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Worst Cars

lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
Here are the 50 worst cars according to the book by Richard Porter:

50. Lancia Monte Carlo
49. Porche 924
48. Ford Scorpio
47. Cadillac STS
46. Renault Safrane
45. Jaguar XJ40
44. Ford Escort MK1V
43. Yugo Sana
42. Mitsubishi 3000GT
41. Rover 800
40. Volvo 340
39. Delorean DMC-12
38. Vauxhall Belmont
37. Triumph TR7
36. Rolls-Royce Carmargue
35. Talbot Tagora
34. Suzuki Wagon R
33. Volvo 262C
32. Subaru XT
31. Nissan Sunny Coupe
30. Skoda Estelle
29. Renault 9
28. Maserati Biturbo
27. Daihatsu Move
26. Alfa Romeo Arna
25. Hyundai Pony
24. Fiat Strada
23. Subaru Justy
22. Austin Maestro
21. Toyota Space Cruiser
20. Fiat 126
19. Daihatsu Applause
18. Ferrari 400
17. Austin Ambassador
16. Yugo 45
15. Datsun Sunny 120Y
14. Aston Martin Lagonda
13. Susuki SJ
12. FSO Polonez
11. Seat Marbella
10. MGB
9. Trabant
8. Reliant Robin
7. Bond Bug
6. Nissan Serena
5. Lada Riva
4. Morris Marina
3. Suzuki X90
2. Austin Allegro
1. Volkswagen Beetle

This is the UK version. If anyone can find the US version of the list, I would love to see it.


  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,681
    maybe we could twist that list around as proof that domestic cars aren't so bad, after all! :P
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    I think the US version is littered with Gremlins, Lumina APVs, and the like, but yeah, those are some pretty crappy foreign cars.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,681
    when I was vacationing in Paris, I saw a Renault Safrane at a dealership. I thought it was a neat car. This was 1994. I wonder what was so bad about them? Now I know a Renault in this country would be a nightmare, partly because of a poor dealer network (nonexistent these days) untrained mechanics, scarce parts, etc. But in their own home country, where people are familiar with them, would the really be so bad?
  • bhill2bhill2 Member Posts: 2,471
    Well, we would have to define 'worst'. A lot of the cars on the UK list are truly bad cars, as in they didn't work very well. The Gremlin, for instance, was as ugly as sin and fairly primitive, but it was a pretty good grocery getter and all-around reliable beast of burden.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv. (RIP 2001 Jaguar XK8 cnv and 1985 MB 380SE [the best of the lot])

  • 1racefan1racefan Member Posts: 932
    that by post #15, this will have become "Pro Korean cars vs. Anti Korean cars"....just like the "I would not want to be seen dead in" topic has become.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Member Posts: 1,280
    Top Gear does annual satisfaction surveys in the UK. Unofficial, but widespread. Interpret "satisfaction" however you want, but dealer service was a large part of it.

    10 of the bottom 13 cars in satisfaction were French; mostly Peugeots, which are cool and handle well but are bad at many more things. The M-Class was one of the 13. The top 3 were Japanese cars, even though they don't sell in large amounts there. (The X-type was 4th or 5th, interestingly.)

    Citroen might finally be turning its quality problems around. If so, Peugeot will follow because they're the same company. But for now, they suck.

    In the US we use our cars more and take care of them less, so we have a higher bar for acceptable reliability. "Worse" has more to do with being painful to drive. But our tastes are so varied, that this is just going to become a shouting match. I can't wait.
  • acura_el2000acura_el2000 Member Posts: 19
    mitsu 3000gt? it seems out of place on this list.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    It was a huge on the outside, cramped on the inside, stretched FWD Eclipse platform pig. All versions were poor handling, poor riding, understeering beasts. They were unreliable. They had various useless gadgets on the inside, hideous cladding and styling on the outside, and used the poorest materials they could find. The non-turbo versions were just plain slow. The AWD turbos were fast, but no fun to drive and even less reliable than the base models. By the end of their run, they were asking $70,000 for a convertible version of this flying turd.

    I test drove a couple of these and confirmed much of the above. It is the only car I have ever driven where bumps would cause me to smack my head on the windshield. Just a miserable excuse for a car.

    On the other hand, some people swear by them.

    Your opinion may vary.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I agree with everything except the MGB and the VW. The rest is as sorry a lot of badly engineered, misbegotten machinery as you could ever find.

    The MGB was a GREAT litle sportscarcar and he doesn't know what he's talking about in that particular case. As proof there are still many thousands on the road racking up huge mileages, and there's a formidable aftermarket industry built around them. Hardly something you'd find with a bad car.

    Perhaps he was referring only to the bastardized post 1974 mgb models---then I might agree with him.

    Ditto the VW Beetle. How could something so "bad" succeed so brilliantly? Makes no sense to call the bug "BAD".
  • 1racefan1racefan Member Posts: 932
    "On the other hand, some people swear by them"

    A lot of the cars on that list have a cult like following. The 3000GT, Delorean, VW Beetle, and TR7 immediately come to mind.

    I would add the VW Thing, Chevy Corvair, and Ford Pinto to the worst car list though.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    His quote for the MGB:

    "The MGB is the darling of the classic car scene. Which is odd because it is spectacularly rubbish. The only thing worse than driving one would be having your face pushing into a lawnmower. And come to think of it, that sounds quite nice."


    "For some reason, beardy peaceniks and straggly-haired surfer dudes love the Beetle, thinking it is alternative and cool. Which is fine, although it does overlook the fact that it's also clearly bollocks."

    Surely he added some substantive comments in addition to his cutesy British quips.
  • navigator89navigator89 Member Posts: 1,080
    "By the end of their run, they were asking $70,000 for a convertible version of this flying turd."

    Wait, did you say $70,000?? That seems like a lot to ask! Are you sure about this figure?

    And to all of you out there: Why do you think the Cadillac STS made that list.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,681
    about the Caddy STS myself. Probably the worst STS was the one that was based on the small '86-91 Seville, but even there, there'd be much worse cars out there.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    I just found an R&T article online where their early model had an as-tested price of $68,766.

    I found it on a website devoted entirely to the Spyder version. There is apparently a cult for everything.
  • 1racefan1racefan Member Posts: 932
    I also read somewhere recently that in 1995, the 3000GT, VR-4 (turbo) AWD, hard top convertibles were selling for $65K and up.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    Didn't the early Northstars struggle to reach 100K miles and were easier to replace than rebuild?
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    Whatsamatter, don't you like the pro/con korean cars posts?
  • 1racefan1racefan Member Posts: 932
    I don't care...it's just every forum seems to be overtaken with that issue. Plus, they seem to get nasty and personal.
    It is the holiday season...that means I will already have to be subjected to enough nasty and personal comments with my family members!!!
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    I've seen that book. Actually, it wasn't the STS, but the bustleback 1980-85 Seville that was panned. Funny, because that Seville had imitators in the Lincoln Continental and 1981-83 Imperial. I would nominate the 1986-91 Seville myself, but the Eldorado of those years was even more pathetic.
  • smittynycsmittynyc Member Posts: 289
    What good timing -- I got this book as a "Secret Santa" gift at work!

    Any typos/misspellings are my fault, not the author's/publishers':

    50. Porsche 924 / 76-85
    49. BMW 318i / 84
    48. Jaguar XJS-C / 88
    47. Cadillac ETC / 00-02
    46. Merkur Scorpio / 87-89
    45. Volvo 262C / 77-81
    44. Nissan NX / 91-93
    43. GM EV1 / 96-99
    42. Jaguar XJ6 / 87-94
    41. Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo / 89
    40. Ferrari 400 / 76-79
    39. Sterling 825/827 / 87-91
    38. Rolls-Royce Camargue / 75-86
    37. Delorean DMC-12 / 81-83
    36. AMC/Renault Alliance / 83-88
    35. Chrysler Imperial / 90
    34. Maserati Biturbo / 84-94
    33. Triumph TR7 / 75-81
    32. Nissan 300ZX / 84-89
    31. Aston Martin Lagonda / 76-85
    30. Subaru XT / 85-91
    29. Chrysler TC by Maserati / 89-91
    28. Ford EXP / 82
    27. Hummer H1 /93-02
    26. Renault Fuego / 82-87
    25. Volkswagen Fox / 87-93
    24. Datsun B210 / 74-78
    23. Chrysler K-car / 81-89
    22. Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta / 79
    21. Pontiac Fiero 2M4 / 84
    20. Geo Metro convertible / 90-93
    19. Hyundai Excel / 86-89
    18. MGB / 62-80
    17. Dodge Dakota convertible / 89-90
    16. Chevrolet Citation / 80-85
    15. AMC Gremlin / 70-78
    14. Suzuki Samurai / 87-89
    13. Cadillac Cimarron / 82-88
    12. Renault LeCar / 72-85
    11. Ford Pinto /71-80
    10. Pontiac Aztek / 2001
    9. Suzuki X90 / 96-98
    8. Chevrolet Lumina APV / 90
    7. Cadillac Seville / 78-82
    6. Chevrolet Vega / 71-77
    5. Volkswagen Beetle / 45-79
    4. Dodge Rampage / 82-84
    3. AMC Pacer /75-80
    2. Yugo GV / 85-91
    1. Ford Mustang II / 1974
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    And it is a really good list.

    Do they list a year range for the 300ZX? Surely he doesn't disparage my beloved 90-96 models.

    Is there a year range for the MGBs?
  • smittynycsmittynyc Member Posts: 289
    I've edited to add the years in question. The preface of the book addresses the fact that certain folks are bound to say "but the 74 with the Conquistador interior package is a classic!", so he claims to have been very specific/particular about his model years.

    It's a great book -- nice photos and hilarious "If this car was . . . " taglines. For example,

    If this car (Chevy Vega) was only a LITTLE bit rusty, it was still on the production line.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    What does the fellow have against MGBs?

    Sure they were really primitive. And they did have Lucas electrics. Other than that they are pretty cool, and despite his quote in the British book, they are pretty fun to drive.
  • faroutfarout Member Posts: 1,609
    There are bad cars for several reasons, and a persons deffination of bad. For me the Yugo was a bad car, but not for the reasons you might think of. The Yugo was made with slave labor! This inexpensive car was bought because of the very cheap cost to the buyer. The real cost was to those made this car and were forced into working for less than $.25 cents an hour!
    The VW was made during WWII with captured salve labor as well. Only inn the last decade or so did VW attempt to make any retribution to those forced to work in production of the VW in war time.
    I have also hat a NSU ITT Prinz that was less than 1,500lbs and was a twin carb that ate up the road. To bad they did not stay in production. Merry Christmas to all.

  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    You drive a Daimler Chrysler vehicle.

    "During the Second World War, Mercedes-Benz is known to have exploited more than 30 000 forced workers and prisoners of war, some of whom would eventually strike and be sent to concentration camps. This working force soon became essential to the production capacity of the company since 1941, and was a key to the construction of the [non-permissible content removed] Germany's Luftwaffe and war machine."

    This doesn't affect my buying decisions, but I figured you should know so you could take the moral high ground and destroy your DC products immediately before you derive any more ill gotten enjoyment from them.
  • ontopontop Member Posts: 279
    Surprised that the Datsun B210 is on that list. Had one for a year. It ran great and I sold it for more than I paid for it. And the Beetle? C'mon.

    The Hyundai Excel was a bigger bust than the Beetle.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Member Posts: 1,280
    IMO, justice was already served, and we should just call it even.

    Yugo's factories were destroyed during their civil war in the '90s (a big part of why we don't see Yugos anymore). We bombed the snot out of German and Japanese factories, regardless of their workforces being comprised of patriots, slaves, or 14 year old schoolgirls (no kidding).

    It's not like I'm going to refuse to buy American cotton products because of that history.

    Now... I'd rather (if I have the buying power at the time) buy cars from people who pay their workers a decent wage.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    there truly were some freaky cars that reached production, weren't there? The Suzuki X90 and Subaru XT leasp out to my eye on that score.

    Then there were the "just plain atrocious", like the Citation, Aztek, and Pinto.

    They NEVER NEVER should have tried to market the Metro as a convertible. All the ones I ever saw were in rags in a matter of months. And with a street value of around $500 as soon as they drove off the lot, no-one ever spent the money to fix the top, or the seats that were ragged inside a few months too.

    I also think the Beetle should have been left off the list. They were cheap to buy and cheap to maintain, ran most of the time, and had the highest potential of any post-1970 car to be fixable at home with a few ordinary tools if they DID break down. Heck, you can still get whole engines for those things 25 years later, for a few hundred dollars. Would one of the worst cars ever have such an enormous following? Are people that terrible at telling good from bad?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • asafonovasafonov Member Posts: 401
    42. Mitsubishi 3000GT

    It was a huge on the outside, cramped on the inside, stretched FWD Eclipse platform pig.

    It was RWD (all AWD), not FWD and was not based on the FWD Eclipse. They did look somewhat similar. Agree on the cramped part.

    15. Datsun Sunny 120Y
    31. Nissan Sunny Coupe

    Wasn't/isn't Sunny a name under which Sentra was or is sold in Europe. From the late 80s/early 90s Sentra was not a bad car.

    23. Subaru Justy

    Very inappropriate for most driving environments in NA, but in Europe, does not sound too bad - even in its 3-cylinder form.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    that the Justy did not make the U.S. list. Sube has had few models that failed as hard as the Justy in the market. Rivalled only by the SVX and XT, in fact. And the SVX isn't on the list either.

    One too many Star Trek fans conspired in the design of the XT, but the SVX was actually a pretty cool, and also durable, 2-door sporty coupe. They should have put bigger tires on it though,. But I digress...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • civiletticiviletti Member Posts: 86
    My wife had a b210 when we married. It handled like a wheelbarrow, and my butt was so numb after driving I wouldn't have felt a wolverine chewing it off.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,681
    really any more of a failure than some of those other wanna-be cars, like the Festiva, Aspire, or LeMans (the fake Korean one, not the "real" one like what I have ;).

    Speaking of which, I'm surprised that some of those haven't popped up on that list. Now from what I heard, the Festiva actually wasn't that bad, just cheap and basic, but the Aspire and LeMans were...although even with these cars I'm sure they have their defenders.

    I'd also nominate the Tempo/Topaz, or at least earlier versions of it. They were pretty nasty. Also, the Lincoln Versailles, not so much that they were a bad car, but they just took trying to fool the public with a tarted up Granada too far. At least the '75-79 Seville was a pretty good road car and hid its Nova origins pretty well. The only good thing about the Versailles is that it has a beefy 9" rear-end that's supposed to be an easy swap into a Fox-based Mustang!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think he's totally wrong about the MGB, especially 1967-1974 models.

    I mean they made 1/2 million of these things, they are now pushing $15,000--$20,000 for totally restored models, and they have a worldwide following. You can even buy an entire new body for one!

    MGBs are a very sturdy and reliable car...I'd definitely enter one in a cross country race with the entire pack on his list.
  • inajoonginajoong Member Posts: 46
    Ford Ranchero(?), the El Camino rip off.
  • lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    You might want to google that. I dug up the facts on that once before in another discussion - too lazy to do it again.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,681
    that out-and-out sucked, though. BTW, the Ranchero actually came out first. Here's a rundown of its history. Now maybe the 70's Rancheros weren't so hot, but they were no worse than anything else out there at the time.
  • streetsterstreetster Member Posts: 23
    What in the world were they thinking when they marketed the aztek. It should be named the ugliest car on the road. I feel like burning any of them i see on the road. What piece of crap. Surely somebody is earning more than they are worth at GM.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    No worse/louder than the ugly Audi or Tribeca grille of late . . . some of the Banglized stuff are/were quite atrocious as well. Once again, GM was ahead of its peers, in uglifying the vehicles . . . apparently, some of the design philosophy was/is that there is no such thing as bad publicity/attention . . . as always, they should have remembered: beware what you wish for.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,681
    cars like the Tribeca, those Audis with the awkward grille, the RX330, Avalanche, Scion xB, Element, etc have the Aztek to thank. I really think that if it wasn't for the Aztek shocking the world into submission, the buying public would be much more discerning. It's kinda like the first time your toddler says a naughty word, or the first time you saw something violent on tv as a kid. The first time it happened it was shocking. Eventually though, you got used to it and came to accept it. At least, judging from the violence on tv and the foul-mouthed little kids that seem to proliferate these days, we've come to accept it! :surprise:
  • carlisimocarlisimo Member Posts: 1,280
    I'm surprised to see the RX330 mentioned.

    But I think the point of these cars is that they're meant to be niche vehicles. If you don't think you can get a universal following like the Camry or Accord, you have to appeal very strongly to people to get a sale. Riskly styling does that. It'll only work with a very few people... but a 50% take rate among 20,000 fans is the same as a 1% take rate among 1,000,000 people. And easier to get.
  • yankeryanker Member Posts: 156
    I got into a 75 maverick and could not see out the windshield ....just roof The Nova was an old unmanageable tub... I also owned a Hornet and a relative had a Gremlin and they were not bad at all. I preferred the 67 Beetle great car and we also owned three Renaults which if they had had adecent set of dealers who could read would still be around today. Since 1984 I've owned 6 Toyotas 4 Subarus and two Hondas. No American junk for me
  • hypnosis44hypnosis44 Member Posts: 483
    I know thw Pinto had a bad rap, but I bought a used Pinto wagon w/50K miles on it and drove it to nearly 100K miles, then sold it for more than I paid having put nothing but basic maintenance and a B&M Shifter system in it. (Ya, I drove it really had but....) It was probably the third or fourth most reliable car I have ever owned of the 40+ I have had since I was 16. The others were 62 Dodge slant 6, 90 Toyota Corolla, 81 Toyota Corona, and amazingly a 70 Chevy Monte Carlo. I drove all of them very hard but always maintainered them.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,681
    IMO, when it comes to style, it's just a "kinder, gentler Aztek". Now overall it may be a much better vehicle...MUCH nicer interior, better drivetrain, quality, luxury, etc. Still, there's a strong similarity in the style. If you play one of those 5 degrees of separation games, or the Kevin Bacon game, or whatever it's called, the Aztek and RX330 don't seem that far apart!

    Now I thought the RX300 was a looker, but the RX330 definitely seems to have some Aztek influence.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,681
    a friend of mine had a '76 station wagon years ago, and I'd driven it and ridden in it a few times, and even followed it to the junkyard on the day it was "retired". At the time, 1994, it didn't seem THAT bad, but maybe my memory is just playing tricks on me these days. However, this past fall I had the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of this nicely preserved 1970 Hornet sedan. Now, I'm 6'3" so maybe my opinion would be different from a shorter driver, but I thought this thing was AWFUL! There was very little legroom up front, and the school bus-sized steering wheel was mounted low, so there wasn't a whole lot of room to slide under it. The gas pedal was much further away than the brake pedal. At least you'd never accidentally step on both at the same time and do an impersonation of an Audi 5000, but I had to twist at a really odd angle just to take my foot from the gas pedal to the brake, because of the steering wheel.

    And why did they still need to put a steering wheel that big in a car this new? I know other makers were using normal-sized steering wheels by then. My '68 and '69 Darts had smaller steering wheels than this, and my '69 Bonneville's steering wheel was about the diameter of your typical modern steering wheel!

    Still, with the exception of that seating position which was horrible for me, maybe they weren't bad cars otherwise. This one was a real stripper model though, so it looked horribly cheap inside. But then again, many entry-level cars back then, even larger ones, were often pretty cheap looking inside.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    Wow, that is one heck of a list. Most of thes vehicle on there I would agree with. I'd also add the Honda Pisspoor to that list and maybe the Acura SLX, although that was a very capable and well built Isuzu...

    The Beetle. That's a shocker. Doesn't it hold the record for most vehicles sold in one year, or over the lifespan?

    Also, while I know Sterling leaves a sour taste in peoples mouths, I had a neighbor who drove a 825 4 door hatch for roughly 250k miles with minimal issues.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,681
    would be a miserable car to have to live with on a daily basis, but they were cheap and easy to work on. Personally, I wouldn't consider them to be reliable, since you had to rebuild the engine like every 60-80,000 miles or whatever, but even there supposedly you undo 3 bolts and it comes right out, put maybe $2.98 into it, and you're on the road again. Okay, maybe not QUITE that simple or cheap, but still a breeze compared to most cars.

    And they do float, for awhile at least, so I'd guess they'd be good in areas that are prone to flooding! :P
  • bumpybumpy Member Posts: 4,425
    And why did they still need to put a steering wheel that big in a car this new?

    That giant steering wheel gives you the extra leverage you need when you don't have a power steering pump to help you out. I'd bet that AMC didn't have the budget to design a separate gear optimized for manual steering. My dad had an '85 Isuzu pickup with manual steering and that thing was a monstrous pain in the butt to turn below 10 mph or so. Isuzu did come up with a friendlier manual gear later on, since my '91 is much easier to turn.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    1.) 1990s Chrysler Products (personal experience)
    2.) Volkswagen products (as of lately (1998-present))
    3.) Late Model Chevy Malibu/Olds Cutlass (now the Classic)
  • martianmartian Member Posts: 220
    Yes, as the 70's wore on, AMC entered its death throes..basically there was no money to upgrade its designs. They (AMC) bet the farm on the PACER (which could have been a very good vehicle-it was designed to accept a GM-built Wankel rotary engine). Unfortunately, GM could never get its rotary to pass the life tests, so AMC wound up shoehorning the ancient 232 straight six engine into the engine compartment. Part of that explains the weird steering wheel size/placement-the 6-cylinder block was so long that the tranny intruded in to the passenger compartment-which explained the long steering column. But for all that, AMC vehicles were reliable and cheap to own-I had one (232 six0 which ran for 122,000 miles-when i traded it. I had lost the title, but the dealer took it anyway-3 years later, i got a call from a dealer in NJ-he wanted to see if i had the title!-he had put another 60k miles on it in the meantime.
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