“Movement is the universal language of personal freedom.” – Louis Chevrolet
Louis Chevrolet was a racecar driver out of Switzerland. His iconic quote was his life’s work, as not only did he race but he also co-founded Chevy way back in the early 1900s. By 1911, he helped to officially launch the Chevrolet Motor Car Company. He sadly passed away at the age of 62 way back in the early 1940s. He would be happy to know that Chevrolet is still alive and well these days. However, like most car companies, Chevy has quite the polarizing image.
They’ve created lots of SUV and pickup studs. However, through the years, we’ve seen a lot of duds as well. In this article, we turn back the clock way back to Louis Chevrolet’s time and take a look at specific duds in that era. We'll then build from the 1960s on upwards and feature some of the worst rides ever made. After breezing through this article, it’ll become rather apparent that the '80s were a dark era for the car company and a big reason for GM sinking to the ground. The '90s weren’t as bad, but they still featured some traumatizing cars you may remember from your younger days. Sadly, lackluster models also exist from the recent years, and we’ll also explore those rides.
Enjoy the article, folks, and like always, be sure to share it with a friend. Here are 20 cars from the past that show Chevy had no idea what they were doing. Let’s get started!
20 Chevrolet Cavalier
If you grew up in the '80s or '90s, this ride might make your blood boil just a little bit. Due to its affordable price tag, it was pretty common to see this lackluster ride on the road. Despite its underwhelming performance, the ride lasted for three generations, the first dates way back to the early 1980s. The final generation took place between 1995 and 2002.
Chevy tried to upgrade the model using a more modern-day look; however, it just wasn’t meant to be as the more time went on, the fewer sales the Chevy type managed to make. It's making a comeback, believe it or not; however, production is only limited to the market over in China. That might not be a bad thing...
19 Chevrolet SSR
Surprisingly, Chevy had very few misses during the '90s. However, that didn’t hold true during the early portion of the 2000s with more than a couple of head-scratchers. The SSR was just downright bad — like so bad that most would rather opt for the Pontiac Aztek, which was released around the same time...
If it was a car out of the '70s, we could've given it that pass due to the wacky time period, but to release such a car in 2004 is unacceptable. The goal was a pickup with a hot rod sort of theme – man, was that ever a miss. It looks more like a children's car bed. Making matters that much worse, the car is a heavy drive while containing absolutely no power...
18 Chevrolet Malibu
Even with the upgrades, Chevrolet Malibu falls flat these days, according to Car and Driver:
“It doesn’t feel as upscale or as nimble as the Honda Accord or the Mazda 6.”
So, in other words, the car is still a dud both inside and out... Named after Malibu, California, we’re not entirely sure what’s so Malibu about the ride. It was first released way back when in the mid-'60s. Following the fourth generation, it appeared as though the ride was laid to rest. However, this wasn't meant to be.
The ride returned in 1997 with a fifth-generation vehicle. In truth, it still seemed underwhelming, and as Car and Driver indicates, still had nothing close to the upscale look compared to the others.
17 Iron Duke Chevrolet Camaro
Listing a Camaro as a dud might hurt some of you muscle car enthusiasts out there. However, we just couldn’t help but include the bad '80s Camaro with the Iron Duke engine. The result was a disaster on the inside, creating the slowest Camaro of all time. In fact, the ride was so weak that it has a similar powertrain to a Volkswagen Beetle! Ouch.
The engine absolutely sunk the car to the bottom.
In reality, it really didn’t look all that bad, but when you’re hitting 0-60 mph in 20 seconds, there's a definite problem! Rightfully so, the engine was completely restructured four years later.
16 Chevrolet Corvette 305 California
First a Camaro, and now, a Corvette? Yes, Chevrolet had a bad experience with both these rides. Ironically, this dud of a ride was also created in the '80s era. Although the '90s wasn’t too bad for the car company, we definitely can’t say the same for the prior era – it was one of the very worst for Chevy.
Chevy can blame the California laws for their dud of a ride. The power needed to be scaled back, and it led to a baffling 180 horsepower. The result was one of the most neglected and poorly received Corvette types ever made. It’s so bad that collectors don’t even mention this model due to its ongoing depreciating value over the years.
15 Chevrolet Chevette
The Chevette was an early example of a Chevy ride completely tanking. In fact, the ride is so bad that it's typically featured on the list of the worst rides off all time. Yikes!
The worst part is that the ride actually sold quite well and was considered among the best sellers during the late '70s and early '80s. Due to the cheapness of the vehicle, Chevy was able to manufacture lots of rides with ease – 2.7 million were created. Once the poor construction and terrible power became obvious, the ride completely sunk. Thankfully, in 1987, it finally left the market for good.
14 Chevrolet Series-C Cooper Cooled
Yes, this ride might be as bad as it looks, but let’s cut the Chevy some slack – it was made back in the 1920s. It’s definitely no Chevy Suburban. Out of the 500 that were made, every ride was eventually called back, yikes!
The goal was to make a ride that was air-cooled from top to bottom. However, this led to a lackluster engine and a tough overall feel. The ride had lots of issues in heavy traffic situations, when it was forced to constantly stop and go — you know, the regular things that are expected of vehicles... The only two that remain are resting in a couple of museums, but who'd want to see a ride with such a poor legacy?
13 Chevrolet Aveo
Somehow, this ride has been on the market for over a decade now. In terms of actual sales, a big reason for its moderate success has to do with its cheap price point. The ride is also easy to fill up, considering it's small.
That’s the only thing that seems to be right with the ride. The car is built very cheaply, and it’s quite the sluggish drive. It also wasn’t out of the norm for the ride to be recalled due to an issue with one of the parts. The interior had lots of electric-related problems, according to past user reviews. This car was and still is well behind the curve.
12 Chevrolet Vega
Unlike most of the other rides featured, this car was considered a stud early on, so much so, that it won Motor Trend’s car of the year back in 1971. So, where did it all go wrong?
Reliability. That was the main issue.
The car was prone to engine failures, and it was typically forced into being towed. The ride was a big reason for GM’s ultimate downfall. When correlating high sales with a terrible product, that’s never a good thing. The worst part about this all, GM was well aware of all the problems prior to it being issued to the public. Talk about having no idea what they were doing!
11 Chevy TrailBlazer
“At 70,000 miles, my Chevy TrailBlazer's cluster died! Speedometer and oil gauge either spin out of control or shows nothing when car is running. With all the past recalls for certain Chevy clusters, I cannot understand how the blazer was omitted from this recall!”
Ah, yes, another satisfied Trailblazer driver... In truth, this is just one of the negative reviews for the Chevy TrailBlazer. There’s a reason the ride didn’t last the test of time. After just a couple of years on the market, it suddenly vanished. The look really wasn’t all that bad, but the quality on the inside was a complete dud. Once again, it got off to a decent start with the mass market, but the inability to improve and upgrade proves Chevy had no clue what they were doing with the ride.
10 Chevrolet Corvair
Let’s kick it back to a car out of the 1960s. Visually, the ride looks like an extended version of what Pee Wee Herman might drive. However, Pee Wee might be none too pleased with the frequency of accidents this car would be involved in throughout its run on the market. Due to lackluster handling issues, the ride was prone to lots of highway crashes. That’s an absolute no-no!
GM tried to salvage the ride by improving the suspension in the later models, but it was all too late.
The reputation of the car completely sank it. Seriously, who wants to drive a car that drives itself into a different direction!? After only four years, the Corvair came to a halt.
9 Geo Metro Convertible
Speaking of cars Pee Wee Herman might be interested in, we now turn our attention to the Geo Metro Convertible. The ride really isn’t all that bad, as various models are still selling today from the early '90s. They can be yours for just over a grand, and a lot of that has to do with the bizarre look of the ride. It resembles a Lego convertible.
It lasted a lot longer than expected from the late '80s till the early 2000s. In 2000, the ride completely sunk to the bottom with 32,000 units being sold. At the very least, the ride did have decent fuel economy...
8 Chevrolet Lumina APV
Doesn’t the Chevrolet Lumina APV get your blood going just a little bit? For those '90s kids out there, you likely feel the pain of this ride just by looking at it. The Lumina was a common ride during the early portion of the '90s and into the mid-'90s as well.
The design might have been the worst part, as it kind of resembled an item you might find in the kitchen with its U-shape. Often compared to a space shuttle, the ride was an even bigger dud on the inside with so many reliability issues. It’s a three-door van we never want to see again. Keep it in the '90s!
Speaking of rides that resemble something coming of space, we now turn to the EV1 that not only sounds like it was inspired by aliens but also looks the part. The goal of the car was to create a one-passenger electric vehicle. The model actually had a lot of steam prior to the release.
However, that dream came crashing down when the model was discontinued due to the expensive nature of the ride, which therefore made it difficult to turn a profit. For those that did get their hands on the ride just in time, it has an insane resale value these days due to the rareness factor.
6 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD
Let’s make it clear — the Silverado definitely isn’t the worst Chevy, and for the most part, reviews are quite positive. The ride has been around the block for quite some time now since the late '90s. That being said, it was bound to enter a weaker collection at some point, and it turns out that the third generation didn’t score the greatest reviews.
Both heavy-duty 2015 and 2016 models scored low survey points in terms of reliability, according to Cheat Sheet.
Isn’t that the reason most buy a Chevy pickup? Among the issues for most of the users include the suspension, various leaks within the ride, and weird vehicle noises. For what it’s worth, the 2011 and 2012 models didn’t do too great either, with fuel and brake complaints.
5 Chevrolet Citation
The Chevrolet Citation was a part of the lackluster X-platform compact cars. These rides were among some of the ugliest cars ever to be released. Among the other cars in this line include the Pontiac Phoenix, the Oldsmobile Omega, and the Buick Skylark – cars that are basically one worse than the other.
The Citation might've been at the very bottom, as users complained the ride was unsafe. It was also pretty common for the ride to completely shut down, thanks to a disturbingly cheap engine on the inside. It's widely considered one of the worst cars ever made. The reviews crushed the car's future, and it was discontinued far too late with more than a million models being made.
4 Chevrolet Uplander
Kind of reminds us of the disturbing U-van featured earlier in the article — that, mixed in with a Pontiac Aztek. This was another forgettable minivan, but hey, at least they added an extra door unlike in the Lumina model. NY Daily News sums up this model best in one perfect comparison:
“The best way to honor the Uplander is to stare at it for a few seconds. Like the sun, it's [sic] shape will leave a lasting imprint, along with a vague feeling of anxiety and nausea.”
3 Chevrolet Cruze
If aliens stretched out the EV1 and made some modifications to the exterior, it might look like the Chevrolet Cruze. The ride first released in 2008. Things got off to a rocky start, to begin with, as GM issued a recall on the model due to steering reliability issues. A shock to nobody, the ride received terrible reliability scores, and in fact, it was the lowest score in comparison to similar compact sedans.
In total, more than 400,000 models were ultimately recalled back to the production line. The car wasn’t out of the woods just yet, as user problems would only continue with the 2011 and 2013 models.
2 Chevrolet Traverse
Released in 2009, this model is currently ongoing, and that might not be the best thing. According to Cheat Sheet, this car is littered with negative user reviews from both the past and present models. At least 15 models prior to 2016 have below-average reviews — that’s pretty darn bad if you ask us.
Among the big problems on this ride includes a poor suspension along with a deficient temperature system – these were among the most common criticisms, according to the users of the Traverse.
1 Chevrolet Bel Air
It’s one of life’s greatest mysteries how this ride lasted eight generations. The first generation began way back in the late '40s. The look of the ride was a complete disaster then and would continue on throughout the generations, looking extremely heavy and having some terrible handling.
It took eight generations for the car to finally end production. After a 30-year run, the car was laid to rest in the early 1980s. It’s often compared to the Chevrolet Impala; however, the only difference is that the Impala still runs today, and it actually has a resale value...