The Acura brand was one of the biggest success stories of the 1990s. Built off of the quality and reliability from Honda, Acura cars were upscale and fun to drive. The CL was a two-door coupe from the early 2000s that often gets overlooked. But the high-quality design and performance of the Type-S model make this car worth acquiring. The resale values on these vehicles are relatively low, which means that you can find a low-mileage example rather easily.
If you aren’t able to find a Type S model with manual transmission, the CL Automatic should be avoided. The automatic model just didn’t have the performance that you’d expect, and the main problem was that a lot of its components were shared with the Accord. Although the CL does look stylish, it should be avoided.
Many interesting cars hit the market during the 2000s. The 2003 Mini Cooper S was the sports version of the already-popular compact car from Britain. Created with BMW engineering and a turbocharged motor, the Mini has been an iconic piece of automotive history. The S models are often panned for reliability issues, which is the main reason why this car should be avoided. Although the lightweight design makes the Cooper S an appealing vehicle for a tuner reliability issues can drive repair costs through the roof.
The Mini Cooper S was a unique car in a lot of aspects. The styling was perhaps one of the most iconic vehicle designs that come out of the decade. If you can afford the maintenance, these cars are fun to drive. But if you can’t keep up with the costs the Mini Cooper S should be avoided. There are more affordable options you can get which will cost less in maintenance and last longer.
The Prelude is one of the forgotten relics of the 1980s and ’90s, a car from a simpler time. When the Prelude hit the market in its fifth and final generation, the car was a pleasure to drive. But there were also some drawbacks which made the car less than reliable compared to previous generations. Because of the added technology to the automatic transmission, the Prelude was notorious for transmission shift solenoid failures. The newer and more advanced engine was also prone to valve problems which can be costly to diagnose and repair.
Above all else, the Prelude was also one of the most stolen cars in America. Outfitting one with a more advanced alarm system could be costly as well, and many owners don’t want to deal with the stress of their vehicle being stolen. If you can find a stick shift from this final generation, the car is a decent weekend cruiser or tuner car with a lot of potential.
Where do we begin with the MK6? The car was one of the most luxurious and advanced renditions of the Golf ever made. But the cars that were released from 2010 to 2013 were also among some of the most unreliable to ever wear a Golf badge. Problems with these Golfs included the turbocharger leaking early on, oil pan leaks, and a host of transmission issues. If you can keep the Golf MK6 GTI on the road you are in for a pleasurable driving experience. The Golf MK6 GTI has been regarded as one of the best economy cars drivers can get.
From a performance standpoint, that statement couldn’t be closer to the truth. When it comes to the actual ownership experience the MK6 is a headache in more ways than one. The car has constant reliability issues that are only going to arise more often with age. The previous generation Golfs had their fair share of problems as well, and the MK6 GTI is among the most unreliable of the platform.
On paper, the Focus RS is one bad ride with a stellar amount of horsepower and technology behind. But the reality is a vehicle that had a lot of reliability problems from the gate. The main problem that has been reported relates to exhaust leaks in the center of the vehicle. These exhaust leaks were noted in several other Ford vehicles as well. Given that this generation of the Focus is still a new platform this is bound to be the start of problems for the car. Reliability issues on newer model vehicles can be quite expensive and the Focus is no different.
Although it was at one point the economy car in the Ford lineup parts are becoming more advanced and expensive. With the reliability issues and a potentially dangerous exhaust recall, the Focus RS is a ride that you should be avoided. The potential cost and problems are just more than most potential owners should try to take on.
Popular with young affluent buyers who want comfort and performance the Ghibli has an iconic look to it and the performance to match. But aside from all of that, several serious problems have negatively affected this car. Numerous accounts of random misfiring and transmission issues plague the Ghibli out of the gate. Consumers report seeing white smoke and misfiring oftentimes right after leaving the dealership lot. The dashboard will also flash when there is a misfire and the car will give an indication.
Given that the price tag on these vehicles is quite expensive, the fact that you have to deal with this problem is huge. The Ghibli is just one of the many Maserati models on the market. Maserati cars are some of the most desirable driving machines on the planet; however, the recent models have been plagued with reliability issues.
Another car that’s getting up there in age is the RSX, a compact Acura that was the next generation of the Integra. The RSX for the most part was a well-designed compact car, albeit with an expensive price tag at the start. Nowadays, these cars have been generally beaten up by the decade of tuners and boy racers who purchased and worked on the,. Because of the abuse that these cars generally endure they make a horrible used car. In that aspect, you can expect to pay a pretty penny taking care of maintenance issues that were neglected over time.
On top of the problems the RSX has from being a prior tuner car, the vehicle also has issues with the automatic transmission. If you are going to seek out an RSX, it’s wise to look for a single-owner car that has a manual transmission. Being a naturally aspirated car, the RSX is among one of the best performing vehicles from this era when it hasn’t been abused. Taking the time to find a well-cared for the model will make the difference in your ownership experience.
During the final years of the Monte Carlo product cycle, the car had a lot going for it. The inclusion of a V8 engine for the first time since the 1980s was a major step in the right direction. While the V8 engine is among one of the best for the time and was also used in the modern Impala SS models. The reliability of the transmission and electrical issues make this Monte Carlo a headache to own. There is also the pre-bankruptcy GM interiors which are cheap and tend to fade and peel long before the car becomes useless.
These problems and the fact that many owners have overused these cars make them generally avoidable. GM has made a lot of strides in recent years but this generation of the Monte Carlo has suffered a particularly tough period of production. If you can get past the issues and find a low mileage model, this Monte Carlo might be worth acquiring. But the majority of these models on the market are weighted down by high mileage from multiple owners.
Also utilizing the Northstar V8 engine in its final year of production, a lot of enthusiasts don’t realize that this generation of the Grand Prix had a V8 engine. The problem with the Northstar V8 is the lack of reliability. These engines notoriously have head gasket failures, and the engine is not like the average engine to fix. While the performance was adequate for the period, the GXP was only released with a 4-speed automatic transmission This created a lot of confusion as well because the car was being marketed as a performance vehicle. A stick shift would have been a nice touch for this V8-powered sedan.
Nevertheless, as time goes on and these sedans get older with age the reliability is going to be less and less. This is a sport sedan that you should probably avoid and with good reason unless you can seek out one that has very low mileage. Pontiac was at an impasse during this period and this model of the Grand Prix was on its way out. The car was not at the pinnacle of design by any means and is probably best left avoided.
You might have seen one of these at a car show, but other than that this was not a popular model. What made the 914 so bad? For starters, the engine was severely underpowered, which the company had hoped the car would make up forgiven its lightweight design. You can also tell that there was a good deal of outside design help that went into the 914.
Aside from that, the 914 came with either a choice of a flat-four or flat-six engine. Horsepower totaled around 110BHP, which was nothing amazing. A well-maintained 914 will set you back a pretty penny. Parts for this car are scarce, and only certain mechanics can work on them.
The poor Toyota 86 is pretty much panned wherever it goes. The car was originally the replacement for the Scion TC, and a lot of enthusiasts thought that this was the next-gen Supra. In retrospect, the GT86 doesn’t offer anything unique. There is nothing about the car that you can’t just find in a comparable model. The GT86 is going to have its diehard fans, who are ready to shell out cash on the car. Sharing its sheet metal with a Subaru variant didn’t help things out either.
Toyota hasn’t put all that much effort into the 86 and for good reason. The company was working to launch the Supra, and the 86 has a built-in fanbase. No matter how bad this car is, it will sell because of the Toyota badging. But when you think of a sports car and spending your hard-earned dollars, the 86 might best be avoided.
The Subaru BRZ is the corporate clone of the Toyota 86. Sharing sheet metal with a Toyota sports car was a dream come true for some enthusiasts. But the sports car is missing some features that make it a viable choice. In terms of being updated, the BRZ had fallen behind on the times already. The AWD setup is a nice feature and it lines the BRZ up with the rest of the Subaru lineup. Performance is derived from the Toyota engine and for the most part, the BRZ is zipping around turns. Off the line, the car is not blisteringly fast, but it does perform.
Still, its high time that Toyota updates these two sports cars. Whether Subaru will continue the partnership with Toyota is up in the air. But there is no denying that the BRZ is a little past its prime and ready for an update.
When it comes to one of the more unique little sports cars, the MG Midget was about as one-off as you could get. The car looked the part of a sports car, but in reality, it was painfully slow. 0-60 times for the MG Midget would be 15 seconds, which is slow by any standards. The basic design of the car was very lightweight. The point of the car was to be able to handle twists and turns with ease. MG has made quite a few lightweight convertibles overtime so there were high hopes for the Midget. Overall reliability with lackluster at best and parts for the car can be scarce to find.
There has been a resurgence of the MG Midget in recent years. But the owner’s circles for this car are small because it has such a limited appeal. Still, if you want a tiny convertible roadster, the Midget was a rather unique offering.
The turn of the century was a big period for the Mustang line. The fox body had grown long in the tooth and Ford set out to redesign the car. Stiff competition from across the pond at GM meant that the Mustang had to come out swinging. The new modern design was lightweight and more comfortable to live with. The overall dimensions of the car were much larger than the 5.0 fox body. But the overall car was smaller than the flat Camaro of the time. The GT still had the 5.0 V8 under the hood.
Collectors have seemed to move on from the 1994 model though. The car was popular initially but the Cobra is the highly sought-after model. This does mean that you can find a pretty decent 1994 GT for a good price while still getting the powerful 5.0 V8 under the hood.
There were high expectations for the 924 when it hit the market. The car was supposed to be a revolutionary Porsche model that deviated from the tried and true design. The problem was that the design was almost too revolutionary and there were still a lot of kinks to be worked out. The 924 was notoriously unreliable to say the least, and this caused a lot of headaches for owners. The car would routinely have issues such as overheating and electrical failures. When you are spending this kind of money on an exotic car, the last thing that you want is to be broken down on the side of the road.
Porsche tried to rectify these design flaws early on, but it was too late. The 924 is a car that should be avoided at all costs. Later Porsche models were much more reliable and fun to drive, whereas the 924 just remains a money pit.
What looks more like a baby Testarossa was supposed to revitalize the Ferrari lineup. But in the scheme of things, the Mondial was a massive flop. It was very unreliable. Ferrari threw everything that it had at the Mondial to make a modern sports car that people liked. But in the process of trying to incorporate a rear seating arrangement a lot of changes had to happen to the engine. This Ferrari was unlike anything that had been made, and to the outside world, the reliability issues were a lot.
Drivers routinely complained about things like the car overheating, breaking down, and just lacking power. When you are paying Ferrari pricing you want a sports car that is going to act as it should. The Mondial will go down as a tragic failure for the Ferrari brand.
The Saturn Sky was part of a trio of roadsters that GM launched to invigorate life into the Pontiac and Saturn lineups. Here was the problem, it was only based on an Opel roadster from overseas. There was nothing new or unique about these cars. In a world where the Mazda Miata is the go-to roadster, it’s easy to see why the Sky was lacking. From a design standpoint, it didn’t look back, curved lines and beautiful paint made it appealing. There was also a good deal of engine noise in the cabin, and the buzzing engine didn’t help things out.
The Sky didn’t manage to save the Saturn brand and consumers were generally uninterested in the roadster. GM gave a valiant attempt at creating fun to drive roadster, but in the general scheme of things, the Sky is a sports car that you’d probably want to avoid.
In addition to the Sky, GM also released the Solstice. It had a generally sportier demeanor than the Saturn Sky. But the car was also being market to a different type of crowd. The problem was that the Solstice still didn’t have any type of performance enhancements to it. When you look at the features the Solstice offered, it wasn’t a unique roadster in any sense of the word. The Mazda Miata, on the other hand, offered a Mazda Speed version. The GXP version of the Solstice offered nothing more than a mesh grille and larger alloys.
Overall, the Solstice is worth avoiding. The roadster wasn’t much fun to drive and for the features and pricing there were better offerings. Even on the used car market, the Solstice is better left avoided.
Jaguar the brand has a long history of manufacturing stately sports cars that need no introduction. The sports car market was continuing to evolve and push the boundaries of speed. Consumers wanted something that could perform with authority. The E-Type was just plain slow, and when it wasn’t slow, it was unreliable. The car looked very dated compared to its competition. New, advanced sports cars were beginning to hit the market and the E-Type was just lacking.
While the Jaguar E-Type is a piece of history, the overall design of the car was dated the moment that it hit the road. If you are looking for a classic roadster, the E-Type is generally worth avoiding at all costs.
Where do we start with the Fiero? The lightweight Pontiac was meant to be a revolution for the company. It boasted the first mid-engined design to come out of GM. The looks were futuristic and the car had a lot going for it. But there was a problem, and it centered around the design of the engine compartment. The vehicle was so cramped in-terms of design that the car would end up catching on fire. This caused a lot of issues for consumers were had purchased these cars new and there was even a recall issued by GM. For the remainder of the car’s lifecycle, it was tarred with the engine fire debacle.
Later models tried to clean things up a bit, but the consensus for the Fiero is that you should avoid it. There were a lot of unique mid-engined cars over the years, but the Fiero is one that hasn’t stood the test of time.
The third-generation F-Body was one of the longest-running nameplates for GM. In perspective, the car had a lot of design flaws that made it avoidable. Overheating was a major issue on these cars and it caused owners a lot of headaches. The overheating problem came from a faulty skirt that was at the bottom of the car. This skirt would get damaged and it would cause the car to run constantly hot. Another problem was with the electric fan setup, which would also malfunction from time to time. The 305CI V8 was painfully slow, which lead many owners to upgrade to the 5.7L TPI model.
Overall, the third generation was groundbreaking for GM in a lot of ways. But if you’re going to consider a used car for your collection, the third-generation Camaro should be avoided. The sheer mechanical issues alone will end up costing you.
You’ve probably seen the DMC-12 in a certain famous movie series. The DMC-12 was a production sports car as well. The unique look of the car made it the perfect vehicle for a movie like “Back To The Future.” In reality, however, the car suffered from many reliability issues that plagued the brand. The car was a very ambitious endeavor and there was no denying that the radical design was going to have some issues. What made the DMC-12 rather unique from the jump was the interior electrical.
Performance in the DMC-12 was lackluster and reliability was even worse. Delorean ended up going out of business only to be revived by a collector decades later. The original model DMC-12 should be avoided if you are planning to do anything except store it.
When the updated 350Z hit the market, the automotive community was impressed. The two-door roadster provided seemingly worthwhile performance and sexy looking exterior. But as time went on, the 350Z grew long in the tooth, and the car had a lack of updates to it. The problem with the 350Z centers around reliability as well as interior durability. The interiors of these cars are known to break down and crack. Then you have the fact that the V6 engine wasn’t updated throughout the car’s lifecycle. There was a Nismo version of the car that might be worth looking into, but it was a limited edition.
If you are a fan of Nissan products, the 350Z is probably not going to impress you. Even as a used model, the 350Z is worth avoiding. The sheer lack of reliability will make the car end up costing you more in the long run.
The corporate cousin of the 350Z is also an avoidable sports car. The G35 had the basic underpinnings of the 350Z but Nissan incorporated a backseat into it. Long-term, the G35 would end up having a good deal of reliability issues. The intake manifold on these cars was known to fail and there were also issues with the automatic transmission. Another common problem is traction control acting up. The car has a lot of benefits to it, but the G35 just isn’t worth holding onto. The later years for the car involved subtle upgrades to the interior and exterior.
If you are planning on keeping the G35, in a car collection that might be a good choice. But if you are planning on driving it, the G35 is going to be a costly investment. The maintenance on this car can be expensive.
There were quite a few models that Ferrari has introduced over its questionable years. The Dino 206 was one of these models.The air-cooled engine was too weak in terms of performance. There was much more competition coming onto the market around this period. When you think of how a performance car should feel and drive, the Dino 206 was painfully slow. The slant nose styling was also a far cry from the traditional Ferrari models.
If you have been looking for a classic Ferrari model, the Dino 206 is probably not a good choice. Some later models handle and perform a lot better, especially when compared to the lethargic 206.
The Cobalt SS was an attempt at GM to jump on the cheap and fast bandwagon. When the Cobalt was introduced, it was marketed as a sporty replacement for the Cavalier. The compact car that GM had sold for decades was nothing short of boring. Thus, the Cobalt SS was a sportier option in a compact car. From a performance standpoint, the Cobalt SS wasn’t anything special. The sporty-looking exterior was skin deep, and the car was lacking in terms of any real performance elements.
Still, GM attempted to market the car as a sports car. The competition at the time ranged from the Honda Civic SI to the Scion TC. Cars around this period were becoming more affordable. But the Cobalt SS lacked in quite a few departments. In terms of resale value, the Cobalt SS has been creeping up in recent years. There seems to be an increased interest in mid-2000s sports cars as of late.
The ’70s were an odd-time for the sports car market. The fuel crisis was among us and the automakers were scrambling to get fuel-efficient cars onto the road. The next-generation Charger was lighter and introduced new modern features over the previous model. The problem here was the same as it was with most muscle cars at the time. A lack of innovation and too much smog control caused the engine to lack power. In fact, the car was lethargic at best, which left a bad taste in the mouths of Mopar fans.
Reliability issues were rampant for this generation of the Charger. This vehicle was released right on the cusp of the K-Car. When you look back through Chrysler’s storied history, the Charger from this generation is worth avoiding. The car didn’t bring anything new or unique to the table worth mentioning.
When you think of legendary sports cars, the 1953 Corvette model is one of the first that comes to mind. But what the car had in terms of originality, it lost in the mechanic department. Like most GM cars and trucks, the first year is always the most tumultuous. Reliability was where the 1953 model fell short. The carbureted engine is known for having all kinds of failures at a time when reliability was a must. With the Corvette, these issues ended up costing owners a good deal of money.
Still, the original Corvette is a piece of history. But if you can avoid this model as a daily driver, you should. There were later Corvette models that were more pleasant to drive and offered a good deal more performance. At the end of the day, driving a sports car should be fun, not a stress-induced experience that ends up costing you.
The original Thunderbird was an iconic car. Flowing lines and a functional engine made the car an absolute experience to drive. Fast forward into the new millennium and the car got a retro-themed redesign. The problem here was the Jaguar-derived V8 engine that was unreliable and expensive to fix. To make matters worse, this generation of the Thunderbird had a tightly squeezed interior and no rear seating. The Thunderbird models that came before it had functional backseats.
There were high expectations for the Thunderbird because of the unique, retro-themed design. But when the final product hit the market, it was a disappointing mix of unimaginative design and price. The new generation of Thunderbirds was extremely expensive. For the features that you get with this car, it’s best left avoided.
A lot has changed since the original Miata hit the road. Cars are much more advanced and most convertibles have some sort of an electronic retractable top. The Miata used the formula of a lightweight sports car mated to a lively suspension. The problem here in modern terms is how underpowered the car is, in addition to the fact that repairs can be costly. Miata parts are easy to come across for the most part. Fixing the car, however, is another story. If you want a lightweight roadster, the second-generation Miata is a much better choice.
The later versions of the car were much-improved in-terms of driving characteristics. Original Miatas are still a cool car to look at. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty aspects of ownership, there are better choices out there. You can get away with a much more modern and fun-to-drive the car for less.
GM was experimenting with a few affordable sports cars during the early part of the decade. Saturn was the guinea pig brand for experimental models. The redline brand was attached to the ION and the Vue as a performance-oriented option. Then there was the Greenline, which was the hybrid-oriented product line. When you look at the options, the ION Redline looked the part of a performance car. The ground effects kit was aggressive and the spoiler gave the car a mean look. But performance-wise, the car didn’t deliver for the price. Reliability on the ION was spotty.
Sales never really approached the numbers that GM had hoped. The ION Redline should be at the bottom of your list when you are looking for a sports car. Nothing about the car has held up well over the lapse of time. Saturn ended up being disbanded after the 2008 recession, and the Redline brand vanished as well.
The ’80s were not a pleasant time for any automaker, much less the domestic brands. When you took a look at GM’s product portfolio, most of the sports cars were weighed down by smog regulations. To put this in perspective, the California Corvette stands as one of the slowest models to hit the road. The smog-choked 5.0L V8 is one of the worst in GM history. This was the same engine that you’d find under the hood of the Camaro Z28. The engine was notorious for running hot and having vacuum line issues.
Needless to say, the California Corvette was not a standing achievement for the brand. Cars around this period were being pinched for EPA regulations. This is why the Corvette and many other V8-powered sports cars from this era are lackluster at best.
Although Maserati has recently been a strong presence in the media world, the brand has been around much longer. Maserati is not the first brand that comes to mind when you think about buying a car. With that being said the Biturbo was a highly hyped up model. The car was released at a time when exotics were becoming more of the norm. The main selling point for the Biturbo was the fact that it had a functional backseat and interior. While the car performed admirably for the time, consumers couldn’t get over the hideous looks. The car had questionable reliability for a car in this price range.
The Biturbo is often a forgotten part of the eighties sports car world and with good reason. There was nothing increasingly special about the Biturbo to make us remember it. This car is in the same ranks as the Ferrari Mondial.
General Motors wasn’t the only automotive brand that was in the dumps during the ’70s and ’80s. Heavy smog regulations were crushing all of the automakers. The days of the fuel-gulping V8 was becoming a distant memory. Ford decided to base the Mustang off of the lightweight Pinto platform. The car was a good effort. But the performance was mediocre at best and the car suffered from a lack of quality. Dials would fall off and interior parts were cheaply made, as with most domestic cars around this time frame.
The Pinto based Mustang model will go down as a blip in the history of Ford. The Fox-body hit the market not long after to try and repair some of the damage that was done. Interestingly enough, Ford is attempting a drastic change again with the release of the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV.
At some point, during the 2000s renaissance of the Ford brand, there was an idea to give Mercury another sports car. The Cougar was a lightweight, V6-powered sports car that brought with it a rather edgy design for the time. This vehicle was part of Ford’s “New Edge” design philosophy which emphasized lots of edges and ovals. Performance-wise, the Cougar was nothing amazing by any means. The car was downright slow and the unimpressive exterior styling made the car an forgettable part of history. People would often mistake the Cougar for the cheaper Escort ZX2.
Sadly, the Mercury brand didn’t survive the new millennium. The Cougar was just one of many lackluster cars that made their way onto dealership lots. Perhaps if Ford had based the Cougar off of the Mustang, things would have been a little better for the car.
You’ve probably seen these cars in grocery store parking lots. The paint peeling off and hubcaps missing from years of abuse. But at one point in time, GM had high hopes that the Geo Storm would attract a younger buyer into the showrooms. The Storm did have some redeeming qualities such as a reasonably sized backseat. There was also the hatchback which made loading the little sports car a breeze. Color combinations were quite wild for the Storm, ranging from purple to yellow. In a lot of ways, the Storm was a revolutionary, but as far as a sports car, the Storm just didn’t add up.
In a sea that was flooded with cheap sports cars during this period, the Storm is a blip. If you want a ’90s sports car that’s good on gas there are many options. The Geo Storm was a car that was just intended as a budget-minded addition to Chevy dealerships.
The final incarnation of the Celica was a curvaceous little car. Designed to entice younger buyers into the Toyota showroom, the new Celica had a lot going for it. But the model never really had a performance-minded version. This was a drawback for Toyota since the competition for the Celica was cars like the turbo-powered Tiburon and the 350Z. Sadly Toyota never offered this generation of the Celica in a convertible version.
With good reason, as far as a commuter car, the Celica was golden. But when you wanted to take the car out to see what it could do, the lack of performance showed. Toyota didn’t go all out designing this car. The Celica line disappeared from the Toyota brand soon after the car hit the market.
The Eclipse that hit the market in 2006 was a bold new statement for Mitsubishi. The new design was much more radical than previous versions. What made the Eclipse unique was the fact that it was always an affordable sports car. This generation of the Eclipse was lacking in the power department. Shoppers also complained about the cramped interior, which made living with the car hard. If you wanted to drive something fast this generation was basically on its way out. The engine was average in terms of performance.
Buyers were quick to dismiss this Eclipse model. You can tell by how the resale values have dropped in recent years. Still, if you can find one for really cheap this might be a fun first car for a new driver. The exterior styling is still beautiful to this day.
Finally, we have a sports car that really shouldn’t even be called a sports car. During the’90s, Ford introduced us to the ZX2. Which was essentially a bite-sized version of the Escort sedan and wagon. While the car had some pretty cute looks at the time, performance was lackluster at best. Then you got into the shoddy build quality which resulted in many reliability issues. The ZX2 lasted for quite some time, even as the rest of the escort lineup was replaced by the modern Focus. But if you wanted a lightweight sports car, the ZX2 should be avoided.
There was actually nothing that was or is remotely sporty about the ZX except for the name. When it comes to forgotten relics of the early 2000s, the ZX2 is the pinnacle. The forgettable styling and ho-hum reliability make the ZX2 avoidable