These are the worst pickup trucks of all time
We all love our pickups. But there are some that simply should have either been recalled or scrubbed entirely before production. There are many reasons, both in regards to utility and aesthetics, why this is the case. Some of these are deemed suspect to be on the road in general. These are the good, the bad, and the ugly … well, mostly ugly. Here are 30 pickup trucks that did not make the cut in any category whatsoever.
The Lincoln Blackwood was a disaster
The 2002 Lincoln Blackwood’s design and utility left us, as well as many other people, scratching our heads. This was one of those instances where Lincoln didn’t seem to grasp the general idea of owning a pickup truck. While former baseball slugger Mark McGwire seems to have liked it, it was at odds with many consumers.
One of the problems with this model was due to the fact that it was built to be a speedier counterpart to its other competitors. However, this resulted in sacrificing durability for big hauls. This was mainly thanks to its small trunk, which was better equipped to carry suitcases than large furniture.
Chevrolet Avalanche snowballed into oblivion
The Chevrolet Avalanche certainly lived up to its name — a complete nosedive into obscurity, thanks in part to a dizzying amount of reported malfunctions. For starters, the initial product line had paint issues, with stripes appearing on the frame. Then came the constant maintenance problems which ultimately led to its discontinuation.
After that came reports of drivers getting ticketed because of faulty speedometer readings. In 2005, they were also plagued with transmission problems. It’s almost as if the poor Avalanche was doomed before it even began. At least GM tried to remedy these errors, but by then it was too late.
Playing whack-a-mole with the 2006 Nissan Frontier
When the maintenance costs begin to outweigh the initial — or later — price point of a car, many owners begin to think of selling. With the 2006 Nissan Frontier, these costs started flaring up from the get-go. And for a car that had high expectations thanks to previous models, this one certainly fell well short of its benchmarks.
But the faulty mechanics didn’t stop there. Drivers also reported exhaust, cooling, and fuel system problems with cracking radiators. This is a shame since the truck manages to check off everything else needed in a viable pickup.
The mechanical failures of the GMC Canyon
One would think that by 2015 most car maintenance complications would be out of the picture in the automobile industry. That is, except for the GMC Canyon. One of the constant reported issues with this model was improper shifting. This can be a pretty severe issue for any car, and generally costs around $150 to fix.
To make matters worse, the average mileage at this point would usually be around 5.5 thousand, which is extremely early in a car’s life cycle. Overall, the No. 1 issue was the transmission, which tends to be a pattern with many of the other models.
Engine problems galore: A Dodge Ram 1500 story
From transmission issues to chronic sludge backups, the Ram 1500 series didn’t exactly age gracefully. There were reports of exhaust manifold bolts breaking, water and coolant leaks, cam sensor failures, and much more. The lengthy list of problems associated with this model could have been equal to the length of the Star Wars end credits.
Fortunately, it seems like Dodge was able to turn the corner in terms of quality. In 2009, the model was given a design overhaul and was completely reengineered. In the end, at least customers knew they were getting a full-size pickup truck in the long run.
2009 Hummer came at the wrong place, wrong time
Not only was it unbearable to look at, the H2 wasn’t exactly the most economically friendly option out there. One of the most frequent problems with this model — which affected many earlier ones, too — was AC failure. That’s not exactly ideal when you have a car already lacking in gas mileage.
To make matters worse, this was right around the time when GM underwent bankruptcy and had to restructure the company. And did we mention this model also had transmission problems to boot? This is definitely a model a buyer would have to watch out for.
Recalls and an aging product: The 2013 Toyota Tacoma
Sometimes a dealer will stick with the same strategy year after year. That strategy certainly pertained to the 2013 Toyota Tacoma. Some reports indicated that during the acceleration phase, the car would vibrate, which could be felt throughout the cabin.
The most pressing issue was the drivetrain — a part connecting the transmission to the axles — which would undergo constant issues. The result of these failures was a hit to its reputation and made it one of the last of the Toyota Tacoma generations. Many of the issues can also be blamed on how production may have been rushed, too.
Bad looks, and faulty engineering to boot
The 2006 Dodge Dakota just couldn’t seem to catch a break: Bad aesthetics, design, and constant breakdowns hindered this truck’s performance and ultimately led to its swift departure. On the plus side, it was a sizable pickup truck, so it tended to fare well with drivers who wanted a heavy-duty pickup.
Perhaps one of the most concerning problems of any vehicle is the brakes. This would be emblematic of the series and ultimately lead to its demise. It’s too bad, because many of the older models fared pretty well for the most part.
The Ford Thames Trader was bad regardless of the time period
The lackluster performance of many cars can be often blamed on an aging engine, frame, chassis, etc. But for the 1964 Ford Thames Trader, the frame, body and trunk were far too weak to support anything of moderate to heavy weight. To give Ford credit, it certainly didn’t look bad.
But like many other pickups on this list, the utility didn’t fit the bill. It may have worked as a van or bigger compact car, but to expect anything of heavy-duty caliber was simply unrealistic. On the positive side, you would be riding in style, especially for that era.
Scathing reviews of the 2006 Honda Ridgeline
The 2006 Honda Ridgeline marked the company’s debut series in the trucking industry. And it wasn’t a good one. In addition to the inordinate amount of poor reviews from drivers, the most glaring problem with this series was the bed, in that it couldn’t house large items.
Overall, this model of the Honda Ridgeline fell well short of providing the space needed to be a viable pickup truck. It was also hounded by reports of frequent breakdowns. Luckily, the company was able to eventually learn from its failure and made better versions of this model.
Any Ford pickup truck with a V-8 engine
This is an instance where the company took a big swing … and missed badly. While virtually any model built between ’97 and ’04 had no problems, the company’s “improved” version fell very short of consumer expectations. One of the common occurrences in 2010 involved ignition system issues with the 5.4 Triton engine.
But the internal failures didn’t stop there. After 2004, service technicians would report occurrences where the failed spark plugs could not be replaced because the former ones were so enmeshed within their housings. Suffice it to say, it’s perhaps best to avoid these models.
Nissan Titan: The one that just won’t leave us alone
Don’t get us wrong, we agree the newer models of the Nissan Titan are a viable, consumer-friendly model. However, when the product line first made its debut in the early 2000s, it certainly had its rocky beginnings. This is due largely to the overwhelming amount of recalls from the market.
On the plus side, many drivers took advantage of the company’s warranty policy, which allowed them to work on the needed repairs. The crux of the problems was reported to be chronic oil leaks. Specifically, you may want to avoid the 2004 versions of this model.
1972 Ford Courier wasn’t all it was cracked up to be
Don’t let this seemingly tough exterior fool you: The 1972 Ford Courier truck was actually pretty flimsy, and could hardly be considered a pickup truck. This model turned out to be a complete dud on the market, which can be attributed to the fact that it was falling apart both from the exterior and interior.
Of course, some of the problems could have been owed to its age. Some reports include electrical issues where the driver would press on the brake and the vehicle would lose power from other parts of the engine system. We’ll try to give Ford a pass on this one, considering the time frame.
Ram 3500 only knew how to fail
When your product earns the title “least reliable truck you can buy,” as alleged by Consumer Reports, you may want to steer clear. Although we should investigate the supposed repair issues, customer reviews should always factor into any purchase. In this case, it seems the reviews are justified.
The model with the highest complaints was the 2013 Ram 3500, with a hindrance called the “death wobble.” Occurring at a relatively low mileage of about 47,000, this involved a general repair cost of around $1,000 and possible injuries while driving. If you have one of these, make sure to check whether you have a warranty!
GMC Sierra has abysmal approval scores
If you’re shopping for a quality pickup truck, you may want to avoid the GMC Sierra. Thanks in part to low scores on Consumer Reports, this model has had many setbacks, ranging from fuel gauges to structural frame issues. Of course, this can be largely blamed on the model being rushed through the manufacturing process.
With a release coming around the recession of 2008, GM was bent on rushing this one out of the gates. Unfortunately, this would lead to the pickup suffering from battery draining, ABS pump failures, steering issues, and more. You may just want to avoid this one at all costs.
Chevrolet Colorado did not live up to truck-size standards
Like many of its counterparts, the Chevrolet Colorado had its rocky beginnings. Many consumers were displeased to find the bed was smaller than the industry standard. That’s what you get when trying to combine an economically friendly vehicle with the robustness of trucks.
The main hindrance of the Chevy Colorado was it couldn’t handle towing moderately large vehicles. It also suffered from many recalls in the mid-2000s, largely thanks to malfunctioning brake lights. Overall, the Colorado was a giant mixture of engine failures amid lofty expectations.
Explorer Sport Trac had no idea what it was
This may have been an example of when Ford tried to literally combine its Explorer model with a truck bed. The result is awkward from a visual standpoint. Additionally, the small bed size was one of the pressing concerns among buyers, as it couldn’t hold much compared to the traditional pickup truck.
The model eventually fizzled out on the market after reports of poor power capabilities that paled in comparison to its competition. To compound the problem, there have been reports of coolant leaks, wheel bearing failure, and difficulty removing spark plugs. Ford should’ve done themselves a favor and ditched the prototype entirely.
Ford F-150 isn’t perfect
While it might be one of the most-purchased pickup trucks out there, the Ford F-150 still has its fair share of issues. These problems were so bad that it received many recalls, leading to many disgruntled consumers. One of the more common reported issues involved little to no heat in the cabin.
As with many maintenance repairs on cars, ignition coil failure seemed to be another common occurrence. But don’t get us wrong, the Ford F-150 certainly isn’t the worst pickup of all time. And if we were to compare it to the rest of this list, it would beat out most of the competition.
Chevy SSR: Convertible meets … pickup?
Behold, the perfect hybrid car everyone has looked for: compact but with pickup-truck features. Yeah, said nobody at any point in their lives. But hey, at least give Chevrolet some credit for trying to think creatively. However, this might be an example where they were trying too hard.
While it would hit speeds that other models mentioned here could seldom hit, it just didn’t make the cut when it came to storage space and all the other factors involved in what pickup trucks have to offer. Again, it probably would have served better to relabel this as a compact car.
Cadillac learning from their mistakes in 1973
Yes, even a widely acclaimed automobile company like Cadillac has had its fair share of issues. And the 1976 Cadillac Mirage was definitely no exception. Apparently this model was largely neglected by consumers, to the point that the company tried to drop its product line as soon as possible.
It marks yet another example where the trunk made up a large part of the car; and while that allowed for ample spacing for storage, it hindered the structural strength of the frame. Drivers of this model may have chosen to buy it based purely on looks.
Dodge Ram Rumble Bee was nothing special
While many people can agree they love “Rumble Bee” from Transformers, many pickup truck buyers tend to prefer utility over visual appeal. With that said, there is very little to admire about this 2004 model in regards to what it has to offer. In the pickup world, this model was all glam.
Some reported detailed occurrences of complete stalling after the car would come to a stop. We don’t need to go into detail about why that could be dangerous. This model has also been affected by chronic engine problems as well.
Chevy Silverado strove for perfection but fell short
While the Chevy Silverado series is considered by some as one of the better pickup trucks out there, it has had considerable engine problems, too. And while many loyal customers of the series often praise the model as one to buy used, they tend to neglect the 2005 version.
Rusted brakes, steering problems, and engine issues just scratched the surface of the multitude of hindrances to this otherwise great pickup truck. The reason we see so much promise with this version is that it can haul plenty in weight, but not without frequent maintenance issues.
Chevrolet K2500 is way past its prime
The debut of the Chevrolet K2500 was during the late 1950s, during which time it was recognized as a reliable pickup. This isn’t so much the case anymore. And who can really blame it? Time does take its toll eventually, even on our most beloved cars. This is most notably seen in terms of safety.
With the Chevrolet K2500, many problems — mostly internal — have reportedly abounded over the years. These include speedometer gauge readings performing incorrectly, fuel level sensor failures, and more. At least we can honestly say this performs heavy-duty hauls.
Nissan Navara was a nightmare avoided in the States
The Nissan Navara has made the rounds internationally from countries in Europe to Asia. Luckily, the U.S. largely skirted away from this model because of the many reports related to safety concerns. One of the problems stemmed from severe rust issues, which in turn would cause chassis cracks.
To make matters worse, this would often result in the truck breaking in two between the trunk and the cabin. Rather than warning the public, Nissan was accused of keeping these problems a secret and was later told to make the necessary recalls. Keep your distance from this one.
The pickup truck that could have been
What’s sad is this pickup truck virtually checked off all the boxes that make up a solid truck: looks, speed, performance. But can it haul anything of use? No. One of the reasons for this is because the manufacturer thought it would be a genius idea to keep the rear spoiler.
So if you want to have a racing competition — strictly within the confines of pickup trucks — then this would be the right choice for you. However, if you want an actual truck, then steer clear. In fact, just avoid this as best as you can.
The 1978 Subaru BRAT was pretty flimsy
It’s probably best to have a strong, solid pickup truck, which goes without saying. Many buyers need a big trunk with resilient structural integrity for big hauls. The 1978 Subaru BRAT was simply too small to carry large cargo. This was mainly due to its size, which wasn’t much different from the average vehicle.
And while it had similar dimensions to a pickup, it just couldn’t get the job done. Like many others on this list, the 1978 Subaru BRAT was basically a regular car with a pickup truck-size trunk slapped on the back of it.
1957 Ford Ranchero had the looks, but not the utility
This is one of those frequent examples where the visuals look great. On the other hand, it’s hard to make the case for the usability of this pickup. In fact his may have been one of those instances where it would have been more logical to ditch the idea of a pickup design in general.
Why, you might ask? Because the trunk almost dwarfed the rest of the car. This could have made for a nice collector’s item, but it simply could not get the job done if you needed to tow a sizeable vehicle behind it.
GMC Envoy’s concept had too much aspiration
It’s hard to fault GM for trying to get a little creative with their cars. But in this case, they may have taken the concept for the GMC Envoy a little too far. Never mind the fact this series wasn’t meeting the company benchmark of 10,000 units sold per year and was ultimately discontinued.
The main problem was that they tried to combine the SUV with a pickup. In this case, they put more emphasis on the former and sacrificed the necessary trunk space for a practical pickup truck. The model was eventually discontinued in 2009.
The Dodge Dude was trying to be too cool
The Dodge Dude was perhaps the most confounding “pickup truck” presented to consumers. This was yet another example where the trunk dwarfed the rest of the frame and made getting around with long hauls pretty tough on its structural integrity.
The longevity of the car was also suspect. It had multiple reports of breakdowns and simply could not put many miles on in the long run. But hey, perhaps some may have liked the idea of having a trendy-looking pickup. It certainly could have made a flashy addition to anyone’s garage …
Mazda RX-8’s engine could not keep up with the times
Like most cars, the engine is an incremental part, especially when it comes to pickups. Unfortunately for the Mazda RX-8, this was their Achilles’ heel, which led to its ultimate flop on the market. In fact, the Mazda RX-8 was the last model to use the Wankel rotary engine, thanks in part to not meeting emissions regulations.
Furthermore, the Mazda’s Wankel engine failed to give the car adequate mileage. This was most notable with the RX-8, which translated to their other models as well. Luckily for buyers, they most likely won’t have to worry about this engine in the future.