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The Top 7 Most Dangerous Cars

by bradiger   November 16, 2008 at 3:00PM  |  Views: 3,754

When you’re driving, it’s very easy to take your safety for granted and subconsciously assume that you’re infallible inside a massive steel shell. Truth is, it only takes a split second to really jack up your day. If you happen to get into that sort of a situation, you don’t want to find yourself suddenly regretting the rationale behind that bargain you got on your car. You’ll want to avoid the 7 most dangerous cars ever built.

7. Chery Amulet    


To say Chinese safety standards aren’t quite up to par with the western world’s would be laughable. The Chery brand is basically China’s answer to GM, and the Amulet shown here is already being sold within China, Russia and many other countries throughout Asia, despite the fact that it received less than a 1 star rating by EuroNCAP testing standards when reviewed by the Russian car magazine Autoreview. They reported that the test dummy actually had to be dismantled in order to remove it from the car.

Chery’s larger model, the Brilliance, is attempting to enter American markets but, not surprisingly, it’s having a little difficulty with the US safety standards. Incidentally, that crash test is at 40mph.

6. Chevrolet Corvair


In 1965, Ralph Nader published a book titled Unsafe at Any Speed, in which he outlined the ways in which auto manufactures cut corners and made decisions based upon profit vs. safety. The first chapter of the book is devoted to Chevy’s Corvair, and is subtitled the “One Accident Car” due to the fact that the Corvair’s unconventional rear-engine and suspension design caused a need for tire inflatation beyond all tolerance levels at the time, which could fail at high speeds.

Officially safety standards indicated that, when the tires were inflated to GM’s specifications, they were actually overloaded and prone to failure if two or more people rode in the car. While GM eventually made suspension modifications (available as an option) to correct these issues, the revelations of Nader‘s book, and the release of the infinitely more awesome Chevorlet Camaro in 1967, effectively killed the Corvair.

5. Audi 5000


A great deal of controversy surrounds the 1982-1991 Audi 100, sold as the 5000 in the US for a time, until the Audi 5000 became synonymous with cars that randomly accelerate from a complete stop with no input from the driver.

Audi was flooded with complaints from owners of sudden acceleration forward or backward when cars equipped with the automatic transmission were put into gear from park, resulting in scores of injuries and deaths. Audi took the line that these issues were due to “operator error” - basically telling their customers they were too stupid to understand the difference between a brake pedal and a gas pedal - but issued several different and massive recalls anyway.

When the CBS program 60 Minutes ran a story about the 5000’s problems, sales plummeted to the point at which Audi eventually recalled over a quarter million cars, and subsequently ditched the “5000” model name altogether, going back the 100 name from which the car originated. Operator error, faulty cruise control system - whatever, I think it’s fair to say this car is kinda dodgy.

4. Ford Bronco II


In 1989, after another vehicle (which we’ll cover next) clued people in to the idea that vehicles with a high center of gravity (such as SUVs) are prone to rollover in high speed turning situations, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened up a formal investigation of the Bronco II after more than 40 rollover fatalities were reported in 1987 alone.

Although the rollover rate was higher than other similar SUVs, the NHTSA eventually closed the case, despite continued rollover issues. Additionally, a suspension design defect was discovered that actually served to worsen the rollover issue, a flaw which some circles claim was documented by Ford before the Bronco II even came to the market, but was ignored because of the cost involved with redesigning the suspension system. Eventually, the Bronco II was replaced with the Explorer, which went on to have its own share of rollover issues, though the tire manufacture, Firestone, bore the responsibility for that problem.