All vehicles are not made equal. Even though there are endless examples of quality, dependable cars, and trucks on the market in 2023 from dozens of manufacturers, it wasn’t always this way. Over the past half-century, the vehicle landscape has changed.
Countless vehicle owners will jump at the chance to tell you about the most-hated cars they’ve ever driven and will not hesitate to tell you exactly why. So we’ve assembled a list of ten cars and trucks that have caused their owners to look back at them in disgust because they were essentially “undrivable.”
1. 2003 Kia Rio
We’re kicking off this list with a doozy: the 2003 Kia Rio. It was small and nimble, but that’s about the only adjectives you can use to describe the car without using profanities. Nevertheless, many owners have confessed to hating this car for a good reason. “Had to turn the AC off to pass other cars or go uphill,” one annoyed ex-owner reveals.
2. 2012 Chevy Sonic
The MSRP of a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic was a hair under $15,000, so you can imagine the kind of shortcuts the Chevy used in the car’s production. One owner still has a chip on his shoulder from his days driving this much-maligned car.
“Electrical stopped working at 60k miles,” he says. “All dash lights would go out when I turned a sharp left. The stereo would work randomly. The valve gasket cover cracked over and over. Back passenger window would only roll up/down if jiggled the correct number of times aggressively.” So now we understand why it costs less than $15,000!
3. 1994 Geo Metro
The Geo Metro joins other subcompact cars on this list by being the opposite of a joy to drive. “What’s there to say about it? The Metro was a tin can,” reminisces one man. “No AC, no airbags. No power steering. I struggled to get to 40 mph. Could almost lift it off the ground.” With reviews like that, we’re shocked that Geo sold any of these things back in 1994.
4. 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser
It’s one thing if a car is a money pit, but it hurts even more when you eventually have to sell it at a loss! Although the PT Cruiser was innovative, there was nothing special about its other features. One suggests theirs broke down consistently at least once every other month. “Spent about 7k in repairs over two years and sold it for 2k since no one wanted it.”
5. 1970 Ford Maverick
More than one previous owner has come out of the woodwork to express dissatisfaction with the Ford Maverick – specifically, the 1970 model. “My first car, hand me down,” confesses one person. “Uncomfortable. Handled like garbage.
Worst car ever in the snow. Rust everywhere literally rotted away.” Another ex-owner adds insult to injury by adding the Maverick was like steering a snow blower. Those are harsh but fair criticisms of the truck!
6. 1999 Ford Focus
Ford makes multiple appearances on this list, and drivers can thank vehicles like the 1999 Ford Focus. One announces the first generation Ford Focus was an “utter piece of tinny cheap garbage.”
“I drove one that belonged to a friend for a few days, and it was like being inside a tin can. Everything was the cheapest quality, and the sound insulation was likely cardboard.”
7. 1981 Mazda 626
By this point in our list, we’re just glad we are driving vehicles made in the past decade because so many cars and trucks from the 80s and 90s seem terrible in retrospect.
There aren’t many fans of the 1981 Mazda 626, for example. “It couldn’t go over 55mph, or the radiator cap would pop off, and the car would overheat, had no power steering, and shook like an earthquake while driving,” one driver remembers.
8. 1999 Chevy Malibu
Sometimes you hear stories of a person’s car repair history that is so unbelievable that your jaw drops. Just listen to what this Malibu owner once had to go through: “I put around $3000 into it within six months because it was my only option,” he says.
He also replaced the water pump, steering rack, and timing chain. Transmission and brake job, sure, that’s regular maintenance. But then he experienced a crack in the radiator; there goes $1000!
Then two days before getting it back from replacing the radiator, one of the wheels just seized up. We’re shocked that he stuck with the Malibu for so long, but we now realize why he hated driving it so much!
9. 2004 Saab 9-3
Originally released to compete with German auto manufacturers like BMW, the Swedish-made Saab 9-3 was popular in the mid-2000s. However, one user is reminded of his pain as an owner.
“The car was fast, but the electrical system had a mind of its own,” he says. Additionally, the windows would go up or down on their own like they were possessed. It cost $10000 to fix.
10. 1997 Ford Taurus
In the mid-90s, it seemed that every family owned a Ford Taurus. But, while trendy due to their design and safety features, they weren’t exactly known for being luxurious and comfortable. “My mom had a late 90s Taurus that felt like driving a cement truck on bare rims,” a final user confessed.
This thread inspired this post.
This article originally appeared on MyCarMakesNoise.
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