What Car Had The Worst Engine?

Hyundai Sonata

Photo: Hyundai

One of my favorite things about the E39 540i is its engine. It’s not exactly powerful by today’s standards, but it’s still relatively quick and has plenty of torque for passing on the highways. It’s also run essentially problem-free for 25 years. The cooling system and window regulators may be consumables, but the engine itself has been dead-reliable.

My dad’s 2012 Hyundai Sonata, on the other hand — well, that’s a different story. I still hate the manual transmission more, but the engine just isn’t very good. It has direct injection, which was neat at the time, but it feels like they put most of their development budget into that and didn’t have enough left over to make sure it was a good GDI engine.

It’s loud, rattly, unrefined. And oh yeah, it’s also been replaced because of the whole Theta II engine recall thing. You remember that, right? That time Hyundai had to recall more than a million vehicles because the engine loved to grenade itself? That’s not ideal, to say the least.

But while that was a disaster for Hyundai’s profits, is it really enough to qualify it as the worst engine ever put in a car? Cars have been around for over 100 years at this point, and in that time, there sure have been a lot of them. Surely there are worse engines out there that make Hyundai’s Theta II recall look like child’s play.

That’s where you come in. In your opinion, what car has the worst engine? You don’t have to have owned it in order to answer, but if you think you owned the car with the worst engine, please let us know all the gory details down in the comments.