Top 20 Used Cars to Avoid Buying in Kenya - [PHOTOS]

Some of the cars imported from Japan awaiting clearing from a Container Freight Station in Kilindini

If you’re shopping for a used car, don’t fall into the trap of buying a vehicle that will let you down. While many used cars provide years of reliable transportation at a fair price, there are a few models that are disappointing for buyers.

Even though auto manufacturers have greatly boosted quality and reliability, buying a used car can still be a process fraught with anxiety. In addition to worrying about the honesty of the seller, you also want to be sure to avoid vehicles with poor reliability records.

According to a variety of sources, the following cars represent the worst used vehicles you could purchase, especially when it comes to reliability. If you’re in the market for buying a car, these are the cars to avoid (in no particular order).

BMW 330i

1. BMW 330i/335i

The BMW 3-Series commands respect. It is the gold standard for performance sedans. Too bad the 330i and 335i models, which are in the sweet spot of the 3-Series range, have proved so unreliable. Serious problem areas include the fuel system, major and minor engine components, body hardware and audio system. The 2012 BMW 3-Series is all-new.

Jaguar XF

2. 2009 - 2010 JAGUAR XF

Jaguar is the most improved brand in J.D. Power & Associates 2012 Initial Quality Study, having leaped from 20th place last year up to second. The sexy, luxurious and sporty XF is a huge improvement over the S-Type it replaced in 2009. If only it were reliable. Its transmission, drive system and electrical system are among the major components prone to failure.

Mercedes m-class

3. 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009 MERCEDES-BENZ M-ClASS

It seems incongruous that a high-priced luxury car could be unreliable, but that’s certainly the case with Mercedes’ midsize crossover. The 2006 and 2007 models are particularly bad. They suffer from major engine problems, faulty electrical systems, broken body hardware, transmission woes and a host of other issues.

Mini Cooper


The MINI Cooper S and the slightly larger Clubman S have a more potent engine than their respective base versions. More power means more problems. Consequently, the S engines — turbocharged or supercharged, depending on the year — are seriously problematic. In addition, transmissions, fuel systems and body parts that squeak, rattle and break will also upset owners.


5. 2009 - 2010 NISSAN 370Z

The fact that a Nissan is on this list proves that no automaker is invincible, not even one with a great track record for reliability. A 2009 redesign of this sporty 2-seater has unfortunately brought a host of problems that didn’t exist before, particularly related to the engine and transmission. The drive system, suspension and brakes are also failure-prone.

Porsche 911

6. 2006 PORSCHE 911

These race-bred sports cars are known for being almost bulletproof. But not all of them are. The 2006 Porsche 911 appears to be an anomaly, with problematic electrical and engine cooling systems. It’s hard to say for sure whether the 2006 model is alone in its deficiencies. Still, 2007 and 2009 models are reliable, as are the Porsche Boxster and Cayman.

Volkswagen New Beetle


This cute cult car is a letdown when it comes to reliability. Consumer Reports lacks data for models from 2008 through 2011, but 2007 and older models are riddled with issues. Both hatchback and convertible versions of the New Beetle have so many problems that it’s easier to list the areas that are sound: the suspension, brakes, exhaust and climate control system. Everything else will eventually need repair.

Toyota Mark II


Comes with a 2.0 Cc engine, with a D4, the engines gets a problem when overheated, the resale value is almost 65% less the Retail price.

Mitsubishi Lancer


Has a gasoline direct injection engine (GDI), most of which are 1500cc, when this car break breaks down, don’t take it to the mechanic, just buy a new engine, its as good as a salvage.

Toyota Caldina


This was a great and sleek car admired by the youth myself included, What went Wrong?, the electrical systems done by the Japanese electrical firm, have so far failed it, the Engine is generally bad, very high fuel consumption, maintenance costs are high.

Nissan b15

11. The NISSAN B15

This was the bachelors car, BUT has now been replaced by the COLT, The engine is a Total mess with over 70% of its consumers complaining of engine overheating, The Gear box occasionally malfunctions.

Toyota Vista


Expensive maintenance, poor performance, D4 engine.

mazda tribute


Though its an SUV, the wear and tear is just enormous, after a year of continuous usage, you will probably park it on your door step.



Most of them are very good performers in their 1st and 2nd years in Kenya, after this, most of them can be sold for as low as Ksh500,000, this is almost 75% less its Market price.

mitsubishi chariot grandis


The Worst Car Mitsubishi guys ever produced, Very high maintenance costs, if it breaks down



Ever heard of a car whose value depreciates to almost 0, this is the car, Why? try and drive it for over 10,000Kms, the car will call it a day, it can not move any more.

Nissan note


No spares, apart from DT Dobie, you will never find any Mechanic familiar with its engine system.

Volkswagen Toureg


The Volkswagen Touareg, a midsize crossover SUV that is now in its second generation. It has garnered plenty of awards and attention over the years. Toaureg owners also have their fair share of issues with the vehicle. The first-generation Touareg has received complaints for having premature failure of the center support bearings, an issue that would occur after the original warranty was over. Though much improved in 2011, the older Touareg suffers from Engine Major, Transmission Minor, Drive System, Fuel System, Electrical System, Power Equipment, and Audio System issues.



Featuring retro styling in a compact body, the PT Cruiser was originally launched in 2000 before its production got axed a decade later in 2010. Through its production however, the American automaker gave it several variants including a two-door convertible in 2005. All said and done, there’s over 1.35 million PT Cruisers out there in the world, and you should probably stay away from all of them if you’re shopping for a used car. The PT Cruiser to have a somewhat stiff ride with a noisy cabin. Both the turbo and non-turbo models ranked worse in Engine Major, Engine Minor, Engine Cooling, Transmission Major (though this was improved in 04-06), Drive System, Fuel System, Electrical System, Climate System, Suspension, and Squeaks and Rattles.

Jeep Wrangler (four-door)


Perhaps a surprise to some, the Jeep Wrangler four-door model is one to avoid on the used car market. The Wrangler originally debuted in 1987. Its latest generation originally debuted as a 2007 model year, and got some minor updates in 2010. Though the Wrangler is considered an off-road champ. In addition, it had numb and slow steering, clumsy handling, and road noise was loud and constant. Reliability issues in older models (2007-2010) include Transmission Minor, Drive System, Fuel System, Electrical System, Suspension, Exhaust, Paint and Trim, and Squeaks and Rattles.

What Are Your Thoughts

Share with us what you think about this article


  1. I find this article a bit skewed coz all the cars listed here are only being accused of being “high maintenance”
    Nothing is said in terms of safety, comfort, carbon emission etc. I know most cars are usually market-specific and cannot perform optimally when translocated to certain climatic areas. The cost of maintenance can get high when the owner fits the car with parts that are not genuine. Experience also suggests that the cars with “relatively expensive parts” usually break down less often.
    Car engines are quite important and one should retain at most 2 reliable mechanics/garages to service and maintain their car. Having 2 mechanics is just for due diligence, for that vital second opinion that can save you some money.

  2. Hi, Courtesy of Consumer reports, the selections are largely based on responses from more than 40,000 original owners of 2000-2012 model-year vehicles regarding problems experienced during the prior 12 months. All of the models on our list were rated “below average” in overall reliability, specifically powertrain performance (engine/transmission/suspension); issues with the body and interior treatments; and failures with features and accessories.

    We are glad you were able to share you opinion, thank you.

  3. Lack of knowledge by our mechanics to deal with D4 engines does make a car bad.

    Please highlight the problem that exists with the D4 Engine other than the fact that your mechanic told you so and you ignorantly decided to spread the misinformation

  4. Hi, Your review is generally misinformed and shallow, whilst claiming to be informed by conveniently vague ‘consumer’ reports.

    Case in point; you claim that the Caldina has a ‘bad’ engine
    - you may or may not be aware that the vehicle has 3 different engine variations, two of which find application in many other Toyota models. Toyota electronics are generally fail proof, occasioned by their simplicity. Try and avoid personal opinions on vehicles you have no experience with when writing.

  5. Your article is informed by ‘bar talk’. How can you claim the Mazda Familia cannot go beyond 10, 000km? Seriously what are you smoking?

  6. This gentleman calling himself carguru is either fake or under some drugs sold at the coast.My car for the past 16yrs is nissan b15 i have never witnessed overheating.This is just a drunk fellow.

  7. This notion of people who have never purchased even a bicycle in their entire life but claim to have knowledge in cars is just absurd.Have used b15/Nissan wingroad for the past 15years with no bad experience.I think this are people who depends on romours.Do your research again.

  8. Comment: I dont agree with your analysis specifically in the case of Toyota Caldina’s engine. I have a great experience of the Caldina ZT and the engine system is owesome. Very powerful picking and overally stable. For the past 3 years I have never had not even the slightest issue with the engine. Consumption is equally economical being an 1800cc and on average I do 12-13 Km per litre.

    I would recomend the car any time. Unfortunatly I dont think there is any new imports available.

  9. On the issue of costs of maintainance, the totota caldina ZT(new shape) shares almost every spare part with the fielder new model. I therefore disagree with you on the issue.

  10. carguru’s statistics is fairly correct.having sampled a number of the above subject cars,i find the article to be relating with my tallies.for those who’s cars are mentioned above and have never experienced the listed flaws,you happen to be in the out liars or rather extreme cases,and should render yourself lucky.

  11. Guy please drop everything and tell advice me here,i want to buy Mitshubishi lancer!!should i?..second hand


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