Cars have gotten safer and safer over the years and with crash test data and other safety improvements, like seatbelts and airbags, it’s safer now than it’s ever been to drive a car. Of course, there are still dangerous cars that slip through and end up on our streets, just as there have been for decades. We took a look at the most dangerous cars and here is the list of the worst of the worst.
The Corvair is the car that first brought safety guru Ralph Nader to national prominence in the 1960s. In his book Unsafe At Any Speed, Nader shredded the Corvair for the terrible design of its suspension system that made it very prone to extreme oversteer and once it was sideways, it would roll over. The fallout from the book led directly to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act which was the first national legislation to set safety standards in the industry.
The legendary Ford Pinto is mostly legendary for its penchant for exploding if it was rear-ended. It seems that the design of the car and specifically the placement of the gas tank towards the rear was a really bad idea. A number of high-publicity lawsuits and a famous memo from Ford executives that proved they knew the gas tank was dangerous made the Pinto one of the most notoriously dangerous cars in history.
“I’m outie 5000” might have been a popular thing to say in the ’90s when someone was saying goodbye, but the notoriety of the Audi 5000 came not from its performance, but from its dismal safety record. In the early 1980s, there were numerous cases of the car accelerating unintentionally, leading to many accidents. After a high profile story ran on 60 Minutes, it took years for Audi’s sales numbers to recover.
Ford Bronco II
The Ford Bronco II was famous for one thing – it rolled over. A lot. The design was poor, making it too tall and prone to rollovers. There were lots of lawsuits, the most famous being one from a famous horse jockey that was paralyzed in a rollover. It got so bad, even some insurers stop covering them completely.
The Fiero like to burst into flames. Sometimes while it was driving. The problem was found to be defective connecting rods and once GM fixed the issue, its flaming problems were over.
The Ford Explorer was subject to one of the largest recalls in history after it discovered that the combination of the SUV and the tires they specifically built for it by Firestone was deadly. 240 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries occurred when Explorers and its Firestones tires caused rollovers.
The Yugo didn’t have any specific design problems. It was just a piece of Eastern European Communist junk. It was built poorly with low-quality materials. Any accident could be deadly when the metal crumpled around the driver.
Like the Bronco II, the Samurai was famous for one thing – rolling over. The poor design of the car made it, also like the Bronco II, too tall and as a result, it was incredibly prone to rollovers.