1989 Yugo Sana

There’s not much good that can be said of the 1989 Yugo Sana. After having produced terrible Soviet-era junk for years and years, Yugo decided that 1989 was the year it was going to go big with a pan-European strategy, compete with the best and win them all over. It was a great idea, the Iron Curtain having been lifted and all, except that all they had to do it with was the Sana. To say that the Sana was a terrible car would not be fair; in terms of styling, it was right on. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t look great, but it looked … OK … appropriate for a small car of the time.

1989 Yugo Sana
1989 Yugo Sana

Even the engine wasn’t that bad; the Sana was powered by a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 72 horsepower. The car was good for a top speed of 99 mph (160 km/h) and accelerated to 60 in 12.9 seconds. Alright, those aren’t great numbers, but they’re not terrible. There are far, far worse. There were a few mechanical problems, or rather design problems with the Sana, namely that the steering system, unassisted of course, got progressively heavier in corners, which is never good, and the quality of plastics and interior accessories was terrible.

What really did in the 1989 Yugo Sana (and its successors), in the eyes of the West at least, was its appalling build quality; approximate is a generous term. What’s incredible is that anyone would be surprised at that. You can’t live and produce under Communism for decades, and then pop out and sell something – A CAR – to the Germans! it’s just not done. It just too bad than it took the violent break-up of Yugoslavia to finally put the Sana out of its misery.

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