Say whatever you want about the automobile industry, like the majors are robbing us of our hard-earned money, the gasoline engines are polluting the atmosphere, the hybrids are too expensive, the warranties are too short, the lease/loan options are ridiculous, et cetera, et cetera, but you can’t deny the fact that we’re in a pretty good spot right now. With each passing year the cars are getting safer, faster, more reliable, durable, fuel-efficient and all-around enjoyable. Never before did we have so many amazing options on the market, and that’s the truth. After a couple of years (more like decades) of bad-quality product the public got tired and lost their trust in the giants of the industry. Thankfully the 21st century did everything right to get the customer trust back. True, the automobile manufacturers might have decided to play nice only to survive on the harsh market, but that still means we – the drivers – get the upper hand. Compared to where we’re at right now, the worst cars were like the medieval age 10-15 years ago.
What Makes A Car Bad? A Number Of Things
The majors never listened to what we had to say, never cared much about quality and even tried to save on our safety. America was crowded with bad cars and we just had to get by. So, yeah, fortunately, today the industry is nothing like what is used to be before, but let’s try and understand what makes a car bad – like really-really bad? Well, sometimes a wrong design is all it takes to earn public distrust. In other cases, all you need is just a few laps around the block to know that you don’t wanna spend any more time with the vehicle. There are countless examples of bad execution, ridiculous styling, bad handling, hideous interiors and appalling vibes, and I’m just hoping you never had to deal with any of the above. The 21 century certainly did give the industry a nice kick up the butt, but we had our fair share of weirdos as well. And even though I’ve got tons of dissapointing models just waiting to be discussed, today we’ll talk about the champs of the market, the leaders of the pack – the worst cars of the last 15 years.
#1 – The Chevrolet Aveo
Drivers with 10 to 15 years of experience on the road should remember the infamous Korean brand Daewoo. They were selling super low-budget compact cars back in the ’90s. The story is, they went bankrupt in a couple of years and GM (yep, the mighty-mighty General Motors) came around and saved the Koreans the humiliation and bought the automaker in 2001. Two years later, in 2003, the American brand released a Daewoo Kalos under the Chevrolet brand. The car was named Aveo, and that means desire in Latin, in case you were wondering. It had a few good sides: the reincarnated Chevy Aveo could take in as much as 5 passengers, had decent fuel-efficiency and would be yours for less than 10K large. Wait, that’s like the recipe for the perfect vehicle, right? Well, not quite. You’d have A LOT of troubles with this one, including frequent no-starts, bad reliability, no decent tech in the cabin and more. Right now you won’t find an Aveo on the US streets, but it case you do, just notice how far the Koreans have come since.
The Worst Cars Of The Last 15 Years – #2, The Jeep Compass
In 2015 Jeep sold more than 1 million vehicles. In 2009 they only moved 200K. Yep, the company did the almost impossible and took its rightful place among the majors in the business. So, why the huge gap? Well, it will only take you a quick glimpse at the Compass SUV to figure it all out. It was a terrible vehicle and, as far as the worst cars of the last 15 years go, this one is right there at the top. First of all, the exterior design was ridiculous and looked like a bad joke compared to the contemporary sleek and sexy models. The styling was hideous, everything about it was just wrong. On the inside the Jeep Compass “boasted” a poor cabin with low-quality plastic all over the place. Furthermore, it wasn’t even strong at off-roading, so folks just couldn’t get why Chrysler would think the Compass was good enough to wear a Jeep badge. The engine was 172 Horses-strong, so, nothing exciting there either. At the end of the day, this SUV could be the worst model from one of America’s finest to ever hit the market.
#3 – The Chrysler Sebring
Alright so, by now you might think that I’m just hating on Chrysler, because this is the second car from the brand in a row, but that’s not really it. And if the Compass was agreeable, I guess, then the Sebring is on a whole another level of bad. Top Speed said that it was built like a turd (that’s a quote) and Top Gear’s Mr. Clarkson said that this was “almost certainly” the worst vehicle in the history of the automobile industry. Wow! So, what’s so horrible about the Sebring (well, the name for one) that folks have been scolding it ever since the release date? Let’s find out! Well, to the society it represents everything that we hate about the automobile market, and that’s called “Average”. That’s right, everything about the car, including the ridiculous hood, is mediocre, less than average. The interior, the cabin, the techy features, the engine, the powertrain – all of that is just routine, if you know what I mean. After you experience a day (or, better yet, a weak) with this one, you’ll start to appreciate the Toyota Prius, the Ford C-Max and the Nissan Leaf, because, compared to this one, the three are just astonishingly good. So, the list of the worst cars of the last 15 years would definitely not be complete without the Sebring.
#4 – The Lexus HS 250H
This wasn’t a horrible car per se, but it never could compete on the harsh market either. From the side it looked like a fat Corolla with big and stupid doors. As far as the Lexus nameplate goes, the HS 250H was nothing like what the badge represents and goes for. The interior wasn’t very attractive, in fact, you couldn’t find a single premium, luxurious or just solid thing in it. Under the hood the false Lexus had only 187HP and average fuel-efficiency, especially for a hybrid. On top of all that, the HS 250H had a price-tag of 40K, which was really-really steep. And everybody who was in the market for a decent hybrid Lexus picked the CT 200H, that cost 8K less and was (still is) light years ahead of the sibling. In 2012 production was ceased after the company sold 2.8K units on the American market. Yep, Toyota had their bad models as well.
The Worst Cars Of The Last 15 Years – #5, The Smart ForTwo
First of all, what kinds of a name is that, huh? The modern-day production from Mini and Fiat show us that in the right, capable hands of a strong manufacturer even the tiniest cars can be quite an attractive segment. However, Smart, despite the name, somehow managed to do everything the wrong way. The exterior looks are tolerable at best, while the Mini Cooper, for example, will make you fall in love with the art-decor kind of styling and design. Fuel-economy is pretty bad too (the powertrain returns 36 miles per gallon of combined driving, while the most average Prius returns 50), even though the Smart ForTwo is one of the smallest cars on the market. In addition, every last single person who was “lucky” enough to be behind the wheel said that handling is awful and you can’t really feel the connection with the car. So, bottom line is, the Smart ForTwo is one of the worst cars of the last 15 years and folks don’t have any love for it. A new gen is slated for 2016; let’s see if Smart does it “smart” this time.
Check out this video: Top 10 Worst Cars of All Time