The world has been a witness to many great cars. We’re talking Ferrari 250 GTO, Lamborghini Countach, Porsche 911, and so on, and so on. You get the idea. They are the cars we all dream about, but only a few can actually afford. However, history is also a witness to some truly atrocious automobiles. Cars which were a mistake from the factory, cars which were simply made to bring in profit or cars which were simply built badly because the manufacturer couldn’t care less. Scroll Down to get started with the first part of our list of worst cars of all time.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing what the Bricklin is. You’re probably better of not knowing about its existence, but since you’re here, reading this article, let us explain. The Bricklin is a DeLorean DMC-12 imitation of sorts, but we don’t mean it in a good way. Designed as a supposed car of the future, its main feature, besides the hateful design were the 100-pound gullwing doors. SV1 stood for Safety Vehicle 1, which was ironic, since it was by no means safe back then, and neither is it now. Its V8 didn’t have enough juice to power the heavy body, and less than 3000 were made.
By ThePaper at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Ah, the Chevette. A weird mix between a Pinto and a Gremlin, it managed to combine the worst characteristics from both vehicles. Designed as a hatchback, but with a snout, it’s considered by many to be the ugliest car ever conceived. Although it brings back fond memories of high school to a lot of people, most of them remember it as that one car which was always in the repair shop.
By 293.xx.xxx.xx – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2996898
So far, we’ve covered cars built in the 80s, or even before that. The Prowler was originally released in 1997, and with a name like that, people were expecting a beast of a car, something which offered excitement, fun and demanded skill and respect. What they got however, was a retro roadster/speedster mix with a “futuristic” look and an open-wheel front end. It resembled a squashed bug, especially with the mandatory bumpers which looked ridiculously out of place. The 3.5 liter V6 produced 250 hp, alright in a car its size, but not enough to make people want it.
By IFCAR – Own work, Public Domain, Link
The Aztek is probably the single most-hated car in the world. Regular people, magazines and car reviewers all agree that the Aztek doesn’t belong in this world. It wouldn’t have been so bad had it not been designed in 2001. Pontiac tried entering the crossover market, a relatively new concept at the time, but they went about it horribly wrong. The original car wasn’t that bad, but they changed it so many times and so drastically that the end result looked like something out of an Alien movie.
By The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum – requested from author, CC BY 2.5, Link
Ignore the fact that there is a funny word hidden in the name Janus. Built by Germans, the same country which gave us Porsche, Bugatti, BMW and Mercedes, the Zundapp was not their finest moment, let’s just put it that way. Based on a Dornier prototype and producing 14 hp from its 250 cc motor, it could only reach 50 mph. It was a quirky car to look at, we’ll give them that, but it was perhaps too quirky for its own good. It had a rear-facing bench seat for passengers, presumably to capture photos of all the cars going past them. People didn’t really buy into the whole idea of the Janus. We wonder why.
By Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA – 64 Chevrolet Corvair Monza, CC BY 2.0, Link
Before all you American patriots start roasting us, hear us out. Rear-engined vehicles are a joy to drive most of the time, even if they’re sort of scary. A lot of manufacturers have tried to implement the concept, but it never worked, because putting the heaviest car component at the back usually results in spinning, it’s as simple as that. Nazi officers in Czechoslovakia were even banned from driving the rear-engined Tatras at the time due to the number of accidents associated with them. And yet, none of those things stopped Chevrolet from launching the Corvair in 1961. Chevy did manage to put an air-cooled flat-six engine, so we’ll give them that, but they failed to provide adequent swing-axle rear suspension to cope with the motor. This made it ridiculously prone to oversteer, and we’re talking at regular speeds here, and, perhaps even worse, it was almost always fatal in the event of a crash, since there was no engine at the front to lessen the impact. Not Chevrolet’s finest hour then.
By Oxyman – Own work, CC BY 2.5, Link
You may not consider the Reliant Robin a car since it technically had only three wheels, but for the sake of this article, we’ll list it regardless. Now, there are lots of actual cars with just 3 wheels, but most of them don’t have the Robin’s ridiculous configuration. Instead of the traditional two wheels at the front one at the back layout, Reliant decided to completely reinvent the segment by placing one wheel at the front and two at the rear. The result was a spectacular crash waiting to happen anytime you went over 25 mph around a corner. The car would immediately start to tilt, and exceeding 45 degrees of angle would cause a complete rollover. The car’s popularity in England was a result of its rarity, gaining a small cult following.
Lincoln Continental Mark IV
By AlfvanBeem – Own work, CC0, Link
The fifth-gen Lincoln Continental is the car which contributed the most to American vehicles getting a bad reputation. It singlehandedly managed to ruin the American automobile reputation, that of cars which once represented quality and luxury. It wasn’t that it was just slow, cumbersome or ugly, but the fact that it had no real character or presence, it was boring in every single way. Most often even terrible cars have certain quirks which you find interesting, or offer some charm through their faults, but sadly, the Mark IV did none of those things. Lots of Americans probably still love this thing to bit, but no one can convince us that it’s a good car. It wasn’t back then, and it sure as hell isn’t today.
By IFCAR – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3074634
The Excursion was supposed to be to Ford what the H2 was to Hummer and GM. Based on the Super Duty truck platform originally intended for workhorses, this mountain-sized SUV proved to be a disaster almost immediately after its launch. It weighed a massive 7,000 pounds, measured in at 19 ft. and stood 6.5 ft. tall. Lots of ranchers and farmers bought it because of its 10,000-lb towing capacity, but for every single customer who used it for its intended purpose, you could find a housewife using it for daily excursions and runabout errands. Despite its size, it wasn’t particularly safe, especially for other road users.
By Photo taken by Raf24, edited by Bach01 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
The Polonez is a noble thing. It was designed to be used in Poland, Russian and all other Slavic countries, as means of cheap transportation. However, it was so unreliable that you were often better off walking than taking your car, as the chances of it failing were one out of every two. When you consider you have to take a round trip, you’re more likely than not going to end up walking home anyway. It looks like a brick on wheels, and it drives like one as well.
By OSX – Own work, Public Domain, Link
So far we’ve only discussed older cars, but we’re about to roast new ones, starting with this: the Citroen Pluriel. The concept doesn’t sound too bad on paper. It’s a small roadster/convertible with room for four people (just), and with diesel engines on offer, it’s even economical. However, the roof has to be manually detached, which takes an eternity in itself, and then you can’t even bring the detachable parts with you since they don’t physically fit in the car. This means you have to either drive your car out of the garage with the roof on, or of. Basically, if it ever rains, you’re done for.
Lexus SC 430
By IFCAR – Own work, Public Domain, Link
What’s wrong with a luxury coupe you might ask? One huge thing if we’re honest. It boasts traditional Lexus reliability and quality, but its positioning is slightly confusing, like it’s suffering from the X6 syndrome. With a relatively large $61k MSRP price and expensive maintenance cost, people expected it to be mind-blowing. Which it wasn’t. The ride was harsh, it wallowed way too much in the corners and with just 300 horsepower, it couldn’t keep up with any of its rivals since it was as heavy as a boat. Next!
By Bull-Doser – Own work, Public Domain, Link
With this car, it’s not a matter of what’s wrong with it, but what’s right with it? It is just a car, much in the same way that a toaster is just a toaster and a microwave is a microwave. No one ever saw this as anything more than an appliance, and a bad one at that. It lacks any kind of soul or meaning. It’s slow, ugly and boring in every single way. You only bought one back then because you knew nothing about car and needed something to get around, and god only knows why you would buy one today (don’t do it, we urge you).
By No machine-readable author provided. Drdisque assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=575683
Okay, first off there’s the name. It was called the XR4TI. It wasn’t cool or catchy back then, and it certainly isn’t now. Just imagine having to say that to someone when they inevitably ask you what kind of a car it is. Then there’s the actual car itself. The Merkur was sold in the U.S. for 4 years straight, and believe it or not, this terrible car was based on the European-spec Ford Scorpio, a car which wasn’t that great to begin with. Its two-level wing was the only great thing about it, but after two years Ford decided to switch it to a normal, single wing, ruining the best thing about it. Shortly thereafter Ford decided to discontinue it, for reasons citing lack of sales. Needless to say, it didn’t come as a shock to anyone.
By irina slutsky from san francisco, USA – new item -yugo in front of my house, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14952181
The Yugo GV wasn’t that bad in the poor countries of Communist Yugoslavia. Back when resources were limited, it offered simple means of transport for the masses. Everyone and their grandmother had one. It was used as a family sedan, a light off-roader, a workhorse, and even, if you can imagine it, a racecar. Don’t ask, you don’t want to know how it fared. The problem was that it somehow managed to find its way to the U.S., a land dominated by massive boat-like cars with cabins big enough to fit three Yugos and more comfort than the small, cramp GV could even dream of. Couple that with the fact that you had to pay extra for the carpets and that it always broke down due to electrical or mechanical reasons, and you get why no one bought it.
By User:Jaydec – I created this work entirely by myself., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17492787
Originally designed in California, the Davis Divan offered a three-wheel layout which had a goal of revolutionizing modern travel. It was “made” from 1947 to 1949. Because the company got plagued with various claims of fraud and grand theft after they failed to deliver the cars on time, they had to shut down to settle the lawsuits. They did manage to build 13 examples, but they were all terrible.
By IFCAR – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7191841
Cadillac was a symbol of American luxury, comfort and style back in the 80s. Which really begs the question: what were the employees at Cadillac doing or smoking when they thought of the Cimarron? Well, they didn’t technically think of it, but rather took a Chevrolet Cavalier, removed all the Chevy badges, installed Cadillac ones and off it went into production. It’s a good thing they decided to stop making it when they did, or Cadillac’s reputation and image might have been further hurt.
By IFCAR – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7275190
The Ion’s intentions were good. Saturn wanted to make a rival for the likes of Honda and Toyota’s popular compact sedans, so they issued this: the Saturn Ion. Unfortunately, it caused more problems for Saturn than it did solutions. It was outdated, boring and slow the day it came out of the factory. Very few people decided to take the plunge and buy one. We truly feel sorry for those folks. It has been named as the 2nd worst car of the millennium by multiple magazines and reviewers. It didn’t look good, had poor build quality, the interior was rattling and the engines were anything but compelling. The Ion was the final nail in the coffin for Saturn, completely bankrupting them and closing down the manufacturer.
By OSX – Own work, Public Domain, Link
If you were wondering what’s one of the most popular, modern worst cars, look no further. The X6 isn’t considered an SUV, but rather a self-acclaimed SAV (short or sports activity vehicle). If you thought SUVs were bad, wait till you read up more on the X6. Designed to look like a sedan, and ride like one too, it completely manages to not do either of those things since it’s also trying to offer a taller driving position and off-roader characteristic. In essence, it’s trying to be two completely opposite, contradictory things at once. Needless to say, it doesn’t do either one of them right, let alone both.
By Alden Jewell – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Although Pontiac’s engineers had good intentions with the Solstice, the execution was way below par. The Solstice was supposed to be this entry-level sports car which would revolutionize the market and rake in massive profits for Pontiac, but it turned out to be a massive disappointment and the start of their demise. It looked alright, but it lacked the performance, not to mention the fact that it was built from parts stolen from other GM products. In short, a car which could have reached iconic status, had it not been for the poor execution.
Fiat 124 Sport Coupe
Count Rushmore – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,Link
It’s a great looking car, we’ll give it that. The Fiat 124 was an elegant thing, but it never remained in that state for long. This awesome little coupe had everything going for it, apart from the quality of its materials. The Russian-made steel wasn’t just bad for the time, but bad full stop. Reviewers, and unlucky owners, joked that the car came pre-rusted from the Fiat factory. Yes, it was completely plagued with rust, so you won’t see a lot of them around today. Still a gorgeous car though.
By Dave R – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
American-made cars are stereotypically thought to be poorly built, but when it comes to fit and finish, the Daewoo Nubira was in a class of its own. Had it remained for sale in Asia the car may have enjoyed decent success, but Daewoo’s decision to ship it over to the U.S. ultimately ruined it and their reputation. It was slow, cheaply built and experienced reliability issues like no other. Cheap toy cars were better built than it, and we’re not kidding when we say that.
By Colin – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
The Vigor was a redesigned Accord sold under the Acura brand, which initially promised a lot. The longitudinally-mounted inline five-cylinder sounded like a great concept on paper, but once again, the deliver was nothing short of disappointing. It was slow and ten times worse than the Acura, plus the engine didn’t sound that good for a five-cylinder.
Pontiac Grand Prix GXP
By BGag1386 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
The ingredients: rear-wheel drive, 5.3-liter LS4 V8 and four doors. It sounds good, doesn’t it? Well the 303-horsepower Grand Prix GXP had several major issues, including having larger front tires than the rear. It made the thing hideously unpredictable as it liked to oversteer, and then there’s the entire thing about cabin build quality. Not Pontiac’s finest hour then.
By Bryan S – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Not every small manufacturer’s story turns out to be as successful as Pagani. The Vector W8 had great potential, but the small team of several engineers couldn’t deliver on the promised. The 625 horsepower powertrain was awesome, but this $400,000+ monster never managed to run properly. All of the 17 customer cars built had to be ferried to and from the factory on a truck because they wouldn’t drive right. Such a shame, because the car had undeniable cool factor.
By Pintopower – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
In all honesty, we have no idea what Ford was up to when they came up with this: the Aspire. Underneath, it’s actually a Kia. No, really. The entire thing is built by Kia, down to the body panels and the engine. Ford just took the Kia badge off and slapped their own on the grille. It’s a 1.3-liter shoebox on wheels, with no performance, practicality or reliability whatsoever. At the time, Kia was able to get away with it because it was so cheap, but it was inexcusable for a company such as Ford.
By 96geometro – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 ,Link
Again, we don’t know why Americans had such an obsession with rebadging Asian cars and selling them as their own. The Metro was, for all intents and purposes, an old-school Suzuki Swift. Built to move the masses, the original Swift was a noble thing which didn’t cost much to run. Geo managed to ruin the thing with worse build quality (as if that was possible), and catastrophic chassis failure waiting to happen with the convertible version.
By Tez831 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Although Jaguar is one of the greatest manufacturers at the moment, they went through a shaky period back in the 1990s and the early 2000s. The lack of any reliability with their own cars meant they had to resort to rebadging other people’s creations much like the Americans. Ironically, they chose to rebadge a Ford Mondeo and sold the thing as the Jaguar X-Type. It was an insult to Jaguar fans everywhere, and one the company struggled to recover from for years after.
By Al Walter – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
It may have a 3.4-liter V8 under the hood, but it makes just 133 horsepower. England likes to make fun of American cars for extracting ridiculously small amount of power from large engines, but the SD1 doesn’t appear to be any different. What’s more, it would rot if you as much as drove it through a puddle. If you left it in your garage and forgot about it for a year, it would have probably rotted away by the time you remember about it anyway.