When we set out to buy a car in the modern age, a variety of options are at our disposal. But the main choice we have is between buying a new car or a used one, and of course, there are pros and cons to both of these decisions. Some of these factors more important than others, though.
For starters, there is the cost. A used car is going to be much cheaper than buying a brand new car. And if we are so lucky that we can afford a new car, we are still going to feel the pinch as that money leaves our bank account because money does not grow on trees.
But one of the really important things that we have to consider is whether or not the car we are buying is, in fact, going to be worth the money. And not just whether it is worth it as a used car, but whether that car was even worth the hassle to begin with. Some cars are just bad from the outset, and buying used is not going to make any difference whatsoever.
This list will provide some examples of cars you should not buy new, or used. Some of these cars are no longer in production, and so should be avoided as used cars. Some are still on dealer floors, however, and should be avoided whether new or old to save yourself the bother of having a bad car.
22 Mini Cooper
The Mini Cooper is certainly one of those cars that should be avoided when considered for purchase, especially considering it is anything but ‘mini’. The original Austin Mini from the 1950s was a very small, compact car designed for convenience and affordable operation. The new Mini is nothing like that, and is neither as affordable or reliable as the original Mini was. If anything, you would probably be much better off considering buying the original Mini, to save some dignity. Because the current car seems like it has tripled in size and is not an attractive car at all.
21 Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 at least trumps the Mini in that it is much better looking and is better to drive than the Mini, as well. But the 500 suffers from one big problem: reliability. The car struggles in the sense that it seems to have inherited the horrible reliability issues that befell many of its fellow cars for the their many years of production. Transmission issues were rife in early models of the car, and some still report it to be a problem in 2018. Various engine issues were reported as well, creating a less than desirable rebirth for one of the companies best-loved models.
20 Reliant Robin
The Reliant Robin has featured in various articles before, and it would have been an injustice to leave it off this list. Designed as something of a novelty over the usual four-wheeled car, the Robin proved to be somewhat of a hit early on and certainly caught the public's eye. Reliant thought that the three car idea would finally catch on, with cars such as the BMW Isetta not doing so well. As it turned out, it didn’t catch on, and the Robin was nothing more than a flimsy bit of plastic on three wheels. It has become a collectible, but there are better novelties out there.
19 Chevrolet Aveo
The Chevrolet Aveo isn’t just a car that is bad to purchase both new and used, but it's something you shouldn’t even consider buying at all. In fact, it’s a car that probably shouldn’t exist. The Aveo’s biggest issue is that it is one of the most unsafe cars in the world, and quite a few people have tragically lost their lives in the Aveo, a fact that is simply unacceptable. It was built on the cheap but this car took that term to a whole new level, and it is quite frankly remarkable you can even buy a secondhand one of these at all.
18 Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is actually one of the most popular off-roaders that Jeep produces, and for good reason. It is a very, very competent off-road vehicle and has spawned a few versions of its base model, including the TJ Wrangler. The biggest flaw with the car, though, is that it is incredibly susceptible to rust. And I mean on big, big scales. There is a very good chance that if you go off-roading in the Wrangler, you are going to find that a lot of your paint has peeled and scraped off when you get back and your car is a bit worse for wear.
17 Vauxhall Viva
The biggest problem with the Viva is that it is a remake of a car that was built back in the 1960s, yet unlike the Mini and the Fiat 500, it bears absolutely no resemblance to the original. No, really, go and look. The original Viva is a very elegant looking sedan, and typical of that era of car design. The modern Viva is, well, ugly. It is remake in no area at all, only name. More than likely, it is a remake that has happened purely because Vauxhall ran out of any decent new ideas. At least, that’s all I can deduce from it.
16 Peugeot 1007
The Peugeot 1007 featured on an episode of Top Gear where each presenter brought their mother along to test out three cars. And all three moms together declared the 1007 the worse, and it seemed the most troublesome and difficult to operate. And that’s the issue, it’s just too much of a farce. The slow and cumbersome sliding doors are just one of the issues, with a difficult to tune radio another. What’s more, the 1007 is unnecessarily big and not as well manufactured as other cars around its price point. Not to mention, it is perhaps one of the ugliest cars to have ever ridden our roads.
15 Volkswagen Beetle
The Beetle, of course, has been in production a hugely long time, and the modern version is not a reboot, just a continuation and evolution of the original. And what a questionable looking machine it is. That’s the main reason I wouldn’t touch one of these with a barge pole. The current Beetle does lack the style and character of older models, and of course the model is soon to be out of production. But the modern Beetle also has more technical issues, including a tendency for either headlight to suddenly stopping working, and the check engine light suddenly deciding it needs to be on whenever you start the car.
14 Range Rover
Land Rover and their Range Rover products are widely regarded as some of the best-manufactured SUVs in the world, and for the most part that is true. But people have forever seemed to have a love-hate relationship with these SUVs, even though they were not originally supposed to be the luxury cars that they are now. The quality of the fittings and furnishings has improved since the first generation, but issues such as suspension problems and electrical failures are well known to crop up from time to time, especially on older models that have been well used.
13 Chrysler PT Cruiser
The Chrysler PT Cruiser is something I certainly wouldn’t consider buying on a used car lot. The PT was an attempt by Chrysler to bring the ‘hot rod’ styling of the 1920s and 1930s to the modern day, and to bring in on an affordable and fairly normal car. And it is safe to say, they didn’t do a very good job of it. A hot rod is supposed to feature insane styling, and the large intakes that feature on them stand out amongst all mods. The PT Cruiser looks nothing like that, and is incredibly vanilla and plain by comparison.
12 Chevrolet Cobalt
You could say the Cobalt is becoming a friend of mine, as it is a car I have written about a fair amount. Unfortunately, nothing will shake off the fact that the Cobalt just is not a very good car. Built to be affordable for the masses, and not fitted with any particularly crazy performance in mind, the Cobalt’s cheapness really showed. Cheap metals and plastics were used in its construction, and as such it was highly likely that rust would become a factor pretty quickly on the Cobalt. This is on a new car, as well, so any used model you may be interested in picking up could be much worse.
11 Nissan Titan
The Nissan Titan is one of a couple of Nissan pickups that feature in this piece, and they share something in common, being that they are quite bland. Having said that, the Titan is, on the face of things, a pretty good car. It’s incredibly safe, features a very strong 5.6-liter V8 that produces nearly 400 bhp and has a very good seven-speed gearbox. But, when it comes to used cars, the Titan suffers. The cars rear axles are reported to have major issues and several leakages, something no motorist ever wants to face in their lifetime. Stops to refill this are only going to wear thin quickly.
10 Nissan Micra
The Nissan Micra suffers from several issues, one of the biggest being is that it is quite a dull machine, although later models do not suffer this so much. Early models, however, did indeed and were incredibly basic not only in the features they provided, but their styling as well. It was uninspiring, ugly, and if anything, it looked rather flimsy. And it certainly wasn’t the safest car on the roads, at all. But most models of this car have been described as incredibly joyless, and that is never anything that a car company wants to hear about its product. And it does ring very true of the Micra.
9 Vauxhall Adam
One of the biggest issues with the Vauxhall Adam is its name. I don’t think I have seen, or heard, such an uninspiring name for a car. But that isn’t the only thing that is wrong with the Adam. The Adam also features bizarre yet very uninspiring looks that would certainly send me to sleep. But most of all, the Adam is actually a very confusing car for those that are purchasing such a vehicle. The amount of accessories and customizations that can be made to this car has been described as baffling before. The car is also really uninspiring to drive, and in some ways is befitting of its really plain name.
8 Chevrolet Vega
It would be quite rude to leave this masterpiece of a car out of this list. Well, not quite a masterpiece. Now, the Vega is a very attractive car but it was hopeless in terms of build quality and a huge rush job from the Chevrolet company. It was designed by people who just did not want anything to do with it, and I, of course, have mentioned the John DeLorean story before, when he looked at the prototype and its front bumper fell off. The Vega is, as you look at it, a very pretty car indeed and I certainly would consider a used one…but these things weren’t good new, so I can only imagine what a used one is like.
7 Volkswagen Jetta
The Jetta is on this list purely because it is a car that does not really know what it is. It is somewhat designed as a sports car, but originating from a family car from the 1970s and fully kitted-out as if it is a family car. That is what is incredibly confusing about the Jetta. The car itself isn’t too bad, and does have a few positives. But it is this factor that has confused many who buy it. Plus, the wide range of performance upgrades that can be added to the car only goes to further confuse those that seek to perhaps buy the Jetta.
6 Mazda RX-8
Now, the Mazda RX-8 isn’t the worst car in the world, but nor is it the best. But the reason I have added it to this list is because if you want a rotary engine sports car…why are you buying the RX-8? Surely the number one choice is the Mazda RX-7? Yes, the RX-8 may be a newer car and perhaps that makes it a bit safer and more luxurious…but the RX-7 has better styling, a more refined rotary engine and is a lot more iconic and synonymous with Mazda’s rotary engine machines. The RX-8 is perhaps something you would buy if you didn’t know that the RX-7 existed.
5 Ferrari F430
The Ferrari F430 is one of the best supercars to come from the Maranello company in this century, and was critically acclaimed when launched. But the problem with taking one of these cars now is that there are much better Ferraris out there that put the F430 well and truly in the shade. Cars like the 458 and 488 are now much better options for those seeking a Ferrari. Also, the F430 does not feature any particularly exciting looks, and is perhaps quite a mundane Ferrari. There have certainly been more exciting and glamorous Ferraris to look at over the years.
4 Mitsubishi Shogun
The Shogun is one of those rare times when Mitsubishi did not put together a great car, unlike with the Lancer Evo. Once it is off the tarmac, it performs almost as ruggedly as it looks. Rocky terrain suits it down to the ground. But the issue is once this car gets onto the normal tarmac, it suffers. Vibrations are sent all through the controls and a horribly coarse sounds emits from it and takes away from any pleasure that may be felt when driving the thing. This is a major let-down for a car that performs good off the road, and that is not what is going to sell you an SUV.
3 Cadillac Escalade
The Escalade is perhaps one the ugliest SUVs to grace our roads. Heck, it is probably one of the worst-looking cars to have ever been born from its factory. Features-wise, it is quite well equipped, in fact it is up there with the best. But its size is too much, even by SUV standards, which really detracts from its luxury features, like Bluetooth and very comfy seats. Out of a beefy 420 bhp engine, somehow the car only reaches speeds of 120 mph. But considering how much of this car there is to power along the road, that perhaps isn’t surprising.
2 Pontiac Aztek
The Aztek is certainly one of the more interesting cars on this list, and it is something that I have indeed covered before. Sadly, never for good reasons, though. It is one of the most awfully-styled cars I have ever seen, and not just from Pontiac, either. It is a mashed-up crossover based off an old minivan chassis, and its awful looks don’t help hide its awful performance. At a push, it reaches 108 mph and its 0-60 speed is over 10 seconds at 10.8. The Aztek was an awful car to begin with when new but it has just further descended into a heap of junk as a used car. It's one to certainly avoid.
1 Nissan Frontier
The Nissan Frontier suffers the same traits as the Titan, by which I mean that it is an iffy-looking car and quite mundane by today’s standards. Nissan has been somewhat left behind by the competition, and the Frontier now feels quite outdated. Its reliability does not compare favorably to the more modern iterations of the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado that are out today, and its fuel economy is severely lacking too despite its 4.0-liter V6 being sturdy and strong. There are certainly some much better choices out there for you to buy, and for what you would spend on a used one of these, it just is not worth the hassle.