5 Terrible 3-Wheeled Cars That Are a Nightmare to Drive, According to HotCars
Three-wheeled cars (or three-wheelers) are a pretty underrepresented part of the automotive market, but many still exist. That said, they are expensive to buy and maintain and can be pretty hard to find. Also, even among these few options are some that are more of a nightmare to live with and drive.
1. Reliant Robin
First introduced in 1973, according to Reliant, this three-wheeler was designed as a bridge between motorcycles and cars. It helped keep riders dry during winter, and it sold pretty well at the time of production. That said, according to HotCars, it was named the worst British car ever, and for good reason.
With one wheel at the front and a car chassis on top, it was pretty unstable, and the only thing that made it remotely drivable was that it was underpowered. Also, sometimes the steering wheel would come off while driving, which could lead to accidents.
Multiple Reliant Robins are still available for sale, making it one of the more accessible classic three-wheeled cars to find and buy.
2. BMW Isetta
BMW has a reputation for timeless car designs, but with the three-wheeled Isetta, the company dropped the ball. However, during its production years between 1955 and 19962, it wasn’t that bad, and some even considered it cute.
Due to the BMW Isetta’s design and size, the door was attached to the front with the steering wheel. As such, pulling yourself into the car was a bit of a struggle, and like the Reliant Robin, it wasn’t the most stable. Also, the steering wheel was awkward to use.
Finally, users had to contend with the loud 12-hp single-cylinder BMW engine while driving. There are still some drivable models in the market, with some selling for over $50,000, according to Hemmings.
3. Bond Bug
The two-seater Bond Bug might have been ahead of its time with the design, but it wasn’t much of a fan favorite when it debuted. AutoExpress attributes this to the dimensions that made it intimidating to drive on roads, the terrible handling of a three-wheeled design, and the expensive £629 price tag.
The car came with a Reliant Regal engine under the hood, and although it wasn’t the most powerful, it had impressive acceleration and top speed figures thanks to the lightweight design. Of the 2,268 units produced, less than 200 remain, and they can be expensive.
4. Stimson Scorcher
The Stimson Scorcher came into the market in 1976, and unlike the other three that preceded it on the list, it didn’t have a roof. It had two wheels at the front with its engine in the middle. Most other essentials were also placed in a single file in the middle, including the steering wheel, driver’s seat, and passenger seat.
The engine was relatively powerful and could propel the three-wheeler to a top speed of 100 mph, although given its front-heavy design and the terrible handling, it might have been a bad idea to go that fast.
Unfortunately for classic car collectors, very few Stimson Scorchers were made during its four-year production run, meaning it’s pretty tough to find one.
5. Polaris Slingshot
As the most recent three-wheeler on the list, the Polaris Slingshot has a modern design that some love while others hate. Among its pros is the powerful 203-hp engine, which propels the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, beating most four-wheelers. It also has a top speed of 125 mph.
It’s pretty stable on the road and handles well compared to the rest of the list, although there are still some cons to consider. For instance, four recalls for the 2019 Polaris Slingshot have revealed multiple reliability and safety issues.