29+ Cars That Don't Impress, Ranked by Critics
| LAST UPDATE 03/31/2022
Since they were first invented over a century ago, cars have evolved drastically, with every new model attempting to impress consumers. And while some designs were successful, others seem to have been ill-fated...
30. Morris Marina
The Morris Marina sold over 1 million cars in 13 years - quite a number in the 1970s. But although the car earned its manufacturers a large sum in profits, its critics thought it had too many problems.
British Leyland's attempts to cut the cost of manufacturing the car resulted in it having major design and technical flaws. Not only did they compromise the design to use the same doors as the saloon, but they added the windshield wipers the wrong way too!
29. Nissan Micra C+C
Nissan's Micra C+C, which was released in 2005, wasn't deemed their best work by critics. However, they did still have some good things to say about its fuel efficiency, performance, and unique folding roof. But there were some other flaws that critics couldn't turn a blind eye to.
The car's design was considered a "cliché" and was a bit problematic when it came to its automatic gearbox, boot space, and lack of room in the back seats. If all that wasn't enough, when Top Gear's Richard Hammond reviewed the car, he put a bag over his head so no one would see him in it.
28. Hummer H2
There's no denying the popularity of the Hummer brand in the United States. But while the brand seemed to widely appeal to Americans, people were rather critical of the brand's H2 model. It was dubbed "everything wrong with American motoring" - and its performance was considered less than impressive.
Although many were critical of the strange design flaws the car had, it was its performance that knocked it off the list of quality cars. Despite its 6.0-liter V8 engine, the car did a 0-60 mph in 10 seconds, leaving critics to comment that its fuel consumption was "embarrassing." Its price just didn't seem to deliver.
27. Smart ForTwo
Mercedes-Benz believed a compact car would be highly popular among consumers. And while they weren't necessarily wrong, the brand's ForTwo model failed to meet people's requirements. Consumer Reports explained, "This tiny two-seater is good on gas and a snap to park. After that, the positives run out."
The car's strange design - featuring a small trunk and interior that many called "dated" and "old" - wasn't well-received. Fortunately for the brand, the car has since been relaunched and fixed its previous flaws. Today, the model has become one of Smart's most successful models.
26. Suzuki Samurai
Suzuki's Samurai became a commercial success when the brand released the affordable 4x4 in 1985. However, per a 1988 Consumer Reports test, the vehicle was "unsafe" for American roads. The assessment called on Suzuki to replace all 150,000 cars it had already sold and replace them with safer designs.
But after examining the report a little closer, it was discovered that the magazine had altered the results of their testing, leading to a lawsuit by Suzuki for the damage it caused to their brand. Although the two sides eventually settled out of court, its impact led to the end of Suzuki's sales in America.
25. 1967 Renault 10
Although it was once one of the most popular models in the United States, the 1967 Renault 10 wasn't too favored among some critics. Despite being a commercial success, some people believed it would have been a much better hit if it improved some of the design's details.
A closer look at the car by Consumer Reports found that it came up short on some of the more important details. These included brakes that needed replacing more often than normal, screeching tires and a design that made getting in and out of the car a challenge for passengers.
24. Peugeot 1007
The Peugeot 1007, launched by the brand in 2005, was believed by the company to be a great success because of its unique sliding door function. But consumers were rather disappointed by the extra cost that was added because of this feature, considering that the vehicle itself was rather lacking in performance.
The doors significantly increased the weight of the car, making it approximately 1,300 kg (2,866 pounds). Because of the added weight, the vehicle required much more power to run. Not only that, but it made the car a lot louder and harmed its fuel consumption as well. The 1007 was eventually taken off the market in 2009.
23. 1980 Chevrolet Citation
With over 800,000 models of the Chevrolet citation sold in its first year alone, the brand easily proved to be a favorite among people in the early 1980s. But despite its successful sales - and earning Motor Trend's Car of the Year award - several technical flaws brought its success to a premature end.
According to Consumer Reports, the car had several "dangerous engineering flaws" and continued to mention that the model's square design and poor build made it risky to drive. After one year of commercial success, lots of cars were left in stock. And by 1985, the model was taken off the market.
22. 2015 Tesla Model S
Tesla's unique models have made the brand famous among fans and critics around the world - from the creative designs to the innovative thinking. As a matter of fact, the brand's Model S range scored an impressive 103/100 on its Consumer Reports test!
But it wasn't long before consumers began to encounter reliability problems just months after making their purchase, which ultimately cost the vehicle its success. Unfortunately, Consumer Reports had to eventually change the model's rating to "Not Recommended," which remained so until the car's problems were fixed.
21. 2001 Mitsubishi Montero
Mitsubishi's 2001 Montero SUV made an impressive debut when consumers were first introduced to the car. It received positive feedback for its size, durability, safety, and design. But Consumer Reports soon revealed that the car had a dangerously high rollover rate when it turned at any speed over 37 mph.
Unfortunately, the magazine was ultimately forced to rate the car "Not Acceptable," which led to consumers having reservations about the vehicle. Mitsubishi eventually had to take the vehicle off the market in 2006, making it one of the brand's biggest commercial fails to date.
20. 2014 Honda Fit
The release of the Honda Fit was quickly met with initial success. Critics described the car as "one of the most reliable, economical, and fun-to-drive subcompacts on the market." Consumer Reports didn't have anything negative to say about the vehicle - that is, until the launch of the 2014 remodel.
It scored so poorly on an examination by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that Consumer Reports had no other choice but to take the car off its "Recommended" list. After Honda made a few changes to fix the problems with the design, a 2015 model gave the car back its initial success.
19. 2010 Lexus GX 460
Buyers were pretty excited to purchase the 2010 Lexus GX 460 when it was first released. But after a test that was later done by Consumer Reports, it turned out the car tended to roll over. A test on a second car of the model brought about the same results, which led to the magazine giving it a "Safety Risk: Don't Buy" rating.
Toyota was shocked by the tests' results and was quick to rectify the mistakes by making a stability control adjustment on the vehicles. After the changes were made to the car, Consumer Reports changed the vehicle's rating back to "safe." However, the change, unfortunately, didn't seem to convince too many buyers.
18. 1957 Dodge Royal
When Chrysler's 1957 Dodge Royal was first released, it certainly was unlike no other car on the market. It wasn't long before the vehicle became a global phenomenon, and competitors quickly realized they had to step up their game. However, soon after making their purchases, consumers began to notice several problems.
Several complaints were reportedly sent to Consumer Reports about water leakage in the car and trunk, missing bolts, squeaky noises, and rusty suspension components. The brand was infamously considered unreliable for decades following the release of the report.
17. SsangYong Rodius
The Korean manufacturing company SsangYong released the Rodius model in the early 2000s in an attempt to boost their sales. They originally thought the car would improve their competition with larger manufacturers. But critics ended up finding the car to be one of the strangest-looking vehicles on the market.
The model's design was inspired by luxury yachts, and its designer, Ken Greenley, believed it would be attractive to consumers. However, it turned out that consumers were actually not in favor of the car's appearance. And its bulky weight led to its performance being limited.
16. Subaru 360
Following the success of the Volkswagen Beetle, American buyers were thrilled to hear that Subaru’s competitive product, the Subaru 360, was on the market. The vehicle was the brand’s first in the market and already had an edge on the Volkswagen design - being smaller in size and weighing less than the Beetle.
But an investigation by Consumer Reports found the car to be “the most unsafe car in America.” It ultimately caused a lot of trouble for Subaru since many dealers began to search for ways to get rid of their stock. But luckily, Subaru managed to recover from the rough patch and is quite popular across the country today.
15. 1975 Zagato Zele/Elcar 2000
Although it’s not available in many regions, Zagato has designed some of the most special and reliable cars in the world. It was the first globally to produce electric cars, which were called Zagato ele or Elcar 2000 in the United States. But critics were quick to point out several flaws in its design.
According to Consumer Reports, the car’s 32 km range per charge dropped to a mere 18 km in temperatures below 4°C (39.2°F). Due to the fact that each charge needed to be 8 hours, this flaw made it challenging for consumers to use the vehicle. Because of this, the vehicle was ultimately taken off the market.
14. REVA G-Wiz
REVA’s G-Wiz model didn’t prove to be as successful as the brand had originally thought. Although it could fit two adults and two kids, the car lacked the power to move more than one person. And while the brand’s later models gave consumers an improved performance, people still remained critical of the lack of safety features.
Although critics described the car as a “potential rolling coffin at any speed over 30mph,” the company didn’t begin working to improve that aspect of the vehicle until 2008. But it had lots of success in London and, until 2009, went on to become the best-selling electric car in the world!
13. Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
Shortly after its release, the Volkswagen Beetle became one of the world’s most popular cars - and its success made other manufacturers want to copy its design. One of these brands was Chrysler, whose PT Cruiser Convertible aimed at a more retro look that eventually left it with a poor design.
By removing the roof, the vehicle no longer had the structural support that was offered by that part of the car. Because of this, the brand had to add a roll hoop in the center of the car. This installment, unfortunately, didn’t win the approval of buyers, and the car was taken off the market after two years.
12. 1968 AMC Ambassador SST
Consumers had big expectations from AMC’s Ambassador SST when it was launched in 1968. It was the first American car ever with standard air conditioning, and its popularity forced the brand to speed up its production process to meet the demands of consumers.
But this idea quickly turned out to be ill-advised since the first few vehicles to come out of this process were poorly built. A test by Consumer Reports revealed that one fuel filler neck installed in the vehicle let gasoline spill out of the car during heavy brake testing. The magazine rated the car "Not Acceptable."
11. Reliant Robin
The Reliant Robin became famous for appearing in Mr. Bean, which ultimately led to the commercial success of the Reliant brand in the early 1970s. Its design kept the car light, which allowed it to quickly accelerate to high speeds and take turns with ease.
But in 2013, the vehicle, dubbed the “plastic pig,” was declared the worst British car in history. It had several flaws - and quite significant ones as well, with the most major issue being that the steering wheel kept falling off. But it nevertheless sold successfully, also once being a favorite of Princess Anne’s.
10. 1986 Yugo GV
Businessman Malcolm Bricklin was fond of the idea of selling an inexpensive and compact car like the Subaru 360 and eventually began importing the Yugo GV to sell it as the cheapest car in the U.S. However, it wasn’t long before the car was revealed to be one of the most dangerous in the market.
Consumer Reports were relentless when they called the vehicle “a barely assembled bag of nuts and bolts.” It became clear that a cheap price wasn’t going to cut it for consumers and that concerns for safety were enough for buyers to avoid purchasing this car.
9. 1978 Dodge Omni
Chrysler’s Dodge Omni was quite a commercial success and practically saved the brand from failure. Upon its release in 1978, the car famously became America's first front-wheel drive hatchback and won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award. But that didn’t stop critics from pointing out the flaws.
The vehicle scored a rating of “Not Acceptable” on Consumer Reports after the magazine conducted tests that revealed the car’s unsatisfactory production materials, poor safety record, and ambiguous steering. But despite this criticism, more than 3 million vehicles were sold between 1977 and 1990.
8. Suzuki X-90
Suzuki’s vision for their X-90 model, which was released between 1995 and 1997, was that it would be one of the few affordable two-seater vehicles in the market. However, the vehicle’s awkward design made it a failure by the brand, and critics called it one of the worst cars ever.
The vehicle was heavily criticized for its 1.6-liter (0.42-gallon) gas engine, its four or rear-wheel drive, and its five-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Critics also criticized the way it swerved through corners and the small trunk space it had. It came as no surprise that the car was soon pulled from the market.
7. 1957 Buick Roadmaster
Buicks remain very popular in the American market today, but its popularity certainly is not thanks to the 1957 Buick Roadmaster. Although the brand was applauded for this model’s unique design, it was favored less than the competing contemporary vehicles in the industry at the time.
Consumer Reports called out the car’s “lackluster build quality and too-soft ride,” claiming it didn’t evolve quickly enough to compete with other vehicles in the “High-Priced Car Group.” However, despite all that, the car is still considered one of the most iconic vintage vehicles in history.
6. Cadillac Escalade
When one thinks of big SUVs, the Cadillac Escalade is one car that probably crosses their mind. The car's big grill, luxury trimmings, and V8-powered engine make it one of the top vehicles buyers consider when they want to purchase an SUV. But Consumer Reports claims this Cadillac is an SUV that buyers should stay away from.
According to the magazine, the car's "lack of refinement and an interior that's not known to take wear-and-tear well" makes it difficult to compete with other cars in the market that are similar in price. However, the Cadillac Escalade remains a popular choice among SUV buyers today.
5. Pontiac Aztek
Although it's been nearly two decades since the Pontiac Aztek was released, it's earned itself a negative reputation amongst critics. In addition to its expensive price, the car's design and interior led to it being rated as one of the worst cars in history.
Consumer Reports once mentioned that the car was so bad, they were embarrassed to be spotted driving it - so they did most of their testing of the car at night. Another magazine to disapprove of the car was Time Magazine, which added the vehicle to its list of the worst inventions in history.
4. 1963 DAF Daffodil
The 1963 DAF Daffodil made history by being the first car ever to have a Continuously Variable Transmission - technology that is today used by almost every car manufacturer. But despite this significant achievement by the vehicle, it turned out to be not so pleasant to drive.
While conducting a test on the car, Consumer Reports recorded the car went from 0-60 mph at an acceleration speed of 28.9 seconds. This speed earned it the title as the slowest accelerating car ever tested by the magazine - not the best vehicle to use on the roads.
3. Ferrari Mondial 8
Although the name "Ferrari" is associated today with luxurious Italian cars, this brand has also made a few mistakes over the years. But possibly its worst model ever was the Ferrari Mondial 8. Compared to other luxury sports cars, it had a bad power-to-weight ratio and an accelerating speed of 10 seconds from 0-60mph.
Additionally, the electrical work on the car was quite poor, which led to the car's system failing - usually accompanied by the smell of burning wires. Being marketed as a cheaper alternative to other sports cars turned out to cause some damage to the luxury brand.
2. Cimarron by Cadillac
The 1980s saw luxury small cars become a trend, and apparently so did General Motors. Attempting to become a part of the action, they added a few features to their J-platform models. After working to improve the car's interior and adding some new accessories, they introduced it as Cimarron by Cadillac.
But the luxury vehicle didn't have what it takes to compete with other small cars. Its average engine and standard performance materials did little to help the Cimarron win over critics and buyers who didn't believe it had the luxury and power of a Cadillac. The car, considered a failure, was taken off the market in 1988.
1. Ford Pinto
One of the leaders of the automotive industry, Ford has created some well-known vehicles over the decades. But it's also tripped and fallen a couple of times as well. One of its biggest flops was the Ford Pinto, which was made with cheap materials that didn't go unnoticed by critics.
The vehicle is listed as one of the worst automobiles ever because of its low-reliability score. It also became famous for easily catching fire in rear-end collisions, which led to the Ford Pinto memo: the motor industry's "most notorious paper trails."