Not all cars are worth the discount price that you find on them at your local wholesale lot. Whether it be that it is one of the most stolen vehicles, the least reliable or the worst-performing in crash testing, these cars are better suited to being recycled into mailboxes than being sold to unwary consumers.
1995 through 1999 Dodge Neon
The Neon was a notorious troublemaker throughout its production run. It was uncomfortable, finicky, and blew head gaskets like a fourth-grader with a cold blows their nose. That is, constantly. Perhaps the greatest drawback to these cars, popular as inexpensive vehicles for first-time drivers, is that they are perhaps one of the most deadly cars on the market. In this video, you can see the crash test dummy’s head literally move through the inflated airbag and hit the steering wheel. In addition, the entire front passenger compartment is completely deformed, nearly throwing the driver door open. Few cars built after 1990 have performed worse in government crash testing.
1994 Honda Accord
Honda’s Accord is one of the most reliable cars on the road today. The engines seem to last forever, and rust is rarely a problem. So, why would an Accord make the list of used vehicles to avoid? The reason is theft statistics. Youths who partake in road racing love these sedans and two-doors because of their parts, making them the most stolen car in America for several years running. Not only do you run the risk of having your car stolen by owning one, but you might be in for a sticker shock when you purchase insurance for your ride.
2007-2011 Dodge Nitro
Attractive by crossover standards, the Dodge Nitro has two significant strikes against it when it comes to being a used car. The first is that it received a “Marginal” safety rating in side impact crash testing performed by IIHS. The second is that Consumer Reports rated the Nitro with only 33 out of a possible 100 points in their testing.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
Although it may seem difficult to believe, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara actually performed worse in Consumer reports tests than the Nitro. It scored a paltry 17 points out of a possible 100. In addition, although it performed well in IIHS testing in frontal-offset crashing, it scored poorly in side-impact testing. As though this weren’t enough, the Wrangler has had an impressively poor reliability history for over twenty years. It may be a fun vehicle off-road, but if it isn’t to be your second vehicle, you may want to rethink your purchase.
No worst vehicle list would be complete without mentioning the Pontiac Aztec. Not only did it perform only Marginally in government crash testing, it is widely regarded as being one of the ugliest vehicles ever built. It was uncomfortable and cramped, had a poorly-executed interior, and had the unfortunate tendency to lean precariously through all but the gentlest of turns. Few other vehicles in history have had such a negative reception and lived up (or down) to consumer and critic expectations.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: vehicle ratings: www.iihs.org
Consumer Reports: Best & Worst Cars: www.consumerreports.org