The worst cars in the world

We run down the world's worst cars - as voted for by Carbuyer readers.

10. Pontiac Aztek

The idea behind the Pontiac Aztek was sound: provide a practical and versatile SUV with styling acceptable to Generation X.

There was certainly plenty to shout about. It featured four-wheel drive, an optional head-up display and was able to carry a 4ft by 8ft sheet of plywood. Other options included a removable wheeled cargo tray in the boot, a centre console that was also a cooler and a backpack mounted in the seat backs.

So what was wrong then? Well, just look at it. The styling was awkward in the extreme. Pontiac’s design boss said he: “wanted to do a bold, in-your-face vehicle that wasn't for everybody.” The problem was, it was so ugly, it wasn’t for anybody. The Aztek lasted just five years.

9. Lancia Beta

Pretty styling, good performance and good value. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, as it happened.

The Lancia Beta gained a justifiable reputation for rusting at a remarkable rate. There are plenty of rumours as to why the Beta dissolved in the rain, but the most likely was poor rust-proofing in steel components. Many of these parts were structural leading to potentially dangerous component failure.

In the UK, Lancia’s largest market outside Italy, owners could participate in a buy-back scheme. If their car failed an inspection, they’d be offered a part-exchange deal to buy another Lancia or a Fiat. Cars that failed were crushed. In 1980, there were reports of cars less than five years old that had corroded excessively.

The problem led Lancia to introduce the UK’s first six-year anti-corrosion warranty, but the damage was done to the brand’s reputation and it ceased UK sales in the 1990s.

8. Suzuki X-90

In the 1990s, Suzuki had cornered the market in small 4x4s with models like the Vitara and Samurai. That’s because they were fun, cheap and rugged. The X-90 was none of those things.

It was a two-door, two-seat SUV that featured a pair of removable roof panels. It was powered by a wheezy 1.6-litre petrol engine and available in two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and automatic configurations. It was the answer to a question nobody had asked.

It did at least boast some decent safety credentials, which was a good thing given well-documented cases of Samurais rolling over. But on the road, the steering was vague, the ride bouncy and handling merely average. Ultimately, the car wasn’t that bad – the same couldn’t be said of the concept, though. Buyers didn’t understand it then or now. Just a handful were sold – and a high list price didn’t help, either.

Continue our top 20 countdown of worst cars with the 7th to 4th worst cars in the world

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