The Votes Are In! Here Are Your Candidates for Worst Automobiles of 2016, Along With Your Nomination Comments

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

We’re getting to the homestretch for TTAC’s 2016 Best and Worst Automobiles Today.

Our writers have voted diligently, and a couple of tie-breaking votes were cast to give us an even 20 contestants in each category.

I present you the 20 Worst Automobiles Today, as chosen by you and our writers, in alphabetical order, along with select nomination comments for each and every entry.

However, before we get to the contestants, let’s talk about what’s to come.

Starting tomorrow, we’ll be asking you to vote on the 10 Best and Worst Automobiles Today based on the list below. We are offering you a preview of the lists so that you may cajole your fellow voters into a certain way of thinking — your way of thinking. You have 24 hours to campaign your choices before noon ET tomorrow, at which time we will open the polls to the public.

Here are your contestants.

20 Worst Automobiles Today

BMW X1

If it walks like a Mini and talks like a Mini, is it a Mini or a BMW? The BMW X1 ditched its rear-wheel drive, first-generation roots to share bones with the Mini Countryman and BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (that’s the BMW van, just to be clear). No longer is the X1 a 3 Series variant. Instead, it now sports all the room your foreign au pair will ever need when she’s hauling around those kids you never spend time with.

The car that says “I have an above-average income and a below-average net worth.”

—appel599

Best small SUV for canyon carving, not really good at anything else. Only an idiot would buy an SUV for canyon carving.

—Vojta Dobeš

A front-wheel–drive BMW crossover. They’ll sell as many as they can make. It’s a car that makes me hate humanity.

—s2kjames

A 10-second 0-60 FWD BMW? Sacrilege.

—Bark M.

A front-wheel-drive BMW at obscene prices. BMW needs a reality check.

—tnk479

BMW X6 (incl. X6M)

The X6 is the BMW no petrolhead asked for yet everyone is lining up to buy. Powered by a 4.4-liter V8 in M guise, its even good for 567 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. But it’s not so good that everyone ignored how incredibly stupid it is to remove half the luggage capacity of a utility vehicle.

Sports Activity Coupe? No room for Activities, Not a Coupe, not Sporty. Useless for someone, like me, doomed to have tall kids.

—Chris Tonn

What question does this thing answer? And where are your back seat passengers supposed to put their skulls?

—Sam Hell Jr

So fabulously tacky. The Ultimate Posing Machine.

—Lightspeed

Horribly ugly, hunchbacked crossover. You must be a gigantic twat to drive this.

—kyleck

Ugliness for niche-market coverage sake. It does nothing that another BMW can’t do better.

—Mexibeetle

Silly name, silly looking, poor rear visibility, poor cargo area and poor headroom. The lack of reclining rear seats limits cargo room. Price is absurd. The stupidest vehicle in the world according to Jeremy Clarkson.

—ponchoman49

For people that know nothing about cars, but daddy’s going to buy them a $100k car.

—theonlydt

All the fuel consumption and driving manners of an SUV with none of the utility, and styling in the vein of a dung beetle.

—CoreyDL

Buick Encore

Ever wondered what a Suzuki SX4 would look like after being fitted with a lift kit and doing a tour of China? Wonder no more.

The Encore is the antithesis of Buick’s illustrious history of large, comfortable cars. The Lacrosse may understeer like its shod with dull-edged skis for front wheels, but at least its big and somewhat luxurious to drive. The Encore is cramped, underpowered (though GM did give it a little power bump this year), and uglier than that boil you’ve been meaning to ask your doctor about.

Spiritual successor to the Pontiac Aztec. GM still makes an ugly CUV.

—Priorityboy86

Small, slow, ugly and gets sold over sticker price to sweet old ladies. Just a hateful little gremlin of a car. At least the Lesabre and Park Avenue had some level of dignity and history.

—ajla

It’s too cute, yes. But it’s also dreadfully underpowered, particularly at its Trax+ price point.

—Timothy Cain

Tiny and Buick can’t be in the same sentence.

—commando

Chevrolet Trax

What’s going on here? Chevrolet has more vehicles on the Best list than the Worst list? Say it ain’t so! However, the truth is this: General Motors has upped its game significantly since bankruptcy. Some of its products are class-leading affairs. Then sometimes General Motors forgets that customers want quality products and builds the Chevrolet Trax.

After seeing some success north of the border, General Motors decided to give this lowly, dowdy ute to America sporting the same, anemic 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the Buick Encore. The Chevrolet Trax has a design that makes you think it will say “DERP DERP” when you honk its horn. Its ride quality is just on the acceptable side of an ox cart. There’s a new one coming, but this is what we have now.

One of the cheapest-looking and feeling interiors on the market meets a badly underpowered, iron-block 1.4T boat anchor. So you’d think there would be some redeeming value somewhere else? Nope. The styling is plain to the point of looking like something that should be white with corporate logos on the side, and the dynamics are sort of like the Sonic, except with extra tippiness, a stiffer ride, and worse grip.

—dal20402

Never have I seen a less trail-capable SUV. Extremely awkward proportions and woefully underpowered.

—anti121hero

You didn’t want a Sonic, so you bought a car that costs $6k more and gets worse fuel economy.

—appel599

Dodge Dart

Never has the resurrection of a storied nameplate been sullied with such haste. The Dodge Dart is a moribund compact from a moribund brand. Which is too bad, if you think about it. It has a wallop of an engine in GT guise, and you can get it with a manual transmission. It also comes equipped with the largest infotainment screen in the segment. I guess Millennials forget the locations of their local Dodge stores.

Just basic transportation, but every owner I know likes to inflate their ego, and say its a sports car. I know this car will go the way of the Avenger and Neon.

—johnds

I got a Lyft ride in one of these. It’s a car so bad you can tell how bad it is from the passenger seat.

—s2kjames

Perfect example of not adhering to KISS. Why so many power trains that overlap? You can’t do one thing well if you try to do everything.

—Quentin

Put together a list of compact cars that you’d like to buy, from most desirable to least. Think hard about a car that slots after the Dart. No, the Lancer doesn’t count.

—I_S

Dodge Journey

The Journey is the vehicle you’re forced to drive as a rental. Yes, it has three rows of seats. And no, you aren’t going to pay MSRP for the Journey in any of its trims. But, for just a few grand more, you can have a crossover that doesn’t feel like it was engineered before the advent of calculators.

Woefully out-of-date, with poor reliability and poor crash test scores. It may be the cheapest 3-row SUV available, but for a few bucks more, there are far better choices.

—210delray

A mind-numbing box of lowered expectations. Even my wife who doesn’t pay much attention to cars was able to realize how bad it was when she rented one.

—Acd

Anything with the wretched powertrain of a wheezing base Avenger deserves a spot here!

—sgeffe

Styled like a tub of margarine, it was hatched under the non-watchful eye of Daimler then developed by a private-equity firm specialized in “distressed investing”.

—SmallerisBetter

A long yawn, in vehicular form.

—Chris Tonn, Chrysler Town & Country owner.

Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 may be cheerful, but it is far from cheap (to purchase). Suspect build quality and lackluster base engines make the 500 an easy target for scorn.

It’s hard to respect a car when even the base trim can be optioned to look like a bordello inside. Interior design is very tired, and reliability scores are trending toward “the bad old days.”

—Daniel Latini

Reliability? Whatever. Good viagra commercials though.

—ACBABY

Fiat 500L

Yeah, another Fiat. Yeah, another product from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. This time it’s the ungainly 500L, which is produced in Serbia … in the old Yugo plant … by workers who cook with charcoal out of necessity.

Probably should have left the Yugo plant imploded.

—thenerdishere

A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

—I_S

A decent package let down by its powertrain and build quality. Mine had delaminating vinyl trim on the driver and passenger doors during the test drive. What’s your horror story?

—Daniel Latini

Botched the looks, the gearbox, the build quality and the launch.

—theonlydt

What are the core virtues of a Fiat 500? Small size, cheap price, some dynamic entertainment, and charm in spades. You pay for that with a lack of refinement, questionable reliability, and strange ergonomics. The Fiat 500L systematically removes all of the 500’s virtues, while keeping all of the 500’s considerable vices, and adding a huge dose of ugly. Enough said.

—dal20402

Honda CR-Z

How do you ruin all the equity bought by a historic nameplate? Derive it, limit the new vehicle’s seating by half in comparison, and put on the pounds. The CR-Z could have been a great idea had engineers kept to some key benchmarks. Instead, it’s probably one of the worst efforts ever by a company known for engineering prowess.

A FWD sport runabout without any sport whatsoever, a cute car that’s glass-breakingly ugly, or a hybrid econocar without any utility and with worse-than-normal hybrid fuel economy. Take your pick; either way this car is useless.

—dal20402

A hybrid sports coupe that is neither efficient nor sporty. If Honda insists on using a hybrid powertrain, they could at least use the one from the Accord. A sports coupe with 200 hp and nearly 50 mpg? That might sell.

—HangmansNoose

C’mon, Honda. Put a non-hybrid powertrain in it, change the name to CRX, and let us have some fun.

—Mexibeetle

Hyundai Veloster

Don’t let the name fool you: the Veloster is not fast. The Veloster Turbo is not sporty. And, to put the cherry on top, the Veloster Rally is … a paint option, more or less.

This three-door hatchback may have done better under a different name. It may have done much better if it had a price that wasn’t on the wrong side of aspirational.

The incredible shrinking rear window. Might as well just display the backup camera on a screen full-time.

—boringbeigebuick

Reasonably robust feeling chassis let down by an unresponsive engine, confused DSG, and wonky suspension tuning. The 3 door configuration is inane.

—Quentin

An over-styled Accent priced like an Elantra GT. Weird door configuration. The turbo version is closer than a Mustang 4.0L and the non turbo is slower than a 1988 Bonneville. It’s even worse than the Scion tC, even though Toyota forgot they sell that car in 2012.

—ajla

Jeep Patriot

This blocky, front-wheel drive Caliber sibling is one of two remaining Jeeps posing beside Trail Rated rocks at American dealerships. A continuously variable transmission has no place in a Jeep. And front-wheel drive should be for when the center differential fails.

It’s the kind of car that only someone ‘who doesn’t care about cars’ would drive, which goes against everything Jeep stands for. When checking out the Grand Cherokee at my local Jeep dealer, they suggested I test drive a Patriot and I left because I was so insulted that they took me for a ‘Patriot’ kind of person.

—vidkopak

Not really an SUV, not really a compact car–what is it good for, except being sold cheap?

—namesakeone

Should be renamed “Jeep Hertz.” Why sell it when you have the Renegade and Cherokee?

—gsnfan

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class (incl. AMG)

Don’t know what torque steer is? Go and rent a Mercedes-Benz CLA in front-wheel-drive form and you’ll learn what it is as soon as accelerate away from the Emerald Aisle. Driving dynamics aside, the CLA offers up virtually no equipment on its advertising-fodder base model. And if you do spruce for the AMG version, you still won’t be as cool as the kid with the C63, no matter how much power that four-cylinder cranks out.

The pre-O&G price crash vehicle for the under-25 office employee at Chesapeake or anyone else in oil and gas in Oklahoma who thought the 3-star emblem would bestow upon them a well-made German luxury car and the gravity to go with it.

—Tex

Mercedes knows how to downsize and keep brand values. From the bulletproof 190E to today’s superbly finished C-Class, they have shown they can design real Mercedes at lower cost and on a smaller canvas. But they decided that wasn’t cheap enough, and built what looks, feels, and drives like a Chevy Cobalt with a (laggy and loud) turbo engine and a lot of added bling. The interior is badly put together and awfully packaged, the driving dynamics are indifferent, and the exterior look is cheap.

—dal20402

Looks like a pooping dog. Base model gets a Dacia engine. Still priced like a Mercedes.

—Vojta Dobeš

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

The BMW X6 competitor from Stuttgart is just as ungainly. All the stigma of an SUV with none of the utility, the GLE Coupe is based on its namesake, and actually drives well, but the coupe profile is retina searing, at least in photos.

What a colossal waste of engineering and manufacturing resources! This hunchbacked toad of an SUV has neither the utility of a standard GLE nor the performance of an E-Class wagon with the same drivetrain. This graceless lump excels at nothing except being the most unfortunate and mis-shapen step-child in the Mercedes family.

—fr88

It looks like an Acura ZDX that stopped hitting the gym. Why do people buy it?

—gsnfan

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

How someone could cross-shop a Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, then decide to buy the Mitsubishi, is beyond my comprehension. It’s cheap inside, dorky outside, and doesn’t have the performance to make it any sort of bargain. And that’s before you talk about the fact that nobody knows how to pronounce its name.

Golf cart styling, golf cart driving experience, short driving range, long charging wait, poor ride, slow as hell, tight interior, and questionable interior material choices.

—ponchoman49

You could nominate any Mitsubishi for this list, but the i-MiEV is the worst of the worst.

—HangmansNoose

The best automotive argument for public transportation.

—namesakeone

I’ve had nicer golf carts.

—Johnster

Mitsubishi Mirage

In 2016, a subcompact car doesn’t need to cool and feel cheap even if it’s inexpensive. Yet, here we are, looking at the Thai-built Mitsubishi Mirage — a sad excuse of a car that negates any fuel economy benefit with a 12.99% subprime loan.

As Nissan proved a cheap car can also be half decent, Mitsubishi didn’t.

—theonlydt

Take a vacation in a third-world country and rent a car for the weekend. The car you’re given feels like it would have been a current subcompact if “current” meant 1997, at best. That car is the Mitsubishi Mirage. And it is here. Now.

—Timothy Cain

This exists to make Nissan Versa and Chevy Spark owners feel good about their purchases.

—N_tesla

Porsche Panamera

The most un-Porsche Porsche, next to the Cayenne. The Panamera’s rear end looks like a filled diaper.

It’s still ugly and has too many doors.

—scottie

Smart ForTwo

The Smart ForTwo is better in its second generation, but those improvements don’t include immunity from the B&B’s scorn. The ForTwo’s biggest problem now: it’s just too damn small for America.

Crummy mileage for a car that only has the capacity for two people and one suitcase.

—Mexibeetle

Toyota Yaris

The Yaris is incredibly popular in Canada. In the United States? Not so much.

Just gross. Feels like it was discontinued years ago — yet it’s still here.

—Bark M.

Why buy a Yaris when even a Nissan Versa is more fun?

—gsnfan

Volkswagen Beetle

The days of the two-door hatchback that can’t make the best use of interior space are over. The Beetle was a great initial hit when retro was the new-old cool, but now it’s just another model on a Volkswagen lot that nobody’s buying.

It was a fad and it’s over. The trunk space is nearly useless.

—tnk479

Volkswagen Eos

The Volkswagen Eos was supposed to die in 2015 … and then the factory cranked out a few more by accident, or something. So, the Eos Final Edition isn’t the final Eos. As far as we know, the Eos is dead now, but who knows what next year will bring. After all, Volkswagen needs something without a diesel engine that it can sell.

A car they forgot to stop making, it’s ridiculous in most ways, outdated, and much too expensive.

—CoreyDL

Notable cars that just missed the cut: Jeep Renegade, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mini Paceman, Nissan Versa, Tesla Model X, Chevrolet Traverse, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque (incl. Convertible), Mini Cooper, Nissan 370Z, Ford Taurus, Lexus CT, Maserati Ghibli, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class (incl. AMG), Honda HR-V, Mitsubishi Lancer (incl. EVO), and Chrysler 200.

Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

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  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.
  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
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