Revisiting the 1991 Yugo


The 1991 Yugo and other model years for that matter is widely considered to be one of the worst, if not the worst, car ever. Many only point out flaws on top of flaws with this vehicle, but others actually enjoy it. There is a niche market for the Yugo, and you don’t have to look too hard to find at least one person who still drives this car today.

Source: Wikimedia

Brief Background

Before getting into why drivers dislike the 1991 Yugo, take some time to refresh your memory on the history. It was a small hatchback, also available as a convertible, from Yugoslavia. It arrived in the U.S. during the late 1980s and the early 1990s. The goal with the vehicle, which Malcom Bricklin imported, was to offer the cheapest auto in the country. He definitely achieved this goal, but it was also among the worst vehicles due to the low price.

Additionally, the production of the Yugo meant something to Yugoslavia, as it symbolized unity. Producing the vehicle was a joint effort with parts coming from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia to be put together in Serbia. Essentially, the Yugo helped unite Yugoslavia, at least theoretically.

It Feels and Looks Very Cheap

Considering that the 1991 Yugo is nearly 30 years old and was designed to be the most affordable vehicle at the time, it should come as no surprise that it feels cheap. This is not only true by today’s standards, but by the standards of 1991, too. You will find poor-quality plastic materials throughout, with the center console and dashboard being made from a single mold. The only air vents sit in the center, and you can actually see the large bolt that holds the seatbelt receive in place.

Engine and Ride Quality

To keep the costs down, the Yugo also features a lackluster engine, a 1.1-liter carbureted 4-cylinder with 55 horsepower. To put this in perspective, reviewers say that the engine is small enough to share the hood with the spare tire, which is larger than the engine. Those who have driven a Yugo, regardless of the model year, overwhelming say that the ride quality follows the expectations of the engine. The ride is a bit harsh with floaty, vague handling.

Why It Sold

Simply put, the Yugo made sales in the United States for its affordability. Everyone knew that it was less than stellar, but the low price made it possible for people to become first-time car owners. It let others get a second car so drivers in their family didn’t have to share. Even with its low quality, most experts agree that it is not actually the worst auto in history.

source: Flickr

You Can Own One

If you really wanted to, you could find a Yugo today, but will probably have to look high and low. You should also know that parts are hard to find, making them expensive. Some owners get around this by buying a rundown Yugo to use for parts. Just be ready to make some adjustments to the vehicle if you plan on actually driving it around.

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