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Cheap Cars With Price Tags That Make Fools Out Of Drivers

Cameron EittreimSeptember 14, 2022

Cheap used cars were once a major focal point of the auto industry. That was true until new cars became more affordable. Automotive styling came a long way in the 1990s and even further in the 2000s. Cars and trucks were more aerodynamic and attractive to look at. The boxy, heavy vehicles of previous decades were a thing of the past. But the problem with cars that looked great was often in their reliability.

The build quality of otherwise good-looking cars such as the Oldsmobile Aurora was not good at all. These cars were often recalled. There were many cars from the past few decades that were cheap to buy, but the ownership experience was less than satisfactory. We looked at cheap cars that fooled drivers in the past and why they should be avoided at all costs.

Photo Credit: City Cars

Chrysler Pacifica

The Pacifica was one of the first crossover SUVs. It was released to the public long before the crossover was even a popular segment. The Pacifica was a gamble for Chrysler and seemingly paid off. The car had good sales numbers for the first couple of years until the lackluster reliability crept up on owners (via Hot Cars).

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The most notable problem with the Pacifica was transmission failure. Chrysler transmissions from that period weren’t the best. Coupled with the fact that the Pacifica shared engineering with Daimler models, the cost of diagnosis and repairs was high. The Pacifica was an attractive, well-appointed car for the price, but it should be avoided nonetheless.

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Ford Escort

The Escort was once one of the most popular cars sold by Ford. The cheap price and honest driving characteristics made the car popular with budget-minded consumers. By the 1990s, however, the Escort was outclassed by compacts from Honda and Toyota. The build quality of the final generation of the Escort was plagued with problems and underpowered (via Hot Cars).

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The final generation of the Escort was not the most attractive car on the road. But the ZX2 variation looked cool, but those looks were only skin deep. The car was bombarded with complaints and shunned by the automotive press. The Escort might be a cheap deal, but it’s one that most drivers would be wise to avoid.

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Pontiac Aztek

General Motors got credit for trying new concepts in the 1990s and 2000s. But many of these concepts, such as the dustbuster vans, were downright hideous. One such hideous offering was the Aztek, a car so bad that it bombed within the first couple of years. The Aztek had undersized wheels and an ugly gray body cladding up the sides (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: GM

Pontiac phased out the body cladding for the 2005 model year, but it was too little, too late. The car already suffered from a bad reputation and lackluster quality. The Aztek was notorious for transmission failures as well as overheating problems. The first year of the Aztek was the most problematic, and many issues were worked out over the remaining model years.

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Ford Taurus X

When Ford discontinued the Taurus line, there was a lot of consumer outcry. Various sedans replaced the car in the Ford lineup, such as the Fusion and the Five Hundred. The problem was that consumers weren’t flocking to the new nameplates. The new Ford models were flops and the company revived the Taurus line (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Ford

The Taurus X was a renaming effort, as the car was previously the Ford Freestyle. Along with the new nameplate, the Taurus X was presented in a new light. The problem was that the reliability of that generation of Ford was not good. Consumers complained about reliability and particularly the transmission, which failed often.

Smart EQ ForTwo via Motor Trend
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Smart ForTwo

The automotive press dubbed the ultimate city car, the Smart ForTwo. But when it came down to it, the build quality of the Smart ForTwo was substandard. The car was vastly underpowered compared to almost everything else on the road. The Smart ForTwo was sold for a decade with minimal changes, which didn’t sit well with consumers (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Scion

The styling of the ForTwo was cool for a short period. The car was a fun car to drive in an urban area, but if you had to go out on the highway, it wasn’t very pleasant. The Smart Car was one of the tiniest vehicles on the road and still is. The Smart ForTwo was a car to be avoided as there were much better fuel-efficient vehicles from the same era.

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Dodge Dakota 5.9 R/T

The Dakota was the first midsize truck ever sold to consumers. But the Dakota was an outdated feeling compared to the competition. Dodge spruced the truck up with the addition of the 5.9 R/T packages, which featured a larger engine and a lower stance. From the outward appearance, the Dakota 5.9 R/T was an aggressive, performance-minded truck (via Hot Cars).

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But those who remember the Dodge vehicles from this period knew that the Dakota had issues. The transmission in the 5.9 R/T was problematic. Repairs for these trucks were expensive and the sticker price was much higher than a standard Dakota. The 5.9 R/T recently went up in value, but reliability was never great on these trucks and they should therefore be avoided.

Dodge Dakota Sport Convertible
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Dodge Dakota Convertible

The Dakota convertible was a bizarre pickup truck sold in the early 1990s. The design took the basic Dakota and cut off the roof. The Dakota convertible was not a good truck in any way. Reliability was spotty, especially on the first-generation Dakota models. The convertible top would leak and was expensive to repair or replace (via Hot Cars).

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There was not much potential for a convertible truck. The consumer base wanted a truck that could be used for work without the gas mileage of a full-size truck. The Dakota Convertible was a reasonable novelty item, but not worth considering. Its reliability was too problematic and the build quality just didn’t add up.

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Volkswagen Touareg

The Volkswagen Touareg was the first SUV to have a Volkswagen badge on it. The Touareg was initially popular with consumers. The V8 engine was smooth and the styling was upmarket. But as was the case with most older VM models, the reliability of the Touareg was questionable. Repair costs for the Touareg were expensive and parts were hard to come by (via Hot Cars).

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The Touareg was a successful model for Volkswagen and it was a great SUV. But the used examples are prone to issues that can be costly. There were far better SUV options from this era that offered a more reliable product. The Volkswagen Touareg was an SUV that is better left alone as its problems were too frequent.

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Chevrolet Colorado

The Colorado was the long-awaited replacement for the Chevy S-10. The S-10 sold well over two decades, but the midsize pickup truck segment was changing. Toyota and Nissan were both viable competitors at the time. Colorado was a better truck than the S-10 in just about every way, but mistakes were made with the design of the truck (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Mecum

The five-cylinder Colorado was notorious for a head gasket defect. GM issued recalls for that problem, but it was never adequately addressed. A used Colorado was a risky proposition for a lot of consumers. The truck looked good but that was only skin deep. There was a V8 variation of Colorado, but it was rare and only produced for a few years.

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Chrysler Sebring

The Sebring was long the darling of rental car fleets and bargain used car lots. The Sebring Sedan was never a massive success, but it sold in reasonable enough numbers to keep it in production. The latter years of the Sebring were some of the worst. The quality of the car was at an all-time low, and the 2.7L motor was notorious for engine sludge problems (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Chrysler

Even if the Sebring was maintained like clockwork, the problematic engine caused many owners heartache. Other options were more reliable than the Sebring was. The interior design was also cheap and barebones, even though Chrysler marketed the car as upscale. All in all, the Sebring was a car that looked good from the outside but was better left avoided.

2006 Chevrolet Impala SS
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Chevrolet Impala

The 2006 Impala was a complete redesign from the ground up. The car was mocked for lackluster quality and reliability for the better part of a decade. The redesigned model was more modern and offered an improved interior. The problem was that the car was not that reliable. The build quality of the Impala wasn’t the best and the cars were relegated to rental car fleets (via Hot Cars).

2006 Chevrolet Impala SS
Photo Credit: GM

There was the SS version of the car but it was a letdown as well. The 5.3 L V8 was not the performance-minded engine that enthusiasts hoped for. The car was weighed down by a soft exterior design and ugly alloy wheels. There was nothing unique about the Impala SS like there was with the 1995 model. The 2006 Impala SS was a car that was better left avoided due to lackluster design and performance.

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BMW 335i (E46)

The BMW E46 was a car that brought the 3-Series into the modern era. The car was more refined, performed better, and offered more bang for the buck. The traditional formula that made the 3-Series a successful car was all there. The 335i was a very popular car at the time and the sales were good. But as was the case with most BMW models from that generation, the reliability was questionable at best (via Hot Cars).

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The E46 was an immensely popular car for the period and there were a lot of them produced. But that also means that you’ll be likely to come across one in the used car world. The E46 was a car that was better left avoided because the cost of repairs is often more than the car was even worth. Unless you had a big bankroll to keep an E46 on the road, there were far better vehicles from that era.

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Nissan Versa Note

The Nissan Versa Note was a compact car that was introduced in 2015, and it offered an increased cargo area. The standard Versa was a compact car that was very cramped in proportions. The Note offered more cubic cargo space in the back but there was not much of an improvement elsewhere. The main complaint with Nissan vehicles from that era was the CVT transmission. The CVT transmission was known for failure and the Versa Note was only offered with one transmission type (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Nissan

The Nissan Versa Note was an interesting concept but it came too late. By the time the Note was introduced to the market consumer tastes were already changing to crossovers. The Note was not able to be a viable contender in the automotive industry and it was discontinued in 2019. The Versa Note might have looked like a good deal on the outside, but this car was avoidable.

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BMW 740i (F01)

The BMW 740i was one of the most popular cars of 2002 when the new model hit. From its outward appearance, the 740i was one of the most advanced cars on the road. BMW was implanting all kinds of new technology into the car, but much of this technology was not tested. The reliability of the F01 was among the worst of any BMW car that had ever been on the road. These cars were notorious for being in the repair shop more than they were on the road (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

That’s not to take away from the driving capability or comfort of the car. But you’d expect to pay a lot of money to keep one of these on the road. There were better cars from the era that offered the same level of performance and luxury without the headaches. The Infiniti Q45 was one such car from the same era, with a powerful V8 engine and a spacious interior that swaddled the driver in luxury.

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Honda Pilot

The Pilot was the first original mid-size SUV that was built by the automaker. Before the Pilot, there was the Passport, which was nothing more than an Isuzu Rodeo. The Pilot was a major success and built on Honda’s reputation of reliability and value. But as was the case with many new models, the pilot was not without faults. The transmission was notoriously unreliable in first-generation models (via Hot Cars).

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The first generation of the Pilot was a groundbreaking SUV for the company, but as a used car it’s problematic. The cost of repairs was expensive. The styling was also bland when it first hit the market, and that stands true today. There were many other SUV models on the market at the time, many of which were much cheaper to maintain.

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Subaru Forester

The Forester was another popular SUV from the 1990s and early 2000s. While the Subaru lineup is mostly known for the Impreza, there have been other popular models. The Forester was popular because of its compact size and reasonable versatility for the price tag. The problem was that the early generations of the Forester were not that reliable. There were recalls related to the timing chain that Subaru addressed years later (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Subaru

The Forester was a decent sales success for Subaru, but dealing with the headaches of the maintenance was no fun. The Forester was also the victim of the recent “trendiness” of owning a Subaru. There was a certain subset of people who own a Subaru model now, and it has driven the prices up. There was also value in owning an older model Subaru, but that was no longer the case.

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Ford EcoSport

The EcoSport was another strange car that came out in the last two decades. It was a compact crossover vehicle with a swing hatch design. The performance of the EcoSport was not as impressive as Ford boasted. The EcoSport offered a lot of potential because of the market for new crossovers at the time. But the final product left a lot more to be desired (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

There were so many other options to choose from and Ford sort of botched the design of this one. From the outside, the EcoSport was a reasonable car. But there were so many shortcomings with the design that the car didn’t make sense for many consumers. Ford dropped the ball with the EcoSport, a crossover with a lot of potential.

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Chevrolet Spark

Throughout the last 40 years, General Motors has sold a subcompact car. More recently, that subcompact was the Spark. The minuscule Spark was meant to entice urban car shoppers into the dealership. Its cheap price tag and reasonable features were welcoming. But the Spark was not all that it was cracked up to be, and there were quite a few quality problems that plagued the car (via Hot Cars).

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The Spark was a failure in sales as consumer interest shifted toward crossovers. The compact size of the Spark and lack of versatility were a turn-off for most consumers. The reliability issues about the timing chain and the rest of the engine were also problematic. GM compacts were never the most reliable cars on the road, but the Spark had more issues than previous generations.

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Nissan Maxima

The Maxima was always a car that was a little more unique than the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The original Maxima was the first talking car on the road. And with that heritage, Nissan continued to build on the brand in the 1990s and 2000s. But the 2000s Maxima models were bland and problematic, to say the least. Most notable were the issues that affected the car’s ABS and the cooling system (via Hot Cars).

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The 2000 Maxima was a stylish car, but its quality was not what many buyers expected. The repair costs associated with the Maxima were expensive. Nissan was a company usually associated with reliability, but this generation of the Maxima questioned that reputation.

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Volkswagen Golf

The Golf was always that compact car that felt more superior than it was. And that’s why thousands of people flocked to the Golf brand over the years. But the 2000s were a tumultuous time for Volkswagen, as the company struggled to address concerns about quality. The 2000 Golf was not the most reliable car on the road and it wasn’t uncommon to find one of these in the repair shop (via Hot Cars).

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Golf owners were willing to put up with the headaches due to the refinement of the car. But there were so many better options on the market at the time. The Golf was not the only compact car that was fun to drive. Reliability was a major factor in what made a compact car successful, and the Golf just didn’t have that quality.

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Ford Focus

The Focus was the most successful Ford compact in a long time. Where the Aspire and previous models failed to make a dent in Honda and Toyota sales, the Focus did. The problem with the Focus was that it was rushed into production. A lot of the underpinnings were also outdated. The Focus utilized an engine that was not the most reliable, and the interior parts were also cheap (via Hot Cars).

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They had attractive styling, so consumers put up with the drawbacks. But there were better-used cars that you can get for the price that were direct competitors to Focus. Cars like the Lancer and even the Chevy Aveo5 come to mind. The Focus was a car that could use a lot of improvement and there were more sensible options on the road.

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Honda Accord Crosstour

The Accord Crosstour was a unique-looking wagon that hit the market in the mid-2000s. But the overall design was problematic and unpopular. The main issue pointed out with the Crosstour was lack of visibility. There were two blind spots in the rear of the vehicle that were not factored into the design. Another problem with the Crosstour was the transmission and its many issues (via Readers Digest).

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The Accord Crosstour would have been popular if the design was more well thought out. But the market segment for wagons was already a lot smaller than other segments. There was no consumer appetite for a wagon like the Crosstour at the time it was out.

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Ford Mustang New Edge

The New Edge Ford Mustang was based on a 10-year-old design but it was still popular. There were special editions of the New Edge, which included Mach 1 and the Bullitt. The New Edge was not the most reliable generation of the Mustang. The V6 engine was paltry at best, and the convertible top was not high quality at all. The Mustang outlasted the GM F-Bodies from this generation, as they were discontinued in 2002 (via Readers Digest).

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But with all the problems the New Edge Mustang has, the model was better avoided. Even in the V8 form, there were many reliability issues. Particularly with the timing chain, which was known to go bad early on. There were better sports cars from this era that offered more technology and reliability for the price.

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Audi A6

The Audi A6 was a full-sized luxury sedan that was a centerpiece of the Audi lineup for decades. The 2000s A6 has become a staple in the used luxury car segment. From a driving perspective, there were very few cars that drove as well as the A6 did. But there was also the drawback of high maintenance costs associated with the car. The A6 was not the most reliable car on the road, and that only got worse as time went on (via Readers Digest).

1997 Audi A6 - 1998 Audi A6
Photo Credit: Audi

The Audi A6 was a car with a lot of potential but the high price was its shortcoming. A full-size luxury sedan was something that many car buyers were interested in, but the older generations of the A6 weren’t particularly reliable. The engine was problematic and so was the transmission.

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Nissan Frontier

The Frontier was the first pickup truck released by the company with a nameplate. It also had a much nicer interior and modern design. The Frontier had a lot of potential and the off-road package was impressive for the period. But there were a lot of shortcomings with the first generation of the Frontier that Nissan remedied later on (via Readers Digest).

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The first generation of the Frontier was a massive improvement over the Nissan Hardbody pickup. But there were also shortcomings with the truck that made it problematic. There were reliability issues with this generation of the truck that cannot be overlooked.

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Jeep Cherokee (XJ)

The Jeep Cherokee XJ is one of the most iconic SUVs on the road. But recently, the Jeep has become a status symbol instead of the off-road icon it once was. There was a time when a Jeep Cherokee was a sensible vehicle for those who needed versatility and capability. With the Cherokee becoming trendy, prices for them have skyrocketed (via Readers Digest).

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But let’s not forget a short decade ago when the Cherokee XJ fell out of favor. Chrysler discontinued the model in 2001 when the platform was dated and problematic. At its core, the Cherokee XJ was a 30-year-old car, and with that old platform, many issues followed. There were better SUV models from this era that were far less expensive to purchase and maintain.

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Mazda 6

The Mazda 6 was a new midsize sedan for the company that reinvented the image. Before the 6 hit the market, there were millennia, and it was not a popular car. The first generation of the Mazda 6 offered spirited driving and performance. The Mazda 6 was notorious for timing chain failures and transmission problems (via Readers Digest).

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The driving experience was pleasurable when the car was running. But when it had to be repaired, it was expensive. There were better options for the price, that included the Mazda 3. The Mazda 6 continued to be a sales success, but don’t let it fool you.

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Chevrolet Trax

General Motors spent decades building cars that people liked. The Trax was a crossover vehicle not advertised heavily. The design of the car was similar to what else was being sold at the time. The reliability of the Trax was questionable at best and its build quality was cheap (via Readers Digest).

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The CVT transmission was problematic and expensive to repair. GM didn’t offer a comprehensive warranty, and most drivers got stuck with the bill. The Trax offered reasonable versatility and gas mileage for the price, but when it came down to the build quality, it was lackluster at best.

Dodge Caravan Via Edmunds
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Dodge Grand Caravan

The Grand Caravan was around for decades in one form or another. There was a time when it was the most popular minivan on the road. Chrysler made a completely new segment in the automotive industry. The final generation of the Grand Caravan was not as unique as the previous vans (via Readers Digest).

2014 Chrysler Town & Country - 2016 Chrysler Town & Country
Photo Credit: Chrysler

Chrysler stuck to a cookie-cutter design, and it showed. The reliability of the van was questionable at best with several recalls. The transmission was also problematic, as was the case with most CVT transmissions at the time. The Caravan was still a versatile attractive-looking van, but looks were only skin deep.

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Mini Cooper

The Mini Cooper was always a car with a distinct reputation. When it was reintroduced to the U.S. market in 2001, there was much fanfare. The car got a new following and proved to be a sales success. But the Mini Cooper was never touted as the most reliable car on the road (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

Not only were the insurance costs for a Mini Cooper high, but the reliability was also questionable at best. Whether it was the head gasket going or the transmission going, the Mini Cooper was not cheap to keep on the road. The car was able to maintain a reasonable resale value, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth it.

Kia Soul via Motor Trend
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Kia Soul

The Kia Soul was a completely new car for the Kia Motor Company. The styling of the Soul was unique and it was accompanied by an aggressive advertising campaign. Initial sales of the car were decent but the lackluster build quality and reliability were evident early on (via Readers Digest).

Kia Soul via Motor Trend
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

The Soul was also plagued by a myriad of recalls and engine fire problems. The issues were not resolved for the entirety of the first generation. The Soul was a decent concept for a new type of car, but the product was not well vetted or reliable compared to the competition.

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Jeep Compass

The Compass was one of the most confusing SUVs in the history of the Jeep brand. The first problem with the Compass was that it wasn’t an SUV at all. The Compass was a car that shared its design with the Dodge Caliber of all cars (via Readers Digest).

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The Caliber was not a popular car by any stretch of the imagination. Another problem with the Caliber was the cheap build quality and questionable reliability. The Jeep Compass was also the first Jeep not Trail Rated or capable of going off-road.

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Acura TL

The Acura brand was a mere shadow of its former self by the mid-2000s. The Integra was discontinued and the cars became decidedly more boring. The TL was based on the Honda Accord and the car was not without faults (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The Acura TL was not a bad car when it came to the refinement factor. But the reliability was not the best and a lot of the tech was untested. The performance of the TL didn’t fall in line with the image of the Acura brand. There were much better cars to choose from during this era than the TL.

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Chevrolet Cobalt

By the mid-2000s, the Chevy Cavalier was long in the tooth. That meant that it was time to introduce something new to the market and that was the Cobalt. The Cobalt was a completely new compact car that utilized a new engine and a larger design (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: GM

The problem was that the Cobalt was still considered an inferior compact car compared to the competition. The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla were becoming more luxurious by the day. The Cobalt was lacking in performance and refinement and even the SS model wasn’t enough to save the brand.

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Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer was a completely new project for the Ford Motor Company. Positioned to compete with the Jeep Cherokee and the Chevy S-10 Blazer, it was a four-door SUV. The first generation of the Explorer was a massive success, but by the second generation, there were serious questions about the quality (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Ford

The Explorer was caught in the crosshairs of controversy due to a faulty roof design. When the Firestone tires were part of a multimillion-dollar wrongful death lawsuit, the reputation of the Explorer suffered. There were more capable off-road SUVs that were more compelling than the Explorer.

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Nissan Murano

The Murano was one of the first crossover vehicles on the market. It had many positives, such as styling and performance. But when it came down to it, the reliability was questionable and the build quality was not in line with its high price (via Readers Digest).

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The Murano was notorious for transmission problems that were costly to fix. The Murano was a success for Nissan but that didn’t mean that it was a viable used car. The crossover segment evolved over the next decade and the Murano was at the forefront.

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Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mirage was a well-known nameplate for much of the 1990s. The car was cheap and affordable and sold seemingly well. So when Mitsubishi announced the nameplate was making a return, there was some fanfare. Unfortunately, the production car was very low quality and lacked quality (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

The Mirage was a car with a lot of potential, but the final product was not well executed. Mitsubishi dropped the ball on the design of the Mirage. The automotive press continually dogged the car for the less than satisfactory design and lackluster build quality.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

Volkswagen Passat

The Volkswagen Passat was a stellar car in the 2000s. Volkswagen reached a pinnacle with the design, the car drove better and lasted longer than before. But the parts used in the 2000s Passat were still problematic once the car aged. As a used car, the Passat was one of the most expensive models to keep on the road (via Readers Digest).

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Special editions such as the W8 only amplified that fact with an engine notoriously difficult to repair. The Passat had some strong attributes, but the high price of repairs can’t be ignored. There were better cars from the same era that required less attention in the maintenance department.

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Range Rover

Over the past couple of years, it’s become trendy to buy old cars and trucks from the 1990s. The Range Rover was one such vehicle that gained a following in the hip-hop community. The Range Rover was a more than capable off-road vehicle with a lot of luxury features (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Mecum

But as far as reliability went, the Range Rover did not stack up with the best, or even close. Repairs could even cost thousands of dollars. Even the most basic repairs on the Range Rover were expensive. The Range Rover from the 1990s was not a reliable SUV by any stretch.

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Ram 1500

The Ram 1500 that was introduced for the 2002 model year was a completely modern truck. The Ram was improved in every way possible over the previous model. Consumers were attracted to the big rig style design and the incredible performance offered by the Hemi V8 engine (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Dodge

But the Ram 1500 was not a success in all aspects, as reliability still fell short. The transmission in the Ram 1500 was notoriously bad and prone to failure. Electrical issues also plagued the truck and the repairs were expensive. There were better trucks from this era that were far less expensive to maintain.

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Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 was one of the most influential pickup trucks of all time. The F-150 outsold just about every other pickup truck on the market for decades. The model that was introduced in 1997 was one of the most modern and most comfortable pickup trucks on the road (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Arlen Motors

Even the most popular generation of the F-150 was not without its fair share of problems. The engine was notorious for timing chain failures. The F-150 was also known for electrical shorts which would happen on the interior as well as with engine components.

1999 Lincoln Navigator
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Lincoln Navigator

The Navigator was a massive success, so much so that it saved the Lincoln brand from extinction. When no other Lincoln model was selling the Navigator was breaking records. The first generation of the Navigator was a massive success, but it was also not without its problems (via Readers Digest).

1999 Lincoln Navigator
Photo Credit: Lowrider

The In-Tech V8 engine was known to have electrical issues which were expensive to fix. The suspension was an air ride, which meant the system would go out after many years. Without proper repair to the air ride suspension, the Navigator was left in an inoperable state.

Photo Credit: Ford Motor

Lincoln Aviator

The Aviator was another well-known Lincoln model in the early 2000s. The company hoped to build on the success of Navigator with a midsize offering. The Aviator was not popular due to the high price tag and lack of features. The Aviator also lacked the reliability of other well-known offerings in the segment (via Readers Digest).

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For the price of an Aviator, consumers could just opt for the full-sized Navigator. There were other offerings in the segment that was more reliable and offered more features. The final blow for the Aviator came when it was discontinued a few years later.

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Lincoln Zephyr

The Zephyr was part of Lincoln’s renaissance in the early 2000s. The Zephyr was the first original Lincoln model in years. Slotted below the Town Car the Zephyr was meant to entice young affluent buyers into Lincoln showrooms. The sport sedan design of the Zephyr was appealing but its high price of maintenance was not (via Readers Digest).

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The Zephyr was not effective in bringing younger shoppers into Lincoln showrooms. The car was problematic with a long list of reliability issues. Repairs were pricey and the warranty wasn’t comparable to other luxury brands. While the Zephyr has a cheap price tag on the used market, the headache and maintenance aren’t worth it.

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Dodge Dart

The Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 were part of a billion-dollar investment by Fiat Chrysler to revitalize the passenger car segment. The problem was that the investment was made 10 years too late, as consumers moved on to crossovers. The Dart was not a bad car initially but the design was smaller than the competition and the reliability was questionable (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Chrysler

The Dart was a great concept that utilized a well-known nameplate. But unfortunately, it was built a little too late. By the time Chrysler decided to take passenger cars seriously, the market appetite already moved to crossovers. The Dart was far too unreliable and undersized to be a real threat to Honda or Toyota.

Photo Credit: Dodge

Dodge Journey

The Journey was a crossover that was far too long in the tooth by the time Chrysler discontinued it. The Journey was an affordable offering, albeit lacking in refinement. In typical Chrysler fashion, the Journey was lacking in interior quality and its reliability was questionable (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Dodge

The Journey was a long-term failure for the Dodge brand in general. The brand image of the car was tarnished by a seeming lack of quality. There were far better crossovers that were released around the same period that offered far better performance and price.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

Dodge Neon

The Neon was one of the most popular compact cars that Chrysler sold in the 1990s. The design of the Neon was straightforward and value-oriented. The performance of the DOHC engine was lauded by the automotive press. But there were shortcomings with the second generation of the Neon (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

The second generation Neon lacked the groundbreaking design of the first car. The second time around, the car felt cheap, and reliability was questionable. It was discontinued in favor of the Dodge Caliber, another lackluster compact car that was eventually discontinued.

Photo Credit: Chrysler

Chrysler Aspen

Chrysler picked the wrong time to introduce their luxury SUV model. The Aspen was introduced to the market right amid the 2008 economic recession. The Aspen was nothing more than a rebadged Dodge Durango SUV, which itself was outdated by 2008 (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Chrysler

The Aspen was a nice SUV from an exterior standpoint. The styling was attractive and there were a lot of chrome and accent pieces to set it apart. But the interior was cheaply put together and not much different from the interior you’d find in the Durango.

Dodge Nitro - Dodge
Photo Credit: Dodge

Dodge Nitro

The Dodge Nitro was an interesting SUV concept that was based on the Jeep Liberty. The upright styling of the Nitro was radical looking at the time. There was an R/T version of the SUV that was nothing more than an appearance package. From the outside, the Nitro looked unique, but it wasn’t all that great (via Readers Digest).

Dodge Nitro via Chrysler Corporation
Photo Credit: Chrysler Corporation

The Nitro was never a sales hit for Dodge, and the SUV was discontinued in the late 2000s. The Nitro didn’t offer anything unique that wasn’t already on the market. Consumers looked for unique SUV models and the Nitro was underpowered and overpriced.

Photo Credit: GM

Hummer H3

The H3 was a final hurrah for the Hummer brand based on the Chevy Colorado. Perhaps the most questionable thing about the Hummer H3 was the five-cylinder engine. At the time the H3 was released, the appetite for gas-guzzling SUV models was waning (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The Hummer H3 looked like the larger Hummer models that were offered. But the H3 didn’t offer anything unique in value, and it was overpriced. The H3 was notoriously unreliable, with the five-cylinder engine being the worst culprit. Consumers didn’t want gas guzzlers by the time the H3 was released and the sales reflected that.

Chevrolet Uplander
Photo Credit: GM

Chevrolet Uplander

For decades, GM attempted to hit a home run in the minivan segment. The automaker never attained the same type of success that Chrysler had in the minivan segment. The Uplander was one last attempt to try and sell a viable minivan model to the public. The most notable thing about the Uplander was the SUV-inspired styling (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

But the Uplander was not able to gain traction in the minivan segment and it was the final GM minivan. It was more profitable for GM to sell crossover vehicles than it was to try and sell a minivan. The Uplander was not the most value-oriented van on the market, and the styling was hideous.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

Honda Odyssey

The first generation of the Honda Odyssey was not the polished minivan that we see today. The Odyssey was Honda’s attempt to enter the lucrative minivan segment. The problem with the first generation of the Odyssey was that it was undersized and had a four-door design, instead of a sliding rear door like other minivans (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

The first generation of the Honda Odyssey was also sold as the Isuzu Oasis minivan. The design was not popular and the sales numbers were low. The van was redesigned for the 1999 model year. The second incarnation of the Odyssey was much more popular than this model.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

Chrysler 200

The Chrysler 200 was the product of a major investment by Fiat Chrysler. The car was marketed with an aggressive slogan “imported by Detroit”. The problem with the Chrysler 200 was that the design was smaller than other competitors in the segment (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The Chrysler 200 was not a success and the sales were lackluster at best. The car was undersized and the interior quality was not what consumers expected. It was a sedan released at the wrong time in the automotive industry.

Audi TT Coupe via Motor Junkie
Photo Credit: Edmunds

Audi TT

The Audi TT was one of the longest-running two-door sports cars in the automotive industry. When the TT was released in 1999 the design of the car was groundbreaking. But that design remained the same for almost two decades with very minimal changes (via Readers Digest).

2012 Audi TT RS - 2019 Audi TT RS
Photo Credit: Edmunds

The maintenance costs associated with owning an Audi TT are some of the most expensive that you’ll pay. The car had to be maintained by specialty technicians, and those are difficult to find. There were other sports cars from the same era that offered the same amount of performance with fewer headaches.

Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
Photo Credit: Edmunds

Mitsubishi Lancer

The Lancer was never as popular of a compact car as the Honda Civic or the Toyota Corolla. But the car had a dedicated community of enthusiasts behind it. The styling of the Lancer was always out of the box, and the performance of the Lancer was excellent (via Readers Digest).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The Lancer was discontinued after the sales numbers dropped. There were better options in the compact car segment than the Lancer. The final incarnation of the Lancer had a radical new design at first, but the hype surrounding the car quickly faded away.

Pontiac G8
Photo Credit: GM

Pontiac G8

The Pontiac G8 was the final new Pontiac model that was ever released. The G8 had a powerful V8 engine that was one of the best from GM. There was a heavy advertising campaign that surrounded the G8, but shortly after it was released, GM filed for bankruptcy, and the Pontiac brand was discontinued (via Readers Digest).

Pontiac G8
Photo Credit: GM

The Pontiac G8 was a tragic case of a great car that was released too little too late. The styling and the performance of the G8 were unlike anything else that was on the market. But consumer interest had shifted away from the V8-powered sports sedans, and the G8 was the last of its kind.

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