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.
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 MazdaProblems.com, plagued by engine failures, steering issues, and excessive oil consumption.
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 MitsubishiEclipseMA.com. 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.
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.