Lemon Cars

Were these the worst cars ever to besmirch Britain's roads?

The List Of Shame

The UK has produced some truly amazing cars and has enthusiastically adopted the best that international manufacturers have to offer. It does, however, have to be admitted that British car buyers haven't always been lucky in their purchasing choices. In fact, there have been some pretty awful cars let loose on British roads. Here's a quick round up of 10 of them.

FSO Polonez

Back in the 1970s, the old USSR and its satellite states, including Poland, were desperate to show that anything the West could do, they could do better, or at least more economically. The FSO Polonez was, indeed, cheap to buy and this was presumably why it did enjoy some popularity in the UK during the 1980s and, indeed, early 1990s, in spite of the fact that it was ugly, uncomfortable and unreliable to the point of unsafe.

Austin Allegro

Whichever way you look at it, the Austin Allegro was a pretty bad car. In fact, with the benefit of hindsight, it's become a symbol of everything which was wrong with 1970s Britain in general and the car manufacturer British Leyland in particular. Having said that, at a distance of nearly 50 years from its launch (in 1973), it's becoming easier to question whether or not it really was quite as bad as it was made out to be. After all, it certainly wasn't the only dodgy car produced in the 1970s, not even if you only look at the UK.


If it looks like a car (albeit a very ugly one), is driven like a car and priced like a car (albeit a very cheap one), then you'd have fair grounds for thinking that it was a car. If you're then told that it's not actually a car, it's an "electric vehicle" and therefore doesn't have to meet the same safety standards as an actual car, then you'd probably be totally forgiven for moving on quickly, no matter how environmentally friendly it's supposed to be. That's the story of the Reva G-Wiz.

Lada Riva

Although the Lada is routinely found a place in "worst car" lists, and the brand probably deserves it, it's also worth remembering that "you get what you pay for" and in the case of Ladas, you weren't paying very much. Ladas were produced in the old USSR and were designed to be cheap to buy, economical to run, and easy for people to maintain themselves. In fairness, the Riva did fulfil their remit and it has to be said, their reputation for lack of reliability might well have been overstated for political reasons. There was, however, no getting away from their ugliness or lack of comfort.

Mitsubishi Mirage

It might not have been quite as bad as the likes of the Allegro and the Marina, but it still looked and felt cheap and had terrible handling. The irony here, is that the car wasn't actually particularly cheap to buy. Mitsubishi, sadly, doesn't seem to have learned anything from this. It relaunched the Mirage in 2012, and while the "new look" Mirage is an improvement and certainly not one of the worst cars on the roads, it's still not great and it's still overpriced for what it offers.

Morris Marina

Whilst the Morris Minor is regarded as a classic, its successor, the Morris Marina, is widely regarded as what you get when you take a classic, suck out everything which made it a classic and then make it as cheaply as you possibly can. The Allegro does at least have a certain level of kitch appeal, the Marina is basically best just forgotten.

Reliant Robin

About all that can be said for the Reliant Robin is that you may see it as having a certain quirky, cuteness. Hopefully that will compensate for the notorious lack of stability caused by the fact that it only has three wheels. The Reliant Robin might actually have worked fairly well in another country, with gentler weather, but it's just not up to dealing with high winds (or corners).

Rover City

Timing can play a huge role in life, including car sales. If the Rover City had been produced at any time up to about the early 1990s, it would probably have been regarded as a very decent car, possibly even a "best of" rather than a "worst of", but it wasn't. It was launched in 2003 and production was ceased in 2005, which is a pretty clear indication of how well it was received. There was simply no getting away from the fact that its low price was still too high for what it offered compared to the competition

Original Skodas

For most of the 20th century, Skodas were the automotive twins of the Ladas and, hence, were just as widely ridiculed. The year 2000, however, saw Skoda purchased by Volkswagen, who set up making substantial improvements to the Skoda range, and gave it a decent marketing budget to tackle the stigma associated with the brand. Skodas are now widely respected; perhaps more positively than Volkswagen's own brand.

Suzuki X90

Two-seater, convertible SUVs are probably a pretty niche market at the best of times and if you want to tap into it then it would probably be a good idea to offer a stunning physical design together with excellent general handling and at least decent off-road performance. The Suzuki X90 failed spectacularly on all counts.