Pickup trucks became a staple of the auto industry in the 1970s. Since then, every company is striving to find the best combination of features, capacity, strength and power to create the next best thing on the market. However, not every experiment is a good one, and some models you simply have to shake your head at. Here are 35 pickup trucks that should never have made it to market.
35. Ford Explorer Sport Trac
This was Ford’s first try at a midsize pickup and, like the first pancake, it should have been thrown out. It was an obvious copy of the Explorer SUV with the back sheared off and didn’t have enough power to live up to the “Sport” in its name. They’ve done better since, but this definitely wasn’t a good start.
34. 2008 GMC Sierra
This notorious mistake hit the market in 2008 as the company was in urgent need of money. Unfortunately, fast and cheap means it was never going to be good. It was practically falling apart right off the line, with electric flaws draining the battery and grinding machinery demanding expensive upkeep.
33. 2004 Nissan Titan
Overall, the Titan is one of the better pickups on the market nowadays – but if you’re buying a used one, definitely avoid this year. It was famous for unstable rear axels and loose oil seals. Clever buyers were able to use the warranty to recoup any losses, which provided a lot of incentive for Nissan to get it right next time.
32. 2018 Mercedes Benz X-Class
A pick-up truck with a luxury price tag seems like a contradiction in terms, and frankly, the market agreed. We’re not sure who Mercedes meant to target with this idea. Practicality and ruggedness are the hallmark of the pick-up; no one wants to buy one they can’t afford to use.
31. 2013 Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma is very hit-and-miss, with some years producing real top-of-the-line quality and others… well. The 2013 Tacoma was rushed to market and its wiring was absolutely shot as a result. The radio, engine light, power windows and wipers would notoriously fail to work properly and drain the battery or even put the driver in danger.
30. 2006 Honda Ridgeline
The 2006 Ridgeline combines all the charm of a half-finished Hummer with all the functionality of a toy truck. It’s bulky, ugly, and the trunk space is embarrassing. Despite driving well off the lot, enduring breakdowns and costly repairs make it a legendary failure.
29. Lincoln Blackwood
Lincoln amazingly decided to enter the pickup market with a vehicle that eliminated the primary selling point of a pickup. The Blackwood’s flatbed was covered, like a trunk, meaning that anything taller than a foot wouldn’t be able to fit. It was small and speedy, but pointless, and demonstrated a confusing distaste for the practicality that a truck offers.
28. 2001 Toyota Tundra
Famously, the 2001 Tundra had serious problems with corrosion. These issues stood out on a pickup especially, which is supposed to be able to endure harsher conditions than other cars, including exposure to the elements. Sounds like “Tundra” was an ironic name for a truck that couldn’t take the wilderness.
27. 2012 Ram 2500
The Dodge Ram is usually among the most reliable make and model of pickup – unfortunately, 2012 was a notoriously bad year. There were issues with control while shifting, as well as coolant problems that allowed engines to become dangerously overheated. It got good reviews for power and speed, but as more issues came to light, this credit dried up pretty fast.
26. 2005 Chevrolet Silverado
The Chevy Silverado is known for its abysmal 2005 model, with clunky steering and overwhelming fuel and oil needs. It’s also dangerous, and some models made it off the line with brake lines that were already rusting. Whatever skill it had for hauling was more than overwhelmed by the price of maintaining one.
24. 2009 Nissan Frontier
Early Frontier models were gamechangers for Nissan, but from 2005 onwards the cracks really started to show. And we mean that literally – the radiator and undercarriage were prone to cracking and to this day need costly repair work. Even a newer model sometimes demands a full transmission replacement, making this a bad purchase for a used pickup shopper.
23. Chevrolet Avalanche
This model was appropriately named, as a few initial problems would eventually lead to an overwhelming cascade. The paint job peeled right off the line and speedometers would malfunction leading to dangerous and expensive speeding. In 2005, transmission failures. In 2007, overconsumption of oil. Chevy finally discontinued the model but not as early as it should have.
22. Chevrolet Colorado
The Colorado had good storage space but couldn’t get the power for good towing – a key component of pickup function. Electrical issues with the air conditioning made this unsuitable for high-heat hard work, and engine failures were common. It was more often seen in a repair shop than on the road, and considering that some of the failures were in safety features like child seats, that’s for the best.
20. Dodge Dakota
This model was destroyed not only by its own flaws but by Dodge’s response to them. Famously, after reports of brake failures started to filter in from customers, Dodge refused to even acknowledge the issue, infuriating consumers. Additional issues with sludgy oil buildup and poor shifting make it hard to defend this model.
18. Mazda B-Series Pickup
The B-Series might as well have been a compact sedan in a costume. Mazda’s model had terrible pulling power and, with the exception of technically having a truck bed, met none of the criteria of a practical pickup. It was an embarrassing misstep for the company.
17. 1972 Ford Courier
Like the B-Series, the Ford Courier totally missed the mark with what elements of pickup they prioritized. It wasn’t built for strenuous work, was structurally weak both inside and outside, and never had the kind of hauling power that a buyer would be looking for. Ford probably wishes this failure was more forgettable.
14. Honda Ridgeline
Probably the low point in Honda’s history with pickups, this model was highly unreliable. It was also notably small in terms of bed size and weak in terms of power. Duck this lemon at all costs.
12. GMC Canyon
The Canyon – among the most parodied of pickups – was notorious for improper shifting that showed up extremely early in the car’s lifespan. It’s costly to fix and a clear indicator of bad design. It also, like so many bad pickups, suffered from transmission problems.
11. Dodge Ram 1500
It wasn’t until 2009 that Dodge finally corrected most of the issues with this series. The original Ram 1500s are plagued with sludge and coolant issues, breaking bolts, wiring and sensor failures, and more. The first models off the line were a real lesson in poor engineering.
10. Ford’s V-8 Engine Disaster
After 2004, Ford made the confusing decision to make “improvements to” their V-8 engine that almost immediately started to cause disaster. The 5.4 Triton demonstrated serious ignition system issues. Even worse, technicians realized quickly that spark plug failures actually couldn’t be fixed through replacement, because the factory plugs couldn’t be removed from their housings. Oops.
9. Dodge Ram Rumble Bee
The Rumble Bee is a niche little model for the Transformers fan, and doesn’t have much to offer in terms of utility. It would stall at a complete stop and was infamous for engine failures. There’s only far that fan appeal can get you, Dodge, sorry.
8. Nissan Navara
The Navara barely made an appearance in the American market because its arrival was preceded by reports of safety concerns in Europe and Asia. The chassis would crack from severe rust, causing the truck to fully break in half. Nissan was accused of trying to hush up these problems and had to be forced to make recalls.
7. Mitsubishi L200
The kings of the compact car tried their hand at the pickup market and… did kind of okay? It’s certainly not built for the hardcore hauler but it’s proportional and probably suitable for a city-dwelling target market. Nevertheless, a confused sense of identity made this model overall unremarkable.
6. Chevrolet K2500
Most people use “rust bucket” as an insult; apparently, Chevy used it as a design document. This 1997 pickup was a success almost immediately, but started to develop huge rust buildup just as fast. It’s especially remembered for the volume of rust that would appear under the front seats of the car, raising serious questions about driver and passenger safety.
4. Suzuki Equator
You might as well go back to our entry on the Nissan Frontier because the Equator is, literally, the same truck. Suzuki asked Nissan for some help breaking into the market and ended up building a copy of their pickup. Unfortunately, that included all the problems too.
3. Dodge Ram 3500
Customer reviews lambasted this model and earned it the title of least reliable truck by Consumer Reports. The biggest complaints centered around a flaw called a “death wobble” that would start to impact the 2013 model well before 50k in mileage. It cost drivers upwards of a cool grand to fix and made this a very dangerous truck to drive.
2. Hummer H2 SUT
The H2 obsession of the early 2000s is, in retrospect, embarrassing, and the SUT is among the worst. It was so huge that it was nearly impossible to navigate through the city and suburban streets, despite this representing most of their customer base. Why didn’t you see these in the country more? Because it was so underpowered that it couldn’t even haul the equivalent to its own weight. What a flop.