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The Ten Most Scathing Car Reviews Of All Time

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It’s an automotive journalist’s duty to bring their audience the unvarnished truth when summarizing a car’s performance and experience in a review. Sometimes, that can lead to a journalist just completely shitting on a car. It happens.

10.) 2005 Subaru B9 Tribeca- Robert Farago, The Truth About Cars


For most people, the Subaru B9 Tribeca was never really considered to be a looker. In Robert Farago’s review for the Tribeca from 2005 for The Truth About Cars, that message is delivered very clear.

Without any prompting whatsoever, my 11-year-old daughter took one look at the new Subaru B9 Tribeca and said ‘ew’. And there you have it. Scooby’s first-ever SUV is an irredeemably gruesome beast whose design should have been aborted a femtosecond after conception. While Subaru would like to convince us that “ugly ass” and “dynamic styling” are synonymous, even a pre-teen knows that repulsive is not, and never will be, the new cool. In the race for SUV buyers’ affections, the horrific B9 sets off a mile behind the starting line.


Suggested By: Mike N, Photo Credit: Subaru

9.) Chrysler Sebring Convertible - Jeremy Clarkson, The Sunday Times

Jeremy Clarkson is a man known for his heavy-hitting beliefs, arguments, words, and of course, punches. His formerly-stated views on America’s least-favorite open-top rental car continue that trend.

Many people imagine when they rent a convertible in America that they’ll be thumping down Highway 1 under a blazing sky in a throbbing Corvette or an evocative Mustang. Yum yum, they think. Freedom. Sunshine. A V8 bass line. Engineer boots, leather jackets and tight blue jeans. The American dream.

Sadly, however, most tourists end up with a Chrysler Sebring convertible, which is almost certainly the worst car in the entire world.


Suggested By: As Du Volant, Photo Credit: Chrysler

8.) 2014 Citroen C-Elysee- Doug Demuro, Jalopnik


When it comes to rental cars, you’re usually pretty much stuck with whatever the keys that you’re handed by the rental agent are to. Unless you want to pay some silly “class upgrade” or whatever. Then you’ll probably just be stuck with a more expensive shitty car. Doug DeMuro knows this all too well, especially after his experiences with the Citroen C-Elysee.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! It [the horn] went on for minutes at a tourist hotspot, surrounded by onlookers, gawking at the idiots with the dodgy rental car. It was embarrassing for us, but it must’ve been liberating for the C-Elysee. For the first time in its life, it was getting noticed. And not just for being the shitty gray rental car that can’t climb a hill.


Suggested By: For Canada, Photo Credit: Doug DeMuro

7.) Mazda MX-5 NA- Chris Harris, /Drive

As much as I appreciate Miatas for what they are and would love to claim ownership of one, I can’t help repeating “well, he’s got a point” throughout Chris Harris’ video review of this NA Mazda Miata. They’re great cars, but someone has to tell it like it is.


Suggested By: Fenix

6.) 2002 Cadillac Escalade EXT- John Phillips, Car & Driver


John Phillips’ review of the Cadillac Escalade EXT may read funny, with the leftover notes from the editor and such, but the message is clear. It’s a big, expensive, slow, weird truck-thing that no one actually needs, and it’s a miracle that they were sold for as long as they were.

This Cadillac includes an “Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist” (URPA), so that you don’t back over a runaway bison or a Humvee belonging to the military police. Cadillac says the device “now incorporates a new snow, ice, and mud algorithm in its software.” What it does is this: It works to tell you when it’s not working.

Observed fuel economy was not so good. The EXT was 28 percent less efficient than a 5534-pound Sayers & Scovill DeVille Masterpiece hearse sans casket, in fact. One difference between the two: The hearse doesn’t require premium fuel.

Several C/D editors suggested I compare the EXT with a blackwall. (Black-WOOD. It’s a Lincoln, for God’s sake—Ed.) But the EXT already has 17-inch blackwalls, so I compared it with a 1976 Cadillac Mirage pickup. They both have flying buttresses.


Suggested By: Meotter96, Photo Credit: Cadillac

5.) 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster- Brian Cooley, CNET

It’s nice to see an automaker focus on something important like engine performance, but that doesn’t mean they can go and forget everything else that makes a car enjoyable. Like the transmission, interior ergonomics, dimensions, compliant suspension, and modernish tech that Aston Martin seems to have forgotten with the 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster. In this video review, CNET editor Brian Cooley is upfront and direct.


Suggested By: 8 Ball Facts

4.) 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage- John Pearley Huffman, The New York Times


It’s probably safe to say that New York Times writer John Pearley Huffman didn’t enjoy the time he spent with the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage. At least that’s the message I got it when he said stated “hitchhiking” as an appropriate alternative to using the Mirage for general transportation.

Low expectations don’t guarantee happiness, but at least there isn’t much disappointment. The reborn Mitsubishi Mirage lowers expectations, strangles them and buries their remains in a deep unmarked grave. If this car wasn’t disappointing, it wouldn’t be anything at all.


Suggested By: Andrew P. Collins, Photo Credit: Mitsubishi

3.) 2014 Ram ProMaster 1500 EcoDiesel- Daniel Pund, Car & Driver


Commercial work vans are generally far from perfect, but from Daniel Pund’s 2014 Ram ProMaster 1500 EcoDiesel review for Car & Driver, it sounds like Ram barely even tried.

The Ram ProMaster, a Fiat Ducato with ram-head logos, is a detestable, shovel-faced thing that appears to have been cobbled together from spare parts. Too harsh? No, not really. The ProMaster itself is an insult. It is the only vehicle in any comparison test in memory to receive zero points in a subjective category from one of our ­voters. That would be for its dreadful single-clutch automated-manual transmission. The other voters each gave it one mercy point. Pull out onto a busy road and the vehicle comes to a near stop as the transmission pauses to find the next gear. It’s not just annoying, causing your head to bob fore and aft with every shift, it’s scary. The steering system is loose and numb and connected to a steering wheel that feels only a few degrees from a horizontal orientation. It’s better than the steering in an ex-military Hummer H1 or a Mercedes-Benz G-class, but worse than everything else.


Suggested By: ColorodoFX4, Photo Credit: Ram

2.) 2011 Chrysler 200C- Scott Burgess, The Detroit News


Scott Burgess’ review 2011 Chrysler 200C review for The Detroit News may have clearly detailed the car’s flaws and shortcomings, but if anything truly detracted from the public’s image of the car, it’s the mess that arose after the review. The content of Burgess’ review didn’t exactly line up with what some of The Detroit News’ sponsors. This then led to the review being thoroughly edited after it was published and Burgess resigning from his position at The Detroit News.

The new face of Chrysler isn’t a bad mug. The expansive seven-bladed grille and stretched logo above have a touch of class. The LED trim in the headlights sparkle like chrome. It’s no secret that the very best pieces of the 200’s exterior were taken right from the 300, which had undergone years of reworking. It’s a smart move.

But no number of LEDs can hide a profile that looks like a loggerhead turtle. If this car came in tortoise shell, the EPA would have to put it on the endangered sedan list to prevent trappers and automotive enthusiasts from rightfully shooting it into extinction.


Suggested By: JimZ, Photo Credit: Chrysler

1.) 1968 Opel Kadett L Station Wagon- Car & Driver


One by one, this classic Car & Driver review of the Opel Kadett Station Wagon dissects almost all of the minuscule as well as the more noticeable issues that this car had when offered to consumers in the late 1960s. In fact, it would be fair to say that the writer of this Car and Driver review went out of their way to totally throw this car down in the dirt and completely rub it all in.

Editors at the magazine later conceded it was an automotive “ritual assassination,” and one that led to GM canceling its ads in all of the Ziff-Davis magazines. Butthurt much?

And on and on. It’s a never-ending stream of the third-rate and the underdone, a rolling potpourri of mediocrity. Small cheap, bland, slow, evilly configured, designed to fulfill all the government standards without fulfilling any of the enthusiasts.


Suggested By: Blake Z. Rong, Photo Credit: Opel

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Top Photo Credit: /Drive via YouTube