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45 Overrated Cars Drivers Should Never Buy

Cameron EittreimJanuary 6, 2020

A car is an extension of the driver’s personality. To some extent, your car suggests, you are someone who likes to push the boundaries and enjoy yourself. An ordinary car is just a means of transportation, while a sports car is a vessel of passion. Most sports car owners take pride in their vehicles. By design, a sports car is meant to invoke passion and excitement. But there have been many sports cars with lackluster designs. Some automakers were trying to rush something into production rather than put effort into the design.

When you set out to acquire a new sports car there are certain things that you want. Too many of the cars that have hit the market in recent decades were rushed. Cheap build quality and lackluster performance were enough to scare any driver away. We are going to be taking a look at 45 examples of what a car shouldn’t be. You’ll want to heed this advice via Jalopnik before you consider buying one of the sports cars below.

Dodge Challenger
via: Chrysler

45: 2020 Dodge Challenger

We know that this is going to set some of you off, but let’s face the facts. The Challenger in its current form has been on the market unchanged since 2010. Chrysler seems to have a habit of keeping cars on the market long past their welcome (hence the Journey). Yes, the Challenger has gotten some decent updates such as the Demon and Hellcat edition. But the basic car has been the same car that you can find on used car lots with a boatload of mileage. Both the Camaro and the Mustang have gotten multiple refreshes in the same period that the Challenger has been on the market.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
via: Dodge

The Dodge does have the advantage of horsepower, and yes, it does have an iconic look to it. But the Challenger is long past due for an update, and with the price premium that Chrysler charges for the car there is no excuse. We have to wonder what the future is going to hold for the Challenger as the sports car market is going to slowly shift into electric powertrains.

Honda HR-V
via: Honda

44: Honda HR-V

Back in the ’90s, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV 4 were both excellent car-based SUVs. Nowadays the entire automotive market is pretty much made up of crossover vehicles, and Honda is just another nameplate. The HR-V is meant to appeal to young active shoppers who need something that sits tall without the full feel of an SUV. The problem here is that the HR-V feels like a Civic on stilts. There is nothing unique about the HR-V when you compare it the competition.

Honda HR-V
via: Autoweek

Instead, Honda is hoping to play off of the brand’s reputation for quality, and this just isn’t going to work with the HR-V. Honda vehicles are the stellar value that they once were and the SUV has nothing intrinsically unique about it. If you’re in the market for one of these compact crossovers other models offer a whole lot more bang for the buck. Sorry Honda, but we just can’t recommend this one.

Acura ILX Via Motor Trend
via Motor Trend

43: Acura ILX

The Acura ILX is what happens when the Civic gets dressed up for a night out. We’re not sure what Honda was thinking with this but the ILX is best left avoided altogether. Not only is the car based off of the last generation Civic, but it charges a premium for the privilege of getting behind the wheel. The ILX looks like the past Civic from the sides and you can pretty well distinguish this car humble roots. You wouldn’t pay a premium for clothing that was a knock off, and a luxury car is no different.

Acura ILX Via Motor Trend
Via Motor Trend

The ILX might make a great used car if you can get a deal on it. But as far as purchasing the car brand new there are much better compact luxury cars that you can get. Acura used to be the value brand when it came to performance but the ILX is just a lost cause. There is nothing remotely unique or appealing about this dressed up Civic, you can do much better and for a whole lot less.

Chevrolet Camaro
via: Autoweek

42: Chevrolet Camaro

The Camaro, like its Challenger brethren, has become long in the tooth, and the hype behind these cars has faded away. When the Camaro hit the scene after the Transformers movie and a hiatus from the market it was a hit. But now these GM F-Bodies are just about everywhere and it gets old. There is nothing unique about the Camaro and it’s riding the same wave that Ford started with the Mustang in 2005. The retro car wave just isn’t that cool anymore, and technology is changing at a rapid pace. The Mustang Mach-E is coming to the market as an all-electric crossover vehicle.

Chevrolet Camaro
via: Hot Rod

The market for sports cars that have a huge V8 is rapidly declining. We are just going in a different direction as consumers. GM needs to get this car updated and fast, otherwise, the Camaro is just going to be another car. Not to mention the fact that dealerships like to mark these cars up too much, which ends up costing the consumer a lot more. Even the basic V6 models can cost you almost as much as a V8, and that’s not right.

Dodge Durango
via: Chrysler FCA

41: Dodge Durango

Another car that has become long in the tooth is the Durango. A much different car then it’s truck-based predecessor was, the Durango has come a long way. But the Durango is aged and the buying public can see it. Reliability is questionable on these cars and a good deal of consumers have complained about the transmission. When you opt for the fully loaded one with the Hemi V8 you are almost spending as much as a luxury SUV. For a Dodge that has an almost 10-year-old platform, many buyers can’t justify spending that type of money.

Dodge Durango
via: Autoweek

The Durango is also lacking in the off-road department, which is something that the original model did quite well. We know that FCA is working on a refresh of the Durango but we aren’t sure when. The company is known for keeping a platform on the market way past its welcome, so you can expect to see the Durango for some time.

Mercedes Benz
via: Autoweek

40: Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class

It was once the roadster of the rich and famous, but it’s now become a relic. As consumers shift toward a love affair with crossover vehicles the SL has drifted from its original mission. The SL drivers have today is a shadow of what was once an exciting car to drive. You can tell that Mercedes is putting their design efforts into other more profitable vehicle segments. The SLC almost resembles the SLK of the early 2000s, which is a slow evolution indeed. Sales have slowed to a small portion of the Mercedes lineup, and thus the car is often relegated to a certain clientele.

Mercedes Benz
via: Mercedes Benz

Mercedes also has other convertibles in the lineup, and thus the SLC falls low on the totem pole when it comes to dealership love. The car has some good attributes such as a nimble design, but these pale in comparison to what it could be. The SL class was once the pinnacle of roadster performance and now the car is a relic of what it once was. Oh, how we miss the SL of the yesteryear.

Jeep Cherokee
via: Jeep

39: Jeep Cherokee

When the Cherokee was reintroduced to the market it came with much fanfare. The rugged SUV that started it all was back, unfortunately, this time as a crossover. The Cherokee has gained much competition in the marketplace, and one of the few redeeming qualities about it is the fact that it’s a Jeep. Other than that the Cherokee can rack up a high price tag, especially when you consider that the Grand Cherokee is in the lineup. A fully-loaded Cherokee can eclipse the cost of a Grand Cherokee, and you get fewer vehicles.

Jeep Cherokee
via: Autoweek

The Cherokee used to be equated with quality, and nowadays there are all kinds of quality issues with this car. From the transmission shift knob going out to the vehicle needed an immense amount of service for being a new car. Not to mention that, at the end of the day, this is a crossover and not the rugged body-on-frame SUV that the original Cherokee was.

Jeep Commander
via: Autoweek

38: Jeep Commander

As the market for SUVs continues to heat up, prices are also going up, which drives many consumers into the used car market. The Jeep Commander is an SUV that was made for a few years and it featured a seven-passenger design with an optional V8 engine. While this seems like a recipe for success on paper, the reality was an SUV that had a lot of reliability issues from the jump. The Mercedes derived transmission has a good real of reliability issues and it can cost a pretty penny to replace. Oftentimes the cost of the transmission will supersede what was paid for the SUV itself.

Jeep Commander
via: Autoweek

The boxy design was appealing to Jeep traditionalists who just couldn’t warm up to the Liberty or the Compass. But when it comes down to reliability the Jeep Commander is going to cost a lot more to own then it is worth. You might be inclined to opt for one of these because of the affordable resale value, but you’d be better off avoiding the big Jeep altogether.

Dodge Dart
via: Edmunds

37: Dodge Dart

Chrysler spent a lot of money developing the Dart and the 200 sedans, but the consumer shift toward crossovers was more than the company anticipated. The actual production vehicle was a letdown in a lot of aspects, from the styling to the performance. The automotive press panned the vehicle for a cheap-feeling interior and a transmission that was definitely out of the Chrysler parts bin. In addition to that, the price tags for these sedans were a lot higher then most consumers were willing to pony up. Quality is a detractor for a lot of Chrysler vehicles and the Dart was lacking in fit and finish.

Dodge Dart
via: Edmunds

There were some performance varients of this little car but it just wasn’t enough to ignite a fire in consumer interest. The Dart and the 200 were rendered obsolete shortly after being on the market. If you happen to come across these on the used car market it’s probably best to move onto something else. The quality just wasn’t there with the Dart, and there are better cars that you can buy.

Nissan GTR
via: Autoweek

36: Nissan GT-R

Nissan has quite the legacy to uphold when it comes to performance cars, and the GT-R is part of this legacy. The GT-R has become grossly overpriced which is the first problem, but the other problem is the fact that the car has aged as well. Many new supercars have made their way to the market since the GT-R was introduced. The only real thing that the GT-R has going for it is the nameplate behind it. Some enthusiasts are going to purchase the GT-R no matter what, but there are better vehicles on the road to choose from.

Nissan GTR
via: Autoweek

Nissan has recently unveiled the new 400Z Pronto and thus the GT-R is going to have some new in-house competition. There is a lot to like about the GT-R and the car is the stuff of legends in the automotive world. But the design has aged and the high price just doesn’t add up to the features and the design. If you are in the market for a supercar there are a few other options that provide more bang for the buck.

Tundra TRD
via: Toyota

35: Toyota Tundra

It would appear that Toyota is resting on its company laurels these days, instead of focusing on innovation. The Tundra design has become dated and the truck is just kind of “there” in the pickup truck market. The Tundra isn’t the first choice for commercial customers and it usually doesn’t fall very high on new pickup truck buyers’ lists. The thing about it Tundra is that it has the Toyota reputation of reliability behind it. Toyota is resting on this reputation to sell its vehicles nowadays and the Tundra has been outpaced by GM and Ford.

2019 Tundra via Bing
via Bing

We’re not sure when Toyota is planning to update the Tundra, but the overall design of the truck dates back to 2008 It’s definitely time for a redesign. The market for full-size pickup trucks is one of the most competitive in the automotive world. Toyota has stayed stagnant with its designs for a while now and the Tundra is outdated.

Cx-3
via: Autoweek

34: Mazda CX-3

The Mazda CX-3 is another car that has been around for some time now and the crossover has a loyal following. But the market for these small cars has become crowded to say the least, and the Mazda isn’t unique. You’d think a company that prides itself on the driving experience would put a little more work into this car. The CX-3 is lacking in a lot of areas which has sent buyers to other automakers. The interior quality isn’t on par with a lot of the cars in this class and the powerplant has become dated.

Mazda CX-3
via: Car Domain

The Mazda Skydrive technology was nice at one point but nowadays it’s just a middle-of-the-road option. There is a lot to like about the CX-3 from a design standpoint, but the nuts and bolts could use some updating. Mazda is working on a replacement for the CX-3 so if you were going to opt for one of these I’d hold off. The current model of the car has just become dated and the price tag doesn’t fall in line with the product.

Subaru Impreza
via: Subaru

33: Subaru Impreza

Another car headed to the retirement home is the Subaru Impreza. The lowly little sedan has remained relatively unchanged for a long time now. Subaru markets this car to a certain clientele and that’s why the car sticks to its basic formula. The STI version of the Impreza is outdated in terms of design and quality but the performance is exceptional. The Impreza has always been a welcome alternative to other compacts on the market, but it will never be a sales leader. You do get a relatively fun driving experience with the Impreza.

Impreza WRX STI
via: Subaru

If you are in the market for a new compact the Impreza should probably be avoided. There are so many other good cars on the market that you shouldn’t have a problem deciding. Subaru is working on a replacement for this model and it is better to hold off and wait for it. The Impreza has been a fixture of the Subaru lineup for decades and the car has some real potential if the company redesigns it right.

2020 Suburban
via: GM Authority

32: Chevrolet Suburban

The Suburban is one of the longest-running nameplates in the automotive industry, and the big SUV used to be a stellar deal. But nowadays the Suburban has become an overpriced luxury machine instead of sticking to its guns. The problem with the price tag of the Suburban is that it eclipses the Escalade territory, and then buyers get confused as to whether they might as well just stick to the Cadillac. The Suburban has a relatively new design but the price tag has gone through the roof for this car.

Suburban Via GM
Suburban Via GM

New competition from Ford has also come in the way of the new Expedition. There hasn’t been any real competition for the Suburban in years and this could mean a slide in sales. The Expedition has a lot of notable features that the Suburban could have adopted. Of course, you still have the Chevy loyalists who are going to stand behind the Suburban. But for the high price tag, GM could have done better with it.

Taurus
via: Ford

31: Ford Taurus

When the Ford Taurus was relaunched Ford touted the rebirth of a “legend”. But the car is far from being a legend and the design is quite dated. The Taurus was supposed to put Ford back into a competitive position in the passenger car market. But the company just didn’t stick with the updates and the sedan was outpaced by its rivals again. Ford would leave the design the same for almost 10 years while Honda and Toyota both had multiple redesigns. The domestic automakers try to just rest on the same design but all this does is create a lack of interest in the product.

Taurus
via: Ford

Most people aren’t thinking of buying a Taurus when it comes to a family sedan. Even the performance SHO version of the Taurus didn’t receive as much excitement as Ford had hoped for. This is sad because the SHO is one of the most iconic sedans to ever roll out of a Ford showroom. Nevertheless, the Taurus remains an overhyped piece of the recent automotive industry.

via: Bring a Trailer
via: Bring a Trailer

30. Chrysler Conquest

There was a time during the ’80s when Chrysler was beginning to import Japanese cars from Mitsubishi. The plan was to badge these small fuel-efficient cars as Chrysler models to better compete with Honda and Toyota. For the most part, the cars had a warm reception and the partnership eventually became known as Diamond Star Motors. The Conquest was a badge-engineered Chrysler version of the Mitsubishi Starion. For the most part, the Starion was relatively unknown in the automotive world at this point.

via: Bring a Trailer
via: Bring a Trailer

The Conquest gave the automaker another outlet to market the sports car. Unfortunately, the Conquest had its fair share of build quality issues. The turbocharger was known to leak and there were also head gasket issues. As time went on, the problems were rectified. But at this point, the car already had a bad reputation.

via: The Truth About Cars
via: The Truth About Cars

29. Plymouth Laser

When you think about cheap sports cars from the ’80s and ’90s, the Laser is a memorable one. These cars were heavily discounted and offered a reasonable amount of performance for the price. If you are actively seeking out a used sports car, the Laser is one that you should avoid. The reason why is general reliability issues. The Laser will need work to keep it on the road. Older turbochargers are very finicky.

via: Car Gurus
via: Car Gurus

There were some benefits to the Laser such as being a cheaper version of the Mitsubishi Eclipse. But in the long run, if you are seeking out a sports car, the Laser probably won’t cut it. You want to find something that’s fun to drive and not going to cost a mortgage to fix. Other sports cars from around this era are just as fun.

via: Super Street Online
via: Super Street Online

28. Honda Del Sol

The Del Sol received a sizable ovation when it hit the market. The car was a sportier version of the already popular Civic, so that went over well with buyers. But when it came down to the characteristics of the car, the Del Sol was lacking in key areas. The performance was a major factor as the car had none. Although the vehicle was much lighter than a Civic, off-the-line time was still lackluster. The car was only available in a two-door configuration, which also limited buyers.

via: Dealer
via: Dealer

Still, there were some cool things about the Del Sol such as the Targa top. The overall design of the car was rather unique. This was at a time when most cars were just coming out of the boxy generation. Overall, however, it’s best avoided.

via: Top Speed
via: Top Speed

27. Maserati Biturbo

You don’t hear all too much about this car, but it’s still around. When you looked at the Biturbo it just looked at any other ’80s compact car. The engine was notoriously unreliable, and fixing it would cost more than a pretty penny. Maserati enthusiasts are quick to defend the reputation of the car, but in reality, it’s better left avoided. The Biturbo had a lot of features that made it worth looking at, but maintenance was just too costly.

via: Car Gurus
via: Car Gurus

Finding a Biturbo is rare, and the car has a pretty small following. If you must drive an older Maserati, this one is more or less worth avoiding. There are far better sports cars that are less expensive to repair and maintain.

via: Dealer Accelerate
via: Dealer Accelerate

26. Mitsubishi Starion

The Starion gets the credit of being one of the first Mitsubishi models to touch American soil. While the car had some strong suits, there were also some drawbacks to it. Performance-wise, the car was exceptionally responsive. The car showed off the Mitsubishi process for handling and off-the-line acceleration. The interior, on the other hand, was cheaply put together and the car’s reliability was lackluster at best. When you took a look at the whole picture, the Starion was a good first try but needed work.

via: Wikipedia
via: Wikipedia

If you wanted budget performance with a turbo, the Starion was a great starter car. But in terms of longevity, the Station was quickly forgotten. Surprisingly, the 3000GT that was released later on fared a whole lot better, remaining in the Mitsubishi lineup for over a decade.

via: Hemmings
via: Hemmings

25. Dodge Stealth

Chrysler was in the business of importing cars during the ’80s and ’90s. Many of these cars were Japanese imports that were provided by Mitsubishi. The Stealth had all of the elements of a top-notch sports car, and some it fell short on. On the interior, the Stealth was almost a clone of the 3000GT, then you had the Chrysler shortcomings that would follow most of the vehicles. On the Stealth it was a price point and also a lot of the cheap Dodge accessories that reminded you this was a Chrysler.

via: Supercars
via: Supercars

If you can get your hands on a Stealth R/T, you’ll be in for something pretty special. But the average everyday Stealth that you see on used car lots should probably be avoided. The car didn’t offer anything special in the way of long-term value.

via: Classic Cars
via: Classic Cars

24. 1992 Pontiac Firebird

This generation of the Firebird had its shortcomings. The first of which are generally targeted toward the 305CI V8 engine. This powerplant was notorious for overheating and generally lacked power. Part of the reason for this reduction in power was because of all of the new smog equipment that had to be connected to the motor. With all of these smog regulations, cars were becoming underpowered in general. Interior parts inside of the Firebird were cheaply made and would often break. The Formula model was an upgrade in some aspects with a fuel-injected motor.

via: Car Domain
via: Car Domain

If you want a sports car that has ’80s appeal but you don’t want to break down, avoid this. There are better sports cars on the market that you can get for around the same price. Many are easier to work on and more reliable in general.

via: CC Marketplace
via: CC Marketplace

23. 1992 Camaro RS

The Camaro of this generation was also marred with its fair share of problems. The same overheating issues plagued the 305CI motor, in addition to a general lack of power. Another common complaint with owners came from removable T-Tops, which would leak down into the interior. Quality issues plagued this generation of Camaro and the car would often develop interior rattles and breakage early on. There are far better sports cars that you can get like the next generation that came after this.

via: WordPress
via: WordPress

Third-generation Camaro models have seen a recent uptick in value. But when it comes down to it, there are comparable sports cars that will give you a better driving experience. At the end of the day, enjoying your driving experience is the most important thing and you can do better than this iteration of the classic Camaro.

via: Wikipedia
via: Wikipedia

22. Jaguar XJ-S

Jaguar was almost like a lost puppy during the ’90s. The cars in the lineup were outdated and ready for a revamp. Eventually, the company was sold to Ford Motor Company and still ended up in shambles. The XJ-S was a not-so-memorable sports car that stayed in the lineup from the ’70s into the late ’90s. The car didn’t have anything going for it toward the end of its life cycle except for a V8 engine that gave spirited performance. But like with most Jaguars from this period, the car spent more time in the shop than on the road.

via: Wikipedia
via: Wikipedia

These cars might be great for a collection or to stay on display. But if you plan on driving your sports car you can plan on being stuck in the XJ-S. This sports car is generally worth avoiding at all costs unless you have deep pockets.

via: Dealercelerate
via: Dealercelerate

21. 92 Mazda RX-7

The RX-7 has a storied history as one of the most iconic sports cars on the road. But the second generation of the car had shortcomings. The overall design was lackluster when you compared it to the previous generation. The car was heavier and the reliability was a bit questionable which lead to many drivers moving onto other sports car brands. The rotary engine has its advantages and disadvantages, such as when the seals blew out while the engine still had low mileage on it.

via: Classic Cars
via: Classic Cars

Some interesting things about this generation were the convertible and the luxury interior. Still, if you want a rotary-powered Mazda, this generation should be passed on.

via: Bring a Trailer
via: Bring a Trailer

20. Mazda MX-5 Miata

When the original MX-5 Miata hit the road, it was an impressive car. It offered wonderful performance wrapped up in a lightweight package. But the car has overstayed its welcome, and nowadays these cars are a dime a dozen. The MX-5 Miata had a lot going for it initially with the lightweight size and even weight distribution. But when it came down to the lackluster features and performance, the Miata was a notch below the competition. There were innovative features later on such as a power-retractable top.

via: Piston Head
via: Piston Head

However, those who are in the market for a used sports car would be better off finding something else. At this point, the original Miata is just outdated. Maintenance and upkeep is a chore unless you can find a low-mileage model.

via: Car Gurus
via: Car Gurus

19. Ford Probe

What was initially conceived to be a replacement for the Mustang, the Probe lived up to its awkward nameplate. Just the name alone would make you wonder what Ford was thinking. The ’80s Delorean styling was enough to drive buyers into showrooms. When you got behind the wheel of the Probe, however, it was a different story. The car was lethargic in standard trim, and the sport trim was not much better. Power was derived from either a four or six, and needless to say the Mustang had it beat. There were some improvements made to the later model, but the Probe couldn’t last.

via: Wikipedia
via: Wikipedia

Ford eventually cut the Probe from the lineup. The sports car will gown down in history for its memorable nameplate and lackluster performance. There is a much better choice for a vintage sports car than a Probe.

via: Acura
via: Acura

18. Acura CL

During the ’90s, there was a sea of imported luxury cars that bore gold emblems and reasonable prices. Acura was one such automaker that put itself on the map by selling upmarket Honda models. The CL was one such model that was based on the Accord Coupe. With the CL you got the same potent VTEC engine and a reasonable array of features. But that’s just it, the CL is nothing more than an Accord. Sports car buyers are better off shopping around for a pre-owned S2000 if they want Japanese performance.

Acura CL via Pinterest

Sure, the CL is still handsome to this day. But for the prices and the lack of features, the CL isn’t anything spectacular. You do get the legendary Honda reliability, though, so there is that to consider.

via: Drive to Five
via: Drive to Five

17. Acura Integra Coupe

The Acura Integra isn’t on this list to bash the car or any lack of features or performance. The Integra is perhaps the most popular Japanese sports car ever. With that being said, there have been millions sold. Almost every Integra has been modified in some sort of fashion. That means finding a truly “stock” Integra is almost impossible. These cars have been beaten up, street raced, and even stolen and recovered. The problem with buying an Integra is not that the car is bad, it’s that it has been through it all.

via: Wheelsage
via: Wheelsage

For that reason, it’s probably best to avoid an Integra, unless of course, you can find a low-mileage, original owner model. Aside from that, these cars are going to be pretty much gone.

via: Wikipedia
via: Wikipedia

16. Toyota Celica

The Celica has been a filler in Toyota’s lineup for decades, with the car evolving little. The final generation of the Celica was nothing to be impressed with. The car had ho-hum styling and a boring powerplant that didn’t give it any power. When you think of a legendary Toyota sports car, the Celica doesn’t even come to mind. There were some positives about the car such as high resale value. But aside from that, the Celica doesn’t bring much to the table.

via: Toyota
via: Toyota

The market for used sports cars is quite crowded, but the Celica is one model that you’ll probably want to avoid. The car just doesn’t bring any kind of fun to the table that you’d expect in a sports car.

via: Automobile Mag
via: Automobile Mag

15. Volkswagen GTI

The GTI is perhaps the car that’s responsible for sparking the hot hatch revolution. Packing a turbocharged engine into a lightweight and affordable package was smart marketing. Volkswagen perfected it, and earlier models of the GTI are memorable. The later GTI models have been plagued with reliability and maintenance issues. Being a German car, maintenance costs are higher than average. If you can find a reasonably maintained GTI, you’ll be in for a decent riding car. But if you find a GTI that has been riding hard, all you are going to have is a project.

via: Automobile Mag
via: Automobile Mag

The GTI is one of many cars that can cost an arm and a leg to fix. When it comes to buying a used sports car, there are some things you don’t want to settle for.

via: Lex Classics
via: Lex Classics

14. Mercedes 500 SL

The 500 SL is an iconic sports car for several reasons. When you think of the 500 SL nameplate, you automatically think of Mercedes luxury. The same could be said for the stellar reputation for performance. Unfortunately, if you plan on purchasing a 500 SL, you’ll need to take out a second mortgage. They have an extraordinarily high maintenance cost, so much so that it takes a special type of technician to work on the 500 SL. The powerful engine and precision built suspension mean that the car will need attention quite often. Even a basic oil change and tune-up is quite expensive.

via: Lex Classic
via: Lex Classic

You might like the idea of the prestige that comes with driving a Mercedes-Benz product. But when it comes down to it, the cost of maintenance is going to bury you.

via: Motor Trend
via: Motor Trend

13. Mercedes C230 Coupe

When the next-generation C-Class hit the market, shoppers were intrigued by the hatchback coupe variation. But the car quickly shot up the ranks for having expensive maintenance issues and subpar reliability. The cramped interior didn’t help things. The model lasted for quite some time but if you were to scour the internet for the one you wouldn’t see too many. Common issues on these involved the head gasket and valve cover gasket failures. The transmission was also quite finicky, and would often require multiple service intervals.

via: bayimg
via: bayimg

When it comes to choosing a Mercedes-Benz sports car, the C230 is one that should be at the bottom of your list. Design-wise, the car was an odd-shaped blend of German engineering and troubling reliability.

via: Lotus
via: Lotus

12. Lotus Esprit

Lotus is a brand you rarely hear too much about. The cars have a loyal following that has stayed with the company through thick and thin. Lotus is more of a reserved company that develops a driver’s vehicle. When you think of the Esprit, you envision a car that is not only fast but also very responsive. There were some cool aspects of Esprit such as the exterior styling. The car had a bit of Countach blended into it, minus the giant wing.

via: Piston heads
via: Piston heads

The issue with the Esprit is the expensive cost of upkeep on the car and lackluster resale values. Both of these issues make the Esprit something that should be avoided as a sports car.

via: Wikipedia
via: Wikipedia

11. Ferrari F355

When you think of a ’90s Ferrari, there is one car that comes to mind, the Testarossa. The F355, on the other hand, is not that car. Instead, this was another Ferrari that hit the road in supreme style with ample performance. The problem here is the craftsmanship of the car, which in turn costs a lot more to repair. The F355 was notorious for oil leaks, oftentimes right out of the factory. If that doesn’t make your blood boil, the car is also lacking any door handles as they are hidden underneath the hot vents.

via: Wikipedia
via: Wikipedia

Features, or a lack thereof, like these make the F355 a Ferrari that you should avoid. It doesn’t offer anything unique in the way of Ferrari design or implementation.

via: Automobile Mag
via: Automobile Mag

10. BMW M Coupe

The oddball M Coupe of the ’90s was perhaps one of the most unique-looking examples of a BMW sports car. What we have here is a hot hatch, but in luxury form. Based on the Z3 sports car the M Coupe had a lot to be liked. But it also had some issues that make it nothing more than a collectible relic. First, the extremely short wheelbase made it a pain to live with. Then you had the transmission problems that plagued this generation. Shifters would get sticky and stop working altogether. Transmission repair on one of these is extremely expensive.

via: Automobile Mag
via: Automobile Mag

Although the M Coupe is a collectible, the negative issues far outweigh the benefits. You can find a new generation M Coupe that will give you a lot less trouble in the long run.

via: Supercars
via: Supercars

9. Mitsubishi Eclipse Final Generation

When the 2006 Eclipse hit the market, the design was groundbreaking at a time when sports cars were just beginning to evolve and Mitsubishi needed to inject some life into the brand. This generation of Eclipse was most notable for the bright paint scheme and wild design. The car invoked excitement. But when you got to own one, it was a little less exciting. Reliability was problematic on these cars, air intake gasket failures were a major issue. The turbo models were also known to overheat from time to time.

via: Supercars
via: Supercars

The previous generation Eclipse models were far better in terms of sheer fun and design. It seems like when 2006 rolled around the company was comfortable. Thus, the Eclipse fell short of what it could have been.

via: Wikimedia
via: Wikimedia

8. Chevrolet SSR

What exactly is an SSR? Well, it was an experiment that went wrong. Unlike Frankenstein, the SSR could have been a good car. The SSR was universally unloved by the masses, but what made the truck so bad? Well, the bubbly-looking design didn’t suit what the truck was intended to be. Then you had the detuned V8 engine, which could have had a lot more power. The truck bed was long but it was also useless, which eliminated a lot of buyers who went for the Silverado SS instead. And for the price range, it only seated two people, which lead many shoppers to just opt for the Corvette.

via: Motor Trend
via: Motor Trend

The SSR was known for transmission failures. Head gasket failures were a close second on these cars. Then you had the typical GM interior fumbles like paint peeling off of dials and such. Sure, the SSR is a piece of automotive history, but that’s about it.

via: Wikipedia
via: Wikipedia

7. Plymouth Prowler

Released in 1997, the Prowler was one of two retro-themed cars sold by the Plymouth brand. When you looked at the Prowler, you knew right away that it was something special. Unfortunately what Chrysler did with the Prowler was beyond idiotic when the company used the standard 3.7L V6 engine for the power plant. Yes, that’s right, the hot rod-inspired Prowler had the same motor as your mother’s Dodge Intrepid. Once this happened, sales of the Prowler were abysmal at best.

via: Chrysler
via: Chrysler

Sure, the car has many unique traits to it. But with a lack of real power, the Prowler just doesn’t add up. There are far better retro sports cars on the market that you can get for around the same price as a Prowler. The car was a unique concept car but that’s about it.

via: Cargurus
via: Cargurus

6. Mercury Cougar

During the new millennium, Ford was attempting to woo buyers with new and relevant designs. Mercury was the guinea pig for one such design, which was the new Cougar. The “new edge” design” of the Cougar made the car a rather unique looking vehicle. But prior Mercury Cougars had always been powered by a V6. The new generation model, by contrast, was a much more tame rendition. The car had the potential to be a real hit, but even the XR7 model was nothing more than a leather seating package.

via: Blogspot
via: Blogspot

Although this generation of the Cougar is cheap, you generally want to avoid it. The car doesn’t have anything good going for it. The Mustang of this generation is a better pick for a cheap sports car.

via: Autodata
via: Autodata

5. Dodge Avenger

Long before the Avenger was a cheap four-door sedan, it was a two-door coupe based on a Mitsubishi design. The Avenger coupe is a common occurrence on the used car market and you can generally get one for a good price. Issues with the Avenger were related to transmission failures and head gasket problems. If you can find one with reasonably low mileage on it, the Avenger might not be a bad used car. But when you factor in all of the maintenance issues that will arise, it’s probably best to avoid it.

via: Buy Sell Tech
via: Buy Sell Tech

Some of the Mitsubishi models from this period were great cars, and others were just questionable. The Avenger falls into the questionable category for obvious reasons.

via: Supercars
via: Supercars

4. Ford Focus SVT

The Focus was a notable compact car at the time of its release. Up to this point, Ford hadn’t had very good luck with compact cars on the domestic market. The SVT Focus was a shot in the arm giving the domestic automaker some real hot hatch competition. The SVT Focus was a supercharged variant of the standard Focus hatchback, and for the most part, the car was great. It’s on the used market that the car should be avoided. Most of these have been driven into the ground, such as the Integras and Civics of the world. If you do manage to get a clean one, you’ll be lucky.

via: Supercars
via: Supercars

Maintenance can be hard and expensive on these cars because of the special SVT engine. Overall if you can find something else on the market you’d be hard-pressed to get an SVT Focus.

via: Auto BKK
via: Auto BKK

3. Ford Contour SVT

Yes, believe it or not there was a performance version of the Ford Contour. The SVT offered all of the performance that you’d expect out of a company sedan. The supercharged engine did the job well, and the car was lightweight enough to perform. The problem with the Contour was reliability. These cars would routinely have issues with the valves and the transmission. After you’ve spent the money repairing either of these problems, you’ll end up owing more than the car is worth.

via: The Truth About Cars
via: The Truth About Cars

Although the Contour SVT is a rarity on the road today, it’s not bulletproof. Unless you have a good deal of money to spend on it, you’ll be stuck with a car that you can’t use.

via: Corrado
via: Corrado

2. Volkswagen Corrado

In addition to the GTI, there was another Volkswagen hatchback that hit the road during the ’90s. The Corrado was known for its expensive price tag and unique look. While the car didn’t become popular during its initial run, the used car market has been quite friendly to it. Resale prices for the Corrado have continued to rise and the car provides exceptional performance. But maintenance on the Corrado is expensive as with any German car. Being notoriously unreliable was one of the main problems with the Corrado.

via: Wikimedia
via: Wikimedia

Because most of these cars have high mileage now, doing repairs can be costly. If you like German cars the Corrado might be worth looking into. But for the most part, you should avoid this sports car like the plague.

via: Car Gurus
via: Car Gurus

1. Mazda MX-6

Perhaps one of the most subtle sports cars from the ’90s was the MX-6. While the car had beautiful lines, it was critically panned for lackluster performance. Mazda cars from this period were far from reliable and most of the quality issues trickled down to the MX-6. The interior did have some benefits as it was quite spacious. Still, the quality issues outlasted the car’s appeal and it was finally cut from the lineup for the 1997 model year. Although the Mazda MX-6 gets a lot of consideration because of its stylish exterior.

via: Best Car Mag
via: Best Car Mag

When it comes to a ’90s sports car the MX-6 is just better left avoided. You can find far better sports cars in this price range that have much better reliability.

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