Top 5 Japanese Cars to Avoid Purchasing

Exploring the Lesser-Known Side of Japanese Automotives.

by Nouman Rasool
Top 5 Japanese Cars to Avoid Purchasing
© Power Torque/YouTube

Japanese cars have long been synonymous with reliability and affordability, a reputation well-earned by models like the 2023 Toyota RAV4, which ranks as the fourth best-selling car of 2023 according to Car & Driver. Yet, nestled among these celebrated names are a few models that might be wise to avoid if you're looking for a vehicle that combines value, performance, and longevity.

Despite the success of models like the Toyota Camry, which trails only the Tesla Model Y in sedan sales, not every vehicle from the land of the rising sun is a sure bet. Renowned manufacturers such as Honda and Toyota have had their share of less favorable models over the years.

Here's a closer look at some Japanese cars that might not be the wisest investment.

Mazda RX-8

The first-generation Mazda RX-8, sold from 2004 to 2008, falls short in the performance department with its 212 HP 4-cylinder engine.

More critically, it's ranked 11th in reliability out of 19 models on, plagued by engine failures, steering issues, and excessive oil consumption.

Mitsubishi Eclipse

This sporty car, a hit for its gas mileage and handling, has its pitfalls.

Models from 1999 to 2003 and in 2007 have faced various problems, including fragile rims and wheels and a cheaply made interior, as reported by The 1999 model, in particular, had significant issues with its automatic transmission, powertrain, and steering.

Honda CRX Del Sol

Replacing the beloved Honda CR-X in 1992, the Honda CRX Del Sol was a letdown. Criticized for its leaky roof and noisy cabin, it was a far cry from its sportier predecessor. While Honda has moved on to models like the Civic Si, the Del Sol remains a cautionary tale.

Toyota Paseo

The Paseo, produced from 1991 to 1997, is a lesser-known Toyota model that failed to captivate audiences despite being built on the reliable Corolla frame. Its lack of popularity means a scarcity of parts, making it a challenging choice for restoration.

Suzuki Samurai and Suzuki X-90

The 1990s were not kind to Suzuki's automotive endeavors. The Samurai, despite its Jeep-like aesthetics, was flagged for safety concerns, particularly its tendency to flip. The X-90, its successor, struggled with both style and performance, leading to its demise.

While Japanese manufacturers have produced some of the world's most reliable and loved vehicles, these models serve as a reminder that not every car is a guaranteed success. For those in the market for a Japanese car, it's worth doing some research to avoid these less celebrated models.