Auto Express’ Top 10 Dire Cars
Widely-regarded motoring magazine Auto Express recently polled its readers, asking them to nominate what they feel are the worst cars ever to inflict themselves on our roads here in the UK, along with their reasons. One person’s meat is another person’s poison, as the expression loosely goes, but there are some cars which are just inexcusably bad – and the magazine’s readers have wholeheartedly agreed on some undeniably poor cars. Here’s our recap of their poll.
The best of a bad bunch: positions 10 to 8
Think of the seventies here in the UK and more specifically of the automotive industry. British Leyland was at the forefront back then and unlike today’s successful Midlands car giant Jaguar Land Rover, they got it rather wrong. Their Austin Allegro was intended to be a desirable all-rounder for both families and business drivers, but with its forlorn styling and woeful handling, sales reps and other Allegro buyers throughout the country were likely dismayed even further by the arrival of the Volkswagen Golf; which showed the Allegro up in every area.
It’s hard to imagine that the 1970s-born Lada Riva was still being sold in the nineties as it was so utterly basic and crude in all departments. The theme of many jokes, it wasn’t as successful here in the UK as it was in several other countries, where lack of rivals almost forced people to buy one. A surprising number did get bought in the UK, though, where it was trounced even by cars as equally forgettable as the early Ford Sierra. Still, it finishes 9th in their survey.
The magazine also attributes its 8th place car’s relative sales success as being purely down to lack of alternative choice in the 1970s. The Morris Marina wasn’t visually appealing, handled poorly and wasn’t put together very well. This rival to the Allegro was essentially thought of as a reworked Morris Minor. Say no more.
A pointless Japanese car and two naff small ones: positions 7 to 5
In more recent times, many people have perceived the likes of a BMW X6 as pointless, trying to cross over too many categories when nobody asked it to. But you’ve seen nothing until you’ve seen the readers’ 7th place pick, the Suzuki X-90. Fortunately Suzuki only produced it for two years, from 1995 to 1997, as the offer of a dinky, two-door, two-seater SUV with a fabric roof and no off-road ability didn’t appeal.
Oh dear, most cars in the results table are from some time ago, but 6th place is filled by a car which was actually launched not that long ago in the UK – the Mitsubishi Mirage. To be fair, the reasons people gave for nominating it are its lack of flair, desirability, handling and pretty much any other saving graces, making it a car which is easy to forget and isn’t cheaply priced, either.
What lies in fifth spot in the middle of the sorry table? It’s none other than the CityRover, launched in 2003 and based on the Tata Indica from India. Rover, a company desperate to stay afloat, was talked of as paying about £3,000 for each of these Indian superminis and then rebadging them as £6,500 Rovers, to the discontent of many UK buyers who didn’t rate the handling or its poor quality. In fact, James May secretly tested one and reckoned it was the worst car he’d ever driven on Top Gear.
Why oh why? It’s time for the cars ranked 4 th to 2 nd worst
Produced between 1978 and 2002, the Polish FSO Polonez was voted into fourth place. A Fiat 125p under the skin, the Polonez’s only saving feature was it was safe enough to pass American safety standards. Its desirability was virtually non-existent otherwise, and even bright colour schemes and sporty bodykits fail to redeem it.
Taking bronze on the podium is the Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible. Some people did have a soft spot for the hatchback version’s bold American retro styling, but most people weren’t that impressed. Some tops are best left on, so to speak, and this definitely applies to the PT Cruiser. Why they decided to produce a convertible version is quite baffling, as it made an already fairly unattractive car even worse. With the fabric roof down, it looks swollen and out of proportion from most angles. Auto Express describes it as an “ugly duckling” with poor handling and a cheap interior to boot.
The penultimate worst car in their readers’ minds is tiny, but to the extreme. It’s also awful-looking, lacks power and is technically a quadracycle. That’s right, we’re talking about the G-Wiz electric ‘car’ from Reva, which was intended as an answer to the London Congestion Charge. As readers commented, it’s all very well being exempt from paying the charge, but G-Wiz drivers will still get stuck in traffic jams and surely don’t appreciate being trapped inside a very cramped, uncomfortable box. We can’t help but agree.
It’s official. Auto Express readers voted the worst ever car as…
The Ssangyong Rodius. The comments submitted by participants really do convey the animosity felt towards this unusual Korean vehicle. One reader said it "looks like a melted hearse," another felt "it's time these were taken away and destroyed” and someone else commented “if it were human, not even its mother could love it”. The name is said to convey the idea of being “Lord of the Road” and the original Rodius MPV was practical if nothing else, with 7, 9 and 11-seat layouts. It was allegedly designed to capture the spirit of a luxury yacht, but we can’t help feel it failed in the visual stakes, looking badly-proportioned and like it’s had afterthoughts or extensions added to it by different committees. Since 2005, the Rodius has been topping ugly car polls, mainly from Top Gear. In 2013, Ssangyong launched the second generation Rodius, called the Turismo. Okay, it’s slightly more acceptable than the original but still isn’t what you’d call attractive. This month, in fact, Top Gear Magazine labelled it as one of the worst cars you can buy right now. Ssangyong may however feel boosted by the new Rodius Turismo being voted as the best-designed MPV by a magazine in Thailand – or maybe not.
So, they were the cars rated as pretty darn awful by Auto Express readers. What do you think of their nominations? Perhaps you own one of the cars in their top 10 and love it, feeling it has been unfairly included. Or maybe you completely agree with them on some or all of these cars. Whatever the case, we’d love to hear from you via Facebook or Twitter. Auto Express’ poll has got us thinking, so don’t be surprised if we publish our own office top 10 duff cars in the near future!
- On: 05 November 2014
- By: CarShop
This may sound like a sweeping statement, but it’s fair to say most people that buy Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV)...
22 Oct 2014
CarShop Northampton invests heavily in its Service Centre to stay up-to-date with vehicle requirements. Back in October 2012 CarShop Northampton...
5 Nov 2014