Last week, Jeremy Clarkson put together a list of his top 10 cars from the past year in his column for the Sunday Times. And if there’s a top 10, well, there has to be a bottom 10. We haven’t driven most of the cars on Clarkson’s “Worst 10” list because they aren’t available in the States, so we’ll have to take his word for it. But judging by his carefully chosen words, here’s hoping they never make it across the pond.
Jeremy Clarkson’s Top 10 Worst Cars
2015 – 2016
Vauxhall Astra SRi NAV
Clarkson’s Verdict: “It was red and turbocharged and it would be fine for anyone who needed four wheels and a place to sit down when moving about. And now I’m out of space, which is probably a good thing, because I have nothing else to say about it..”
What We’d Drive Instead: Without a question, the Ford Focus RS “Even when the Focus RS is going through turns facing the right direction, whether around town or on track, it’s still an incredibly fantastic little car.” Read the full review.
Infiniti Q30 Premium Tech
Clarkson’s Verdict: “I think that’s what the engine does, in fact: turns diesel into sound. Because it sure as hell doesn’t turn it into large lumps of power. Every time I pulled out to overtake a caravan, I had to pull in again because there wasn’t quite enough grunt.”
What We’d Drive Instead: The Cadillac XT5 “The XT5 is an agile car, refined but not stale, spacious but not hulking. During our jaunt through the mountains of Orange County and into East San Diego, it was easy to forget I was piloting a car destined for grocery shopping and stroller storage.” Read the full review.
Skoda Superb SE L Executive
Clarkson’s Verdict: “The Skoda has the same amount of soul as a fridge freezer. It’s the sort of car that you’d buy by the foot.”
What We’d Drive Instead: The BMW 525iT Wagon “I drive my 2002 Titanium Grey 525iT every day. It is, hopefully, the beginning of a long-term relationship with a car that might end up being the first in what I one day will call ‘my collection.'” Read the full review.
Zenos E10 S
Clarkson’s Verdict: “The front wheels have a tendency to lock up. An antilock system would solve all that, but the whole point of the Zenos is that you get no driver aids. I like that philosophy, when I’m on a sofa and someone else is doing the driving, in a race, on the television. But a bit less when I’m heading towards a tree in a cloud of my own tire smoke.”
What We’d Drive Instead: A rally-prepped Audi 4000CS “The steering wheel took some working, the brakes a little kicking, but the 4000CS complied. The Audi is a limo on ice, and its slide was easy to catch, send back the other way and pendulum around the next corner.” Read the full review.
Renault Kadjar dCi 130 Signature Nav
Clarkson’s Verdict: “This car started out in life as the sensible but dreary Nissan Kumquat and was then turned, for accountancy reasons, into a Renault Kadjar. A name dreamt up by an agency when all the other names have gone. No one is going to yearn for the day they own a Kadjar.”
What We’d Drive Instead: The Mazda CX-3 “The compact crossover is already a crowded niche within a niche, but Mazda has carved out its own spot with its signature style. In a segment with so many options, the AWD Mazda CX-3 makes a difficult decision that much easier.” Read the full review.
BMW X1 xDrive25d
Clarkson’s Verdict: “I suppose that, all things considered, it’s not a bad car. It doesn’t crash all the time, or explode. If it were a Kia or a car from one of those weird Chinese companies, you’d say it was quite nice.”
What We’d Drive Instead: The Jeep Renegade “Together these small details pay tribute to Jeep’s long, respected heritage without coming off distastefully, helping to ingrain Renegade owners into the experience of driving something distinguishably Jeep.” Read the full review.
Seat Leon X-Perience SE Technology
Clarkson’s Verdict: “The Seat Leon X-Perience SE Technology that was sent for review had very snazzy door mirrors, but apart from this it was easily the most nondescript waste of metal, glass and plastic since Microsoft’s Kin phone. And it was brown.”
What We’d Drive Instead: The Volkswagen Passat “Without the TDI option, is the Passat a worthwhile investment? The answer is a qualified ‘Yes.’ There’s an endearing quality to how good the Passat is, in a middle-of-the-road kind of way.” Read the full review.
Nissan GT-R Track Edition
Clarkson’s Verdict: “There is no give. At all. Drive over a manhole cover and you get some idea of what it might be like to be involved in a plane crash. You actually feel the top of your spine bouncing off the inside of your skull.”
We Disagree: “What [Nissan] created is a unique flavor of high performance that crushes cars with three times its price tag. The engineers at Nissan have ensured that the Track Edition can scare the shit out of anything trying to best it.” Read the full review.
Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI
Clarkson’s Verdict: “As an overall package it did nothing all week except remind me how much I wanted a Golf GTI.”
What We’d Drive Instead: Obviously, the Golf GTI “Miles of beautifully twisty roads melted all too easily under the GTI’s wheels. The suspension shines on this car, and its precise steering and great balance had me seeking out tight corners with the giddy sense of fun that’s always kept the Golf in my ‘must-have’ category.” Read the full review.
Clarkson’s Verdict: “The Hyundai i800 is worse than that parasite that burrows into children’s eyes. It’s worse than the cubicle on a hot army base with a D&V outbreak. It’s worse than trying on trousers, even. I would rather apply sun cream to James May’s back than travel again in a Hyundai i800.”
What We’d Drive Instead: Easily, the Mercedes Sprinter Van “For what it is — a work truck — the Sprinter feels like something more. Maybe it’s the thought that what you’re driving is a Mercedes-Benz. (Kudos to brand power.) But it’s also the details of design: The front fascia is aggressive, squared off, even somewhat sleek.” Read the full review.