Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned

Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Start Slideshow
Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Chevrolet

Owning a slow car can be fun — or annoying.

The adage of “it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast” doesn’t apply to every car that’s down on power. Some vehicles can be dangerously underpowered, especially with how crazy a lot of other drivers are.

The least powerful car I’ve ever owned was my 2013 Chevy Sonic. I was a young, broke dad/college student, so I didn’t have the more peppy turbo engine. I was stuck with the LT trim with the 1.8-liter I4. It put out just 138 horses.

We asked readers what car was the least powerful they ever owned. Here are their answers.

Welcome back to Answers of the Day, our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best responses to the previous Question of the Day and shine them up to show off. It’s by you and for you, Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

2 / 17

Citroën 2CV

Citroën 2CV

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Citroën

Pretty sure it was my 2CV :) bright green and tons of fun, but powerful she wasn’t.

Suggested by: PrettyFlyForAWiFi

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

3 / 17

Renault 18i

Renault 18i

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Renault

My 1981 Renault 18i that had in college. The car made 80 horsepower and had a 5 speed manual. Unless you needed to brake or shift gears the accelerator constantly was on the floor. Took forever to get up to speed but would cruise comfortably on the freeway at 80MPH. The best part was the classic French handling. Soft suspension with lots of body roll made for a lot of fun since I drove it flat out all the time!

Suggested by: Lee Starnes (Facebook)

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

4 / 17

Subaru GL

Subaru GL

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Subaru

In high school (2003ish) I had a 1985 Subaru GL Wagon which was a California emissions with a feedback carb (ECU and carb) and had several miles of vacuum lines in the engine bay. It never ran right. I think it was rated at 85hp when it was new, but I’m guessing more like 50 when I had it.

We used to try to film 0-60 runs in our cars, but the best digital camera that anyone had that I knew could only take 30 second videos....not nearly enough.

WOT in 5th gear was about 65mph (it would go a bit faster in 3rd or 4th), so that was my cruise control for the occasional highway jaunts.

Suggested by: Numbchux

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

5 / 17

Chevy Celebrity Wagon

Chevy Celebrity Wagon

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Youtube

Mom’s 1987 Chevy Celebrity wagon, 2.8 throttle body injection V6, 3 speed auto, I think it made 140 hp. Wood look wrap. I still miss it sometimes.

Suggested by: Paul Medina (Facebook)

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

6 / 17

80's Toyota Tercel Wagon

80's Toyota Tercel Wagon

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Toyota

Mine was grey, manual FWD Tercel wagon. Low 60's HP.

Suggested by: moistened bint

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

7 / 17

Mazda GLC

Mazda GLC

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Mazda

1978 Mazda GLC 4 door/hatchback. Manual transmission, 1270 ccs & 53 hp of wheezy fury. Would only go faster than 75 mph if you were drafting a semi truck. Delivered a lot of pizza to pay for college in the mid-‘80s, though.

Suggested by: Lee Grimes (Facebook)

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

8 / 17

Mercury LN7

Mercury LN7

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Ford Media Archives

My first car, a 1983 white Mercury LN-7 with a blue interior, purchased used in 1988 because it was affordable, I was 18 and I thought it looked cool.

It had a whopping 70hp with 88lb ft of torque and a 0-60 time 0f 14.6 seconds.

Suggested by: Mehphisto

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

9 / 17

1965 VW Karmann-Ghia

1965 VW Karmann-Ghia

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Volkswagen

1965 VW Karmann-Ghia with stock 40 hp 1200 cc. Top speed was around 75 mph. I remedied that with a 1967 cc (92 mm x 74 mm) stroker with dual Weber 44 IDFs making an easy 100-110 hp. Getting it to stop with those four tiny drum brakes was another matter.

Suggested by: Jesse Yang (Facebook)

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

10 / 17

70s Citroën Mehari

70s Citroën Mehari

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Youtube

Pfftt... amateurs! How about a 70's Citroen Mehari with a whole 29hp in a hilly coastal area? Trying to get up the hill out of town loaded with 4 people is borderline dangerous: 35kph (20mph) is all she’s got sometimes.

And don’t get me started on that one #*%$@&! red stop light on the hill out of town. Perhaps the only light I’ve ran through red more times than orange. All other times, poor clutch...

Still, it’s woefully terrible, but I love it!

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

11 / 17

Plymouth Horizon

Plymouth Horizon

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Stellantis Media Archives

Plymouth Horizon. 93 hp from the factory in 1988, five speed. If it went over 60, the primary output of the throttle was noise. But damn was it fun around town.

Suggested by: Scott Wiltse (Facebook)

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

12 / 17

1987 Toyota Corolla

1987 Toyota Corolla

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Toyota

My 1987 Toyota Corolla had a 71 hp, 1.6 liter carbureted engine, which was I believe the last carbureted passenger car available in the United States (the Jeep Grand Wagoneer continued on with a carburetor until the early 90's, I believe).

It also had a three-speed automatic transmission. But it was so tiny and lightweight that it felt super-fast.

Suggested by: neverspeakawordagain

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

13 / 17

1985 Cadillac Eldorado

1985 Cadillac Eldorado

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: GM Media Archives

85 Eldorado Cadillac, 4100 v-8. Great car just couldn’t get out of its own way.

Suggested by: Mike Mears (Facebook)

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

14 / 17

VW Dasher

VW Dasher

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Volkswagen

100 HP!? My parents’ 1980 VW Dasher Diesel only had ~50hp.

...and only 4 forward gears to go with the meager output and limited RPM range.

Top speed was about 65mph and it took all day to get there. The wooden shift knob was classy though.

I think my dad’s ratty old VW Bus only had about 4ohp. I got to drive that once before he sold it. That was an interesting experience - sitting over the wheels with a school bus steering wheel, pedals coming out of the floor and a shifter connected to a bowl of jello by 25ft of spaghetti noodles.

Suggested by: patman

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

15 / 17

Kia Picanto

Kia Picanto

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Kia

At the moment, my first and only car so far, 2015 Mk2 Kia Picanto 1.0. Only has around 67ish horsepower. But, because the car is so light, and its a 3 cylinder engine, it’s actually not that bad, and a lot of fun to drive too. I can basically drive it flat out all of the time.

Suggested by: Anthony Hamilton

Advertisement
Previous Slide
Next Slide

Saab 96

Image for article titled Here Are The Least Powerful Cars You've Owned
Image: Saab

1973 Saab 96. 64 hp when new... probably less than half of that based in the condition it was in and how poorly it ran.

Advertisement