There are so many cars in the market, with different features and styles. This is why we needed to set some ground rules for this choice. You will find mostly relatively newer cars, many of which can be bought new or used at the moment. There will also be no supercars, since complaining about maintenance costs of a Bugatti Veyron is kind of pointless and it would be ridiculous to call something like that the worst car to own. So, here they are. We will reveal the hidden truth behind what the cleverly organized marketing campaigns tell you.
1. Chevrolet Cruze
This car singlehandedly showed just how different American and European markets are. Their attempt of creating a mainstream car for the EU market is so divorced from what the said market is all about, that the entire project failed miserably, despite the input from Opel/Vauxhall. The car is crude, with several lackluster powering options, badly finished, plagued with mechanical and electrical problems, uncomfortable – simply put, very, very bad. Not only did it fail to provide the EU market with a good alternative to the present manufacturers, but it almost destroyed Chevrolet in EU. If you want to play with the big guys in their own field, marketing isn’t enough – you need quality. Hyundai seems to have understood this far better than Chevrolet.
2. Mini Clubman JCW
OK, Mini cars have had their share of expensive mechanical problems, just like many Alfa Romeo models, and they are well documented. But, just like the Alfas again, they are beloved for their unique interior and exterior styling, good driving characteristics in the sportier versions and heaps of retro heritage. Well, the Clubman JCW has terrible styling, it is utterly uninspiring to drive, uncomfortable, it defies its main ‘mini’ purpose by being pretty big and it even manages to provide insufficient storage for its size, which would otherwise be a start of an excuse. Put all these things into the picture and the Mini heritage not only fails to protect the Clubman JCW, but it actually gets damaged by the clumsy MPV.
3. Mercedes-Benz S-Class W220 pre-facelift
It hurts to say this, since at the time it surfaced this was one of the best, if not the best car in the world. However, being at the very top of the MB offer, many of the things in it are one-off and are extremely pricey. The pre-facelift W220 S-Class has had major issues with rust, its electronics, engine mounts, injectors and injector seals on the initial CDI versions, water ingress, locking system and air suspension. Most of these issues are common on other cars as well, but they do not cost as much as the car itself to fix. The injector seals problem even has a picturesque name “Black Death” and the air suspension issue is rarely justifiable to fix due to its cost. Luckily, Mercedes-Benz managed to salvage the situation and the facelift models were a lot better, the next-gen W221 a great hit, while the current W222 is as good as they get. If you can afford them, you’ll love them, but the 1998-2002 S-Class is by no means a good option.
4. Fiat 500L
Oh, this thing. Consumer Reports rated it the least reliable car in 2015 and this is enough to put it on the list. The car has had issues with electronics, Twin-Air engine issues due to oil differences, bland 1.3 MultiJet and 1.4 gasoline engines for that kind of a body and just common cheap-Fiat annoyances. Moreover, it failed to satisfy even before the problems occurred. It was conceived as a more practical but equally stylish version of the tiny retro Fiat 500, but in practice it came as a bulky, slow, fuel guzzling car with uncomfortable seats, weird driving position, stiff suspension and pricey additions. The only pluses are styling uniqueness and roomy interior, but it’s not difficult to have room when the seats are the size of the ones in the regular 500.
5. Cadillac Escalade MK1
We have to say that any Escalade defies reason, but the first generation is by far the worst. The car is a humongous SUV packed with luxury that somehow manages to be stiff; it has come with a number of V8 engines with cool power ratings, but still managed to be completely uninspiring, slow and even annoying to drive; it’s the size of a tanker ship but the interior can actually feel cramped, especially the third-row seats; it consumes as much fuel as a commercial jet; it costs a lot of money and still holds the title of the least reliable car in its class having issues with transmission, drive system and electronics. And this goes for all generations, so can you imagine how bad the MK1 was, since it’s considered the worst of the lot? It even had a 4-speed gearbox, damn it! The only plus is the bling, but if you are after that, there are far better options out there.