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United States Hardware

Worst Cars Of All Time Rated 1017

prostoalex writes "Forbes magazine complains that people nowadays do not have a real understanding of how awful a car can truly be. Hence they compiled a list of the worst cars available in the US, or 'lemons' created after World War 2. In the former Eastern Bloc, there are plenty of other choices, including this Ukrainian jewel, as well as many Soviet cars did not make it to the Forbes article."
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Worst Cars Of All Time Rated

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  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:31PM (#8094008) Homepage Journal
    I saw the Pontiac Fiero at an autoshow and immediately fell in love with it. It appeared a sound design with potential. The bitter reality was it was well engineered, then passed through the hands of bean-counters who shopped around GM for cheap parts to build this car with, to keep it under $10K. Result, 2.5l 4cyl with a red-line of 4,500 RPM, spun out easily, parking brake froze on a regular basis (I often drove to work burning the brakes until they freed up) and shifted (4 spd) like a transmission designed by space devils []. The last straw was a broken headbolt at 30,025 miles, 25 over warranty. The company response, not to be unexpected, i.e. our cars are only good for warranty mileage, after that they could completely collapse and we don't sweat it. With an engine that redlined at a mere 4,500 RPM, and had a shut off, too boot, a broken headbolt sounded like a defect. That they left it to me to pay for was the height of comtempt for the customer. Not for the product, but for the way the company failed to stand behind it, I could never trust them with my $$,$$$ again. Too bad, I still think the car wasn't really all that bad in concept and could have been saved by a company that didn't run away from their products.

    I never did have to contend with the broken engine block or engine fires or "secret recalls"* which were common with these same cars, I dumped it 2 years after buying it.

    * Secret recall: when the customer brings it in for any other service, sneakily check to see if it needs anything on this list fix and take care of it without ever letting them know you did it.

  • Ah, the Pinto. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) * <mark&seventhcycle,net> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:32PM (#8094019) Homepage

    Back when my father was alive, he was a doctor. Our policy in our family was to have two cars: one car that was elegant and classy for going to important meetings / etc, and one car that was completely "ghetto" for the purpose of appearing not-so-well off.

    The logical choice for car #2 was The Pinto. It was a clunker. It had such a lack of style that it was actually stylish... well... in its own sort of way.

    Why would someone want to masquarade as not being well off? Because it's usually not a good idea to driving through Compton in a Lincoln Continental. Even though at the time we were living in Minnesota, this applied but only to a lesser degree.

    So tell me... Is a car jacker more likely to jack a pinto, or jack a Lincoln? Hmmm... Blending in is important sometimes.

    So yes... the Pinto. One of the worst cars of all time, but still managed to serve its purpose.

  • Soviet Cars (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Via_Patrino ( 702161 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:38PM (#8094082)
    Soviet Cars were like trucks in shape of a sedan, they were made to work several years without failure, what makes than awful to drive.
  • Last 2-3 decades (Score:5, Interesting)

    by macdaddy ( 38372 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:39PM (#8094088) Homepage Journal
    You mean all the cars of the last 2-3 decades aren't the "worst" autos of all time? I mean hell they don't last more than 8-12 years or so anymore if that. A nice 1974 Chevy 3/4-ton pickup if kept clean (to mitigate fender rot) will outlast any new GM truck hands down. The old adage "they don't make them like they used to" is sure as hell true in my book.
  • MIne :-) (Score:5, Interesting)

    by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:44PM (#8094164)
    I was working as a contractor, one of the permanent hires was new from college, thought he knew everything, took no advice and asked for none, but sure gave it out. I had a 1986 MR2; this was 1988. He came in one day bursting with ego and pride and told me he had bought a Fiero. I looked at him in amazement ... why did you buy that piece of shit? He was startled, said Isn't that what you have?

    Idiot had bought the car strictly based on what he thought I had. No research, no test drive, nothing.

    My MR2 now has 330,000 miles and runs like a champ, still shifts at redline like it couldn't be happier.
  • I agree.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Selecter ( 677480 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:46PM (#8094187)
    .. with the Yugo being the worst car of all time, at least of the cars made or imported into the US. Some of the East German plastic body cars would probably be worse.

    I drove a Yugo as a delivery guy out of high school for an auto parts place. The owner had bought a fleet of them becuase they were so cheap. Within 3 months every single one had a major failure ( engine blew, tranny seized ) and he junked the entire lot and bought Ford Escorts.

  • Shoebox Factor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by No Such Agency ( 136681 ) <> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:47PM (#8094199)
    They're intentionally built ugly. Echo, Element, the new VW van, you name it, they're made to appeal to people who want a "quirky" vehicle that will "stand out". These people don't want a generic Bronco-shaped SUV or cab-forward sedan that they can't find in a parking lot. Of course, like many trendy "quirky" things (eg Lisa Loeb's glasses, trucker hats), most other people hate them.
  • Re:Ahhhh... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:48PM (#8094206) Homepage Journal
    They Are Making Fun Of my dream cars......

    Yeah, I know, for the secret agent in all of us, who can resist...

    Trabant: The car that comes with it's own built-in smoke-screen generator!

    Pinto: Able to vanish in a ball of fire at a moment's notice

    Fiero: Able to spin 180 degrees for those surprise evasion manuevers

    Bronco II: Able to roll over and play dead, fooling pursuers!

    But who can ever forget the arcane Dodge Dart?

  • Re:results (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rick the Red ( 307103 ) < minus poet> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:51PM (#8094237) Journal
    Agreed. Noted automotive journal Forbes? I think not. I'd love to own half the cars on this list! I'd love to have a Citroen SM, a rare example of fine French engineering. The Fiero was marketed as a commuter car because Pontiac wasn't allowed by Chevy to market it as a sports car (at GM that honor goes exclusively to the Corvette). Half their bitching re: the Olds 88 was about the Cadilac V4-6-8, which was never offered on any Olds; the other half was about the Olds diesel, which was offered on more than just the Delta 88. In other words, Forbes doesn't know what they're talking about.
  • The Mazda RX-2? WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bouis ( 198138 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:52PM (#8094252)
    The RX-2 is a beloved classic and very desireable today. Really, "bad fuel economy and emissions" -- who cares? They were quick stock, and you could port the 1.1l or 1.3l engine yourself to the point where it would make more power than v8's of the day.
    As far as being reliable, they were no worse than any other early 70's car.
  • MR2s rule (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jaredmauch ( 633928 ) <> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:53PM (#8094274) Homepage
    I have owned two of the MR2's [] and have *Loved* them both. One a 85, and my current is an 87. Best cars ever, one of the easiest stick shift automobiles to drive. I consider a good mark of a car is that you pay more in insurance than you do for the car and maintence. I drive this car daily and it still gets 30mpg, much better than my 1998 Acura (Honda). Toyota really did a great job on these cars. Every time I see a Fiero, I just chuckle to myself. I'm hovering around 167k miles with it and am not a bit disappointed.

    For one of the older MKI (85-88), expect to pay around $1k for one, unless it's been well taken care of in Cali (ie: no rust, etc..). You will not be disappointed.

  • Re:Forgot One (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShaniaTwain ( 197446 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:54PM (#8094277) Homepage
    Aww.. c'mon whats not to like about the Aztek?


    looks pretty good by this review [].. "Although from the outside, the Aztek looks like an overgrown child's toy, Inside it's very claustrophobic. The driver's seat is fenced in by cup holders, change holders, penholders, and an ashtray the quickly converts into a fifth cup holder should the need arise."
  • by Rotten168 ( 104565 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:55PM (#8094294) Homepage
    Actually in the JD Power Associates Quality Survey [], American made cars largely outdid European cars in quality this year. Lately Europeans cars have tended to be absolute junk.
  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:56PM (#8094301) Homepage Journal
    I had an 86 Fiero and all the problems you described. At the young age of 65,00 miles, the highly touted GM Iron Duke 2.5L engine broke a piston skirt and shelled a piston wall in Eastern Missouri. Amazing that factory a factory air filter would allow the pistons to become so worn that quickly.

    All the Big Three cars in the last 20 years I have driven have gone through over 10 engines, many transmissions, drive shafts, axles, etc... Compared that to my foreign made cars, which was a single worn CV joint replacement on a 155,000 mile Honda Accord. One import could have replaced several of my American cars. That could have saved the money over the years to buy a nice house.

    Buy American? I don't want to encourage crap like that being exported and giving us a bad name.
  • Re:Ahhhh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bombcar ( 16057 ) <> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:57PM (#8094316) Homepage Journal
    Dodge Darts live forever! That was the great thing about them.

    And of course, putting a 440 in them made for some insane sleeper cars... See [] some insane Darts....

    The worst thing about them is they wouldn't die, so you'd never have an excuse to get a better looking car.
  • Da Vega (Score:4, Interesting)

    by realperseus ( 594176 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:01PM (#8094350)
    Hey, how can you knock the Vega??? Now here is a car that once you dropped a 350ci motor into it the freaking thing wouldn't quit! Yea it would break rear axles every week if you kept putting your foot down, but what a fun car to drive! Junkyards had parts for these things like you would believe... the yard I frequented had a seperate section just for them. We had a blast putting these things together for the dragstrip. Used stopsign channel for the subframes, and once we found out you could put a Monza (remember the Monza??) rear end into the thing (much stronger than the stock Vega rearend) then all bets were off, it was "foot to the pedal time" ALL the time! Sure my fingers were greasy all summer and I spent more time under the hood/under the car than I did driving/racing it, but WOW, what a summer that was! Wish I still had one...
  • by wwest4 ( 183559 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:09PM (#8094438)
    > I wish they'd stop trying to bring Cryslers
    > over to Europe too, it's just embarrassing
    > when they sell 3.

    in case you're implying that the problem is american design philosophy - it's not the manufacturers, it's mostly the consumers. for some reason, there are some americans who like large, ungainly vehicles with brutish styling and uneccessary horsepower. it only makes sense that local mfgs follow suit.

    but there are just as many who buy japanese and european makes.

    in europe (as you should know) american manufacturers release completely different models becuase the market is totally different. ever seen a german ford taurus wagon?

    if the manufacturer could dictate to the market, then surely (german-owned) chrysler would be more successful with their stock models.

    that being said, there are plenty of people in europe who like ungainly, brutish american cars. there is a large, loyal chrysler-jeep following in europe.
  • Why No Bronco II? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hondo77 ( 324058 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:15PM (#8094502) Homepage
    Why does Forbes need Ford's permission to run a picture of the Bronco II?
  • by caino59 ( 313096 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:19PM (#8094540) Homepage
    But you can do soem hella crazy things with em...

    the northstar swap is my favorite...there's a guy around here that owns one and damn is that thing fast as hell...
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:22PM (#8094571) Homepage Journal
    X-Body cars, the Cimmaron by Caddy was by far the worst transgression were notorious at times.

    Ford's Tempo & Topaz also developed bad reputations for oil seals.

    Chrysler was just plain bad. Having to use the K-platform under about everything they offered. If anything they were the styling idiots of the 80s. Amazing turn around for that car maker. Still love Iaccoca's introduction of the mini-van where the door handle came off in his hand.

    The also missed the Renault Alliance and Hyndai (sp?) Excel ? Their first car was atrocious.
  • Re:Ah, the Pinto. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:24PM (#8094577) Journal
    yeah... also they had Adobe, the car made out of clay.

    "These days, everybody's talking about the Hyundai, and the Yugo. Nice cars, if you can afford them, but for those of us whose name isn't 'Rockefeller'...."

  • by swordboy ( 472941 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:26PM (#8094603) Journal
    Funny you mention the Fiero... I am a Michigander who happens to live just across the street from Pontiac. I fell in love with the Fiero. However, it wasn't the bean-counters that caused me to fall out of love with the car. It was GM themselves.

    Ya see... GM's bread and butter is the Corvette. The Fiero was finally something that could displace the 'vette as the image car. And the big wigs didn't want that to happen. So they crippled the car with mediocre performance by allowing only mediocre parts like those from the Chevette. However, the engineers did get to design the hell out of the car (not that it would ever be used for anything but show purposes) and one day, they had Getrag [] whip up a transaxle for one of GM's V8s. They put the combo in a late model chassis and quickly took it out to the test track in Milford. If you'll notice, a V8 has no trouble fitting into one of these cars []. It was designed that way...

    This test car was unstable and ended up killing the test driver. GM used this as an excuse to kill the Fiero program. A few years ago, my brother was working at GM Powertrain Headquarters in Pontiac and stumbled across the old Fiero design studio - it hadn't been touched since they closed the doors more than a decade ago. He said that it was so much like a time machine that he spent the rest of the day in there.

    Chrysler ended up buying the transaxle property from Getrag and using it in their Maserati TC []. The tranny is near bulletproof if you can get your hands on one.
  • by uglomera ( 138796 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:28PM (#8094619)
    How could no one mention the TRABANT []? My family owned two of these, it was the only car we could get back home without waiting for a decade for a government permit. It was made of cheap carton, really plastic, had 26 horsepower on 2 cylinders, and it totally sounded like a blender in distress. The gear shifter was made of aluminun which wore off every 10000 miles or so, it was a standard replacement like the oil.

    There are many Trabant fans in Europe now, some clubs even, which are preserving this true icon of the communism era. I myself have so many memories of this car, including the ones of being made fun of because my father owned one. But it was cheaper than the russian cars (even that is possible) and many times it was more reliable.

    Ah, the Trabi :)
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:39PM (#8094756) Journal
    as a European - I pretty much consider all American cars as being pretty amusingly bad.....and those looks, oh my word.

    How do you explain the pig-nose on a BMW?

    And their website ( has goofy, fake drop-down lists and is slow.

  • by fafaforza ( 248976 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @09:40PM (#8095484)
    My family were driving across the eastern German border one overcast day, so roads were slippery. The entry to the gate was paved with stone so it was especially slippery.

    We were in a Russian made Lada [] and as we stopped for the gate, a Trabant behind was apparently unable to slow down and slammed into the back of us.

    Damage on the Lada amounted to a small 5 inch dent.

    The Trabant? The entire front was shattered. The poor woman wasn't able to drive it away.

    Don't know how people ever got into those things. As kids, we were able to kick in the sides of an abandoned one with not too much effort.
  • by MatthewB79 ( 47875 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @09:41PM (#8095503)
    Interestingly, Bueller's sister drove a fiero.
  • Re:The pinto.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by madcow_ucsb ( 222054 ) <slashdot2 @ s a n k s .net> on Monday January 26, 2004 @10:12PM (#8095862)
    Yeah I did a report on the Pinto case for my Engineering Ethics class in college. I'd always heard that those things blew up right and left. I looked online and there were all kinds of articles about it. And then I noticed they were all a mass of circular references and they all refered down to the famous Mother Jones article (which my prof had provided) as the sole "real" source. Not one article I found added more evidence than from the "insider" sources Mother Jones supposedly unearthed.

    I think I really pissed off the prof when I concluded that Ford may very well have gotten a bad rap for that one. Yeah I found a couple real cases (and the court docs as well) but I'll be damned if I could find any other record of the hundred or thousands of exploding cars that the "advocates" would have us believe. It seems like someone else would have noticed and written it down eventually...

  • GAZ-21 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bugmaster ( 227959 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @10:28PM (#8096013) Homepage
    Hey ! Don't go around dissing the GAZ-21, the official vehicle of the KGB. I actually got to ride in it during my youth (no, I was not part of the KGB, nor was the KGB after me... long story). That thing was built like a tank; you could bounce modern-day Toyotas off of it like ping-pong balls. It was also extremely easy to service -- none of these little tricks like "remove the battery to change the headlights" that modern cars have. The car did break down occasionally, but this was due to the decrepit state of the Soviet manufacturing pipeline, not due to bad design. And actually, GAZ-21 broke down a lot less than, say, the Moskvich. And of course, it was sturdy enough to go offroad any time -- which, in practice, meant "as soon as you get out of Moscow", Soviet roads being what they are.

    Is GAZ-21 a good car by today's standards ? No. It's an old, old car made in the 60s. But it still was a great car for its time, especially considering the enormous challenge of making any kind of car in the USSR.

  • Re:The pinto.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2004 @10:44PM (#8096157)
    What made the Pinto case famous is not so much that the car had a fatal flaw, but rather the way Ford dealt with it. Ford knew about the problem ahead of time. They asked their bean counters how much it would cost to issue a recall. Then they calculated how much it would cost to ignore the problem and let the victims sue them. The calculations showed that it was cheaper to do the latter. And so they did.

    People blame the Pinto, but really they should blame the company.

  • Fieros (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @03:07AM (#8097529) Homepage
    The 19 year old punk across the street has two of them, both have been stripped down to nothing and built back up.

    I have to say I'm hellish impressed with the engineering of them, it's the closest the US has ever come to building a Ferarri - certainly not on looks, but in power and handling. Stock they're less than ideal ecpecially with the 4 banger, but the V6's are pretty nice and the 88 suspension or modded earlier suspension is more than capable. The low polar moment of inertian from a true transverse mounted mid engine placment gives lotus like agility. If you drove one you'd understand.

    Plus the engine bay is big enough to drop anything in - Quad 4, Northstar V8, Hemi, even a 454 fits with no modification to the engine bay.

    The dash is awful; Like most GM interiors it looks like "Star Wars by Mattel" and frankly I've yet to see any GM dash that didn't look retarded.

    The problems with the first batch of Fieros were predictable. The first year of any car usually sucks badly.

    The car was killed because by 92, according to Pontiac's develoment schedule it would ourperform a Corvette, and that's not allowed.

    They go cheap these days. $300 gets you one you can work on and with not much effort have a daily driver. Really good ones barely get 10X that.

    IMO they're one of the neatest cars ever to come out of the US.
  • Citroen Maserati SM (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @03:26AM (#8097603) Homepage
    This car is on of the great car of all times. Is it a car you can get in and just dive. No, hell no and fuck no. The cam chains need constant attention. You'd better have access to a good Citroen or avaiation mechanic to keep the complex hydraulics in order. And they rust. Badly.

    But, if you expend the effort to keep one in good nick you get a comfortable French car with a killer Italian engine and spaceship looks even 30 years later. They still go for big bucks today.

    Citroen hydraulics are well understood, just not by very mant people. Like many rare and low production cars this one takes some effort to keep it going but is, if you're a car freak, very much worth it.

    The lack of the pre 92 Ford Explod^Hrer on this list with its unfixable front end and flimsy head/gasket problems demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt the writer doesn't have a clue about cars. The SM has no inherent desugn faults, the Explod^Hrer had several. Sheer, dangerous JUNK.

  • Trabant & Yugo (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:08AM (#8097925)
    Bet, you haven't heard of this one:
    The material of which Trabants are made of contains cotton and other organic stuff. And organic stuff is good when we talk about food, right? Well some owners found that out in the hard way, as their cars were eaten in thier backyards by piggies :)))
    Definetly not a car for a country life!
    There are even songs written about it ;))))))

    And how would you feel if you were driving BMW, and you got outraced by an Trabant? Seen it wiyh my own eyes, an ordinary awfull looking trabant powered by an Renault 5GTurbo engine!

    And Yugo is yet another story. As I live in the country it was (and unfortunelly is) made, I see quite a lot of theese. And you can buy new carburetor for the price of music CD. The bad thing is you probably need a collection to satisfy your needs :)))

  • Re:Trabant stories (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:21AM (#8097956)
    The fun thing about the Trabant was that the gas tank was under the hood with the engine.

    It didn't have a fuel pump, so the tank had to be on top of the engine ;-)

  • Re:MIne :-) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fucksl4shd0t ( 630000 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @06:38AM (#8098132) Homepage Journal

    I didn't really respect Toyota (after sing a Corolla get accordianed in a low-speed crash) and went with Pontiac


    I didn't respect toyota when I saw their bottom of the line car get trashed in a low-speed crash, so I went and bought a car made out of plastic and second-rate parts.

    I once asked my boss, "If Fieros are such pieces of shit, why don't we get more of them in the shop?" His answer "NOt that many people were stupid enough to buy them."

    The jaws of life won't get all the fiberglass shards out of your skull when you get in a low-speed crash. SHoulda bought the 'yota. ;)

    Disclaimer: Not only did I used to be a mechanic, I was also a junk-yard parts puller, so as a matter of fact, I did get to see cars covered in blood, and Fieros didn't show up as well as many many many other cars.

  • by SacredNaCl ( 545593 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @07:42AM (#8098353) Journal
    Ford has had a long term relationship of some sort with Firestone, and they've used them disproportionately more than other brands for years. I've not been impressed by Firestones for a long time, holding them with about the same regard as BF Badrich and Uniroyal. For my money, the only tires I will buy are Goodyear and Michelin, which have thankfully been the two brands that have come on the past several new cars and trucks I've bought. Other than road hazard damage, which no tire is immune to, I've not had any complaints.

    Makers love those high carbon gripless tires. They get their fuel economy up for the window-sticker on the car, but they don't grip worth a damn. ...From the years I spent working as a courier putting 80K plus a year on cars & trucks, my preferences and experience with tires leads me to believe that Michelin have the best build quality and durability for a non-commercial tire. If you feel the sidewall it's perfectly smooth inside and out. If it isn't, it's defective for a Michelin. Even on Goodyears you notice some ridges and seams. Firestones were(and still are) horrendous when you apply that test to them. Different manufacturing process. Very very poor sidewalls in many of the Firestone and Goodyear products.

    The Michelins have a little bit thicker sidewall and better materials in the sidewall. You will eventually clip a curb at some point, or brush up against them parking, hit a deep enough pot hole that the strength of this will matter. It's not something most people pay attention to when buying them. I learned this lesson the hard way. Had some excellent gripping Goodyears with sidewalls that couldn't take life on the unmaintained streets of St Louis. The factory installed Firestones didn't fair well at all either, nor did the two I had replaced under warranty at very low miles.

    I'm not real thrilled about the high carbon content in most of the new tires. Gets better mileage, but wont grip as good. The converse is, good sticky tires wear quick. If you can push your thumb down full force and leave a print, it's plenty sticky enough to stop you. If you can't, you are taking chances with your life. A set of sticky tires every 40K is cheaper than: #1 Doctors #2 Reconstructive Surgery/Physical Therapy #3 Body Work #4 Increased Insurance Premiums #5 Funeral Services #6 Guilt From Hurting Others.

    If you have a truck that has some serious weight in it or a full size van & you really want a good tire, Commercial tire makes excellent tires. They are nearly indestructable, can be retreaded a couple times, come with the best warranty in the business, you can get them grippy or in fuel economy mode, and they have the toughest sidewall I've ever seen in a tire. They pass the perfectly smooth seamless test. (Just run your finger across it.) They also cost twice as much as anything else on the market, but worth it if you drive 80K a year. Almost all of the big fleet transport companies use them on their vans (DHL, Airborne, Fedex, UPS..etc). You pay more up front, but the TCO is lower over the long haul. They ride a bit rough though.

  • Re:LADA Niva (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @09:26AM (#8098714) Homepage
    I did, actually. Unfortunately it turns out you need quite a few different sizes of spanner for a Landrover, but nearly everything is 3/8" 5/16", 1/2" or 11/16". The Suzuki SJ410 fares a little better, with everything being 12mm, 14mm or a 6mm Philips screw.

    Oh, and the Lada Niva has more ground clearance than a Landrover.

  • Renault? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kd4evr ( 712384 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:07AM (#8099018)
    Coming from mid-Europe, I had I chance to familiarize myself with all kinds of cars from both East and West. By far the most honest criteria would be price/performance ratio, considering the expectations! Yugos from Serbia are probably an all-time favorite no matter how you bend the criteria. There are also very useful production anecdotes available (which may be of use to those how favor outsorcing to 3rd world $5/hr typists, point being "nobody can pay me poorly enough to match the lousy work I do...") Leaving that aside, two points have to be made: - many east-european cars were not as disastrous as the "non-aligned" Yugo and their performance was well within the expectations, knowing their pros and cons, and of course considering the price. Lada Niva is a good example of a simple work mule, easily repairable and robust that will do well. Skoda Favorit, was somewhat different: a great story of improvement. On the other hand, there were always Fiats (and many more brands, already listed) that were below any reasonable expectations (see the anectode in the beginning of the Michael Moore's Stupid White Men about the brand new VW Beetle or the (Microsoft-related?) stories on BMW's first iDrives in the 7 series). These days, with customer care programs and selling/marketing tools in place, you have to be especially careful about cars that are advertised as having character and image, which is often a substitute for lack of performance - small Peugeots and Renaults being the big spenders, the way I see it. The German auto club (ADAC) statistics seem to be a pretty good source for car reliability. We may have a new star on the horizon of the worst cars ever, and (my bet) it will be a Renault, with ("closed source") allmighty electronics done the French own way breaking down cars to a halt on every corner.
  • by thelizman ( 304517 ) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kcattaremmah>> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:44AM (#8099399) Homepage
    I can't believe this car didn't make the list. My 1989 had over 500 TSBs, including a design flaw which caused two major engine fires. Many of these cars also had the infamous faulty ignition cylinders. Then there's the infamous transmission. In 1991, the Ford Taurus with the 3.8L V-6 had the most complaints filed [] with the NHTSA than any other car. Even SHO owners were not immune to poorly designed suspensions and fuel systems, though that engine and transmission were quite reliable considering it's high performance level - but then it was made by Yamaha. Even as late as 2000, there were problems - one friend of mine had to have the entire main wiring harness replaced after a series of malfunctions revealed the car was one of thousands that were miswired.

    I remember when Ford used to claim "Quality is Job #1". Good thing they dropped that slogan. I will never never never buy a Ford car, nor any of these jived-up yuppied trucks they sell. Give me a good ol' bare bones Chevy F-1/2/350 anyday.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.