So you want a new car and you’re spending every day searching Facebook Marketplace for a cheap, fun ride. But, if you’re even considering any of the cars on this list, walk away! Some of these might even be really tempting, but trust me, you don’t want anything to do with them.
In this article, I’m going to take you through a load of cars that you should never buy, no matter how good they look.
BMW E60 M5 – Bavarian Bomber
What’s that? It sounds like an F1 car. Oh, wait, it’s an E60 M5. I’m not going to lie, I’ve thought about buying one. But trust me, you don’t want to have anything to do with this car. Why? Because their glorious 5-liter S85 V10 is notorious for its failing rod bearings. So, what does that mean for me and you? Nasty repair bills in the tens of thousands of dollars. I don’t know about you, but that just doesn’t sound all that fun.
If you’re one of the lucky few that don’t have this problem, then I’m jealous, because you’ll be bombing around in one of the most badass BMWs out there. But don’t be fooled, a repair is right around the corner since the throttle actuators are probably next to go. And even after you fix the actuators, you aren’t in the clear, especially if you opted for an SMG transmission over a manual.
If you don’t opt for the manual, you’ll regret it. The SMG transmission loves to self-destruct, starting with the fluid pump. Unfortunately, not many E60 M5s were made in manual, and therefore they require a huge premium over their SMG counterparts.
Today, you can pick up an SMG E60 M5 for right around $15,000! Even though they might be a performance car bargain, the repairs alone are the reason you should just leave these screamers behind.
The same holds true to this next car, the Range Rover. Yes, literally any Range Rover.
Land Rover Range Rover – Get Your Tow on Speed Dial
Do you like rental cars? Well, you’ll have to get used to piloting them if you buy a Range Rover. Why? Because their electronics are incredibly complicated, their English engineering leaves a lot to be desired, but their designs are oh-so timeless.
Honestly, my dad owned one for a year and it was in the shop for 8 of the 12 months he owned it! Yeah, true story. And when he went to sell it, it had lost 50% of its value in just one year. So, take it from me and him, you never want to own one of these. Even if they are budget-friendly, which they are since they’re one of the hardest depreciating vehicles on the road, your wallet won’t thank you in the long run.
Now, we do have to throw out a caveat just so we don’t attract a ton of hate. “The Disco,” or Land Rover Discovery, is a different beast altogether. And even though the electronics might not be all that much better, as a Jeep owner, I’m not willing to go down that rabbit hole.
The luxury line, though, don’t even think about it. If you see one, just stare and wave, and whatever you do, don’t buy one! Also, just don’t buy a Mitsubishi Mirage, no matter how much you want Evo pedigree.
Mitsubishi Mirage – Cheap, Not Good
Sure, it’s cheap, but it’s cheap. Let me explain. New, these start at just over $14,000, but you might be able to get one brand new for less than $10,000. Yes, seriously, because they’re literally engineered to be cheap. They’re built cheap and sold cheap.
So, what’s wrong with that you ask? Well, for one thing, Doug DeMuro called it the worst new car you can buy. The interior is bad and the motor is so underpowered that driving it around is a chore. We here at Ideal love all cars, but this Mitsubishi Mirage is just hard to love.
You’re better off buying a used car for the same money. There are plenty of awesome cars you can get for under $10,000. For instance, for around $10,000, you could buy yourself a Maserati Quattroporte. Wait, that’s actually a terrible idea.
Maserati Quattroporte – Ferrari Engine, Ferrari Reliability
A Quattroporte might make you look rich on a budget, but you might actually have to be rich to own one because things will be constantly breaking, and not just cheap repairs either. This car comes with a screaming Ferrari V8 engine paired with a terrible semi-automatic transmission called Duoselect, which is terrible in traffic and has trouble finding gears during a commute. The Quattroporte is just a dreadful daily driver.
That motor is great for some serious highway pulls and the exhaust note makes up for a lot of sins, but remember why you bought this “family hauler.” You wanted an everyday run-around-town flex machine. But don’t drive your Quattroporte every day, or even around town, otherwise you’ll be knocking on your mechanic’s door before you can even say “Quattroporte.”
On to the next entry. What if you wanted all the lightweight fun of a Miata, but none of the famed reliability? Well, Mazda still has the answer.
Mazda RX-8 – Rotary Go Brap-Brap
The painfully unreliable RX-8 is actually a blast to drive, and it loves to play in the revs! In fact, it’ll be blowing apex seals all the way up to 9,000 RPM! Unfortunately, the RX-8 is terribly unreliable. And Mazda figured that out, just after selling them all over the world.
The RX-8 was so bad that Mazda had to build a whole other factory just to build new RX-8 engines since the original factory ones typically don’t live to see over 80,000 miles. So, if you don’t want to be stuck shelling out thousands of dollars on a new engine or spending your weekends tearing apart its Dorito-shaped rotors, stay away from these RX-8s. You’ll thank me in the long run.
This next one doesn’t even need an introduction: the Ford Pinto.
Ford Pinto – How Did This Happen
The introduction of this little car in Ford’s lineup led to some explosive sales and some fiery competition with other brands, that is, until Ford discovered a problem. The problem was with the Pinto’s gas tank. Ford decided to put it in the very back of the car with very little protection for rear impacts. So, if a Pinto was rear-ended it wasn’t good news for anyone involved.
Luckily, most of these cars have rotted away in a field or found their way into a well-preserved collection where no one will drive it. And that’s a good thing because they really are a danger to everyone on the road, and you would definitely regret buying one.
That’s sort of similar to if you were to go out and buy a 1970s “muscle car.” Honestly, the ’70s were just a really bad time for cars in general.
Late-’70s Muscle Cars – Don’t Make Them Like They Used To
Muscle cars aren’t bad, they’re badass, but just not in the mid-’70s. See, the 1970s saw an oil crisis, so the trend was to move to smaller and more efficient cars, which was not good news for muscle cars. Imagine a new Challenger, loud and proud, the definition of a muscle car. But, a 1978 Challenger looks more like an econobox if you ask me. What about a Mustang? They’re beautiful today, but they were ugly in 1975. Even the Camaro didn’t fare well back then.
It’s fair to say the oil crisis didn’t work wonders on muscle cars during that era. And because of that, you’re much better off getting a late-’60s or early-’70s muscle car. Ditch the econobox for the badass tire-shredding V8s, because there’s no replacement for displacement.
You want another crappy car from the States? I got you covered. Well, not me, Chrysler does. I’m talking about the Chrysler Sebring.
Chrysler Sebring – Classy Car on a Fast Food Budget
Sloppy. That’s the perfect word to describe the Sebring. The craftsmanship, the design, and most importantly the ride were all a mess. This brilliant car was offered in a crappy coupe, sedan, and an even crappier convertible. It was underpowered and unreliable, it was ugly, and it just was not fun to drive.
So, what does it have going for it? Well, Michael Scott drove one I guess. Chrysler should have just thrown the design into the recycling bin instead of selling these jalopies. These are now junkyard royalty, rotting away with many forgotten classics.
This next car comes from a brand that’s not at all associated with junkyards, more like pristine collectibles sitting in a collection. But, of course, not all cars from Maserati can be pristine collectibles. Take the Ghibli for example.
Maserati Ghibli – Depreciation Royalty
Honestly, I’m kind of surprised that they still make these cars. With their build quality issues and unreliability, these cars are some of the hardest depreciating rides on the planet. Expensive repairs also plague these cars so much that you could buy one with less than 100,000 miles for less than $20,000! This car is largely unchanged from a brand new model and it has lost 75% of its value in only 5 years! They’re the depreciation king!
Even with its massive depreciation, it isn’t worth the price tag. Sure, it carries the Maserati plaque, but as we saw with the Quattroporte, that’s pretty much meaningless. Some people will see the Italian name and assume it’s an awesome car, but most people don’t know the lack of quality control that goes into these Maseratis.
People complain about the Tesla build quality because the panel gaps are more than an eighth of an inch, but the Ghibli has panel gaps so big you can shove a tube of toothpaste into them. Hey, Maserati, when are you coming out with your own brand of toothpaste? I would buy that over a Ghibli, and maybe over all these other cars on the list.