Some cars may feel like a decently good idea at the time of recommendation. Fast-forward a few years though and one may come to regret ever mentioning a model when it turns out to be, you know, crap.
We asked readers what were the worst cars they’ve recommended that someone actually bought. These were their responses.
2 / 12
My dad’s best friend recommended a Ford Contour, based on the reliability of the Ford Mondeo they owned in Europe. It drove wonderfully with European-inspired performance and handling, but suffered from mid-90’s Ford craftsmanship. After going through 2 seized AC compressors eating the belts and leaving the car by the side of the road, a new transmission, and an engine replacement under warranty, (twice) my parents moved on from it. The day I drove it to the dealer, the radiator failed just as it rolled on to the lot, leaving a trail of coolant on the ground.
I think the dealer gave us $500 for it.
It would appear others also went for the Contour based on the European Mondeo’s good impression. Unfortunately the “American version” was unreliable, which is strange considering how much it shared with the Mondeo.
Submitted by: Matt Mcdonnell (Facebook)
3 / 12
About 20 years ago i recommended one of these to my brother because it had a 5.7 V8. Looked like this kinda, minus the screaming chicken. He still blames me for the thousands he spent on keeping that rolling pile of crap running. In reality, he needed that screaming chicken.
Submitted by: ftypebruin
4 / 12
A brand new 2007 Mercedes A Class 180 CDI, for my mother.
On paper, all very good. After just 40.000 kms, it spent 10 months on the workshop because of some problem (electrical? software? we never knew) with the auto box.
The good part was that she was lent some B, C and E classes, by the workshop, the whole time.
Submitted by: FDO
5 / 12
First Generation Of The New Mini
First Generation Of The New Mini
For me, it was the 1st gen BMW Mini.
The person wanted something that felt ‘light on its feet’ like her 1990 base model Acura Integra (which didn’t even have A/C).
She tried newer Hondas, but they didn’t have quite the same feel.
I suggested she try the Mini.
She loved it and bought one.
Note that this was before they were know to be crap.
Mind you she had a good experience because she ended up selling it before the warranty was up due to moving to another country for a job opportunity.
So this is easily my worst recommendation from a reliability point of view.
Submitted by: Manwich - now Keto-Friendly
6 / 12
Hummer H3. My mom’s friend needed a new family SUV and Hummer had just gone out of business, so there were huge rebates to be had on leftovers. She was considering a RAV4 and I told her she could get a “luxury SUV” for a similar price, thanks to the rebates.
Turned out to be a piece of crap. Unreliable, terrible gas mileage and a rattly interior. She ended up trading it for a new CRV two years later.
Apparently, 2006 is the worst model year for the H3, as the model can suffer from head gasket leaks and engine misfires. So if you’re in the market for an H3 (though I don’t know why anyone would), may we suggest you avoid that year?
Submitted by: caddyak
7 / 12
I would like to thank the members who suggested that “Miata” was the universal answer. I surrendered and bought a 60 000 miles Mazdaspeed a few weeks ago. Noisy, cramped, impractical, illegal to drive in my province without winter tires past November 30... A terrible, but incredibly fun advice.
I mean ... it is a Miata. What did you expect?
Submitted by: Bonhomme7h
8 / 12
I’m so sorry. I really like this car, except that I didn’t want to own it, so I highly recommended to someone else, so I could have it somewhere not too far from my life. Just like someone else’s kids, you know.
Submitted by: jb21
9 / 12
When my wife (fiancee at the time) got into grad school and needed a car to get to the train, she wanted something small and boxy (easy to park and see the corners), and the newest, lowest mileage car she could get for her budget. That ended up being an ‘04 Accent I found for her, and had suggested as my family had one that held up okay for us.
It was actually a fine car for her, but after a couple years, we’d moved in together in the city, so she no longer needed a car, and I got saddled with it. It was still fine and reliable, but a hateful little car with no A/C and terrible ventilation, to the point it was more comfortable riding a motorcycle in full gear in the middle of summer than being in that car. It was fine for 20 minutes in the morning and evening as my wife used it, it was awful driving all day as I had it.
The Accent at this time was as basic as basic could get. Brand new, the MSRP was $9,999. While cheap, you didn’t get a/c as standard. It was a $750 option.
Submitted by: Maymar
10 / 12
In the earlier times of EVs my SIL wanted an SUV EV. At the time the Model Y didnt exist. The only real options were an eTron Model X and the iPace. I told her she should check out the i-Pace if she didnt want to pay for an X. She bought one instead of leasing and it turned into a non-functional paperweight about a year and a half in. Lemon law paperwork was started but she eventually just sold it to Carmax with the crazy current pricing and bought a Model Y.
Submitted by: whatthehellisgracielawdoinghere
11 / 12
I advised my mom to buy a year-old 2002 Chevy Malibu with the 3100 V6 because it was a low risk vehicle that won’t cost too much to run or attract the attention to thieves because it was so ordinary looking. Not long afterwards, the GM Dex-cool coolant ate her gaskets and almost destroyed her engine. Of course GM being what it is, turned the whole Dex-cool mess into a scandal which left many consumers still on the hook for repairs.