Chevrolet has been around for over a century. Plenty of Chevy vehicles have become automotive icons, while others have gone down in history as spectacular failures.
From powerful sports cars to weird panel vans, these are the best and worst vehicles built by Chevrolet over the years. Some of them are really awful!
Best: 1969 Camaro Z28
Very few American cars are as iconic as the Chevrolet Camaro. Originally developed to compete with Ford’s Mustang, the Chevy Camaro has rightfully earned a spot as one of the world’s most legendary muscle cars of all time.
1969 was the final production year for the original first-gen Camaro. The optional Z28 package turned a base model Camaro into a real monstrosity, powered by a small-block V8 motor that had previously been reserved for Trans-Am race cars.
Worst: 2007 Avalanche
The Avalanche is widely considered to be one of the worst pickup trucks of the 21st century. The early production units built in the early 2000s are particularly terrible. Its awful exterior design certainly didn’t help boost sales, either.
Despite its awful reputation, the Avalanche survived on the market for over a decade before eventually being discontinued in 2013. Overall, it’s a hard pass.
Best: 2017 Camaro ZL1
Chevrolet is currently selling the latest, sixth generation of the Camaro. Initially developed to compete with the original Ford Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro has quickly become one of the most legendary muscle cars of all time.
The souped-up ZL1 trim is all about performance. It comes powered by a supercharged V8 engine that can send it to 60 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds, as well as a mean-looking body kit.
Worst: 2011 Cruze
The Cruze isn’t exactly the most exciting Chevrolet automobile of all time. Most generations of this compact were, for the most part, decent picks within their price range. Units built between 2011 and 2013 are an exception to the rule, though.
The 2011-2013 Chevrolet Cruze is infamous for its reliability issues. In fact, it was the least reliable compact sedan sold during those years.
Best: 2019 Corvette ZR1
This is the most hardcore variant of the seventh-gen Corvette money could buy. Over 700 horsepower delivered to the rear wheels is the dream of any car enthusiast, especially when combined with a stick-shift transmission.
The ZR1 shares many parts with the Z06, though its all-new 6.2L V8 motor pushes out an astonishing 755 horsepower! Other changes include an aggressive body kit and an improved cooling system made up of 13 radiators and various vents all across the body.
Worst: 2018 Volt
The Chevrolet Volt looked like a promising sedan, at least at first. The plug-in hybrid shared the same platform as the Chevy Malibu hybrid, the car first hit the market for the 2011 model year.
Reliability, or lack thereof, has been a major issue for the Volt ever since its debut. By 2018, the reliability ratings of the Chevy Volt dropped below virtually all of its competitors. General Motors eventually discontinued the model by 2019.
Best: 2018 Malibu
It’s painfully easy to overlook just how great the Chevy Malibu really is. Much like the Cruze, the Malibu isn’t exactly the most exciting Chevy product of all time. It is a pick that’s objectively better than most of its competitors, though.
The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu is renowned for its reliability, safety, and practicality. This four-door sedan also comes with a surprising number of luxurious features, as well as an extremely fuel-efficient drivetrain.
Best: 2009 Corvette ZR1
The ZR1 has been marking the best versions of the Vette ever since the 90s. Back in 2009, this was as good as the Corvette could possibly get.
The ZR1 was the most hardcore variant of the C6 Corvette, powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8 that delivers a whopping 638 horsepower to the rear wheels. As a result, a 2009 ZR1 can hit 60 miles per hour in just 3.3 seconds, the top speed is roughly 200 miles per hour.
Worst: 2002 Aveo
Don’t let the sporty looks fool you. This is easily one of the worst Chevrolet cars of all time. It seems that a low sticker price was the only thing Chevy engineers had in mind when designing this awful vehicle.
The Aveo first hit the market two decades ago. A low price tag managed to lure in quite a few buyers. However, they quickly realized that they got what they paid for. The Aveo was notorious for its poor build quality and loads of reliability issues.
Best: 1990 Corvette ZR1
The legendary ZR1 moniker returned for the second time for the 1990 model year, inspired by the C3 ZR1 sold between 1970 and 1972.
Just like any proper Corvette with this iconic package, the C4 ZR1 came fitted with an all-new LT5 motor rated at a staggering 375 horsepower, as opposed to the 250 found in the L98-powered base model. Other upgrades included a stiffer suspension system, better brakes, and a more agile steering system.
Worst: 2002 Trailblazer
The Trailblazer is infamous for its ride quality, or lack thereof. This SUV was built on a pickup truck platform, similar to the previously mentioned Suburban or Tahoe. However, Chevy didn’t really bother to soften the ride at all, making the Trailblazer painfully uncomfortable.
This hideous creation failed to attract buyers. The model was discontinued within just 7 years of its original 2002 debut. Not exactly a big shocker.
Worst: 2015 Silverado 2500 HD
The Silverado is Chevrolet’s flagship pickup truck and one of the best-selling pickups in the US. It’s been one of the favorites among buyers for decades. Silverado trucks are generally a good bang for the buck. This one is an exception, though.
For 2015, however, the Heavy-Duty Chevrolet Silverado 2500 saw a massive downgrade. This particular model year is infamous for notorious reliability issues, especially regarding its suspension, as well as cabin leaks and poor body integrity overall.
Worst: 2017 Trax
It’s difficult to find any positive aspects of the Trax subcompact SUV, other than its affordable price tag. In fact, it’s easily one of the only reasons why anyone would ever buy this vehicle in the first place.
The Trax is awfully underpowered, even for a subcompact SUV. Most of its direct competitors simply offer better performance and reliability at a slightly higher price point.
Best: 1963 Corvette
1963 is easily one of the significant years in the history of the Chevy Corvette. That’s when GM introduced the all-new C2, the second generation of America’s first sports car.
The C2 generation was only produced for a few years until the end of 1967. What’s more, 1963 was the only year of the iconic split window rear-end design, making it one of the coolest and most desired classic Vettes of all time.
Worst: 2008 Captiva
Back when it was in development, the Chevrolet Captiva was meant to only be sold as a fleet vehicle. Today, however, used examples are available for sale to the general public.
A low sticker price may lure in potential buyers, though most seem to not know what they’re signing up for. Since the Captiva was built as a fleet vehicle, the build quality and comfort are both horrendous.
Worst: 1953 Corvette
Today, the first-gen Corvette is regarded as a valuable gem desired by car collectors across the world. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good car. During its first year on the market, the Corvette was the polar opposite of a decent vehicle.
In reality, the ’53 Corvette was rushed into production. As a result, the car was spiked with all sorts of issues. The lack of a V8 under the hood only made things worse. The original Corvette was so bad that Chevrolet nearly discontinued it all together!
Best: 2017 Bolt EV
Chevrolet introduced the Bolt as the latest addition to the US electric car market back in 2017. The Bolt EV was off to a great start and remains one of the top picks in its price range.
Some of the key features of the fully electric Bolt EV include an impressive 230-mile range on a single charge. A quick 30-minute charge will add 90 miles to the range, too. The Bolt starts at under $27 000 for the 2023 model year, making it one of the most affordable electric cars money can buy.
Best: 2023 Corvette Z06
The latest, eighth generation of the Chevy Corvette has caused quite a stir in the auto world. While most petrolheads have been blown away by the car’s jaw-dropping performance, some criticize the C8’s mid-rear engine layout and revolutionary design.
The latest high-performance Z06 trim is coming for the 2023 model year. The car comes powered by a monstrous 5.5L V8 motor, rated at a staggering 670 horsepower. As a result, its LT6 powerplant is the most powerful naturally-aspirated V8 motor to ever be fitted in a production car.
Best: Suburban GMT 400
The GMT400 is the go-to Chevrolet platform for buyers looking for an extremely reliable and durable ride. Both trucks and SUVs produced between 1986 and 2000 utilized this great platform.
The Suburban GMT400 remains one of the most reliable SUVs to date, and you can pick one up for just a few thousand dollars! These monsters will last forever! As long as they’re maintained properly, of course.
Best: 2001 Corvette Z06
The Z06 is yet another legendary package for the Corvette sports car. It was first introduced back in ’63 alongside the debut of the second-gen Vette and was only offered for a year. Then, in 2001, the Z06 nameplate made an epic return.
The 2001 Corvette Z06 is based on the fifth-gen Corvette. Chevy removed both the removable targa top and the rear hatchback glass to maximize the performance of the Z06, making it easily distinguishable from the base model. 405 horsepower allowed the Z06 to reach 60mph in just 4 seconds.
The EV1 is about as quirky as its design may suggest. This fully electric vehicle was a real shocker in the second half of the 1990s, and not in a good way. This car was so awful that back in 2002, GM repossessed and scrapped all 1117 units of the EV1.
On the other hand, the Chevy EV1 does deserve at least some credit. This was the world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle, available on the market between 1996 and 1999. In a way, this weird creation paved the way for modern electric cars.
Best: 2021 Suburban
This is the original SUV by Chevrolet. The Suburban first hit the market all the way back in the mid-1930s and has been a vital part of the automaker’s lineup ever since. The Suburban is based on a truck platform, hence it’s extremely durable and practical.
The latest version of the Suburban comes powered by a 5.3L V8 rated at 355 horsepower. However, buyers have the option to upgrade to a more powerful 6.2L V8 motor which peaks at 420 horses.
Best: Nova SS
Chevrolet’s timing with the relese of the Nova Super Sport was truly perfect. The car hit the market in 1968 at the absolute peak of the muscle car craze. No wonder it became an instant hit.
The main advantage of the Nova SS was its affordable price tag. This was hands down the best affordable muscle car for those who weren’t able to purchase a Z28 Camaro or a Shelby Mustang.
Worst: 1971 Vega
The Vega has earned a spot not just as one of the worst Chevrolets, but also as one of the worst vehicles of all time. This awful creation had everyone fooled at first, though. Motor Trend even named it The Best Car Of The Year in ’71.
Within just a few years of its release, owners started discovering loads of different problems related to the car. These were mostly related to the car’s poor build quality, which negatively impacted anything from the car’s drivetrain to its overall body integrity.
Best: 2021 Tahoe
Back in the day, the Chevrolet Tahoe was essentially Suburban’s smaller cousin. Today, the two models are virtually the same size. However, many owners claim that Tahoe’s ride quality is far better than that of the Suburban’s.
The latest Chevrolet Tahoe starts at roughly $54,000. Buyers can choose between the standard 5.3L V8, or upgrade to a more powerful 6.2L V8 powerplant. A 3.0L-Duramax diesel version is available, too.
Best: 2022 Traverse
The Traverse is a relatively new addition to GM’s SUV lineup. The nameplate first appeared on the market for the 2009 model year. It’s about as practical as an SUV can get, with seating up to 9 occupants and a fuel-efficient flat-four beneath the hood.
The Traverse quickly stole the hearts of buyers across the country. In fact, it completely replaced the Chevy Trailblazer within a year of its debut. Starting in 2018, the Chevrolet Traverse was reclassified as a midsize rather than a full-size SUV.
Best: 2016 Equinox
The Equinox has gone from the latest addition to Chevy’s lineup all the way to becoming the second-best-selling GM vehicle within just 15 years. In fact, only the Silverado is more popular among Chevrolet buyers in the United States.
The latest version of the Chevy Equinox features a more powerful drivetrain than its predecessor. The base model is powered by a fuel-efficient 170-horsepower flat-four, though more demanding buyers can upgrade to a larger motor rated at 252 horses.
Worst: 1984 Corvette
Back in the day, early production units of an automobile would tend to be a lot worse than later ones. Cars were often rushed to production and the automaker would then need a few years to correct any issues. This was the case with the fourth-gen Corvette back in 1984.
The C4 Corvette hit the market following a massive strike held by GM employees the previous year. As a result, the all-new C4 came powered by an ancient cross-fire V8 borrowed from the previous generation. Luckily, GM managed to introduce the all-new L98 TPI motor starting in 1985.
Best: Blazer K5
General Motors first introduced the Blazer, a durable SUV built on a C/K pickup platform, all the way back in the late 1960s. The second generation of the car, internally referred to as the K5, went on sale in 1973.
The K5 Blazer has quickly become a hit among off-roading enthusiasts, before eventually being recognized as an icon of old-school SUVs. Today, a pristine K5 Blazer is a rare gem desired by collectors across the planet.
Worst: 1976 Chevette
Everyone expected Chevrolet, as well as US buyers, to have learned their lesson after the awful story of the Chevrolet Vega. Chevy unveiled yet another cheaply-built subcompact, just a couple of years after the debut of the horrendous Vega.
This terrible creation survived on the market for over a decade. In retrospect, this is quite surprising as the Chevette was terribly outdated and unreliable from the get-go.
Best: C10 Pickup
A classic square body Chevrolet C10 is easily one of the coolest retro pickup trucks you could buy. These things are extremely reliable and practical, fun to drive, and they look great too.
Today, more owners turn their C10s into show trucks and treat them as classics rather than workhorses. Produced between 1960 and 1987, buyers have three different generations of the C10 to choose from.
Worst: 1980 Citation
You may find it difficult to believe that this ugly compact was developed to replace the beloved Chevy Nova. Unlike its predecessor, the Citation was neither fun to drive nor particularly interesting. The Chevy Citation hit the market in 1980 and survived for just 5 years.
The most powerful engine offered in the Citation was an underwhelming V6 that pushed out just 135 horsepower, combined with a front-wheel-drive drivetrain. This was considered to be the performance-oriented variant, too.
Best: S-10 Pickup
The S-10 was launched for the ’83 model year as a smaller and more practical alternative to its bigger cousin. Buyers had the option to pick between a two-door and a four-door body style.
The S-10 Blazer was fitted with a more sensible powerplant, too. The most powerful motor available in the first-gen was a 4.3L V6, which is widely considered to be the best one of them all. The original S-10 Blazer remained on the market until 1993.
Worst: 1979 Corvette
1979 was far from a good year for America’s first sports car. In fact, it’s widely considered to be one of the worst ones among Corvette enthusiasts.
By 1979, the third-gen Corvette had already been in production for over a decade. The car was beginning to feel rather outdated, and its base L48 V8 motor rated at a pathetic 195 horsepower certainly didn’t help. The optional L82 V8 produced just 225 horsepower, which wasn’t much of an improvement.
Best: 1955 Bel Air
This beauty is one of the most glamorous automobiles of the 1950s. This full-size car first joined the Chevy lineup in 1950 and remained on the American market all the way through the mid-70s.
The second generation of the Bel Air, sold between 1955 and 1957, is arguably the most iconic one of them all. The unmistakable styling combined with a smooth ride and a small-block V8 beneath the hood all make the Chevy Bel Air a joy to drive.
Worst: Tahoe Hybrid
The debut of this SUV marked one of General Motors’ biggest failures in the 21st century. The model was unveiled for the 2007 model year. It seemed like the ideal fuel-efficient SUV, at least on paper.
In reality, however, the Hybrid version of the Tahoe was an epic failure. Though it did offer better fuel economy than the regular Tahoe, the Hybrid was far worse than its cheaper alternatives. It was virtually impossible to justify the SUV’s $50,000+ starting price.
Worst: 1973 Corvette
Many die-hard Corvette fans would argue that the best years of the C3 Corvette were over by the end of 1972. In 1973, the oil crisis hit America’s first sports car extremely hard.
Starting in 1973, the powerful big-block variants built with little consideration in terms of fuel economy, would begin dying out. The C3 Corvette received a visual makeover too, for better or worse.
Best: 1970 El Camino SS
Unibody pickup trucks never really caught on, with the exception of the Chevy El Camino. At its peak in 1979, Chevrolet sold a little over 58 000 El Camino within a year!
The most demanding buyers had the option to pick the powerful SS variant. The souped-up truck would then come with a monstrous 454-cubic inch big-block V8 motor rated at up to 450 horsepower!
Worst: HHR SS Panel Van
It’s quite hard to see what Chevrolet engineers must have been thinking when designing this ugly thing. The HHR SS Panel Van was developed to be a high-performance hatchback van-thing, that also doubled as an homage to the hot rod culture.
The HHR SS is more of a parody of a high-performance hot rod, rather than a tribute. Powered by a weak 2.0L motor and infamous for its awful handling, there isn’t a single reason why anyone would ever want to drive one.
Worst: 1980 Corvette
After seeing the criminally underpowered C3 Corvette from 1979, you would probably think that the C3 couldn’t get much worse. To everyone’s surprise, 1980 was unarguably the worst year for the C3 Corvette.
In 1980, the C3 came with the same outdated L48 V8 rated at a pathetic 190 horsepower. Due to stricter emission laws, buyers in California received a variant that made even less power! 1980 Corvettes sold in California only made 180 horses!