The automotive industry is awash with iconic car models. However, for every good car, many are just as bad. Be it their design, safety, or aesthetics; these automotive lemons are so bad you can't make lemonade out of them. Let's review the 20 worst cars ever made; they probably shouldn't have existed.
20. Ford Pinto
When car companies manufacture cars, safety is of uttermost importance. But Ford didn’t have safety as their concern when designing the Ford Pinto. The fuel tank placement meant a rear-ender could spark the car and set it in flames. Ford quickly discovered the problem in crash tests. But Ford decided it would be cheaper to pay off claims than to fix the car. After paying $50 million in claims, Ford finally recalled the Pinto. If you find a Ford Pinto on the cheap used car lots, steer clear.
19. AMC Pacer
The AMC Pacer is a car whose every sentence starts with "sorry." The car was so terrible that it was discontinued after four years in production. The AMC Pacer had arguably the worst design, with extra length on the door. The archaic six-cylinder engine eked out an underwhelming performance. Parents used to park the AMC Pacer blocks away from their kids' schools to avoid the inevitable embarrassment.
18. Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
Chrysler attempted a retro exercise on the PT Convertible but failed in every way. Getting rid of the roof meant compromising the structural integrity. The Chrysler engineers added a roll hoop that was horrible. The front end resembled the Plymouth Prowler, with hard plastics that further dented the aesthetics. The Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible is not a convertible in which you want to be seen. The car is also offering a history lesson on how not to design a convertible. The Chrysler PT Cruiser was equally a horrible car.
17. Chevrolet SSR
The Chevrolet SSR is another resident of the 20 worst cars of all time. The Chevy had an unusual pickup/convertible design. Despite the quirky shape, it had impressive numbers. The Chevy SSR clocked 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds thanks to the 6.0-liter V-8 engine making 390 horsepower. The car drove better than it looked. In hindsight, the Chevy SSR was a car ahead of its time. It lasted from 2003 to 2006 since buyers couldn't come to terms with the huge fenders and other strange-looking features.
16. Plymouth Prowler
The Plymouth Prowler is easily the best sports car you could own in the 80s. It could hit 0-60 mph in less than six seconds which is sports car worthy. However, the Prowler is an eyesore. The almost V-shaped front end and extending rear bumpers resemble cars in the Wacky Races. The Prowler was a strange car but not boring. For plain-looking Plymouth cars, check out the Plymouth Caravelle.
15. Yugo GV
Produced in communist-led Yugoslavia, the Yugo GV or the 1980s Yugo made it to the American markets. It was a cheap car, but you certainly got what you paid for. The car was bulky, had no comfortable interior, and had to pay extra for carpeting under your feet. The Yugo was solely focused on getting you from place to place. Even its motion was lethargic, with a 55-hp 1.1-liter engine powering the car. JD Power ranked it as the lowest for customer satisfaction back in 1986, according to Fidelity. The Yugo GV’s unreliability because of constant breakdowns couldn’t be worse. But it was. The exterior had zero imagination, and the car looked like a tank.
14. Suzuki X-90
Some engineers in the 90s had an idea to create an off-road sports car. The result was the Suzuki X-90. The car was so diabolical you couldn’t even figure out which end was the front and rear. The design wasn't the X-90's only drawback, as it had lethargic acceleration and struggled to reach 60 mph from a standstill. The awful acceleration is due to the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that made 94 horsepower. Because the X-90’s high center of gravity couldn't handle sharp bends at high speeds, Suzuki stopped manufacturing cars in the US which is no surprise owing to the horror show the X-90 pulled. The Suzuki X-90 was removed from the market just after 18 months.
13. Cadillac Cimarron
We aren’t going to lie; Cadillac had us in the first half. You expect more from America's luxury car manufacturers like Cadillac. But in the 80s, Cadillac was short of ideas and redecorated the Chevrolet Cavalier with tacky fabric in an attempt to compete with BMW. The Chevrolet Cavalier was already a bad car with an underpowered four-cylinder engine. We hope Cadillac offered the Cimarron’s engineer a job in another field other than automotive.
12. Aston Martin Cygnet
The Cygnet was meant to answer the fuel emission requirements in Europe. The compact car has a $50,000 price tag, but it did little to justify it. With a cheap interior and underwhelming performances, Aston Martin halted its production just after two years. The Cygnet would have been the perfect car if they injected the Aston Martin DNA into it.
11. Saturn Ion
The 2003 Saturn Ion has been dubbed "the second worst car in the millennium." It had a cheap interior with hard plastics that didn't comfort any driver. You could get your foot stuck in the spaces between the pedals, or the car could not start due to its faulty ignition system. In February 2014, General Motors recalled over 2.6 million cars, with every Saturn Ion ever produced present in this recall. The Saturn Ion was the final nail in the coffin for Saturn as Honda and Toyota inherited its sedan market.
10. Ford Mustang II
The American muscle car battle has always been Chevy vs. Ford, particularly the Camaro vs. Mustang. The Ford Mustang II was a Pinto on stilts. Car enthusiasts happily ignored the second-generation Mustang, favored only by those seeking to save at the pump. The drawback to the second-generation Mustang was its 88-hp four-cylinder engine which didn’t qualify as muscle in any category. However, Ford had made far worse cars in the 70s and 80s, so the Mustang II got lost in the crowd.
9. Reva G-Wiz
Awful safety ratings were the hallmarks of the Reva G-Wiz. Produced in India, the Reva G-Wiz was intended to be an affordable four-seater. But the design ended up eking out a cramped car that could hardly seat one person. It could reach top speeds of 50 mph. However, when you approached 30 mph, you could hear the death bells chyme since it had twitchy handling at top speeds. Its mileage was a teeny 50 miles meaning you would spend most of the time charging rather than driving. Also, the car was loosely fitted, meaning it could rain inside through the doors. Simply put, the structural integrity was jelly and driving at top speeds the sun. The Reva G-Wiz was a disaster waiting to happen and lasted 12 years in the market, ending its run in 2012.
8. Austin Allegro
British Leyland is arguably the worst thing that has ever happened to the automobile industry in the UK. Two horrendous cars remind us of the British Leyland, the Morris Marina, and the Austin Allegro. However, the Allegro left its mark the wrong way. It was a bulbous car with lines you had to get used to. A range of asthmatic engines and overpriced trims characterized the Austin Allegro. The front axle would occasionally collapse because of bearing failure. The design was also bland, considering it was trying to compete with real head-turners in the late seventies. Despite its massive failures, the Allegro sold 650,000 models.
7. Polones FS0
Thanks to Fiat, the Polones isn’t the worst car ever. The Polones FS0 is a spinoff of the FS0 Polski Fiat 125p. The Polones carried over the chassis and made tweaks to its styling. According to Lemon Cars, the manufacturer brought iconic designers like Giorgetto Giugiaro and Walter De Silva to design the lines. On paper, it seemed like an eye-catching car. Upon production, the car rubbed users the wrong way owing to its underpowered 1.3 liter and 1.5-liter engines. The extended front and rear overhangs meant the car lacked symmetry. The Polones FS0 and the Yugo GV are classic examples of failed communist engineering.
6. Citroen C3 Pluriel
Let’s not even talk about the styling. The C3 Pluriel is one of those terrible designs you have after a drinking spree. The car came with a manual for assembling and disassembling the roof. Even worse, once you disassembled the roof, you couldn't fit the parts in the car. Overall, the car was a joke, and you'd earn more street cred with a motorbike than the Citroen C3 Pluriel. Now to the design, the C3 Pluriel was a pickup, saloon, and convertible rolled in one. It did not excel in any of those fields. The interior leaked at times, and it had very cheap furnishing.
5. Reliant Robin
Today's kids think Mr. Beans' car is one of the unique cars to exist. Let's take a quick trip back to 1973. The Reliant Robin had three wheels and was the most unusual car of its time. Powered by a 750-cc engine, the Reliant Robin's steering wheel would pop off at speeds above 25 mph and could easily overturn. The Reliant Robin was voted the worst British car of all time, according to the Independent. It was a fun car and had a devoted fanbase. But if you owned one of these, you had to drive in a straight line since corners would topple the car.
4. BMW Isetta
You may be asking who makes a one-door, one-cylinder engine car. Well, Bavarian Motor Works did. The BMW Isetta was a crumple zone with an underpowered one-cylinder engine issuing 12 hp. There was no worse feeling than being caught driving this car in 1955. It had no reverse gear, and if you parked in tight spots, you had trouble getting out.
The Trabant was East Germany’s reply to the VW Beetle. But you have to question whether the designers were on drugs. The Trabant was a two-cylinder, two-stroke engine car that enjoyed its time before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The car’s body panels fell off at high speeds.
The precaution against collecting car parts on the road is that you can rarely reach top speeds thanks to an 18-hp engine. The design was a complete afterthought, and the car lacked basic interior features. When it ran, it smoked, and you had a woozy driving feeling. Ask the Trabant's designers, “where’s the brake light? Where are the indicators?” “You don’t need them,” they would answer. The awful safety metrics in a car made of old clothes and glue could easily have been the second leading cause of death after World War II.
2. Chevrolet Vega
There was probably no worse feeling than being a “Vega loser” back in the 70s. The car couldn’t hold any oil and even fell apart after just 8 miles into its test run. Initially, it had been named Motor Trend Car of the Year, but due to premature engine failure, even junkyards couldn’t buy them. The Vega’s oil issues meant the car smoked worse than an Iraqi bomb and guzzled a lot. Sadly, GM knew about the problems but still manufactured the car. There’s American capitalism for you.
1. Pontiac Aztek
It is pointless to argue. The Pontiac Aztek is easily the worst car ever built, and you can see why. When GM launched the Aztek in 2001, car enthusiasts tried to take in the weird nostrils, glaring fuel tank door, a grill bar at the rear, and plastic cladding. Even Walter White couldn’t make this car look cool in Breaking Bad. The Aztek is a disastrous combination of an SUV, crossover, pickup, and hatchback.
It looks like four cars in one, and the plastic cladding further identifies its disparate design. When you drive the Aztek, you quickly notice the exterior is its best feature. Pesky handling and limited visibility in the Aztek mean the car is unreliable and dangerous to drive. The Aztek was so bad it killed Pontiac’s 84-year-old heritage as a car manufacturing company.
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Written by Benjamin Smith
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