something meant to get you from one location to another.
Despite the fact that this is the exact element many people who seek rear-wheel drive cars look for, it was found here with too much exuberance—and also without the style. While BMWs and the like could pull this (what some might call a “design flaw”) off, this 1960s hunk of metal could not. And so, it rests quietly in the grave of sullen and discarded cars.
1971 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron
Some cars are a long way from a hit. Some cars are just long. The 1971 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron happened to be both. With a length that would make an aircraft carrier feel threatened, and a physique that said, “I wish I were a boat,” this car goes down in history as one of the most lamentable creations of the Malaise Era in the U.S. market.
It also had the longest fender in automobile history. That isn’t something necessarily to be proud of. What’s shocking, however, is that in all this superfluous and unwanted length, the interior room was not as spacious as you would expect. This is simply astonishing. But it is the whip you’d like pull up to a show in Memphis with.
1949 Crosley Hotshot
On the other end of the length continuum, we have the 1949 Crosley Hotshot. This short vehicle (measuring in at a petite 145 inches), was one of the earliest models made immediately post-war. And for whatever reason, designers thought the best thing to do with post-war cars was make them small and heavy. Weird decision.
Despite its slow speed, the car maintained a dangerous demeanor. It was, in fact, such an unsafe drive that it was regularly featured in the short film “Mechanized Death”—a featurette that is played to all novice drivers in an attempt to scare them into safe driving. Hopefully one of the first proclamations of the film was to not buy the Crosley Hotshot.
1911 Overland OctoAuto
The Overland OctoAuto was one of those cars that should have never existed. However, it was one of those cars that sharpened our idea of what should and should not be. In this case, we learned what shouldn’t be is the car with three axles and six wheels. And it’s a good thing we learned this sooner rather than later.
The car was a hysterical 20 feet long. What’s more is that it received literally zero requests for purchase. The car, in other words, was a complete and utter flop. It may have also been the worst car in history ever invented (debatable). The car was so bad I feel a little bad for its creator, Milton Reeves. Well, at least this all happened a century ago.
One of the earliest models of the electric car, this two-door, zero-emissions attempt was hoping to bust and break the market. Unfortunately for investors, it did neither. The car was essentially a flop on every possible count. It hoped to be a fun drive. It wasn’t. It hoped to be bought. It wasn’t.
The EV-1 was available as a lease-only option in select cities. Initially, it was a hit with environmentally conscious consumers. But General Motors just couldn’t justify the investment of an electric car, assuming that long-term sales wouldn’t be profitable. Big mistake. Toyota, Honda, and other automakers picked up the baton that GM dropped and ran with it to incredible success. Chevy joined the party unfashionably late, introducing the Volt and Bolt EV cars years after the Prius became a household name.
This one-of-a-kind vehicle tried to cross over from land to sea. The result wasn’t pretty. While the car could float for something that might qualify it as a boat, it wasn’t really either a boat or car. Well, maybe technically it was. But it wasn’t good at being either. Both boat and car enthusiasts, for instance, loathed the thing.
One aspect this car-boat hybrid was especially critiqued for was its slow speed in the water. Topping out at a max speed of seven miles per hour, many people joked that they could swim faster than the vehicle—and with more style. James Bond was the only one who could make an amphibious car look cool in “The Spy Who Loved Me,” but his ride was actually a Lotus Esprit, not this monstrosity.
NEXT: 2019’s Lowest Rated Cars
“Smaller than the typical mid-sized SUV, the Journey is a dated and mediocre performer,” writes Consumer Reports’ review of the vehicle. Ouch. The publication placed the Dodge Journey in the “Least Satisfying” and “Worst Overall” categories. Some faulty points it cites: lack of agility, lousy fuel economy, “reluctant” transmission, and a tiny third-row seat.
Kelley Blue Book wasn’t too impressed with Dodge Journey either — its experts gave it a 2.9 out of 5 review. Does the Dodge Journey have any good qualities? Kelley Blue Book says: “The 2019 Journey has comfortable seats, a forgiving ride quality, and many stowage areas to help keep trips bearable.” Photo featured is the 2019 Dodge Journey Crossroad.
NEXT: Kelley Blue Book called this vehicle and its G4 sedan version a “bit of a head-scratcher.”
Mitsubishi Mirage Hatchback
The photo here is actually of the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage ES Hatchback, not 2019’s version. They look relatively similar but more information on the vehicle is located on Mitsubishi’s website, as well as updated photos. Kelley Blue Book’s expert review gave the car just a 3 out of 5.
Kelley Blue Book says you might not like this car if “you’re looking for a reliable, affordable hatchback, you’ll be happier in a Nissan Versa Note, Honda Fit or Chevrolet Sonic.” If you’re not worried about things like tepid acceleration and passing power, the Mirage will do.
NEXT: You might see this car in some of your favorite music videos.
The Escalade has often been the epitome of luxury, often featured in music videos with stacks of cash and blingy jewelry. It makes sense as the vehicle is big, spacious and has cushy seats. Consumer Reports did stick the 2019 model in the “least reliable” category and consumers on Kelley Blue Book rated it 3.3 out of 5.
Some of the trouble spots that Consumer Reports listed were its climate system, transmission, and in-car electronics. “The Escalade falls down on the fundamentals as a luxury SUV; it rides too stiffly and can’t stop or handle with the grace of its peers,” it says.
NEXT: This vehicle from Chevrolet was criticized for being a “mere placeholder of a vehicle smaller than the Equinox.”
The American company is known for creating tough cars but Consumer Reports doesn’t seem too impressed with the Chevrolet Trax. The publication placed the vehicle in the “least satisfying” category and Kelley Blue Book’s expert review gave it a 3.9 out of 5. US News & World Report gave it a 7.2 out of 10 but others weren’t as generous.
Edmunds gave it a 3 out of 5 and Car and Drive gave it a 2.5 out of 5. “Chevy’s strategy appears to have been to produce a mere placeholder of a vehicle smaller than the Equinox,” says Consumer Reports. “Using a model cheaply cobbled together from the underwhelming, built-to-price Sonic.”
NEXT: This car got a “worst overall” rating from Consumer Reports.
Land Rover Discovery
Wow, Consumer Reports’ title for its “Worst Overall” category is pretty harsh! The Land Rover Discovery was one of the vehicles that unfortunately made it to this list. Consumer Reports was harsher with the Land Rover but the vehicle scored better with others — 4 out of 5 with Car and Drive and 7.6 out of 10 from Edmunds.
The photo here was taken in 2018 but we’re not sure what year this particular Land Rover Discovery is. As you can imagine, the 2019 model is pretty similar looking to its predecessors. Of course, you can see updated photos and information on Land Rover’s website.
NEXT: This car from Jeep also ended up on the “worst overall” list from Consumer Reports.
Here’s another one to add to the “worst overall” list from Consumer Reports. The Car Connection gave it a 5.2 out of 10, saying it disliked how expensive it was (for a Jeep Wrangler), the fact it has a “rugged” ride, its sparse base trim, and its backseat. Edmunds and US News & World Reports did rate it much better, however.
Jeep Wrangler earned a 7.8 out of 10 and 7.7 out of 10 from those publications, respectively. The compact sport utility vehicle’s pricing starts at $28,045 for the Sport and goes up to $41,545 for the Unlimited Rubicon.
NEXT: Another one from Jeep joins the Wrangler in the “worst overall” category.
Another “worst overall” for Jeep! The Compass got a 7.3 out of 10 from Edmunds but a 5 out of 10 from The Car Connection. Another sport utility vehicle, the Jeep Compass is considered a compact model. If you want a Jeep but don’t want to spend as much, this might be a better option than the Wrangler.
Its pricing is less than the Jeep Wrangler, starting at $21,845 for the Sport and going up to $29,195 for the Trailhawk. Its MPG is 23 for city and 32 for highway.
NEXT: There are conflicting reviews on this car — it got a “worst overall” designation from one publication and a “best car for families” from another.
This minivan got varying reviews from publications within the industry so who knows what to believe! The best thing to do when buying a new car is to not only read the reviews but also try the car out for yourself. Dealerships are often more than happy to let you sit in and test drive any vehicle you want.
Consumer Reports lumped the minivan into the “worst overall” category along with the Dodge Journey, Jeep Wrangler, and Jeep Compass. However, U.S. News & World Report gave the Honda Odyssey a “best car for families” designation.
NEXT: This is another award-winning Honda vehicle that got a “worst overall” designation from the publication Consumer Reports.
This other 2019 Honda model got a “worst overall” from publication Consumer Reports but Honda’s website says it one an award from MotorWeek. The midsize five-passenger electrified vehicle won “best eco-friendly” vehicle by MotorWeek in its annual “Drivers’ Choice Awards.” It’s good to see other electric vehicles on the roadway trying to help our environment.
If you’ve ever seen the 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?, you’ll know that it was tough for the electric vehicle to survive at first. The film by Chris Paine shows how the auto industry worked to squash competition from GM’s EV-1 electric vehicle.
NEXT: Remember Jennifer Lopez in the commercials for this car company?
So far, it seems that Consumer Reports is the harshest reviewer when it comes to cars. The Fiat 500L got the “worst overall” stamp of disapproval from the publication. Other reviewers weren’t too impressed with the compact car either. Edmunds gave it a 5.8 out of 10 and Car and Drive gave it 2 out of 5.
Car and Driver says that it’s bigger than the Fiat 500 but its cabin is made of “cut-rate materials.” US News & World Report was a little less harsh, giving the Fiat 500L 2019 a 6.8 out of 10 review.
NEXT: This iteration of this particular Jaguar model got a “worst overall” from Consumer Reports.
Yep, here’s another “worst overall” from Consumer Reports, but this time for a luxury automobile. Edmunds and US News & World Report didn’t give it too bad of ratings, however — 7 out of 10 and 7.7 out of 10, respectively. Edmunds liked the Jaguar XE’s sharp handling but disliked its engine auto stop-start system.
Remember car shoppers — just because a vehicle is labeled as “luxurious” doesn’t mean it’s actually worth the money. Consumer Reports doesn’t think this one is worth it, but take a 2019 Jaguar XE for a spin sometimes and judge for yourself!
NEXT: Toyota’s 2019 iteration of this vehicle earned itself a “worst overall,” unfortunately.
The image featured is the 2018 iteration of the Toyota Tacoma but you can view up-to-date photos and information on Toyota’s website. The substantially sized pickup truck did get a 7.4 out of 10 from Edmunds and 8.3 out of 10 from US News & World Report. Consumer Reports gave it a “worst overall,” however.
MotorTrend didn’t like the Tacoma either, giving it a 1.5 out of 5 and saying “The Toyota Tacoma isn’t offered with a diesel, like rivals Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, meaning it won’t be as fuel efficient nor will it offer as much torque for hauling and towing.”
NEXT: This is another kind of pickup that got a “worst overall” but this one’s from Nissan.
Nissan Titan XD
Pictured is a custom painted 2018 version of the Nissan Titan XD, which looks similar to 2019’s edition. (Sans custom paint job of course.) Consumer Reports gave this pickup truck a “worst overall” (yikes!) but Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it an “acceptable” rating along with the Toyota Tacoma, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500.
Don’t feel too bad, Nissan Titan XD, only two trucks got a “good” score from Insurance Institute: the Tundra and the Frontier. Car and Drive gave the pickup a 2.5 out of 5 review. Some of the things it dislikes: unrefined Cummins diesel, clumsy six-speed automatic and lowly tow ratings.
NEXT: This car has poor braking at 157 feet stopping distance, says Consumer Reports.
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
The truck featured is the 2020 rendition of the Silverado. This pickup truck got criticized by Consumer Reports for having poor braking at 157 feet stopping distance. The consumer-focused publication also placed the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD in its “least reliable” category, indicating its problem areas were its fuel/emissions system, system drive and steering/suspension.
“The 6.0-liter V8 and 6.6-liter turbo-diesel engine are both mated to a six-speed automatic,” Consumer Reports writes. “If you don’t plan to go off-road, the Z71 suspension is superfluous — it severely degrades ride comfort.” If you’re looking for comfort, you might need to check elsewhere!
NEXT: Reviewers found that this Nissan had poor fuel efficiency.
This sports utility vehicle was placed in the “worst fuel efficient in mid-sized/large SUV” category with 14 MPG for city and 19 for highway. Otherwise, most of its ratings aren’t too bad — 7.6 out of 10 from US News & World Report and 4 out of 5 from Kelley Blue Book.
However, it got a 3.5 out of 5 from Car and Driver. “It’s still a big-bodied, fuel-thirsty family dreadnought,” writes Car and Driver. “But the three-row Armada has a serene, expensive interior and an upscale exterior that enable it to undermine high-rent rivals when it comes to price.”
NEXT: This Acura scored below average on the JD Power Initial Quality Study.
The car featured in the photo is the 2018 iteration of the Acura RLX, which looks similar to the 2019 Acura RLX. Forbes writes that the Acura RLX earned a 59 out of 100 from Kelley Blue Book and scored below average on the JD Power Quality study. Car and Driver gave it a 3 out of 5 rating.
The industry publication mostly likes this luxury vehicle (MSRP starting at $54,900!), but writes that “We like driving the RLX, but the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto still stings.” If you can handle mixed reviews and live without bells and whistles, an Acura RLX might be in your future.
NEXT: This Kia model was rated one of the “least reliable” by Consumer Reports.
Starting at $33,100, this mid-sized car didn’t get all too horrible reviews, but Consumer Reports thought it was one of the “least reliable.” US News & World Report gave it an 8.8 out of 10, Edmunds gave it a 7.5 out of 10 and Car and Drive gave it 4 out of 5.
It was rated number one in “large cars” by US News & World Report, which is promising. However, Consumer Reports lists its trouble spots as the engine cooling, emissions/fuel system, and climate system. The publication says “the Cadenza is better suited to long-distance cruising.”
NEXT: This Cadillac earned a “least satisfying” from Consumer Report’s experts.
Here’s another one that made it on Consumer Reports’ “least satisfying cars” list. It describes the 10 cars on the list as such: “These models stand out for how much they disappoint.” Consumer Reports again with the harsh burns! “It’s capable and fun to drive but rather maddening to live with,” writes the publication.
“The ATS’s sharp handling and eager performance give up nothing compared with the best European sports coupes, including the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series,” says Consumer Reports. It continues to say the ride is taut and controlled, however.
NEXT: This car got a “least satisfying” but a 4 out of 5 from Kelley Blue Book.
This is another Nissan that Consumer Reports doesn’t like! The publication placed the vehicle on the “least satisfying” list. “Overall, the compact Sentra trails the class. A recent freshening resulted in a quieter car, thanks in part to the less intrusive CVT,” writes Consumer Reports. It continues to say that the ride is stiff and driving experience joyless.
Its acceleration times are among the slowest in its class, Consumer Reports adds, and it’s “underwhelming to drive and feels cheap.” However, industry publication Kelley Blue Book did rate Nissan Sentra 2019 a 4 out of 5 — so not too bad!
NEXT: This Acura got a “least satisfying” from Consumer Reports but a 4.4 out of 5 from Kelley Blue Book.
This Acura ILX got a “least satisfying” from Consumer Reports due to the vehicle not being able to transcend its humble origins. The publication says “Trying to make a premium model out of the previous generation Honda Civic is a fool’s errand, as proved by the Acura ILX.” The writers at Consumer Reports got some serious sass!
It agrees that the concept is a good idea — providing a luxury experience in a small package — but it’s executed poorly overall. Kelley Blue Book says that “if you want a small-luxury sedan that’s big on safety and value, the 2019 ILX fits the bill.”
NEXT: This luxury Jaguar model got itself a “least reliable” from Consumer Reports.
This luxury car is actually ranked at the very bottom on Consumer Reports’ list of least reliable cars. The compact SUV’s trouble spots, according to the publication, are its in-car electronics, drive system, power equipment, noises, and leaks. It handles well, says the review but has other less desirable features. Consumer Reports writes:
“The ride is stiff and choppy. The seats are comfortable, but interior quality doesn’t match some competitors.’” Kelley Blue Book does give a good review — 4.1 out of 5. It says that you might not like it if you’re already looking a few years down the road. “The company’s past form was less than stellar,” says Kelley Blue Book.
NEXT: This next photo shows a sporty version of this Ford model.
The Ford Fiesta in this photo isn’t the one that’s available to consumers, unfortunately. This is the M-Sport Ford WRT Ford Fiesta WRC totally ripping at a racing event. So clearly, some iterations of this vehicle have racing potential! Forbes details a not so nice picture of the small car.
“Consumer Reports thought the Fiesta sedan/hatchback felt substantial, with good fuel economy and ride and handling qualities,” writes Forbes. “But found the car to overpriced, with very tight rear seat room, and featured poorly designed controls.”
NEXT: This Nissan got a fair rating from Kelley Blue Book but a “least satisfying” from Consumer Reports.
The sport utility vehicle didn’t get too bad of reviews from US News & World and Kelley Blue Book. It got a 7.9 out of 10 and a 4.2 out of 5 rating, respectively. Edmunds gave it an “OK” review — 6.8 out of 10. Consumer Reports dumped it in the “least satisfying” category.
Car and Driver gave it a 3 out of 5, saying its verdict was “nothing wrong, but nothing quite right.” Some of the Pathfinder’s trouble areas were “Sloppy driving dynamics, poor real-world fuel economy, limited cargo space.” Basically, it’s not a terrible car but not a great one either.
NEXT: This other Nissan joins the Pathfinder on the “least satisfying” list.
Nissan Versa Note
Consumer Reports places the little subcompact on its “least satisfying” list because of its “awkward driving position, squishy front seats, and lack of interior storage. The continuously variable transmission can magnify coarse engine noise when accelerating.” It has good features, however, such as amazing space and versatility. It’s also quiet and relaxing to drive compared to competitors.
Kelley Blue Book’s experts give the Versa Note a 4.3 out of 5. It says you won’t like this car if you’re a thrill seeker on a budget. “Of the many virtues enjoyed by the 2019 Versa Note, driving fun isn’t among them,” writes Kelley Blue Book. “Engine output of 109 horsepower is low.”
NEXT: Some versions of this model got recalled in 2018.
This image from Getty shows a 2018 Toyota C-HR that got recalled. This was another vehicle that Consumer Reports placed on its “least satisfying” list. Consumer Reports was unsatisfied that it doesn’t have all-wheel drive like its competitors Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, and Subaru Crosstrek. It also said it was “abnormally slow” with 0-60 mph acceleration at 11 seconds.
Lastly, “the Toyota’s rear and side visibility are horrendous.” We can imagine that the hatchback and subcompact SUV fusion style of the Toyota C-HR and its avant-garde style might be kind of off-putting to some people as well.
NEXT: This is the only Volkswagen on our list. It also made it to another list — “least reliable.”
FYI, this photo is a 2018 Atlas. Here’s another “least reliable” — this list sounds a lot scarier than the “least satisfying” list. Consumer Reports does say that it’s a comfortable ride, surprisingly agile handling despite its size and easy to use infotainment system. However, it lists the Atlas’ trouble spots as “climate system, steering/suspension, and power equipment.
“Though the V6 engine and smooth eight-speed automatic make the Atlas feel lively during everyday driving, its acceleration trails competitors’ and its 20 mpg overall fuel economy is not outstanding,” writes Consumer Reports. Kelley Blue Book seems to like it better — it gave a 4.4 out of 5 rating.
NEXT: This model of Lexus is on the “least satisfying” list on Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports review is quite harsh. It says this of the Lexus IS: “Lexus built the IS sports sedan to challenge the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. But we’ll cut to the chase: Forget it.” Yikes! The publication says the IS doesn’t come close to the BMW and Mercedes’ ride and handling prowess.
It doesn’t have BMW’s or Mercedes’ fun-to-drive character, technology or luxury appeal. Sitting in the Lexus IS offers a cramped experience. Expect a mediocre fuel economy, as well. Its good features are the Lexus assets — reliability and customer service.
NEXT: This is the only Buick on our list of worst rated cars.
This photo is of the Buick Enclave Avenir. Trusted industry publication Kelley Blue Book gave the Buick Enclave a 4.5 out of 5 expert review. It says that those looking for a 3-row, 7-passenger SUV with a sophisticated style have come to the right place. Those that need a SUV for a party larger than 7 or for towing purposes should try the GMC Yukon Denali instead.
The Buick Enclave gets a vote of “least reliable” from Consumer Reports. The publication writes that “the unintuitive gear selector is fussy and a nuisance to use in parking maneuvers.” There were plenty of other features it seemed to like, however.
NEXT: This Ford got the “worst fuel efficiency in roadsters/sports cars” category from Consumer Reports.
Ford Mustang GT Premium
The roadster/sports car has a V8 engine — good for those that like to go FAST — but is a gas guzzler. Consumer Reports said this car has the worst fuel efficiency in the roadster/sports cars category at 19 MPG. Sports cars already don’t have good fuel economy, so that’s really saying something…
Kelley Blue Book didn’t hate the Mustang, giving it a 4.6 out of 5 rating. The photo featured here is the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 — hopefully, this one has better fuel economy than its predecessor.
NEXT: Another Chevrolet on our list — we’ll give details on why Forbes gave it a poor rating.
Full-sized Suburbans like this are perfect if you’ve got to tow around large boats, trailers or kids. They’re usually fairly spacious on the inside as well. However, Forbes says that these are big and ungainly and “sheer vehicular overkill.” Jim Gorzelany, contributor at Forbes, writes about the Suburban’s poorest attributes:
“With an overall score of 54 and a reliability rating of minus-154, Consumer Reports liked many of the Suburban’s attributes, but found it underpowered, hard to maneuver and park, difficult to load with cargo, and overpriced.” Then again, Kelley Blue Book gave it a 4.3 out of 5 expert rating. Goes to show that you need to do your own research as reviews from experts are mostly mixed.
1997 Volkswagon New Beetle
In the late 1990s, plenty of car companies were thinking that it was about time for old cars to make a comeback with supposedly new and improved models. This new beetle was shown off in concept a few years earlier, and it seemed like they’d have no trouble selling like hotcakes.
Unfortunately, people didn’t show this bug any love, and it quickly fell by the wayside as customers snapped up competitor’s renditions of old cars made new. By 2012, Volkswagon had quietly swept this bug up snug in a rug, moving on to greener pastures to stay in business.
Sometimes companies come up with innovative ideas for factories instead of shutting them down after moving production. This was not the case with the Aventime. The car looks forcibly futuristic and proved to be unwieldy for drivers to handle. Not something you want in a vehicle that is capable of doing 100 mph.
Matra ultimately shut down when their car sold less than 10,000 models, so it’s safe to say that most people stayed away from this weird, squared off car.
Other than being adorable, this car didn’t have anything else going for it. The car wasn’t bad exactly, just completely unremarkable. And that’s what lead to its downfall. Pontiac released it at a time when its competitors were putting out cars that were better, faster, stronger…
And the solstice relied entirely on its looks. They stopped making it in 2009 and the entire company folded the same year. It probably wasn’t all the Solstice’s fault, but it certainly didn’t help.
The fact that this car is best known for its appearance in Wayne’s World should be an indicator that it wasn’t the car of choice. Privately, we think AMC saw how popular those little Citroen cars were getting across the pond and figured that the general aesthetic was the selling point.
The Pacer was short, meaning there was no room in the trunk or for a backseat, automatically making this unappealing for families…but it was still wide. Why was it wide? What was this car trying to accomplish? It’s not clear.
The idea of a compact, two-door sports car is perfectly fine. Removable roof? A little weird, but not out of the realm of possibility. A small car that was actually an SUV? Now that is something that absolutely no one asked for.
It didn’t have the horsepower to offroad and no practical purpose on the road either. After two years of pitiful sales, Suzuki quickly discarded this model and returned to the land of normal car-making, but we really have to wonder what they were thinking with the X-90.
This sporty car wanted to capitalize on the retro look that had come back into fashion for cars in the early 2000s, but the SSR took things to the extreme. The amount of space in the actual car was dwarfed by the enormous trunk. People who drive fast, sporty cars don’t want to be saddled with a big trunk and people who need a large trunk for storage want a roomier car with a backseat.
This car just wasn’t made with any customer needs in mind, and its production ended a mere three years after it had begun. Probably for the best.
2004 SsangYong Rodius
The manufacturer’s name is already a little strange, but we’re happily willing to overlook that for a good car. The Rodius distinctly does not qualify as one. This car was enormous and looked like the oversized child of multiple vans. From the front, it looks like a normal hatchback, but when you move to the side, you can see how this car just keeps going and going…
The back end looks like someone mashed a play-doh version of the model and said “Here! Make this!” …and then they did. Why did they do it? The world may never know.
We think this car should be given a citation for its name alone, but the car itself wasn’t much of an improvement. Released in 1980, people initially bought the car in droves. If they’d been ready, they could have sold millions of models. People stayed on waiting lists, desperate for this car. There simply weren’t enough models to go around.
However, a few years later, their sales had dropped by 90% and GM wisely discontinued the car by 1985. By the time they were ready to amp up production, people had discovered how poorly the cars were built and stopped wanting them. So long Citation!
1982 Dodge Charger L-Body
The upside of using the name of one of your best selling car models is that it will make people flock in droves to your updated model as soon as it releases. That’s all well and good, but the downside is that people will forever compare the original to the new model. This was a huge issue for Dodge since their Charger L-Body failed to live up to expectations.
Unlike the original, this Charger had much less horsepower and front-wheel drive, along with four-cylinder engines. Needless to say, customers were endlessly disappointed.
1983 Alfa Romeo Arna
This vehicular disaster came about when Japan tried to ease its way into the European market by collaborating instead of completely dominating with their cars. Alfa Romeo and Nissan put their heads together to make a car that had the elegant sophistication of Alfa Romeo and the hardiness and driveability of Nissan.
Instead of taking a Nissan inside and an Alfa Romeo outside, however, they did the opposite. So you ended up with a car that looked boring and drab like a Nissan and was definitely going to break down soon with the internal guts of an Alfa Romeo. This should have been a no-brainer!