Since the first recognisable modern car was built in the early 1900s, manufacturers have been trying to give consumers affordable, functional and desirable automobiles. As we will see, many companies have missed the mark altogether instead producing a collection of cars that critics love to hate. Whilst there are many things that help to define a car as truly awful, taking into consideration factors like performance, reliability, style, safety and design this list will take us on a journey through the worst that the automotive world has to offer. For those who still think the Fiat Panda is bad, this top ten offers a sharp reality check, taking us through the very worst that car manufacturers have to offer.
1. The Robin Reliant
Made famous across the globe as the mode of transport favoured by Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses, this is a car that really deserves its own canned laughter soundtrack. With just three wheels, this car isn’t only asymmetrical it is dangerously unstable, tilting around corners and wobbling as it approaches speeds as daring as 50mph. The only upside to owning a monstrosity like this is that you can drive it on a motorcycle license.
2. Nissan Serena
Perhaps the name isn’t that familiar, but doubtless many will have ridden in one as they remain a very popular choice amongst taxi firms. A square box on wheels, not only is this car ungainly, it is impossible to get it to go anywhere near 60mph without the danger that it will fall to pieces.
Another boxy delight, the Trabant is famous for being both noisy and toxic. With a two-stroke engine distracting bystanders with its raucous din, it is almost possible to overlook the fact that this car pumps out carbon monoxide quantifiable only in metric tonnes.
4. Skoda Estelle
Confusingly for more recent generations, the Czech manufactured Skoda has a bad reputation it still struggles to shake. The laughing stock of the industry this Skoda has driven many to distraction. As a vehicle that not only looks terrible but has a loud and temperamental gearbox, handles dreadfully and continually breaks down, it is a testament to Skoda’s PR department that the car has managed to achieve a loyal following.
5. Ford Pinto
Light, inexpensive and practical the Ford Pinto has unfortunately gone down in history as one of the worst cars of all time due to its tendency to burst into flames when it was rear-ended. No matter how much money went into the design, no passenger enjoys a car that doubles as a barbeque.
Maybe unfairly, the words ‘Serbian-made’ probably don’t fill many with confidence yet the existence of the Yugo only serves to prove doubters correct. A remake of the Fiat which boasts performance every bit as bad as its build, its low price doesn’t detract from the fact that drivers often find the car crumbling around them as they drive.
7. Sensonic Saab 900
The product of a Swedish aerospace and defence company, the Saab suffers from some major design flaws. Possessed of a gearbox that is part manual and part automatic yet requires no input from a clutch pedal, parallel parking is more complicated than learning to fly a plane. However the excitement of a semi automatic gearbox made it a popular choice in the business car hire market.
8. 1972 Rolls Royce Corniche
Beautiful, elegant and majestic few would expect a Rolls to appear on a worst cars of all time list but this model – featuring a 6.75L V8 engine – was a huge lumbering albatross of a vehicle. With the brakes, steering and rear suspension controlled by a hydraulic system even the smallest technical problem would stop nearly 5000 lbs of metal dead in its tracks. A thrill ride for those who enjoy staring death in the eye.
9. 1991 Porsche Carrera RS
Designed as a limited edition model supposed to channel all the best aspects of a lightweight sports car, its handling characteristics are so dire it isn’t only a difficult drive, it is a dangerous one. A far cry from more recent incarnations of this model.
10. Lexus SC 430
Built by Toyota and sold by Lexus, even appearing in The Terminator does nothing to earn this car any credit. With terrible handling and front wheels that seem to be altogether independent of the vehicle, this car remains one of the worst of all time.