Amazon just launched its new car buying site, “Amazon Vehicles,” which includes customer reviews of over 5,000 cars. I decided to see which of those 5,000 cars got the rock-bottom, worst, most scathing reviews. Here are the ten worst cars according to Amazon.
Some of these entries, like the Ford Fiesta, which is a good car, are surprising. Most of them, got bad cars like the Dodge Caliber, are not. Many of the vehicles got there because of well-known shoddy manufacturing quality or poor engineering design.
The way I came up with this “black list” was this: I went onto Amazon Vehicles, pulled up their giant list of cars, and sorted by rating. I then looked at the lowest rated cars that had at least five reviews (to weed out outliers—fake reviews, manufacturing flukes, etc.). Here’s the worst of the worst:
2009 Volkswagen Routan—1.8 stars, 6 reviews
The Routan’s got all sorts of issues, especially with brakes, apparently. In Rafal’s brilliant, vivid Pulitzer-prize winning work “Horrible car. This is my first and last Volkswagen,” he writes about his first and last Volkswagen, which is actually a Chrysler:
Oil consumption - 1 quart per 1000 mil. Service says that it is okay. I’ve done 4 times brake discs - still something is not right. Except that I replaced the thermostat. Horrible car. This is my first and last Volkswagen.
Reviewer crmh chimes in with another work of literary brilliance, saying:
Unfortunately, our car has had lots of problems and we are constantly having to repair/replace big items like brake rotors, the radiator and plastic y pipe, the alternator twice, egr and pcv valve, leaking power steering hose, the ignition...,burns oil, no dipstick for transmission, broken driver’s side door lock....The seats stain with water, the foil has come off the drivers side door handle-cutting fingers, the floor mats curled up and will never stay in position, the foam seat covers will never stay attached and tucked behind plastic trim, the lower DVD player is broken, the upper one overheats, the sunroof is beginning to leak, we have electrical issues with doors and front screen system...
Damn, that’s a lot of repair work.
2009 GMC Acadia—2.2 stars, 18 reviews
Apparently coils and catalytic converters are an issue on 2009 Acadias. Here are the lyrics to ffzeus’s love song “Don’t waste your money. It may look nice, but it is merely a polished turd”:
... Another coil bad. After replacing that coil, still the same, but no more MIL. Turns out the rest of the coils failed also but they don;t set a MIL code for some reason. Now being told both CATs are damaged again because of the faulty coils that they have missed repeatedly. The steering has had issues since about 30k. In multiple times for it.
Amazon Customer also had issues with the ignition coils and catalytic converter, and with a whole bunch of other stuff:
very poor quality vehicle, many recalls but all of them expire at 120k miles this means you have to pay for it, like transmission, power steering pump, throttle body, ignition coil, a lot of parts fail too like catalytic converter. I would nor recommend this vehicle for any reason.
2013 Ford Fiesta—2.4 stars, 14 reviews
We’ve reported on Ford’s issues with the dual clutch transmissions in their 2013 Fiestas, so it’s no surprise you’ve got angry owners complaining about “jerky” shifting:
Terry Weiss’ haiku reads:
Constantly hitches and stutters because of the transmission
Reviewer mistyam22 has the same issue, but also has some electrical gremlins:
Unfortunately, while it initially drives well, over time it starts jerk while you drive as if the transmission is going. Ford gives the same response over and over, it is because of they way they built the transmission to get gas mileage down (the gas mileage is good). The other issue that seems to be common, is that after only 2 years of driving the car my speakers for the radio/cd player/sync no longer work.
As I type this I’m waiting for the tow truck to take this back to the dealer... again...The tranny shudders, which is normal to an extent due to how it’s made, but the high shudder at shift under throttle has been looked at least 3 times and the clutches had to be worked on...For a while before being fixed it wouldn’t shift into gear upon takeoff so I almost got hit several times...The Sync system is terrible, and frequently locks up and the only fix is to disconnect the battery or fuse and try again... which just so happens to make the power window not work right— you lose the auto down/up feature! WTF?
2007 Dodge Caliber—2.7 stars, 20 reviews
The Caliber doesn’t have the lowest rating, but it’s got a lot of really bad ratings, mostly because it’s a giant piece of crap.
Don’t believe me? In his review, Pen Name wrote:
I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy to own this heaping pile of goat crap.
i got this car 2 years ago with 80 thousand miles on it, since then and after reaching the 100,000 mile mark it has broken down so many times its unreal to give an estimate i payed around 3,000 for the car and have since re bought it at least twice in repairs
2010 Volkswagen Passat CC—2.8 stars, 7 reviews
Surprise, surprise. A Volkswagen is expensive to maintain. (I’m not surprised). Reviewer Dan gave the Passat CC two stars, saying it’s “Fun to drive. A nightmare to maintain...”
Jack L agrees, writing a country song entitled “Not too happy with it”:
Not too happy with it. Engine stalled twice in the middle of road, without any indication prior to failure. Had fuel injector and coilpack replaced at 40,000 miles and 65,000 miles respectively. Driving experience is good but giving too much of hassle.
Amazon Customer’s review wasn’t any better:
Had transmission replaced at 40000 miles due to leaks. Engine started leaking oil at 65000 miles. Replaced pcv valve twice. Coil packs and injector and one cracked intake manifold. Just has 101000 miles on it now.
2006 Cadillac CTS—2.8 stars, 7 reviews
Reviewers of the 2006 Cadillac CTS complain about both mechanical and electrical problems. In his note to his childhood crush “One star because I can’t choose zero,” Charlie Hamilton writes:
It may be a complete waste of car making material. It’s obvious that everything in it came from the lowest bidder. Water pump went out at 60K. Car has never been in an accident but rattles horribly (to be fair, only when driven.) ...The car is populated with terrible quality electrical components, the list of replacements or repairs so far: -ABS harness -Audio amp -Sun roof switch -Evap solinoid -Passenger seat air bag pressure sensor (on its third) -Driver seat heater. I’d be rid of this but my wife likes it and because of GM recalls it has little resale value.
Michael A. Redmann bought the more powerful CTS-V, but according to his exposé, it doesn’t sound like the chassis could handle all the grunt:
I own the CTS-V model. It is fun to drive. It is pretty fast and handles well. But too many corners were cut in the execution of this car by Cadillac.
I have been through 2 rear differentials and it needs a third. The clutch was bad at 30K miles. The hydraulic motor mounts were bad at 30K miles.
2002 Audi Allroad Quattro—2.8 stars, 6 reviews
Our brilliant contributor Freddy Hernandez has already pointed out how much of a crap-can the older Audi Allroad is. And that’s made apparent in the Amazon reviews.
Make sure you have money to fix this car. All small plastic pieces run about $80+, any parts that are metal or a little larger are $250+ and anything you need for major fixes, be ready to dish out $1000+ for it. Thanks expensive german engineering...
2009 Saturn Aura—2.9 stars, 6 reviews
Most of the reviews of the 2009 Saturn Aura aren’t really that bad. But 2.9 stars after six reviews ain’t good either.
Alter Ego was pissed about his Aura’s repairs, going so far as to call it, well, you can read:
... Spent thousands of USA dollars to make unscheduled repairs and maintenance. Unfortunately, financing is paid off in 24 months. Don’t buy this product of bovine defecation.
Apparently some of the issues related to the ABS system, as Bryan writes:
Constant issue with Service ESC and traction control issue that makes car stall and hesitate when driving. Recall did not fix issue. Would stay away.
2005 Cadillac SRX—2.9 stars, 6 reviews
Looks one of the big problems with the 2005 Cadillac SRX is that it’s really not designed for serviceability. Amazon Customer laments:
repairs were tough to do yourself and the dealer service charges makes the cost to maintain very high. It burns oil like crazy.
B Parkson, in his poem “A huge mistake!” writes:
Designed to force the owner to take it to a dealer for servicing. Wire for the lift-gate lock cut but a sharp spot on a support. Specialty tools required for what should be normal maintenance. Poor mileage and high oil consumption. Many of the controls are poorly located or designed. On the positive side, the heated seats a good, but too hot on high and too cool on low.
2007 Mazda CX-7—2.9 stars, 14 reviews
The dearly departed Mazda (okay, not dearly, as you’ll soon find out) was a hard crossover to keep out of the shop, it turns out. A. Ravi wrote a script for his Vacation Bible School play called “Avoid this SUV like the plague,” which went:
Avoid this SUV like the plague. It is infected with all kinds of problems, gearbox, turbo, A/C, Power Steering, and many other issues to name. It is the worst mazda I have ever owned and I do regret owning this vehicle. Seems that the 2012+ models that do not have the Turbo engine are almost trouble free. Just stay away from the 2.3LTurbo model as it is very unreliable.