20 Popular Cars That Will Leave You Heartbroken

Patrick Oziegbe
Published On:

We’ve all had that moment when we see a car and think, “Wow, that’s so cool!” But sometimes, appearances can be deceiving. In this guide, we’ll explore 20 cars that people absolutely love, but might actually be really bad and few hated by auto enthusiasts.

You’ll be surprised to learn that some popular, eye-catching vehicles may not live up to their hype when it comes to performance, safety, or reliability. So, get ready to discover the truth behind these beloved cars.

1978 AMC Pacer

Car AMC Pacer
©Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

The 1978 AMC Pacer caught many people’s attention for its quirky design and unique appearance, which led to it being both loved and hated. Its rounded shape and large glass area were something that really stood out in the market.

However, despite its popularity, the AMC Pacer had some notable drawbacks:

  • Poor fuel efficiency: Given its size, the Pacer was not known for being fuel-efficient or environmentally friendly. In an era of gas crises, this was a significant drawback.
  • Underpowered engine: The Pacer’s engine was not the most impressive. The car struggled in terms of performance, which ultimately affected its driving experience.
  • Quality and reliability issues: The build quality of the AMC Pacer left much to be desired, with some owners reporting common problems and breakdowns.

Despite the love many people had for the 1978 AMC Pacer initially, it’s important to remember that its poor fuel efficiency, underpowered engine, and quality issues contributed to it being a less than ideal choice for many car buyers at the time.

2005 PT Cruiser

Car PT Cruiser
©Photo Credit: Unlimphotos

When the 2005 PT Cruiser first came out, many people were attracted to its retro styling and affordable price. You may have been one of those individuals who initially admired the cruiser and fell in love with its design, spacious interior, and customization options.

However, the love affair was short-lived as the car’s problems became more apparent:

  • Performance: The PT Cruiser, particularly the 2005 model, is known for its sluggish performance. With a 2.4L engine, you might have expected better power output and responsiveness. Unfortunately, the Cruiser’s performance leaves a lot to be desired, making it an underwhelming driving experience.
  • Reliability: One major drawback of the 2005 PT Cruiser is its lack of reliability. Repairs and maintenance were common issues faced by owners. Over time, you might have encountered numerous mechanical and electronic problems, which not only affected your vehicle’s performance but also added extra expenses to your overall ownership cost.
  • Fuel Economy: Another downside of the 2005 PT Cruiser is its poor fuel economy. With today’s focus on more eco-friendly vehicles, it might be a good time to reconsider your choice of automobile. The Cruiser’s fuel consumption rates are far from impressive, making it a less than ideal choice if you’re looking to save on fuel costs.

Plymouth Prowler

Car Plymouth Prowler
©Photo Credit: Unlimphotos

When the Plymouth Prowler first hit the scene in the late 1990s, people were drawn to its bold, retro design. This flashy, unique-looking vehicle combined the aesthetics of classic hot rods with the modern comfort and performance of a sports car.

However, despite its enticing appearance, the Prowler had a fair share of shortcomings, which made it less of a dream car and more of a cautionary tale for would-be buyers.

  • Lack of power. Despite its sporty appearance, the car’s 3.5-liter V6 engine managed to produce only 253 hp, which left enthusiasts feeling underwhelmed. Coupled with its clunky 4-speed automatic transmission, the Plymouth Prowler’s performance simply didn’t match its striking looks.
  • Lack of practicality. The Plymouth Prowler lacked practicality in a few critical areas. The car offered almost no storage space, which made it difficult for owners to use it as a daily driver or even for short weekend trips. Additionally, due to its design, entering and exiting the Prowler was cumbersome, and the cabin felt cramped.
  • Poor handling. The Prowler’s handling left a lot to be desired. Its unique front suspension setup and rear-wheel drive made the car feel less agile and responsive than contemporary sports cars, especially on unfamiliar or challenging roads.

Hyundai i10

Car Hyundai i10
©Photo Credit: Unlimphotos

The Hyundai i10 is a popular city car that has gained its fair share of admirers due to its impressive tech features and spacious interior. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a car with a friendly, approachable vibe.

However, despite the initial love people might have for it, there are a few reasons it has been considered bad:

  • Lackluster Performance: The i10’s entry-level 1.0 MPi 67 three-cylinder petrol engine is adequate in town but doesn’t offer much in terms of acceleration or power for more demanding driving conditions.
  • Limited Powertrain Options: As a city car, this vehicle has limited choices in terms of engines and transmissions. It is available only with 3 petrol engines, 2 transmissions, and lacks options like hybrids or fully electric powertrains.
  • Design Missteps: Some elements of the i10’s design, like the non-functional rear diffuser, give it a sporty look, but don’t offer any real benefit and may lead to disappointment for those expecting a sportier driving experience.

2011 Aston Martin Cygnet

Car Aston Martin Cygnet
©Photo Credit: Unlimphotos

The 2011 Aston Martin Cygnet was a luxury city car that managed to create curiosity among car enthusiasts. This car had the sophisticated looks of an Aston Martin, impressive interior craftsmanship, and it catered to those seeking brand exclusivity in a compact package.

Despite its allure, the Cygnet had glaring drawbacks:

  1. It was based on the Toyota iQ which had lower performance standards.
  2. The price tag was significantly higher than its competitors.
  3. It didn’t provide the driving experience expected from an Aston Martin.

Additionally, the pricing of the car was way above similarly equipped models in the market, making it a hard sell for those who weren’t die-hard Aston Martin fans.

Ford Pinto

Ford Pinto
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

You might remember the Ford Pinto as a popular compact car during the 1970s. People initially loved it because it was affordable, lightweight, and fuel-efficient – a perfect daily commuter vehicle. Despite these appealing factors, the Pinto garnered a controversial reputation. Here are three reasons it was considered bad:

  • Safety hazards: The Ford Pinto’s fuel tank design made it prone to exploding in rear-end collisions, leading to severe injuries and fatalities. The first high-profile accident occurred in 1972, resulting in a young passenger sustaining third-degree burns over 90% of his body.
  • Ethical concerns: Ford’s decision to release the Pinto with its flawed design led to many ethical debates. In a high-profile case, a jury awarded a landmark $125 million in punitive damages against Ford, although the judge later reduced it to $3.5 million.
  • Quality issues: While the Ford Pinto was a budget-friendly option, its low price tag meant compromising on quality. Hasty production and cost-cutting measures resulted in issues such as subpar materials and inadequate safety standards, casting a negative image on the vehicle.

Chevy Chevette

Chevrolet Chevette
©Photo Credit: MiramarSpeedCircuit

The Chevy Chevette was a popular choice for many due to its affordability and fuel efficiency. You might remember how it caught the attention of buyers with its low price tag and impressive 40 MPG on the highway.

The small hatchback design made it a practical option for those seeking a compact car with sufficient cargo space. However, despite its popularity, there were significant drawbacks that later emerged:

  • Underpowered Engines: The Chevette featured 1.4 and 1.6-liter inline-four engines, which were criticized for lacking power. Acceleration was notably sluggish, and driving uphill or merging onto the freeway was challenging.
  • Poor Build Quality: The Chevette was infamous for its subpar build quality and reliability issues, which ultimately impacted its longevit. Many owners found themselves dealing with frequent maintenance problems.
  • Lack of Comfort: Lastly, the Chevette’s interior was quite basic, with limited comfort and features, making long drives rather unenjoyable.

1971 Chevy Vega

A 1971 Chevy Vega
©Photo Credit: MiramarSpeedCircuit

When the 1971 Chevy Vega was introduced, people were drawn to its attractive design and promise of being an affordable, fuel-efficient option. You might have been one of those people excited by its hatchback style, fuel efficiency, and affordability.

However, the Vega turned out to have some significant drawbacks. Here are three main reasons it didn’t live up to expectations:

  • Engine Issues: The Vega’s aluminum 140 CID engine, designed to work well with a torque converter transmission, had reliability problems due to its high-torque, low-output design which led to overheating and rapid wear.
  • Build Quality: This car was often criticized for its corrosion issues and an overall cheap build quality. The lack of proper rustproofing led to many Vegas becoming victims of rapid rust and deterioration.
  • Performance: Despite claims of decent performance for its time, the Vega struggled against competitors. The L-11 performance package with a four-speed stick could go 0-60 mph in 13.5 seconds, but this fell short when compared to rival cars.

Sadly, the 1971 Chevy Vega’s initial appeal didn’t stand the test of time, and what once seemed like a promising option ended up being a disappointment for many owners.

DeLorean DMC-12

DeLorean DMC-12
©Photo Credit: Unlimphotos

The DeLorean DMC-12 is a car that many people initially love for its unique design and famous appearance in movies like Back to the Future. It has a distinctive stainless steel body and gull-wing doors that really make it stand out. However, there are a few reasons why the DeLorean DMC-12 can be considered not as great as it may seem at first glance.

  • Underwhelming performance. The DMC-12 is often criticized for its poor performance, with only 130 horsepower under the hood. This makes it relatively slow compared to other sports cars from the same era.
  • Poor built. The build quality of the DeLorean left a lot to be desired. Although it was an ambitious project, John DeLorean’s efforts to produce an ‘ethical’ sports car with compact dimensions, efficient performance, and high levels of safety had some shortcomings in execution, as reported in this Classic Driver Magazine article.
  • Not a practical car. The DeLorean was not a very practical car, with limited cargo space and a cramped interior. This made it less suitable for everyday use, relegating it to more of a novelty or collector’s item status for most car enthusiasts.

Hummer H2

Hummer H2
©Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

People were instantly attracted to the rugged looks of the Hummer H2, with its massive grille, square corners, and flat glass. Its commanding road presence made drivers feel like the king of the road, and the powerful 6.0L Vortec V-8 engine allowed the H2 to showcase some serious off-road capabilities, putting it at the top of many wish lists.

However, after closer inspection, there are a few key issues you might want to consider:

  • Poor fuel economy: The Hummer H2 is notorious for being a gas guzzler, consuming way more fuel than most vehicles on the road. This could take a toll on your wallet at the fuel pump.
  • Large size and difficult maneuverability: While the size might seem appealing at first glance, navigating tight spaces and fitting into regular parking spots is quite a challenge. This makes it impractical for daily urban driving.
  • Excessive weight affecting performance: Even with a 316 horsepower V-8 engine, the Hummer H2 isn’t exactly a nimble performer. At over 6,000 lbs, the sheer bulk of the vehicle slows it down, making it less responsive and less enjoyable to drive.

Fiat Multipla

Car Fiat Multipla
©Photo Credit: Unlimphotos

You might remember the Fiat Multipla as a car that found a surprising amount of love from people despite its dubious reputation. Initially, people were attracted to its unique design, spacious interior, and the flexibility of its seating arrangement.

Let’s explore few key reasons why this car was actually considered really bad:

  • Ugly exterior design: The Fiat Multipla is often referred to as the world’s ugliest car. Its bug-eyed front end and bulbous appearance didn’t win any beauty contests, giving it a polarizing look that many found to be hard to love.
  • Mediocre performance: Despite having a 16.6-gallon fuel capacity and a top speed of 105.6 mph, the Multipla took a sluggish 12.6 seconds to go from 0 to 62 mph. Its steering was accurate, but its performance left a lot to be desired, especially when compared to other cars in its class.
  • Poor reliability: The Fiat Multipla had more than its fair share of mechanical issues, which translated to frequent trips to the mechanic and, consequently, unhappy owners. Reliability has always been a concern for Fiat models, and the Multipla wasn’t an exception.

Jaguar X-Type

Car Jaguar X-Type
©Photo Credit: Unlimphotos

The Jaguar X-Type was initially admired for its elegant design, luxurious interior, and the prestigious Jaguar badge. However, despite its appeal, there are several reasons why this car is considered to be really bad.

  • Reliability Issues: The X-Type had a reputation for being unreliable, resetting Jaguar’s image of quality and reliability back to almost the level it had in the British Leyland days.
  • Financial Failure: The X-Type did not do well financially, as it was unable to compete with its more successful rivals in the luxury sedan market.
  • Performance: Though the X-Type had a decent acceleration, many felt that it wasn’t on par with the performance that people expect from a Jaguar vehicle.

Smart Fortwo

Smart Fortwo
©Photo Credit: Unlimphotos

At first glance, you might be attracted to the Smart Fortwo for its compact size, fuel efficiency, and easy maneuverability in urban environments. However, despite these appealing factors, there are several reasons why it might not be the best choice for your car needs.

  • Safety concerns: Due to the vehicle’s small size, the Smart Fortwo was often criticized for its perceived lack of safety in accidents with larger vehicles. Remember, bigger cars can offer better protection in crashes.
  • Limited practicality: While it’s handy in the city, the Smart Fortwo may not perform well on highways, especially if you need to travel outside urban areas. Also, the car accommodates only two people, and the storage space is minimal.
  • Reliability issues: Though some may consider Smart to be a reliable brand, certain aspects of the Smart Fortwo were reported to cause problems, such as higher annual maintenance costs.

Bricklin SV1

Car Bricklin SV1
©Photo Credit: MiramarSpeedCircuit

The Bricklin SV1 is a Canadian-made sports car that caught people’s attention because of its unique design. Its gull-wing doors and color-impregnated acrylic resin bodywork were certainly head-turners. Furthermore, it was marketed as a safety vehicle, emphasizing its innovations and forward-thinking nature.

However, there are three main reasons the Bricklin SV1 is actually considered bad:

  • Performance: Though it was aesthetically appealing, its performance did not live up to expectations. With a Ford V-8 engine, the 1975 model only produced 175 horsepower and was only available with a three-speed automatic transmission.
  • Build Quality: Reports of poor build quality plagued the Bricklin SV1. The gull-wing doors were known to have reliability issues, and the composite bodywork tended to crack easily.
  • Short-lived Production: Lastly, the Bricklin SV1 had a limited production run, only being built between 1974 and late 1975. This resulted in a lack of support and parts availability, making ownership difficult for its few enthusiasts.

Yugo GV

Car Yugo GV
©Photo Credit: MiramarSpeedCircuit

When you think of the Yugo GV, you might recall its affordability and compact size which made it initially attractive to some car buyers. However, this car has been dubbed as one of the worst in history for various reasons.

Being friendly on the wallet, the Yugo GV captivated budget-conscious drivers. Its sleek, small design also made it appealing for those who needed a car that could easily navigate through tight spots. But despite the initial love, here are three reasons it soon became considered a really bad car:

  • Poor engineering: The Yugo GV often needed repairs and suffered from frequent breakdowns, which led to a reputation of unreliability.
  • Low-quality materials: The car was made from cheap materials, compromising its longevity and build quality.
  • Lack of safety features: Due to its cost-cutting measures, the Yugo GV didn’t have many safety features, thus putting its drivers at risk.

Pontiac Aztek

Car Pontiac Aztek
©Photo Credit: MiramarSpeedCircuit

The Pontiac Aztek was initially loved by many people due to its unique design, practical features, and what appeared to be a fresh take on the crossover SUV market. In reality, however, the Aztek has been widely considered as one of the automotive industry’s biggest failures:

  • Design Issues: Its futuristic, bulky styling made it unattractive and difficult for many people to look past its appearance.
  • Low Quality: The Aztek was plagued with fit and finish issues, which contributed to an overall sense of poor quality.
  • Disappointing Sales: The Pontiac Aztek failed to achieve its sales goals, quickly losing the public’s interest and resulting in a substantial loss for the company.

Dodge Caliber

Dodge Caliber
©Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

You might have heard some people raving about their Dodge Caliber, a small four-door hatchback that replaced the Dodge Neon. The initial appeal of the Caliber came from its raised seating position, like a small SUV, and the generous legroom in the front. It seemed like an affordable and practical option for many.

However, there are quite a few reasons people should think twice before falling in love with the Dodge Caliber:

  • Noisy engine: You might find the engine quite loud and disturbing, especially during long drives.
  • Subpar fit and finish: The car’s overall build quality leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Cheap interior materials: The Caliber’s interior is filled with cheap plastic that can make the driving experience less pleasant.

In fact, a Reddit user described the Caliber as an appliance that gets you from point A to point B, but doesn’t provide any thrill or excitement in the driving experience.

Chrysler Sebring

Car Chrysler Sebring
©Photo Credit: Unlimphotos

Many people have found it appealing due to its different body styles, including a sedan, coupe, and convertible. However, the Sebring has a reputation for being disappointing when it comes to performance and reliability.

  • Poor performance: The Sebring is equipped with weaker engines, such as the 2.4-liter four-cylinder and the 2.7-liter V6, that deliver underwhelming power and acceleration. This makes your driving experience dull and unexciting.
  • Low reliability: Sebring owners have reported various issues, such as frequent transmission problems and a lack of dependability in the long run. This can lead to higher maintenance costs and more time spent on repairs.
  • Subpar interior quality: The interior materials used in the Sebring tend to be of lower quality, which makes it less comfortable and more prone to wear and tear. This detracts from the overall driving experience and can affect resale value.

Cadillac Cimarron

©Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

The Cadillac Cimarron initially caught people’s attention due to its compact size, luxury appeal, and the prestigious Cadillac name. However, despite initial interest, there were some major reasons why this car has been considered really bad.

  • Lack of differentiation from cheaper GM models. The Cimarron’s striking similarity to the much cheaper Chevrolet Cavalier. Both cars shared the same platform and most components, but the Cadillac Cimarron was priced significantly higher. This made the Cimarron feel like a glorified Cavalier with a few cosmetic changes.
  • Lackluster performance. The car’s performance was underwhelming, especially when compared to other luxury vehicles in the market. With a small 1.8-liter engine, the Cimarron struggled to live up to the Cadillac’s reputation for power and performance.
  • Poor build quality. The overall build quality and design were not up to the standards of a Cadillac, with many drivers experiencing reliability issues. The Cimarron lacked the attention to detail and refinement expected from a luxury brand.

1957 Trabant P50

A 1957 Trabant P50
©Photo Credit: MiramarSpeedCircuit

The 1957 Trabant P50 holds a special place in the hearts of many car enthusiasts, mainly due to its significance as an iconic car from the East German automotive industry. Here’s why people initially loved it:

  1. Affordable and accessible,
  2. Compact and lightweight construction,
  3. Unique and iconic design.

Despite its initial appeal, there were several reasons why the Trabant P50 ended up being considered a bad car:

  1. The two-stroke engine produces excessive pollution and noise.
  2. Performance and handling limitations.
  3. The body is made of non-environmentally friendly materials.

As you can see, the Trabant P50 might have been loved by many, but it also had its fair share of downsides – notoriously underpowered and poorly built –  which ultimately led to its negative reputation. Nevertheless, people continue to appreciate it for its historical significance and unique design.


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