Pickup trucks are the kings of the road in the United States. After the miles-per-gallon scare at the turn of the century ended, the popularity of these mighty beasts came back in a big way. That doesn’t mean every truck produced is good though. The truth is, the more popular a product becomes, the faster the automakers will look to push out similar products to make a quick buck. Throughout history, this has made buying a pickup truck a high-risk, high-reward endeavor. Here are the worst of the worst pickup trucks that you will absolutely want to avoid at all costs.
The Mazda B Series Lacked Power
On the surface, there was nothing wrong with the Mazda B-Series pickup truck. It was aesthetically pleasing and modern. Underneath the hood, however, this truck was a clunker. Mazda made the mistake of designing this car for commuters, sacrificing the power pickup truck owners expected for efficiency.
If Mazda had focused more on hauling power, they could have had a huge hit on their hands. Instead, the company released what is considered today as one of the worst pickup trucks ever put on the market.
The Dodge Ram Daytona Was Rushed Into Production
Dodge had big plans in 2005 when they released the Ram Daytona pickup truck. The mean-looking monster was supposed to bring a whole new consumer base to the longstanding car brand. They never expected it would actually send consumers running.
Like the Mazda B-Series, Dodge made one big mistake; they focused on looks instead of power. Sure, the Daytona looked like it could handle any load you needed to haul, but if you looked under the hood you would have been left severely disappointed.
The 1999 Chevy Silverado Was a Bad Dream
Before getting upset at us, let’s be clear; the Chevy Silverado is one of the greatest pickup trucks of all-time and an icon in the market. The 1999 version, however, was a nightmare that could have easily ruined the automakers’ reputation for excellence.
For whatever reason, Chevy decided to knowingly put one of the worst engines on the market inside their flagship truck. It made the Silverado sluggish and impossible for their target demographic to use. Luckily, Chevy quickly realized their mistake and fixed the problem in the following years.
The 2002 Lincoln Blackwood Was Too Small
We’re not really sure what Lincoln was thinking in 2002 when they released the Blackwood pickup truck. The luxury automakers’ attempt to enter the pickup market fizzled just as quickly as it began.
To begin with, the Blackwood was undersized; especially the bed. This made it very unattractive to consumers who would have used it for hauling. Second, it quickly received a reputation for lacking durability. After the first generation, Lincoln gave up on their experiment, returning to manufacturing luxury town cars.
The 1997 Ford Ranger Had a Bad Transmission
A pretty big misstep for Ford was the 1997 Ranger pickup truck. Usually known for making some of the best trucks on the market, Ford failed to put a reliable transmission in their 1997 model, leaving a lot of customers questioning their brand loyalty.
Some of the most common problems with the 1997 Ford Ranger’s transmission were the following; upshifting failure, loss of gears, gear slipping, loss of reverse gear, solenoid failure, and a delayed gear shift response.
The 2018 Mercedes Benz X-Class Isn’t up to Snuff
Billed as the world’s first true luxury premium pickup, the Mercedes Benz X-Class is already proving to be a misfire by the German car company. Not only is the flatbed too small for the work market Mercedes is targeting, but the overall performance is underwhelming.
On Top Gear, the truck was called "meh," which isn’t exactly a glowing review. They also noted, "kick down accounts for a two-elephant count before anything happens, and even then you aren’t exactly subjected to forceful acceleration."
The 1972 Ford Courier Was Underbuilt
The 1972 Ford Courier was a Ford in name only. When the company decided to bring back the truck after a 12- year absence, they took the easy way out, paying Mazda to use their B-Series.
Essentially, what would have been sold in the United States as the Mazda B-Series pickup truck was instead rebranded as a Ford. Consumers were able to see through Ford’s trickery and sales slumped. After four years on the market, Ford pulled the plug on their strange Mazda experiment.
The 2006 Nissan Frontier Was a Transmission Nightmare
The 2006 Nissan Frontier is a vehicle we’re still trying to forget about. The pickup truck had a number of transmission issues as well as seven factory recalls. What’s the point of even buying a truck if it’s always going to be in the shop?
Three of the seven recalls created massive complications for Nissan. Its fuel system, suspension, and engine were all recalled after reports of failures leading to crashes. If you’re looking for a new truck on the used market, this is one to avoid!
The 2013 Toyota Tacoma Didn’t Live Up To The Hype
In 2013, Toyota’s Tacoma pickup truck was beginning to show its age. The new model didn’t offer many improvements over the previous generation. The utilitarian car was perfect for the working person, but not the technology-driven consumer.
There were also six recalls on the Tacoma, all for faulty parts that increased the risk of a crash. In 2016, the Tacoma finally got the tech makeover it deserved, turning this truck from unlovable dud to immaculate stud.
The 1976 Dodge Ramcharger Ran Out of Gas
First released in 1974, the Dodge Ramcharger we’re going to focus on was the 1976 model. Originally known as the "Rhino," the Ramcharger had several quirks. The most interesting one was that the passenger seat was optional.
The driver’s seat came standard, of course, but you could then choose if wanted your truck to passenger friendly. We guess if you’re hauling big loads you might want to use that extra room, especially if you work alone. While this was a neat feature, the pickup just didn’t have the necessary power to make it a good buy.
The 2009 Hummer Nearly Ruined the Company
There was a time when the Hummer was one of the most popular trucks on the road. Built for the military, the iconic car was eventually redesigned for public consumption. After years of unrivaled success, the 2009 model nearly ruined the manufacturer.
The 2009 Hummer was expensive and had a terrible miles-per-gallon rating. The huge car became an eyesore at the time when people wanted smaller cars with high fuel efficiency, not horsepower and muscle.
The 1978 Subaru BRAT Was Just a Car In Disguise
While Subaru is usually known for knocking their cars out the park, the same can’t be said for their trucks. The 1978 Subaru BRAT is a great example. Subaru created a compact truck that consumers found out pretty quickly was just a glorified car.
To turn a car into a truck, Subaru added a flatbed to the back of a sedan body. Amazingly, the BRAT stayed in production for 16 years. President Ronald Reagan owned a 1978 model for 20 years, increasing the market value of the car.
The 2006 Dodge Dakota Was a Maintenance Nightmare
The 2006 Dodge Dakota was a complete redesign for the truck. And if Dodge could do it all over again, we imagine they would. After five years on the market, the auto maker stopped making the car altogether.
But what was so bad about the Dakota? The truck constantly broke down, turning a modest initial investment into a real bank robber. In 2011, only 12,000 Dakotas were sold, signalling to Dodge that their fan base was fed up.
The 1957 Ford Ranchero Wasn’t Really a Truck
Before Subaru released the BRAT, Ford created a sheep in wolves clothing with the Ranchero. Released in 1957, the car was just that; a car. Ford advertised and sold the Ranchero as a truck, though, and underwhelmed their fanbase.
By 1960, Ford wised up, releasing a new version of the Ranchero that was smaller and sold to consumers as the car it was. They based the new model off their Falcon, and renamed it the Falcon Ranchero.
The 2006 Honda Ridgeline Was a Letdown
The Ridgeline was Honda’s first attempt to get into the truck market in 2006. The car took four years to design and was built from the ground up. Sadly, after all that research and development, it was called a lemon.
Reviews were harsh, with one stating, "The Ridgeline can’t really do what most people who like trucks need it to do.Sure, some homeowners and weekend warriors may actually need a 10,000-lb towing capacity, but the Honda Ridgeline is probably just right for most." Another review referred to it as an "anti-truck."
The 1976 Cadillac Mirage Was Real
Although we’d all like to think it was just a dream, the Cadillac Mirage was 100 percent real. The coupe-truck hybrid essentially removed backseats and added and long flatbed. A high price tag mixed with low functionality made the Mirage unpopular among consumers.
The car was so unpopular that it’s been reported only a few hundred were ever built. Cadillac quickly realized the market for the Mirage was small and did their best to make it disappear.
The 2005 Toyota Tundra’s Engine Was All Wrong
The Toyota Tundra has made a solid home for itself in the truck market since arriving on the scene with a lot of problems. Initially released in 2000, the 2005 Tundra model was one of the worst.
Compared to the competition, Toyota failed to deliver the goods, and the Tundra was noted as being the least powerful full size truck at the time. An overhaul came in 2007, vastly improving the performance of the truck, turning it into one of the country’s most popular.
The 2002 Subaru Baja Didn’t Earn Many Fans
Subaru again tried to enter the pickup truck market in 2002 with the Baja. The compact pickup was designed to attract adventure seekers, not working people. At its release, the Baja was praised by the auto industry.
Subaru’s customers, however, were not so easily impressed. For four years the Baja struggled to meet sales predictions, ultimately leading to its demise in 2006. Today, it’s remembered more as an oddity of Subaru’s history; a souped-up dune buggy that wanted so desperately to be a pickup truck.
The Ford Thames Trader Was a Black Mark in the Company’s History
Ford has a reputation for quality when it comes to pickup trucks, so it’s odd to see them again on this list. The Thames Trader, however, definitely earned its spot as one of the worst pickup trucks ever made.
In 1965, Ford ended production on the eight-year-old Trader, which they had marketed almost entirely in England. The most popular and well-known version was the double-decker buses order by London Transport. Because this version is technically not a truck, it did not earn the Trader a pass on our list.
What Was The Chevy SSR?
We’re not sure Chevy really know what they were going for when they created the SSR. Another hybrid between a pickup truck and a sedan, the car maker also gave a retro design to really catch the eye.
The SSR definitely got people’s attention. They just had no idea what to make of it. Although the car looked good enough on the outside, it lacked the necessary power under the hood to really be impressive. After three years on the market, Chevy pulled the plug.
Everything Was Wrong With The Ram 3500
The Ram 3500 is apparently the "least reliable vehicle you can buy," according to Consumer Reports. It looks like a durable truck on the outside but people who actually bought this car were disappointed to discover many of its pitfalls.
Ram 3500 owners experienced problems from the start with the vehicle’s suspension, steering, fuel system, and transmission. Not even the car’s body was a good consolation for all the troubles it had going on on the inside. If you were to get this car expecting to get a lot of work done, think again.
The GMC Sierra Has A Terrible Score
To compete with the Chevy Silverado, GMC decided to make the Sierra 2500HD. Unfortunately, both vehicles share the same problems when it comes to the fuel system, minor transmission components, and the integrity of the truck’s body.
For the last four years at least, the GMC Sierra has had a poor reliability rating from Consumer Reports, the worst score being 16%. While this truck can get work done, you might want to consider others if you’re also looking for a luxury heavy-duty truck.
The Nissan Titan Isn’t That Worth It
One the best things about the Nissan Titan is that it often is sold at a discounted price – and that’s probably because of how poorly it performs as a truck. While it does have a spacious cab and can haul a hefty load. Still, it doesn’t do enough to compete with its chief rivals.
The belts, pulleys, and mounts of the truck have caused the most problems for owners, who’ve also experienced leaks and cracks in the body. Ultimately, the Nissan Titan just isn’t worth it.
The GMC Canyon Has Leaky Fuel
The GMC Canyon looks like it was built to last, but most owners probably decided that they wouldn’t even want to keep it that long. Though it was built as an upscale truck, people have experienced problems with its transmission, fuel system, and cabin electronics.
It comes in a variety of sizes yet it still can’t stand up to its main rivals. To add insult to injury, the Canyon has been recalled at least once due to a damaged fuel line that could create a fuel leak, ultimately leading to a fire.
The Chevrolet Colorado Is On The Small Side
The Chevrolet Colorado was built as a compact pickup truck and as a result, it has a smaller bed than most people would like. Despite a fuel-efficient diesel engine and easy drivability, this truck has a low reliability rating on account of its climate system, suspension, and fuel system.
This isn’t to say that the Colorado would necessarily be a bad purchase. After all, those problems were experienced with later models. But so far, the outlook is good for the 2019 model.
What Was The Point Of The Explorer Sport Trac?
There might be a reason the Ford Explorer Sport Trac was only in production for four years. While many people liked the truck, others didn’t see the point. After all, why would you take an SUV and turn it into a truck? Someone at Ford thought that replacing the Explorer’s cargo with a bed was a good idea and it worked for a short time.
Despite having a small bed, the Explorer Sport Trac was still unbelievable pricey and consumers were better off spending that money on a spacious and more reliable F-150.
The Suzuki Equator Was Literally A Frontier
As a way to get their foot in the door of the American market, Suzuki was right in thinking that they should produce a pickup truck. The result was the Suzuki Equator, which was pretty much a Nissan Frontier with a Suzuki logo on it.
Come to find out, that’s precisely how they made it after asking Nissan for help. Unfortunately, this venture didn’t work out for Suzuki, who only had the car in production for four years after they failed to sell. People probably realized that they were getting duped.
The Reason They Don’t Make The Avalanche Anymore
The Chevrolet Avalanche was only in production from 2001 to 2013 and has seen two generations within that time. Though it seemed like a promising truck, there might be a reason that you can only buy used models in the present day. Still, you might want to avoid getting a used model altogether.
Owners of the Avalanche have cited speedometer malfunctions, causing people to get pulled over for speeding when they weren’t intending to. In its early years, the Avalanche has also experienced transmission failures and excessive oil consumption.
The RAM 1500 Is To Be Avoided
Just as much as you’d want to avoid the RAM 3500, you may also want to steer clear of its predecessor, the RAM 1500. This is especially true for used vehicles, if that’s what you were looking to buy.
Owners of this unfortunate truck have experienced transmission failures, oil sludge build up, and engine failures. The mechanics of this truck aren’t the only area it has failed. People have also experienced cracked dashboards in their RAM 1500’s! To make things even worse, this truck comes with a variety of electronic issues.
The Ford F-150 Has Problems Too
The Ford F-150 may be America’s most popular vehicle in general, but even the best pickups come with their own issues. Owners who bought the 2004 and 2005 models apparently had the worst batch. People have experienced spark plugs that break off, loud noises from the motor, and engine failures.
Strangely, there was something weird going on with those models’ windows, in addition to failed transmissions. All these problems led to a number of recalls that had people disenchanted with the truck ever since.
The F-250 and F-350 Are Not So Great Either
We’d hate to break it to you, but the F-150 isn’t the only truck in the Ford family that has issues. The F-250 and F-350 are sore spots as well, particularly in the years 2006, 2008, and 2011.
In 2006, both trucks repeatedly experienced engine failures. In 2008, Ford dealerships saw customers returning with their F-250’s because of a weirdly shaky suspension. The F-250 in particular was also known for premature breaking and unintended acceleration.
Why Was The Rumble Bee Necessary?
When it comes to pickup trucks, some things are just better left untouched. This is precisely the case for Dodge, who in 2004 decided to make the Ram Rumble Bee. Banking off the success of Super Bee muscle cars, Dodge must have thought they could one-up themselves with a pickup version of this bright yellow monstrosity.
Honestly, you’re probably better off just buying a regular Dodge Ram if the previous Rams on this list still haven’t left you unconvinced. The only thing that makes the Rumble Bee that special is its decal and its ground effects.
The Dodge Dude Was An Enigma
Perhaps no pickup has confused consumers more than the Dodge Dude. In 1969, Dodge released these as a part of their Sweptline pickup series. This was essentially a Dodge D100 with some special decals added to it. It’s no wonder that they were only in production for about a year.
Still, that didn’t stop Dodge from making the Durango Dude in 2004. This model at least had a bit more added to it, including a cat-back dual exhaust, lowered suspension, and composite hood inspired by the Viper-powered Dodge Ram SRT10.
The Chevrolet K2500 Has Rusty History
The Chevrolet C/K has been a trusty model since 1959 all the way until 2000 but it was probably best to have one of these cars when they were made in their prime. 1997 Chevy K2500’s for example have had a history of experiencing rust. One owner of this model reported rust along the cross member underneath the driver and passenger seats.
This is definitely not ideal when it comes to safety. So you likely would want to avoid these models when it comes to used car shopping.
The Mitsubishi L200 Can’t Handle Water
The Mitsubishi Triton was a compact pickup truck by the Japanese car company. It originally sold in 1978 in Japan as the Mitsubishi Forte but is popularly known in America as the L200. This was clearly a pickup truck for smaller jobs and it’s honestly no surprise that it’s so small, given that it was made by a company that hails from a country that focuses on minimalism.
This is another truck that has experienced a cacophony of rust problems. One owner found tons of it under the car in under a year from its production date.
It’s A Good Thing There’s No Navara In The U.S.
The Nissan Navara, also known as the D22, D40, or D23, was a pickup that sold in Asia, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. It’s probably a good thing that these trucks haven’t really made a killing in the U.S. because apparently many people have experienced a problem with this car that Nissan took a while to admit to.
The Navara has had rust issues on its chassis which is obviously a serious safety risk. It causes the underpinnings of the truck to crack so much that eventually it will break into two.
The Chevrolet Corvair Looks Like A Toy
The Chevrolet Corvair ’95 Rampside looks like a car made for novelty, if anything. Though this pickup was made in response to Volkswagen for their Type 2 vans, this pickup obviously looks like it wouldn’t stand a chance against the Mazda B Series.
In 1961, only a little more than 2,800 of these bad boys were put into production and less than 400 were made the following year. It’s a good thing Chevy quickly realized that this wasn’t ideal when it came to pickup trucks.
The Mazda Rotary Couldn’t Make The Cut
We already know that the Mazda B series was definitely nothing to write home about, but perhaps no model was more griped about than the Rotary Pickup. It was actually the world’s first and only Wankel-engined pickup, which used a unique rotary design in its internal combustion engine, hence the name.
As ideal as these types of engines are, at the time this truck was released in the early ’70s, Mazda quickly realized that a Wankel engine wasn’t meant for a pickup. It ultimately failed.
Ford Bronco Has a History of Problems Under the Hood
While there are plenty of pickups that obviously aren’t that great, there are a number of 4×4’s that face the same issues as well. People often buy the Ford Bronco to do the job that a pickup can, but also want to take it out to have a little fun.
While die-hard Bronco fans will refuse to listen to this bit of info, Broncos have a history of problems underneath the hood that realistic car fanatics believe isn’t worth the trouble. As a result, many think it’s one of the worst 4×4’s around.
The Jeep Wagoneer Has Suspension Problems
Another overrated 4×4 is the Jeep Wagoneer. You’d think that a company whose products were made for off-roading or hauling would never see problems but it seems Jeep is not immune to car troubles. The Wagoneer debuted seven years after the Range Rover debuted in England.
The IFS Wagoneer of the early ’60s, in particular, faced numerous complaints about its engine and suspension. Not a great review for a car that relies on those exact two things to do what it was intended to.