Out of all the countries in the world, Japan could well be top of the pile when it comes to great cars. Since the second world war, Japan’s car industry has come on in leaps and bounds and they have created some of the greatest cars, and sports cars, the world has seen. We can’t forget such greats as the Honda S2000 or Mazda MX-5. These cars are incredibly reliable. And that can be said for most Japanese sports cars, but not all.
Because there have been some pretty awful cars to come from Japan, that have suffered terribly when it comes to reliability. So, what we have here are 10 Japanese sports cars that are unreliable and would, therefore, cost a bit to repair. We have balanced that out with five great cars that will last you a very long time, and you may only need to try and repair just once.
15A Fortune In Repairs: Datsun F10
Datsun is famous for starting the amazing Fairlady range of cars. But not everything they and Nissan made was great. Enter the F10. A horrifically boxy machine that looked more like a station wagon than a sports car. Plus, it mustered up a bare 70 bhp. A pathetic attempt at performance, and it was so unreliable it would spend most of its life in the garage instead of the road.
14A Fortune In Repairs: Eagle Talon
We’ve spoken of the Eagle Talon before, and it doesn’t exactly get better the more we talk about it. It was a collaborative effort between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, and it was utterly horrific. All sorts of issues such as with the gaskets, radiators, and alternators plagued it and a mere 145 bhp was nothing to brag about.
13A Fortune In Repairs: Mazda RX-8
The Mazda RX-8 is not the worst car on this list. And though its successor gets all the credit, the RX-7 was a great car. The RX-8? Not so much. The rotary engine in it was not as solid as the one in the RX-7, and by the time the RX-8 came alone, the popularity of rotary-engine cars had really dwindled.
12A Fortune In Repairs: Mazda MX-3
The Mazda MX-3 earned a bit of fame by starring in the Fast and Furious movies. But honestly? That’s kind of where the good points in this car end. A feeble 115 bph hardly made it fast, let alone furious. And horrible handling and a weird tendency to breakdown meant you’d spend a fortune on just getting the thing to start again.
11A Fortune In Repairs: Toyota Sera
I’m not sure what Toyota was thinking of when they commissioned the Sera, as it now stands a rare blot on their history. The gullwing doors were pretty cool, though, and it’s a pretty car. But it had bad handling and was actually only sold in Japan. Just as well. Those handling issues hurt its sales, and it never became all that popular.
10A Fortune In Repairs: Honda Del Sol
Many believe that Del Sol is a proper convertible. But in fact, you just take the roof off and store it. So, is it a convertible? Sort of. What was worse, though, was that the roof would leak, and coupled with little niggles that hurt its reliability, it never did well in its six-year run.
9A Fortune In Repairs: Subaru XT
I’m a fan of the Subaru XT. We love the wedge-shaped front and it looks like a sports car. Sadly though, it didn’t exactly perform like a sports car. It had quite a few issues, some of them down to the styling itself. It sold okay, but it was quietly forgotten after its production run ended.
8A Fortune In Repairs: Mitsuoka Orochi
Where do to begin with the Orochi? Some people absolutely love the way that this car looks. Still, many consider it to be one of the most horrifying abominations the car industry had ever produced. What’s worse, these could only manage about 230 bhp and 155 mph, despite the extremely aggressive mid-engine design reminiscent of European supercars.
7A Fortune In Repairs: Nissan 350Z
Not the worst car on this list by a long stretch. The thing is though, the 350Z is not quite the real successor to the original Nissan Fairlady cars. The 370Z is much better. Plus, the 350Z is actually pretty dangerous, with 143 deaths per million registrations from 2005 – 2008. No wonder it’s been called the “widowmaker” in some quarters.
6A Fortune In Repairs: Honda CR-Z 2011
The Honda CR-Z has been marketed as a “Sports hybrid coupe,” but the word “Sports” is used loosely here. And though it was a relatively good machine, one big issue was the air conditioning. It would go from cold to warm whenever you stopped. Do you want that in summer traffic? I didn’t think so either.
5Cheap To Repair: Honda S2000
The Honda S2000 certainly won’t let you down. One of the best sports cars to come out of Japan, the S2000 seemed to earn something of a cult following, despite the Mazda MX-5 still going strong. Perhaps that’s why it’s so revered, as the fact that it’s no longer in production made it even more sought-after.
4Cheap To Repair: Honda NS-X
The Honda NS-X must surely be one of the greatest cars to have emerged from Japan. With precision engineering to the level of its Formula 1 project, and with development help from Ayrton Senna, the NS-X is one hell of a machine. Plus, the styling is utterly timeless and sums up the 1990s and early 2000s so well.
3Cheap To Repair: Mazda RX-7
The Mazda RX-7 is one of the best cars the company has ever produced. Famous for its rotary engine and the unique sound it made, it always had issues with fuel consumption. But, it was not something that let the car down too much. Because it was a true driver’s car and something that was always great to get behind the wheel of.
2Cheap To Repair: Acura/Honda Integra Type R (Second Gen)
Almost as good as Honda’s ultimate JDM car, the Honda NSX, the Integra Type R features utterly timeless styling. It produced just over 200 bhp, but it was also lighter than the base model, and that’s what gave it that extra bit of performance. It was aggressive, fast, and just simply stunning to look at.
1Cheap To Repair: Mazda Miata MX-5
There is not a lot wrong with the MX-5 Miata. Whilst I personally don’t feel it has ever been as interesting or as pretty as the Honda S2000, that doesn’t mean it was a bad car. Far from it. The MX-5 is still going strong to this day thanks to great performance and impeccable reliability from Mazda.