What is the worst car you’ve ever driven?

For me it was the UAZ Patriot, here’s my review

10w ago
6.2K

A few years ago I found myself in Ulyanovsk, a town on the Volga river famous for giving birth to Vladimir Lenin and UAZ (Ulyanovsky Avtomobilny Zavod), Russia’s most popular car brand after Lada. I visited the UAZ museum, housed in a glum-looking brutalist complex and I loved it. A few months later I got a call from the company that importa UAZ in Italy. ”Would you like to drive a couple of UAZ vehicles?” They asked. I’m glad I said yes because I now have the answer whenever people ask me what’s the worst car I’ve ever driven. It’s this.

Technical stuff

The UAZ Patriot is UAZ's attempt at building a modern SUV that should rival with the equivalent offerings from South Korea and Germany that are currently flooding the European and North American market.

The Patriot is a 2-ton SUV with 200kg cargo capacity which replaced the UAZ Simbir, a vehicle of similar shape and intent, and it is built with four different engines but only is available in several Western countries where it is sold and it is a 4-cylinder 2,7L petrol with 126 hp and 217 torques, coupled with a 5-speed manual. The rear brakes, yes, are drums.

The interior

The seats are relatively comfortable but the quality of the plastics is cheap. The (optional) 7'' screen (available with the "privilege" package, +3000€ / £2600 to the standard price) isn't very responsive nor is the system particularly easy to use.

So why was it so bad?

The engine is outdated and thirsty, I'm sure it will last a thousand years but it’s slow and makes the ride uncomfortable. On top of that, the list of things that don’t work in this car is a saga and it includes rear drum brakes.

The infotainment system is the icing on the cake. It’s tragic. Remember when you bought your first touchscreen Samsung or LG or Nokia or whatever in the early 2000s? That’s what it feels like. The interface isn't very user-friendly and you get that tangible feeling it was simply slammed on the dashboard like an aftermarket product you buy at Radio Schack.

The importer (I’ll talk about that in second) bragged about the car’s off-roading ability but the vast majority of potential European buyers this car is supposed to attract buy SUVs and drive them on tarmac. And I wouldn’t put this up against a Defender or a Bronco or a G-Wagon but it would lose.

If this were marketed as a niche vehicle for fans of the brand, I’d understand. But the importer truly believed this car was better than a Defender. He was also very aggressive toward me, by the way, for not liking it. This had never happened before and it never happened since.

What is the worst car you’ve ever driven?

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Comments (28)

  • What is the worst car you’ve ever driven? @tribe

      2 months ago
    • onley driven 3. a jaaaaaaag xjs (very slowly on a beach) a 1988 polo and a fiat punto. it has to be the punto, even though it really wasn't a bad car.

        2 months ago
  • Daewoo Matiz(Rental car)

      2 months ago
  • Must admit, for all the great stuff I get to drive, there's something about driving something terrible that I just adore. All the strange cars you get from left-field markets just intrigue me so much.

    The one I've dined out on when it comes to the worst I've driven is the Great Wall Steed – the third press car I ever had, back in 2016. Didn't have the power to pull the skin off a custard, the gearstick violently shook whenever you put it in fifth (and sometimes sixth as well), the steering rack bushes felt to be made of sponge cake, the stereo head unit was incomprehensible, and not only could you feel the individual coils in the heated seats they were so thin, but they set fire to your arse no matter whether they were on high or low.

    With that said, now that Great Wall has rebranded to GWM here, I'm very keen to have a go in the new Cannon Ute, along with some of the updated Haval stuff as well. I truly hope my past experiences with both marques aren't repeated.

      2 months ago
    • You gotta love Great Wall. I don’t think I’ve ever driven one. But I have driven a Mahindra GOA #flexing

        2 months ago
    • Ooh I haven't managed to drive a Mahindra as yet – we do get them here, but there aren't terribly many kicking around, with even fewer press cars available.

      Should add as well, the Steed is worst when it comes to new vehicles I've tested, as...

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        2 months ago
  • 1984 Hyundai Excel. Mechanically sound. It felt like it was made from a tin can and would fold in half if I hit a bump. Loud inside due to no sound deadening. Engine had to work way too hard to achieve speed limits. No safety gear except seat belts. Had the inclusive GT sticker on the side to make it go faster, downhill in a full gale tailwind. Had it two weeks and gave it back said, "no thanks". It was free. I gave back a free car it was so horrible. I don't even count it among the vehicles I have owned because I didn't want it. I didn't feel safe driving it. Replaced with 84 Rabbit Wolfsburg 4 speed stick. LOVED that car!!! Solid. Fun. Tinted windows. 33 little trees from rear view (I was 19).

    1984 Renault Alliance. Worst POS I have ever had the misfortune of piloting. Luckily it was only across town - not my car. Clutch was gone. Not properly maintained ... ever. Horrible. Felt like it would lose all of it's body panels going over train tracks ala Blue Brothers. The steering was vague to the point of dangerous. Brakes were weak (needed new everything and a bleed = fixable). Gears were vague and shifting not anything resembling precise. I could go on. I hear, from people on DT, that the Alliance was actually good during this time. Maybe this was a US lemon. Could have been a junker/salvage sold to a fool as the owner wasn't the brightest candle in the pack. Dunno but that car was awful. So bad it makes me angry just thinking about it. Grrrrr...

      2 months ago
    • If you have absolutely had to pick one between the two, which one would it be?

        2 months ago
    • That's difficult. They were both very horrible for different reasons. But arm twisted the Alliance. It wasn't up to snuff but even if it were it was still woefully underpowered and no more could be wrung out of it. It felt cheap. Build quality...

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        2 months ago
  • I’ve got two options. First is my dad’s Renault Clio. Comfortable and very reliable, but the gear change is awful and the steering has no feel. The second option was a knackered Peugeot 206CC. I have a 206, it a lot of fun to drive (genuinely one of the best cars I’ve driven). This CC had a slipping clutch and the brakes were awful, not to mention the pedal went almost to the floor

      2 months ago
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