Reader Question: The Worst New Car?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Tommy asks: What’s the worst car on the market right now? I have several in mind but was curious about which you’d pick. Love the rants; keep ’em coming!

My reply: Objectively speaking, there aren’t any bad cars; at least, not in the way we used to think about that – or rather, define that. If you are less than 30 years old, you probably don’t remember – and so cannot imagine – just how bad some cars used to be. And by “bad,” I mean unsound. Literally falling apart in some cases.

A good example being the infamous Yugo – but also first-generation Hyundais (e.g., the original Excel, which didn’t), Daihatsus and a few other memorable lemons. These cars weren’t afflicted merely by piddly problems such as door pulls that pulled off when you pulled on them; the entire car was a rolling defect. Engines that spat parts – or used as much oil as gas – before you finished making the payments. Paint that peeled like Zsa Zsa Gabor’s makeup.

These cars would just stop running sometimes – including times when you’d just pulled out into traffic. Reverse would stop reversing and you’d have to Fred Flintstone the car out of a parking spot.

There is no modern analog. Minor bitches, sure. Random electrical glitches. A leaky sunroof. But wholesale catastrophic failures and fundamentally shoddy designs are pretty rare.

My gripe with new cars is general and isn’t defined by the usual/historical criteria of slipshod engineering and quality control. Rather, I dislike the over-complexity, disposability and absurdly high cost. I rise in protest about the terrible visibility and nannying technology.

But the cars are – unlike their predecessors – fundamentally sound.

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Here in Australia the Asians call Daihatsu a Daishitsu. And these shitsus are only driven by white people. Asians won’t be caught dead in them.

    • I’d agree to a point, except for a Wrangler/Gladiator, Challenger or a Ram, which I got 3 months ago.

      Still, lusting for a 90s project car as my Audi is basically nearly done mod wise (Just needs a big turbo, and upgraded diffs), and RHD would be fun to experience (Sat in a Cappuccino at the NY Autoshow)

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