There have been some pretty terrible cars made throughout the history of the automotive industry. They’re the ones that have earned a reputation for being unsafe, unreliable, and just all-around awful to drive. Because of their poor performance, these cars have been some of the biggest flops in automotive history.
Although plenty of bad vehicles have been made over the years, the following stand out as the worst of the worst.
10 Worst Cars of All Time
1. The AMC Gremlin
American Motors Corporation produced this car from 1970 to 1978. It was an economy car designed to be small and inexpensive. However, it was also poorly made and had many mechanical problems, including easy-rusting body panels, emission control issues, and monstrous fuel consumption.
The Gremlin was also known for having a very cramped interior and uncomfortable seats. People hated the design, which looked like the designer changed their idea in mind midway. It was so bad customers often referred to it as the “lemon,” which is now a common term for a bad car.
Although AMC used to be big, producing some of the best muscle cars early on, it closed after releasing some pretty bad cars; not the least of which was the Gremlin.
2. The Trabant
This East German car was made with cheap materials and was notoriously underpowered. It was produced from 1958 to 1990 and was the only car in East Germany during that time, so people had no other choice but to drive them.
Its two-stroke engine was very inefficient and emitted a lot of pollution. The body was made of compressed cardboard, making it very flimsy. Many Trabants caught on fire, and the gearshift mechanism was so poorly designed it was often referred to as “the world’s worst.”
3. The Chevrolet Vega
The Chevrolet Vega was another economy car produced in the 1970s. It was known for its poor build quality and reliability problems, including engine and fuel tank fires, leaks, and rusting doors and fenders. One of its best features is that the tires were designed to fall off while driving, a severe safety issue.
The Vega is also notorious for overheating engine coolant, which would cause the engine to seize up, melt, and distort. This often happened without warning, leaving drivers stranded on the side of the road.
4. The Yugo
The Yugo was a subcompact car manufactured in Yugoslavia in 1980. It attempted to bring Western-style cars to the Eastern Bloc, but it was a complete failure. The Yugo was poorly made, with many design flaws and engineering flaws.
It was so slow that at its top speed, it crawled the road at 60 mph in 14 seconds. When subjected to a crash test, the Yugo fell apart, and sales plummeted soon afterward. This particularly bad car was so bad that it became the butt of jokes on Saturday Night Live and other TV shows.
5. The Cadillac Cimarron
Although Cadillac is now known for making luxury cars, in the 1980s, it tried to produce a luxury car called the Cimarron. The problem was that it was based on the Chevrolet Cavalier, a cheap economy car.
The Cimarron was very overpriced for what it was, a dressed-up Cavalier. It was also poorly made, with many of the same reliability issues as the Vega. It was a dark time for Cadillac, and the Cimarron is often considered one of the worst cars ever made.
6. The Ford Pinto
The Ford Pinto was a subcompact car produced in the 1970s. It’s infamous for busting into flames when rear-ended due to a design flaw in the gas tank. This resulted in numerous deaths and injuries, and Ford knew about the problem but decided not to fix it because it would be too expensive.
The Pinto is just one of the bad classic cars with many reliability issues. Ford got stuck with the joke, “Pinto leaves you with that warm feeling,” due to the 500-900 deaths from collisions with the vehicle. It was discontinued in 1980 as Ford’s worst car, and they have never made a car like it since.
7. The DeLorean DMC-12
If you’ve seen any of the “Back to the Future” movies, then you’ve seen the DeLorean DMC-12. It’s famous for being the time-traveling car in the film, but it was a terrible car in real life.
The DeLorean was plagued with quality control issues, and many cars had to be recalled for repairs. It was also underpowered and overpriced. Only 9,000 were ever made, and it’s now considered a collector’s item.
8. The Pontiac Aztek
The Pontiac Aztek is often considered the ugliest car ever made. It’s boxy and odd-looking, produced from 2001 to 2005. People avoid it like the plague, which came out on top of a 100 ugliest cars list.
9. The Jaguar X-Type
The Jaguar X-Type is a compact executive car produced from 2001 to 2009. It’s often considered one of the worst cars ever made because of its poor build quality and reliability issues. It was based on the Ford Mondeo, a much cheaper car, but it was still overpriced.
The X-Type was also known for its poor handling, which made it dangerous to drive. Many people consider it to be a big mistake made by Jaguar, and it’s often referred to as the “Baby Jag.” It’s no wonder the company discontinued it in 2009.
10. The Chevrolet Chevette
Finally, many people consider the Chevrolet Chevette one of the worst cars ever made. It was a subcompact car produced from 1975 to 1987 and was very underpowered. The engine was so small that it couldn’t even power the car up hills. It was also uncomfortable, with hard plastic seats and no leg room. The Chevette was a cheap car, but it was still overpriced for what it was.
Worst British Cars Ever Made
Many great British cars were made over the years. From Rolls-Royces to Jaguars, Britain has produced some fine automobiles. But not all British vehicles are created equal. Some were complete lemons. Take a look at some of the worst cars ever made in Britain.
1. The Hillman Imp
The Hillman Imp was a subcompact car produced by the Rootes Group in the 1960s. It was one of the first British cars to use a front-wheel drive layout. The car should have been a great vehicle, but it was unreliable and had some quality control issues.
2. The Morris Marina
From 1971 to 1980, British Leyland produced the Morris Marina. It was supposed to be a reliable, affordable car to buy and maintain. However, it was plagued with reliability issues from the start.
The company poorly made the car due to being rushed into production. It also had a lot of design flaws, which made it uncomfortable and unsafe to drive.
3. The Reliant Robin
This is one of the most iconic British car designs, but it’s also one of the worst British car ever made. The Reliant Robin is a three-wheeled car produced from 1973 to 2001. The vehicle was very poorly made, and it was often referred to as “the plastic car.” It was also hazardous to drive, as it tended to roll over due to the single wheel at the front.
4. The Austin Allegro
British Leyland produced the Austin Allegro from 1973 to 1983. It was supposed to be a small, affordable car. However, its wheels detach randomly, it has a lot of electrical issues, and its engine does not fit in the car properly.
5. The CityRover
A popular car in the UK in the early 2000s was the CityRover. Rover produced it, but it was actually a re-badged version of the Tata Indica. The car looked bland, as it was just a box on wheels. It was also poorly built due to cost-cutting measures by Rover. The vehicle was eventually discontinued in 2005.
Worst Electric Cars
Electric cars are also not immune to being terrible. There have been some real stinkers over the years that have been car-buying disasters. Even though electric cars are the future of the auto industry, there have been some duds along the way. Here are some of the worst electric cars ever made.
1. The Coda Sedan
The Coda Sedan was an electric vehicle produced from 2012 to 2013. It was ugly, had a range of only 80 miles, and was very slow. It wasn’t an affordable electric car, with a price tag of over $40,000. The Coda Sedan was a complete failure because it was unreliable, had quality issues, and apparently overheated.
2. The Fisker Karma
The Fisker Karma was an electric car produced from 2011 to 2012. It was a stylish car, but it was very unreliable. Because of missed production lines due to disputes over the car technology used, the car was very expensive, and the company went bankrupt.
3. Mini Cooper SE
If you love the Mini Cooper, you’ll hate the electric version. The Mini Cooper SE is a terrible car. It’s slow, has a range of only 114 miles, and is very expensive. It’s also not as fun to drive as the regular Mini Cooper.
4. The Toyota RAV4 EV
The Toyota RAV4 EV was an electric car produced from 1997 to 2003. It was a decent car, but many owners complained that it was unreliable due to transmission issues that made the vehicle very jerky to drive.
5. The Chevy Volt
Finally, we have the Chevy Volt. The company produced this electric car from 2010 to 2015. It’s an affordable car, well-built, and fast-charging. But they recalled them due to a battery fire risk, which makes it one of the worst electric cars ever made.
Worst Cars to Buy in 2022
If you want to buy a car this year, you should avoid the following models. Not all of them are bad per se, but they all have significant problems that make them a bad purchase. Learn from other people’s mistakes, and don’t buy any of these cars!
1. The Ford EcoSport
Despite being a popular sport utility vehicle, the Ford EcoSport has many problems. It’s unreliable, has poor fuel economy, and is uncomfortable to drive. There is also a lack of safety features, which is a big concern.
2. Mercedes-Benz GLE
It’s easy to be drawn in by the Mercedes-Benz GLE’s luxurious features. However, it’s an inferior car with engine problems, bad steering wheel experience, complicated infotainment controls, and a jarring ride. No wonder it had 11 recalls in 2020.
3. Toyota Mirai
This is an excellent vehicle considered a significant innovation in the auto industry. However, the problem lies with access to refueling stations. The Toyota Mirai is a hydrogen fuel cell car, and there are very few refueling stations for these types of vehicles, most of them stationed within California.
4. Chrysler 300
Like the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the Chrysler 300 is a luxurious car. But it’s not worth the money, as it has a dated design, underpowered engine (compared to vehicles its size), and subpar tech system that can compete with other luxury brands.
5. Jeep Compass
The Jeep Compass is a popular car but has received many complaints. It’s unreliable, refuses to start, noisy when braking, and has an uncomfortable ride, especially when raining, as the water can seep inside. This is one car you should stay away from.
The Lamest Cars in History
There are many other bad cars, but these are some of the worst. If you’re looking to buy a car, do your research first. An excellent start is by checking out reliable sources like Consumer Reports. Stay away from vehicles that have been recalled or have had a lot of complaints. It’s also a good idea to read expert reviews before deciding.
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from friends or family; read online forums to see what other people say about specific cars. Many people have had bad car experiences, so you’re not alone. The best way to avoid buying a lemon is to do your homework. With a bit of research, you can avoid making a wrong purchase that will cost you a lot of money in the long run.