Back in the late â80s, the ex-Yugoslav car manufacturer, Crvena Zastava, made a brave attempt to enter the American market with a compact model they called the Yugo. The Yugo was a three-door hatchback they built on a Fiat 127 base, but with some improvements in design and technology. Better yet, it was inexpensive and easy to maintain. So, why you shouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole?
The reason was simple.
It was the poor driving dynamics and quality. Both were horrible even by standards of the day. The engine produced 65 HP it sent to the front wheels over a badly assembled five-speed manual gearbox. The performance was painfully slow, but that is not the worst thing. The fit and finish were also bad, making the car, inside and out, a bad idea.
Fiat 500 L
At first, it looked like Fiat scored big with its cute and compact 500 and triumphant return to the American market. And they came up with the 500 L, a car they built on the extended platform. It came with the same basic design of the front end, a longer wheelbase and more interior space. In theory, it should have worked, but in real life, it turned out to be a disaster.
The 500 L is slow, not especially well-equipped or practical and worse yet, it’s ugly. Also, it had quality and reliability issues, and the interior materials were poor. Most of all, the 500 L was expensive since its base price is over $20,000. For these reasons, you should avoid this car by any means.
Pontiac revealed the Aztek in 2000 and it was a good idea, on paper, at least. This mid-size crossover model with sharp new styling, a decent engine lineup and plenty of interior space was a modern concept at the time. The plan was sound, except for one thing, and that was the design.
Somehow, the Pontiac designers managed to draw and push to production one of the ugliest cars they ever made. Just look at it. Even from this distance and 17 years after the first Aztek saw the light of day, it is still a car with a design that makes no sense whatsoever. The pure ugliness of the car and bad fit and finish quality sealed the fate of the Aztek.
The French company Renault thought it would be a great idea to send its new supermini they called the Renault 5 to America. Painfully slow, strangely designed, small and badly put together, the Le Car soon became a subject of jokes. And drivers considered it the worst choice in the compact car class.
Renault struggled to sell them, so eventually, they pulled out of the market. Despite the success of the Renault 5 in Europe, the Le Car was a terrible failure in the eyes of American car enthusiasts.
Ford presented the Pinto in the early ’70s. It was popular due to its low price, fairly nice design and a long list of options. They equipped it with economical four and six-cylinder engines and the overall quality was decent.
So, what was the problem?
While engineering the car, Ford somehow left out any protection to its rear-mounted fuel tank. And because the Pinto lacked this feature, it became apparent when people started getting killed in fiery crashes due to the leaking fuel tanks.
The Cobalt is still a common sight on the American roads. In fact, it was one of the most popular and affordable compact cars when Chevrolet introduced it. So, why are customers running away from them now? The problem was the faulty ignition switch they used in the Chevrolet Cobalt and other models.
In some cases, during the drive, the car would shut down completely. This caused the driver to lose control and eventually crash. So, when they revealed this problem, people started disposing of their Cobalt for safety reasons.
Back in the â80s, GM decided to introduce a small Cadillac with a lower price to attract more customers. The problem was that Cadillac didn’t have a small platform. So, they turned to Chevrolet to borrow their modest Cavalier chassis, along with the small, slow four-cylinder engine.
The sales were poor and Cadillac was under fire from brand loyalists for ruining their image. All over the industry, the Cimarron was a laughing stock. And, it has remained until this day one of worst examples of downsizing ever.
Oldsmobile Cutlass Diesel
Back in the late â70s, in an attempt to introduce a more fuel-efficient power plant, Oldsmobile introduced the 4.3-liter V8 diesel engine as an option for the Cutlass line. Soon, this model was a subject to an enormous amount of recalls and engine swaps.
Simply, the 4.3-liter had the tendency to explode and shatter during normal driving. Although the passengers weren’t hurt, the car was unusable. It was only good for scrap, so car buyers quickly realized that buying the Olds with such a unit was a big mistake.
Volkswagen Passat TDI
Volkswagen was selling its diesel-powered cars in America for some time, so they offered several models. And the buyers loved the economy and smooth running of those 2.0-liter turbo diesel engines. But, then “Dieselgate” happened. Apparently, Volkswagen was caught cheating on their emissions tests.
Although they told consumers diesel cars were a cleaner alternative, they were polluting the environment more than regular gasoline powered cars. This massively backfired and customers started disposing of its diesel-powered Passats, forcing the company to stop selling them in the U.S.
The ATS is a great car with a modern design. It is quality built and has power, style, and an attractive appearance. So why is it such a sales flop? Well, this has nothing to do with the car itself, but with the marketing and the car class. Cadillac didn’t see how most sedans were on their way out while being slowly replaced by SUVs.
Even though the ATS is a good proposition in its class, it is not interesting to the modern buyer. Cadillac is discontinuing the model and closing its production lines, laying off workers. Although that’s sad news, it shows the direction the car industry is heading.
Honda wanted a piece of the action in the hybrid car segment, so they introduced the Insight. Interestingly, it was a direct copy and competitor to the Toyota Prius. The Prius even managed to win thousands of car owners. In fact, it became the dominant model in its segment.
However, over time, the Insight failed miserably and sold just a few thousand examples. The reason was that the Insight was less powerful, slower and uglier than the Prius. So, most people just didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Unfortunately for Honda, the Insight was a major disappointment.
The 200 has a cool design and looks modern, which are great accomplishments in a class filled with interesting designs. However, the quality is lacking, so the reliability score is less than average. Also, rear passengers have a problem with comfort. Also, the 2.4-liter four-cylinder is not a fast or powerful engine.
Automotive journalists have published lots of articles explaining why the 200 failed to hit its mark. Unfortunately, after the 2017 model year, this car was discontinued. Chrysler fans hope they will replace it with something truly remarkable to repair their damaged reputation. In the meantime, you should ignore this car.
The Ford Explorer was one of the cars that defined the SUV segment on the American market. Initially, it was a successful model. But soon the public realized this car was potentially deadly, so nobody wanted to have anything with it. The early â90s models tended to roll over.
Apparently, the Explorer wasn’t stable at sharp turns and at high speeds. And that caused numerous crashes, deaths and injuries.
During the mid-2000s retro craze, the Chevrolet development team came up with the crazy idea to produce a nostalgic two-seater convertible pickup with muscle car performance. The result was the SSR, a vehicle that looked unlike any other car on the market, but not necessarily in a good way. The 1950s-inspired design didn’t work well, so the SSR looked just plain odd.
Despite many efforts to make the SSR appealing to their intended audience, Chevrolet only sold around 24,000 of these oddballs. It was a painful realization they needed much more than a wild imagination to make a new concept work.
The Phaeton was one of the most expensive flops in recent years. Also, it was a clear case of misjudgment from Volkswagen. It was a luxury sedan from a company that specializes in economy models. Volkswagon used a Bentley Continental platform with a big engine, adding some upscale features.
But the market wasn’t ready for a brand that gained fame with affordable models to introduce a luxurious land barge. And so, the Phaeton failed worldwide, despite being a fantastic car. Even though it is affordable on the used car market, people don’t want to buy it.
The Kizashi was an interesting proposition with good mechanics, decent looks and powerful engines. And while all of that looked good on paper, it couldn’t translate to sales figures because of bad marketing.
But most of all, there was a rather bizarre recall due to the possibility of spiders weaving webs in the fuel tank. Also, the Kizashi usually sold within the Hyundai and Subaru dealer networks, so car buyers simply chose brands they were more familiar with.
When they first introduced it in the early 2000s, the Hummer H2 was over-the-top for customers looking for attention who didn’t care about fuel efficiency or the environment. Since then, the Hummer H2 has lost much of its appeal.
This is because the general car buying market finally realized it is just a big wagon without any off-road abilities. Also, it has little usable space, terrible fuel economy and questionable styling.
Cadillac made a brave attempt to break into the luxury EV market. However, it didn’t pay off since car buyers ignored the ELR. The car was cool-looking and luxurious, but it came with a rather limited range, high price and strange marketing.
Also, Cadillac presented it at the same time when Tesla started producing the more practical and cooler Model S. Because of that, the ELR`s fate was sealed in just a couple of years on the market.
The days of big sedans are numbered. If you look at the modern car market, you will see that SUVs had taken over. But Kia learned that the hard way when they introduced the Cadenza a few years back.
Although the car was decent in all aspects, it was nothing special. In fact, it was even too boring for the average buyer to notice it. Also, the SUV craze killed it. After just a few years, the annual sales went below 10,000 examples, which was pathetic.
If you think that the Mirage is bad, just wait until you hear about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric model. Building an all-electric car was a smart move for Mitsubishi since this segment is promising. But if you want to sell cars, you have to offer something substantial to car buyers. However, Mitsubishi failed to do so.
The i-MiEV is painfully slow to recharge. In fact. it takes between seven and 21 hours to fully recharge the batteries, which is longer than other electric cars on the market. And when you do recharge it, the drive is terrible.
Also, the interior is outdated, cramped and not nice. The car, in general, is undeveloped, clumsy and painfully slow. In comparison to other electric cars in its class, like the Nissan Leaf, the i-MiEV looks like an unfinished prototype.
These are the top 25 cars you shouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole, for a myriad of reasons. While some are unsafe, others are just downright ugly. So, whatever you do, avoid these cars at all costs.