Six-cylinder sports cars may not have the same power and prestige as the V8s, but they still have a lot to offer. Not only are they usually cheaper and more fuel-efficient than V8-powered cars, but some of them boast better performance numbers than a lot of V8 cars. That’s especially true on the used market as a lot of surprising gems can be found today at a low price for consumers who want a fast ride without the higher costs of maintenance a V8 requires.
However, not all six-cylinder cars are made equal, and there’s a very good reason some go for so cheap on the used markets. This is especially the case when it comes to sports cars, as a few of the models on this list will demonstrate that a smaller engine can have plenty of drawbacks.
From unreliable to disappointingly slow and overpriced ones, here are the worst six-cylinder sports cars you can buy used.
10 2005 Porsche 997
Seeing a Porsche at a great bargain is very tempting, and the 997 is generally a great model for the line. However, 2005 was a bad year to go for. The early models for the 997 had issues with ball bearing failures, engine misfires, and even a failure to start.
They were improved upon, so the car got the most out of its 3.6-liter flat-six good for about 325 hp. Sadly, those issues undermined the car and while there were no recalls, the long-term issues could be worse down the line. Thankfully, Porsche fixed those later, but the 2005 997 is a year to avoid buying.
9 Pontiac Fiero GT
Thanks to a recent appearance in Fast 9, some car buffs may be suckered into thinking the Pontiac Fiero GT could be transformed into a fun project. Don’t believe it. The Fiero was actually a decent car when new, even if the 2.8-liter V6 was barely better than the base four-cylinder with 140 hp.
But age soon showed its massive shortcomings, from weak frame to leakage, engine failures, and even a tendency to catch on fire on some models. It sold like crazy, so there are still a few around but launching one into space is more plausible than transforming a Fiero GT into a modern fun ride.
8 2009-2010 Nissan 370Z
Note that it depends on what years you buy this model. The Nissan 370Z may be gone now, but a top-form one was a good buy used with its 3.7-liter V6 and a top speed of 155 mph. It handled well and could be a good ride…unless you bought one made in 2009 or 2010.
First-generation 370Zs have been hit by numerous complaints, from steering wheel lock-up to splashback in the gas tank to simply not starting at all. So if you want to buy a used 370Z, make very sure what year it is to avoid these contentious models.
7 Aston Martin DB7
Yes, the DB7 may have saved Aston Martin in the mid-1990s, but that doesn’t mean the sports car is still a good buy today. For one thing, it hasn’t aged well, with a weaker undercarriage and frame a bit too delicate for some areas.
The 3.2-liter V6 was good for 355 hp and handled like a dream, but the interior truly let this luxury brand down. The real problem is that while it was a great car when new, it’s a lot more expensive to maintain with parts scarce compared to other cars. In conclusion, the DB7 may not be the worst sports car to buy used, but with extremely high maintenance costs and subpar experience, it’s not worth the hassle.
6 1999 Plymouth Prowler
The Plymouth Prowler is an excellent example of a car that could have been so much better with a different engine. The style was fantastic, the retro feel unique, all of which promised a fun ride on the road. The biggest mistake was that a car screaming for an eight or ten-cylinder engine got a 3.5-liter V6, and the 253 hp was just underwhelming for a hot rod like this.
It also had rough handling and poor wheels and was pretty expensive to maintain. A different engine and a bit more work and this would be a modern classic rather than a disappointing retro ride.
5 1997 Subaru SVX
The 1997 Subaru SVX scores a few points for its cool style, good interiors, a robust 3.3-liter V6, and a fun ride. But there are drawbacks like the automatic seatbelts and that it could seem lacking in speed and power compared to cars of the time and today.
The bigger problem is that because it’s so rare (less than 25,000 models sold), it’s hard to find replacement parts. Thus, unless it’s in pristine condition, an SVX needs a lot of maintenance to keep up and may not be worth plunking money down for.
4 1994 Ford Mustang
Everybody wants a cheap Mustang, and seeing one going for a good price is tempting. Unless it’s from the mid-90s when the Mustang was in a serious slump. The 3.8-liter V6 produced 145 hp, not too awful but still underpowered for the frame.
However, the transmission was already sluggish and rough when new and got worse over time. There were also issues with the distributors, leading to intermittent gasket and cut-off failures. Thus, this model of the Mustang isn’t worth a supposed bargain price for its problems.
3 Hyundai Tiburon GT
Even a brand new Hyundai Tiburon GT was a bad ride, so imagine it being used. The 2.7-liter V6 could produce only 170 hp and took seven seconds to reach 60 mph—pitiful numbers in 2004. It was loud, grating, had poor transmission and was prone to various engine failures.
Oh, and there’s the tidbit that it long ranked among the ten deadliest cars in America for years. Like so many bad cars, there was some potential with the fun design, but the Tiburon GT is one Hyundai to avoid like the plague.
2 DeLorean DMC
Don’t get suckered into thinking the DeLorean can be made into a “cool” ride just because it took Marty McFly back in time. Sure, swapping out that weak 2.5-liter V6 can improve the speed a bit, but you still have to take care of the bad handling, tech that was outdated already in 1985, and overall poor build quality.
Also, because they were rare, finding replacement parts for them can be a pain. Forget used, a “new” DeLorean would be lucky to make it to 88 miles an hour and is better as a collector’s item at a convention than an actual driving experience.
1 1994 Ford Probe
The Ford Probe isn’t an awful car. In fact, it was pretty good for its time, just let down by a bad marketing campaign. But in terms of age, it really hasn’t held up. It had a good design, including pop-up headlights and comfortable interiors.
A key issue was the underwhelming engine. A 2.5-liter V6 with just 164 hp was not enough to have any sort of fun. The real problem now is that they simply weren’t reliable with constant issues of electrical failures, stalling, lack of power, and even fires. This is definitely not a six-cylinder sports car you’d want to buy and show off to your friends.