You’ve probably never heard of it, and you probably don’t want to. The Peel Trident was a two-man microcar that was manufactured during the 1960s and it felt more like a Flintstones car than anything else. Although microcars have become quite popular in urban settings nowadays, these cars weren’t very safe by any means. The Trident had a removable glass roof, which when it was all put together appeared like a fancier go-kart. Lacking many features such as air-conditioning or radio, the Trident was about as basic a car as you could get.
This could probably be the reason that the Trident never managed to take off in the American market. The car was not safe enough to drive on the busy roads and highways. In totalm 45 units were made during the 1969 model year. Surprisingly enoughm the car has recently come back into production as a special-order vehicle. The new and improved Trident comes with either a gasoline engine or an all-electric drivetrain. But none of these features have done anything in the way of safety improvements over the original design.
If there is one thing that the Yugo GV is notorious for, it is being dubbed the worst car ever made. Affectionately known as the “Yugo,” the subcompact car was famous for its substandard build quality and questionable reliability. The Yugo would routinely break down on its owners, even brand-new from the factory. Knobs would fall off, windows would leak, and the engine would burn oil when it had less than 1000 miles on the odometer. Aside from those drawbacks, the Yugo also had a very tiny design which meant that the little hatchback didn’t fair very well in crashes.
Perhaps the most famous incident of a driver being hurt in a Yugo was in 1989 when one was blown off a bridge. The car will go down in history as one of the most iconic failures of the automotive industry. Sure, the concept was a great one to provide an affordable and gas-efficient car. But the final result was a car that suffered from shoddy build quality. If you do happen to come in contact with a Yugo nowadays, the car has become a collector’s item even though there was a time when the car was best left avoided.
The Corvair has a special spot in history as one of the most unique and unsafe cars on the road. The car was the first domestic vehicle with a rear-mounted air-cooled engine reminiscent of the VW Beetle. The thing about the Corvair that was sad was that the car was quite beautiful to look at. But looks aren’t everything, and as Corvair owners soon found out, the car was a wreck.
Had the Corvair been engineered a little bit better and not rushed to market, the car could have been great. But early Corvair owners complained of everything from engine fumes to the wheels falling off of it. The Corvair was a bad idea that could have been done right a little bit later down the road. So if you happen to come across a Corvair and think it’s a cool retro car, this one is best left avoided. The Corvair was a great idea that was executed at the wrong time.
Oh, what car fan can forget the terrible Ford Explorer of the 90s? The vehicle was the best-selling SUV of all-time and you still see a lot of them on the road. But Ford was involved in one of the biggest scandals in automotive history. First and foremost, that generation’s Explorer was designed with a weakened roof, a design flaw that was discovered during court proceedings. Because of this design flaw, the second-generation Explorer has had more fatalities in rollover incidents than any other SUV on the road. Even the infamous Isuzu Trooper didn’t do as bad as the Explorer did.
Then there was the other part of the lawsuit, which was focused on Firestone tires. The tires that came with these Explorers would explode at high speed, causing the SUV to flip over. Yes, the second generation Explorer got one of the worst raps of any vehicle on the road. Surprisingly, it didn’t ruin Ford’s reputation, but it came close. The company never truly recovered from the media circus that was the Explorer, but as time went on, the model’s safety features were vastly improved. It just goes to show you that even an automaker as famous as Ford will still cut corners from time to time.
Surprised to see the Cobalt on this list? Well, you shouldn’t be. The Cobalt was involved in a major recall back in 2014 for a bad ignition switch. The faulty switch would stop the car in the middle of driving, causing power loss to the brakes, steering, and more. The problem caused quite a few injuries and caused the Cobalt to have a constant black cloud over it. This small car was a product of GMs attempted product revamp, but cheap materials and lackluster safety caused the car to fall into oblivion. This wasn’t the first dangerous small car to come out of Detroit, as you can tell by this list.
The Cobalt did have some nice features such as an SS package. The SS package featured a supercharged engine, racing alloys, and a spoiler. The automotive press had some good things to say about the Cobalt and its SS package. But you still couldn’t avoid the safety issues with this car, and if you’re the current driver of a Cobalt, it might be time to trade it in. Overall, the Cobalt had some strong features that made it an appealing purchase to budget-minded shoppers. But if safety is an important factor, the Cobalt is best left avoided.
The popularity of the mid-size SUV caught Ford off-guard. Before the Explorer hit the market the Bronco II was rushed into production. The two-door SUV which was based on the Ranger pickup truck was top-heavy and very high off of the ground. The high ground clearance made for excellent off-road capabilities, but safety features went by the wayside. It was said that at one point 10,000 deaths were related to the Bronco II. Sad, considering that the original Bronco is one of the safest and well-regarded vehicles on the road.
The Bronco II did have some cool features such as the safari back windows and the notable spare tire. The truck was just as reliable as the Ranger, which meant that buyers could drive these things until the wheels fell off. There were innovative features at the time such as push-button four-wheel drive and even a compact disk player. The fully-loaded Eddie Bauer addition added even more goodies to the mix. The final years for the Bronco II managed to receive an airbag, but overall this is one SUV that’s probably best left avoided.
We’ve all seen a Fiero at one point or another. The iconic little 1980s sports car sold quite well and had some decent driving characteristics. The mid-engined design provided exotic car performance on a budget and buyers ate it up. The Fiero had a two-seat design and a sporty look to it that was unlike anything else on the market. The closest competitor to the Fiero was the MR2, and even that was a stretch. The Fiero would have been a great sports car if it were not for one issue.
The Fiero was notorious for having engine fires. The problem was attributed to faulty connecting rods inside of the motor which would cause the oil to spill onto the exhaust manifold. GM rectified this problem later on by recalling every Fiero on the road. But the year was 1990, and this was too little, too late, as the car had already earned a bad reputation. Still, aside from that, the Fiero is a pretty cool piece of automotive history. This is a car that will stand out no matter what parking lot you are in because people still want to know what exactly it is.
Although the Samurai has exploded in resale value recently, there was a time when this little SUV was at the center of a nationwide lawsuit. Consumer reports had discovered that the Samurai was prone to flipping. Once that happened customers, start to scurry. The Samurai suffered from the same problem as many other SUVs at the time. It was a box on wheels. With that being said, there were no aerodynamics back then and these vehicles were top-heavy. What made the Samurai even more prone to flipping over was the extremely short wheelbase.
Nowadays, the Samurai is more of a recreational vehicle and most people customize these things. But there was a time when the Samurai was just another SUV on the market and the rollover incident scared a lot of potential drivers. Consumer Reports was later sued by Suzuki as well as Isuzu for pointing out the potential tipping hazards of these vehicles. The automaker claimed that the coverage of the Samurai was unfair and it hurt business. The Tracker was the successor to the Samurai and fared much better in terms of crash tests.
The Colorado was the successor to the S-10 pickup truck that GM produced for decades. While the Colorado wasn’t a bad truck by any means, there were quite a few recalls that were cause for concern. First and foremost, the Colorado was part of the famous ignition switch recall in which the GM vehicles would completely shut themselves down when the vehicle is in motion. Secondly, the five-cylinder Colorado had a notable defect that had to do with the intake manifold gasket disintegrating. This defect would cause complete engine failure and loss of power.
The Colorado wasn’t a bad truck in terms of design, and it boasted a nice big cabin and plenty of seating. But the engine defects caused a safety concern that these trucks still have to this day. Models from Toyota and Nissan are far more reliable and have taken most of the market share from this generation of the Colorado. GM has since released a new version of the Colorado to make up for most of these trucks’ shortcomings. Still, if you happen to see one of these Colorado models on the used car market, it’s best left avoided.
Porsche has come a long way in recent years, and the 911 GT3 is a testament to that. What bolds as a fun-to-drive sports car with impressive handling also had a short-term failure. The GT3 was prone to engine fires, and lots of them. So much so that Porsche had to recall these vehicles to try and rectify the problem. Porsche owners were understandably upset when their expensive sports cars were bursting into flames. The issue seemed to stem from the same issue as the Fiero, which is ironic considering the two cars are 30 years apart.
Still, the 911 GT3 is perhaps one of the best performance cars on the market. You just can’t go wrong with the rear-wheel drive and rear-engine sports car. Porsche has made a name for themselves with this design, and the 911 carries on the tradition. No matter what the faults of the GT3, the vehicle is still drop-dead gorgeous and offers a unique look into one of the most precision-built sports cars of all time. If you’ve always wanted a Porsche and the GT3 is on the horizon, just make sure to remember what the engine faults are with these.
Another infamous SUV of the 1990s, the Trooper was selling like hotcakes until a Consumer Reports article came out. The Trooper was another top-heavy SUV that also suffered from enhanced vehicle rollovers. The problem was exacerbated by a lack of safety features in earlier Trooper models, at which point Isuzu added certain features such as a passenger airbag and upgraded restraint systems. When it comes to iconic SUV models, the Trooper set the bar for the family SUV we see today.
But after the rollover study, the sales of the Trooper never fully recovered. The model was initially available in two options, one of which was a two-door. In the later years, the Trooper was also sold as the Acura SLX. If you notice a resemblance, it was because both models were the same vehicle underneath. The Trooper still managed to gain a cult-like following and the SUV has since increased in popularity as an aftermarket off-road car. Still, the roll-over issue put a lot of fear in potential Trooper buyers and hurt Isuzu’s credibility in the US market.
This entry should be of no surprise, as the Smart Fortwo is a seriously tiny car. The Smart Fortwo did so bad in the initial crash testing that the vehicle would spin around in the air before finally landing. When it comes to a practical application for this car, it’s only meant for urban driving. If you live in a big city where parking is scarce, the Smart Fortwo is a decent vehicle. But if you commute on a freeway everyday, the Smart Fortwo is like taking a risk every time you hit the on-ramp.
The Smart Fortwo does have some pretty good safety features such as front and rear airbags, but none of this will do you any good due to the fact that the vehicle is so small. What’s hard to believe is that there’s a vehicle even smaller than the Smart Fortwo, and that’s the Smart EQ. The appetite for these tiny cars seems to be diminishing with the rise of crossover vehicles. You’ll still see a good deal of Smart Fortwos in urban cities such as San Francisco, but otherwise, this little gem is best left avoided.