By on October 20, 2006

suvfront22.jpgAccording to Automotive News, jurors for the 2007 North American Car of the Year and North American Truck of the Year awards are currently considering some 26 vehicles. Yeah, well, 130 vehicles are competing for the 2006 TTAC Ten Worst Automobiles Today (TWAT) awards. And that includes badge-engineered clones which were nominated jointly. And you/we ain’t done yet. You’ve got ‘til 5:00pm EST to add your nomination to the list. Meanwhile, guess what? There's overlap!

Yup, there’s overlap between our list of TWAT nominees and the list of nominees for the North American Car/Truck of the Year (NACATOY) awards. In fact, over half of their nominees are also yours. Here’s the list of their candidates; the names in boldface are also nominees for a TWAT.

Acura MDX
Acura RDX
Audi Q7

BMW X5
Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban
Chrysler Sebring
Dodge Caliber
Dodge Nitro

Ford Edge
GMC Acadia
Honda CR-V
Honda Fit
Hyundai Santa Fe

Infiniti G35
Jaguar XK/XKR
Jeep Wrangler

Lexus LS 460
Mazda CX-7
Mercedes S class
Nissan Altima
Nissan Versa
Saturn Aura

Saturn Vue Green Line
Toyota Camry
Toyota FJ Cruiser

Finding so much commonality between two seemingly dissimilar groups of vehicles is somewhat surprising (and more than slightly amusing), but at least their list doesn’t include the number one TWAT nominee: the Jeep Compass. I reckon even co-opted journalists experience a blinding flash of reality from time to time.

So what criteria did NACATOY use to select their nominees? Hell if I know. I have no idea what voting process they’ll use to make their final choices either. (Perhaps one of their members would care to enlighten us below.)

We know that NACATOY nominees were selected by a hand-picked panel of automotive “experts” who are wined and dined regularly by the manufacturers, go on all-expenses-paid junkets and get box fresh, manufacturer-supplied examples of all of the cars delivered straight to their door, gassed-up and ready to go.

We also know that TWAT nominees were chosen by a group of passionate and very vocal pistonheads who spend their own hard-earned money for their transportation, know what they like (or dislike) and don’t have to worry about pissing off car makers, advertising agencies or media outlet beancounters. And, um, probably haven’t driven, nor will ever drive (mostly out of choice), a fifth of the nominated vehicles.

TTAC’s list of 10 most nominated TWATs seems to have reached an equilibrium point. Keeping up with the number of nominations and the vehicles nominated has been a challenge and privilege (in a perverse sort of way). However, it’ll soon be time to put those numbers away and begin the second round of the process.

In a week or so, the TTAC selection committee will convene to carefully consider the merits, or lack thereof, of each candidate. We’ll narrow the list to 20 finalists using our keen insight and every analytical tool available to us. Or maybe we’ll just put all of their names in a fishbowl and draw 20. Whatever method we use, we guarantee you’ll have 20 really good (bad) winners (losers) to select best (worst) of.  Then let the chips fall where they may!

Since this article was written, we've begun voting on the '06 TWAT awards.

Please click HERE to cast your vote on the final 10. You will be returned to the TTAC home page.

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89 Comments on “TTAC’s Ten Worst Automobiles Today (TWAT) Award: Last Day for Nominations...”


  • avatar
    Yuppie

    I thought the Camry nomination was bad enough, but the Honda Fit? Sacrilegious! What else in that class is even comparable?

  • avatar

    Over the last year, two vehicles have died on me: A Kia Sportage (which had to be taken out on a flatbed, back to Kia), and the 2006 Range Rover Sport.

    The RRS is a true TWAT in many ways, but the unreliability of it is perhaps the most outstanding. By “died,” I mean the following:

    –Started, then stalled, and required 45 minuted to be restarted
    –Would not start at all on a cool, damp morning
    –Went into some funky, speed-limited limp-home mode on the interstate. Fun!

    Add to the mix the completely inscrutable, unusable navigation and audio controls–oh, don’t get me started on the inability to tune the radio to a given station–and the very basic hi-po SUV premise of the thing, and you have one of the great vehicular twats of all time.

  • avatar
    Lantern42

    The RDX is a TWAT? On what grounds? It can only be argued that it’s ugly, which I subjective thing. (I kinda like it.)

    The Camry can’t be both a TWAT and the best-selling sedan in North America. For it to be a TWAT, it has to suck on multiple levels.

    And the Jeep Wrangler a TWAT? That’s nuts too! That’s an American icon. There’s no way it qualifies.

    I’m still a little surprised by the fact that there’s no Mercedes R-class on here…

  • avatar
    rashakor

    People,
    Could you please read carefully the commentary before leaving any comments.
    The list above is the list of nominees for the BEST cars of 2006!!!. The fact that a few of them have been nominated for TWAT does not mean they are even going to make the final round!

    The R-class has been nominate for TWAT many times don’t worry about it not appearing in the BEST car list.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I disagree with the R-class as a TWAT, simply because it is so unique rather than just being a badge-engineered Pacifica–which it could easily have been. AFAIK, it’s the only people mover that offers 6 full-sized bucket seats to passengers (no benches or 3rd-row pseudo-seats). Sure, its market may be limited, but it has a lot of potential as an upscale limo/taxi or minivan substitute for the wealthy. My biggest complaint is that they never offered the diesel-electric hybrid that was hinted at during the pre-production articles. However, IMO, anything to get people away from unnecessary SUVs is a good step.

    I also vote for removing the Camry from the TWAT list. I see all the arguments for it, but it still serves a purpose to the mainstream driving appliance crowd, and its sales support that.

    1. Dodge Stratus gets my top vote. Pick any version from the past 10 years, they are all pretty indistinguishable…and all crap.

    2. The GM minivans get my second vote. As a former multi-brand used car salesman, these were the vehicles I could say nothing positive about–especially after the misguided snout surgery a couple years back.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    The R-class is on the nomination list for that TWAT but not on the NACATOY list.

  • avatar
    tms1999

    You can disagree all you want, but the r-class is the last nail in the coffin of boredom from Mercedes.

    Mercedes builds countless overlapping models of fast to really fast, numb, soulless vehicles for suburbanites to executives level. AMG induces more horsepowers to the boring equation, making all the models really really fast boring cars.

    When was the last time a mercedes turned my head? I was probably 15 and thought those were the fastest car in the world. Probably was a econo 190 too.

    Coming back to the R class, this is the entry in the segment of the unhip if there was one: minivan. Save the sliding door (like the pacifica) this thing is a boring soccer mom minivan. It may have good driving dynamics and be fast, but it is just as sexy as a box of hamburger helper.

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEWEEEEEE

  • avatar
    gforce2002

    “The RDX is a TWAT? On what grounds? It can only be argued that it’s ugly, which I subjective thing. (I kinda like it.)”

    Well, since I expect that 99% of the people posting here have never even sat in the cars that they are nominating, the whole exercise is pretty subjective. Anyway, if you can’t put baseless, provocotive opinions on Internet forums, what else are they good for?? :)

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Who said Honda Fit?

    Show yourself.

  • avatar
    jofo

    I think the Lexus LS460 is the TWAT. In my opinion, that while it is a fine automobile it is basically a japanese version of the classic and true American Luxomobiles of the past- TownCar and Fleetwood and Deville. They both have floaty rides, religiously faithful and old clientele, and luxury plastered over their fenders. The caveat of difference from American Luxocruisers is that it is imported, much more expensive (+$20k), very anonymous looking (think large blob fat blob), and has more electronic doodads than my whole house. I don’t think that this car is worth the money, glance, nor repair bill should something go wrong with all this frilly fanciness.

  • avatar

    Mr. Mehta’s riff on the “Taurus” look of the Jaguar XK shows that he has no knowledge of the history of the Jaguar marque. It was the Taurus that ripped off the grille from Jaguar. Look at any number of Jaguar cars going back to 1953 and many have that grille. In backwards chronology:

    The XK8
    The F-type (Concept car)
    The XK180 (Concept car)
    The XJ220
    The XJ41 (Concept car)
    Series 3 E-type
    XJ-13
    Series 1 & 2 E-type
    D-type

    The irony is of course that the ovoid Taurus grille introduced in 1996 was designed by the brother of Ian McCallum, the designer of the current Aston-Marton and Jaguar XK models. Ian’s brother says the grille was an homage to the Jaguar E-type that he considers the to be the best looking car ever.

    I guess this proves that you could take Raquel Welch’s breasts and stick them on Kathy Bates and you would still just have a big busted Kathy Bates.

    Anyway, it just ticks me off when people say Jaguar’s look like a Ford Taurus. How can an original, with a 50+ year legacy, steal from a copy?

    As for your TWAT list, I’ve abstained from voting because I have absolutely no first-hand experience with any new cars, other than my wife’s 2006 Liberty CRD. While being an SUV, which I find annoying as hell, my only complaint about it is the Benz-esque placement of the window controls.

    –chuck
    “We need more Diesels!”

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Actually, although the RDX may not be entirely TWAT-worthy, it’s still bad enough that it at least deserves a nomination. On top of being ugly, it’s just a BMW X3 (bad) redone by Acura (boring), not a good combination. And 0-60 in the high sevens, and 19/24mpg? Slow and wasteful are a bad combination.

  • avatar
    rheath2

    I have to question who nominated the Jeep Wrangler. If whoever it was says it’s noisy, uncomfortable, or ill-equipped, they have issues.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    the only problem being that the new Jaguar XK looks like a Ford Taurus.

  • avatar
    Alex Rashev

    Regarding Jaguar grille rip-off: Jaguar’s quad headlights went out of style the day when Kia Amanti hit the streets. The issue with Jaguar is that every cheap brand wants to look like one. And as long as Jaguar maintains superior quality and refinement, they can still maintain the perception of being original and “first”.
    However, when Ford started rolling out budget Jaguars, it all went down the drain. Why buy a Jaguar when Kia sells the same luxury-looking crapmobile for half as much? So now it’s the “Tail wags the dog” kind of thing. In public’s perception, Jaguar is just as much of a ripoff as Kia or Ford.

  • avatar
    Teds

    I think way too many people are completely missing the point on the R Class… It is not supposed to be an SUV, it is not supposed to be a sporty car.
    Despite the overwhelming derision of the minivan image in these forums there are a LOT of people who still need and use them, like most families with kids in America or anyone with large objects to move who doesn’t like trucks. My mother is a harpist and we have always had vans as the family car (Chrysler T&C currently). The thing is if you are one of these people and actually want a nicer car there is literally no where to go. Seriously, imagine you have three kids and a dog, occasionally Grandma tags along for the family road trip to the shore… you have some bags or maybe that end table you picked up at a yard sale… But you are a modern concientious urban dweller who abhors SUVS… You need a minivan right?… however, you just made partner at your firm or finaly pay off those college loans and you want a nicer vehicle… The R class is literally your only choice. it also works well as a non suv limo in cities as mentioned by someone in a previous posting. Just because it is new, not a performance car, and different don’t dismiss it yet. There is a Niche for every vehicle.

    Also re: the New Jag Xk… You have to see one up close and live… they grow on you fast, especially when you realize thay look exactly like Astons from almost every angle. The oval grill never bothered me, I do not see the Taurus family resemblance but I wasn’t fond of the headlight treatment. Too angular but it is growing on me.

    I would put the CLS as a TWAT personally in that range of car… Yeah I know it looks great but it is a rebodied expensive E class with a torture chamber of a back seat which has been embraced by some of the tackiest cheesiest members of our society… Not a favorite of mine

  • avatar
    Rakinyo1

    My top 10 list has only two vehicles

    Subaru Tribeca (Flying Vagina) 1-5

    Pontiac Aztec/Buick Rendevous 6-10

  • avatar
    f8

    I’m glad to see Nitro on the list, but Honda Fit? Acura RDX? Toyota Camry? Have my eyes gone insane?

    People, you can’t nominate a car for any sort of worst automobile award because its design is bland and it’s not much fun to drive. If that were the case, why not nominate 90% of Japanese-made cars and close the topic.

    And if you nominate a car for being ugly, it has to be really ugly, not like this: “Actually, although the RDX may not be entirely TWAT-worthy, it’s still bad enough that it at least deserves a nomination. On top of being ugly, it’s just a BMW X3 (bad) redone by Acura (boring), not a good combination.” RDX is not an unquestionably ugly design, like an Aztec, it’s a logical continuation of Acura’s design line. Yes, some people think it’s ugly, but it isn’t eye-searingly offensive. Christ, I think the new BMWs are ugly as hell – doesn’t make them “worst automobiles today”, it just makes it my opinion. Neither BMWs nor Acuras are extremely ugly to the extent of a Tribeca or an Aztec.

    I like this site and the reviews a lot, but some of the stuff that gets posted is mind-boggling.

  • avatar
    jschaef481

    While I am do not endorse Camry’s inclusion on the TWAT list, I must disgree with the logic that the best-selling car cannot by definition of its sales numbers be considered for TWATness. Popularity does not define greatness…in many instances, popularity defines collective stupidity. This is a society with an immense interest in Anna Nicole Smith, Ashlee Simpson, Paris Hilton and Jerry Springer. Talk about TWAT’s!!!

  • avatar
    Jesse

    I cast my vote for the Saab 9-7x.

    There’s been much discussion lately on TTAC, Jalapnik and Trollhattan Saab about the future of the brand. The 9-7x seems to confirm the Saab loyalist’s worst fear. GM has no clue/doesn’t care about Saab’s essence. The only positive aspect of this vehicle is that they seem to be selling in high numbers. But with all of GM’s heavy discounts, will Saab finally profit?

    Imagine if GM owned Saab in the late 80′s and attemped to sell a Chevy Blazer, re-badged as a Saab, alongside the classic 900. It simply would not fly.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    You need a minivan right?… however, you just made partner at your firm or finaly pay off those college loans and you want a nicer vehicle… The R class is literally your only choice.

    I’m a partner at my company, have no college loans, and now have a family of five to tote around. And I think an R-Class is an overpriced joke, and obviously the market agrees with me.

    /inexpensive minivan owner

  • avatar
    CMan

    Honda Ridgeline. Reasons why;

    1. It gets the same fuel economy as a 1/2 ton crew 4X4 Silverado (16/21), with two less cylinders and a bunch less HP, and it tows 5,500 less lbs. while getting the same fuel economy.

    2. It’s built on the Oddysey/Pilot FWD platform.

    3. It costs as much as that 1/2 ton crew that gets the same fuel economy, tows more and has 73 more HP.

  • avatar
    ash78

    jschaef481,

    I mentioned sales in my brief Camry defense, but not as sole justification for the cars greatness…er…suitability. I’ve simply known many dozens of Camry owners and never heard a single complaint about problems (expensive and/or recurring). Maybe I’m biased, being a VW owner. We tend to care about our cars and keep them well maintained…or else. Most makes/models are cheaper and easier, but not nearly as much fun. Anyway, sales numbers don’t mean anything when taken alone, but with a long-term trend like they have, they are definitely doing something right for somebody.

  • avatar

    I nominate the Saturn ION. Although solidly put together it has all
    the style of a street cleaner. It’s functional, but it’s makers have no
    sense of design or art. The gaps between doors, around the gas fill cover, the truck lid, etc, are enormous! It’s totally unmotivating to sit in. And it has, (I have not seen these in years), drum brakes in rear!

  • avatar
    Jeff in Canada

    Honda Fit?? Honda FIT???

    Thats it, I’m outta here!….. (sounds of footsteps and doorslam!)

  • avatar
    bfg9k

    CMan:
    October 20th, 2006 at 1:58 pm

    Honda Ridgeline. Reasons why;

    I think you miss the point of the Ridgeline: it’s designed to appeal to the vast niche of people who like to drive trucks but have no reason that they need to do so. It has a far more carlike ride due to its suspension and unibody than your average 1/2 ton American pickup, and is perfect for hauling 3-4 bags of mulch from Home Depot to a suburban McMansion. It’s quite a brilliant vehicle, IMHO. It also has that Japanese cachet for those who don’t want a domestic make, for whatever reason.

  • avatar
    pete

    You guys are going to look foolish and will have demonstrably strayed from “The Truth About Cars” if you leave some of these vehicles on your final list.

    Awaiting the final list…with some hope that light rather than heat will shine through.

  • avatar
    Konl

    I realize this is like kicking a man when he’s down, but let’s face it: sometimes the man needs kicking anyway. With that noted, let me second (third? tenth? thousandth?) the nomination for the Jeep Compass.

    One caveat here: I haven’t driven it. Haven’t even sat in one. But here are its obvious sins:

    1. It’s squandering Jeep’s “brand capital,” specifically its reputation for hard-core off-road vehicles, to make a quick buck off the soft-roader fad.

    (One aside here: why does every brand feel as though it has to be able to see a car to everyone who might need one? That’s why car companies *have* different brands–so they can sell cars to different people.)

    2. It’s seriously ugly. It takes more than a grille and headlights to style a Jeep, but apparently someone lost interest after the first ten minutes. They claim the Compass tested well with women, to which I say: blind women? Women who never liked Jeeps anyway? These people are NOT YOUR TARGET MARKET.

    I can see why they were tempted: “gee, most people don’t buy Jeeps. Maybe we should build a Jeep that appeals to people who hate Jeeps.” The thing is, there are already plenty of cars that aren’t Jeeps, and virtually all of these are better designed, better made, and better thought-out than the Compass.

    Sorry to kick you when you’re down, Jeep (zero percent for five years on the Commander? In its FIRST YEAR? Oooh, burn!), but I tell you this as a friend: stick to your knitting.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    rheath2:
    October 20th, 2006 at 1:21 pm
    I have to question who nominated the Jeep Wrangler. If whoever it was says it’s noisy, uncomfortable, or ill-equipped, they have issues.

    I didn’t nominate the Wrangler, but I think it belongs on the list…not for being noisy, uncomfortable nor ill-equipped, but for failing to live up to its full potential. IMHO, this is one vehicle that could be an incredible “halo” vehicle for its manufacturer, but unfortunately it has so strayed from its original intent to the point where it is a bloated, overpriced gas guzzler. Doubtless not everyone agrees with this – and that’s their right – but to spend this much money for a small vehicle that gets less than 20 mpg…it just doesn’t fit with its “back to nature” mission. If wanting to see this venerated nameplate on a great vehicle – rather than just a good one – means that I have issues, then I will wear the label proudly.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    “The Camry can’t be both a TWAT and the best-selling sedan in North America. For it to be a TWAT, it has to suck on multiple levels.”

    Britney Spears had *six* number one singles.

    There goes your mutual exclusivity. And there’s your TWAT.

  • avatar
    Taotie

    That Hummers didn’t make the finalist’s list shows the same aesthetic appreciation that made Gilligan’s Island a hit.
    The Suburban is an excellent choice because it lives up to its name: sub-urban. Try driving one on a logging road. Your dentist will be rich.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    The Jeep Compass still gets my vote as the #1 TWAT out there for all the reasons that others have mentioned. I still can’t figure out what type of kool-aid DCX was drinking when they greenlighted that vehicle.

    Just to comment on a couple of people’s comments –

    bfg9k wrote:
    I think you miss the point of the Ridgeline: it’s designed to appeal to the vast niche of people who like to drive trucks but have no reason that they need to do so. It has a far more carlike ride due to its suspension and unibody than your average 1/2 ton American pickup, and is perfect for hauling 3-4 bags of mulch from Home Depot to a suburban McMansion. It’s quite a brilliant vehicle, IMHO
    It my opinion the Ridgeline is just a rehashed Chevy Avalanche, which I find to be the more competent vehicle in this class.

    BuzzDog wrote:
    I didn’t nominate the Wrangler, but I think it belongs on the list…not for being noisy, uncomfortable nor ill-equipped, but for failing to live up to its full potential. IMHO, this is one vehicle that could be an incredible “halo” vehicle for its manufacturer, but unfortunately it has so strayed from its original intent to the point where it is a bloated, overpriced gas guzzler.
    I don’t get it – the Wrangler is the truest expression of Jeep. Yes it may not get the best gas mileage, but bloated? The new (JK) 2-door is a little wider and bigger than the outgoing TJ model, but it is still smaller than most. A Rubicon model is probably one of the best off road vehicles you can buy right out of the box bar none. You’re never going to get high fuel efficiency running off road.

    Disclosure: I’ve owned both a Chevy Avalanche and a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (TJ).

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    I agree that most of us haven’t driven a goodly number of the cars we’ve nominated, and the percentage is probably higher than 20%. But, IMHO, a true TWAT should be so vile the very concept or sight of it makes one nauceous and sitting in a TWAT should place one in danger of hurling. Actually turn the ignition switch??? Only if 911 is called first.

  • avatar
    Antone

    Democracies are based on the middle of the bell curve making the decisions.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    I haven’t driven a Compass, but I have seen one up close and even sat in it. It’s every bit as bad as you think it is. Maybe even worse. There are seems on the interior plastic that are actually SHARP. The pillars are blacked out with TAPE (the kind you might see used for grip on a skateboard.). The panel gaps are not only large, but they are inconsistant. The door cuts look completely random. It is so bad and so ugly. I can’t believe this tested well with women. Or anyone. It’s such a complete disgrace to not only Jeep, but to cars, America, and humanity as a whole.

  • avatar
    Ar-Pharazon

    I really like these Camry-related analogies to pop culture . . . I think they’re kinda fitting.

    Some argue that high sales are at least a vote AGAINST TWAT-dom. I argue the opposite . . .

    If you walked into your local watering hole on karaoke night and saw a post-KFed Brittney Spears up there singing, I’m sure you’d say “hey . . . a good singer and pretty easy on the eyes, too!” But if you look at her as a multi-million selling chart topping superstar, you can easily say “can’t sing, kinda fat”. Your expectations are just not being met.

    Apparently the people here expect more — MUCH more — from their top-selling vehicle.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    Ar-Pharazon–
    right on.
    if i built the jeep compass in my basement, i bet you’d all be pretty impressed. but when a company as large as DCX or GM makes a compass or malibu and tries to sell it for $20K next to Civics and Mazda 3s–well, yeah, can’t sing and kinda fat.

  • avatar
    f8

    So what’s people’s argument against the Camry? Boring, bland, soulless, not fun to drive? Okay, why is the Honda Accord not on the list then? Bland – yes; boring – yes; not fun to drive – yes (the V6 Camry has more power at least).

    If you guys are going to take a steaming dump on Camry, then at least stop being hypocritical and nominate Accord

    Actually, screw this. Consider this my vote for Honda Accord as a TWAT because you can make every single anti-Camry argument into an anti-Accord argument. Please add Honda Civic too, because it’s also bland, boring, and does not feature turbos, AWD, or a V8.

  • avatar
    Lantern42

    Just for a car to sell resonably well, it requires some level of success.
    Britney, for all her lack of talent, has done an amazing job of selling herself. (Infer what you will.) Likewise, the Toyota Camry, regardless of its acute lack of dynamic appeal to piston-heads, has undisputed success in selling Camry’s. Meaning there are people other than us who want it.
    The Camry is the best car in the world when it comes to its core demographic-
    -people who don’t like to think about cars.

  • avatar

    Whoever put the Fit and the Acuras on the TWAT list should be condemned to driving Daewoos for life.

  • avatar
    noley

    I’ve been traveling for the past week. Not much time to check in here. So let me catch up:

    Toyota FJ Cruiser
    It’s so ugly it just has to be on the bad list. The Honda Element should be here along with it.

    Audi Q7
    And the point is?? For that matter, add the Porsche Cayenne, the BMW X3 and X5 and the MB M-class. These are just for rich people who think they’re too good to be seen in an Exploder or Suburban.

    Suby Tribeca (aka the Flying Vagina) simply becuse the front end is so fugly.

    Chev Tahoe/Suburban AND the Silverado (along with the Avalanche, Escalade, Escalanche, etc.) The whole damn family.
    Set the Wayback Machine to 1968…

    Ford F150: If it’s so bloody good why do they keep changing it. It was too fat a decade ago. Needs a diet.

    Dodge Caliber
    About the calber of a BB

    Jeep Wrangler
    They were good once, not anymore

    Chrysler Sebring
    Born boring, relentlessly refined to be more boring

    Nissan Versa
    Warmed over Renault something or other

    Can’t leave out the Hummer family–all bad, with no redeeming value except as scrap metal.

    Or the Saab 9-7 which is a Chevy with better springs and a relocated ignition. And at 6’2″ I don’t fit in one. Sheesh!

    But what is the Fit doing on the TWAT list? Economical, versatile, not bad looking.

    Agree that the terminally boring, seriously ugly drive-the-speed limit-only Camry is wanting, but it’s not a TWAT. I just won’t rent one, let alone make payments on one. Still a good car for those who worship at the altar of Consumer Reports. I thought I’d get used to the new body, but I gag each time I see one.

  • avatar
    Lantern42

    David-
    Don’t you think thats a little harsh? Maybe those who bashed the Honda Fit would be happier with a Chevy Aveo.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    Taotie: :
    That Hummers didn’t make the finalist’s list shows the same aesthetic appreciation that made Gilligan’s Island a hit.

    The list above shows the North American Car/Truck of the Year nominees, not the TWAT awards. The finalist list for the TWAT awards hasn’t been released yet.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    The Saturn L300 was still sold in 2005. Does that count?

    Because I’d like to nominate the “L”. It may not have the performance, fuel economy, quality, handling/ride, looks, resale value or reputation of the Camry, but I still think it deserves an honorable mention, at least.

  • avatar
    2006300c

    the names in boldface are also nominees for a TWAT.
    The Aura is a great car, I just test drove a 3.6 along with my sister and her fiance for their first family car, and the Fit thing, that was me, I did it for the sole purpose of pissing off Lieberman.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    UnclePete wrote:
    I don’t get it – the Wrangler is the truest expression of Jeep. Yes it may not get the best gas mileage, but bloated?…You’re never going to get high fuel efficiency running off road.

    As I said, we’re talking opinions here – and yours may not be the same as mine, and that’s cool. But when I think of the true “spirit of Jeep,” I think of the lightweight, simple, go-anywhere, do-anything original Willys Jeep of the 1940s. The straightforward vehicle that helped win the war.

    Today’s Wranglers – at least the ones in my suburban neighborhood – go offroad when the country club parking lot is full and the guard at the gate politely asks the owner to park on the lawn. And because of this, we have Jeeps with inefficient engines meant to perform like cars (okay, the one in the new JK is a little better than the old straight six), and now – God forbid – POWER windows!

    DC took a wonderful, functional vehicle that did more with less, and has turned it into a vanity statement. A company with brilliant engineers such as DC should be able to give us a small vehicle that delivers more than 20 mpg on the EPA highway cycle…offroading doesn’t even factor into the EPA mileage testing.

  • avatar

    I was going to say “Fit?!”, but everyone else beat me to it. So I’ll question its market contemporary, the Versa. Who hates it that much?

    And what the hell as an Acadia? I didn’t even know it existed!

    And I totally agree that the Wrangler has fallen behind. I still don’t think it’s a TWAT, but the gas mileage, crap engines, and lack of seemingly basic amenities, I think, earns it a symbolic nomination. So I completely see why you feel that way, but its off-road prowess blinds me. I still love it.

    I sure as hell wouldn’t buy one, though. 8-D

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    I’m with Holzman.

  • avatar
    2006300c

    The Acadia is the new GMC crossover/SUV/Tall wagon/Lifestyle activity vehicle that will replace the envoy. Looks good though from the photos and spec sheets

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Whoever put the Fit and the Acuras on the TWAT list should be condemned to driving Daewoos for life.

    Even worse, how about the Daewoos that were abandoned after GM bought out the company, leaving owners stranded without support, parts or warranties. Hmmm…

    Acadia lists starting at $30k. How long will crossover fever keep transaction prices up that high? Not to mention Hyundai will probably lowball GMC by about, oh, $5k next year with the Veracruz.

  • avatar
    Vincenze

    Interesting stuff.

    There’s also a list, with perhaps more measureable and transparent criteria for the top 10 green cars of 2006… may be of interest.

    I’ve also gathered up some video reviews of each car, check them out here…

    :)

  • avatar
    2006300c

    The automaker’s ninth vehicle for its U.S. lineup is a big one, a seven-passenger capable ute with a third row of seating that Hyundai says will easily fold down flat in a 50/50 arrangement. Hyundai is boasting that Veracruz is bigger than the Honda Pilot and has more interior room than Mercedes’ recently-released GL-Class.

    Veracruz is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive will be optional, with stability control and multiple airbags as standard equipment.

    Pricing is still a ways off, but expect the model to start somewhere around $30,000 when it arrives in Hyundai showrooms sometime in 2007.

    They actually sound the same; the GMC has an eighth seat though. The questions are, is Hyundai now good enough to not rely on price alone and has the General finally come around to it’s senses and built a class leading vehicle?, Should be interesting.

  • avatar

    I’ve removed the Honda Fit from the list of TWAT nominees. It turns out its nomination was the result of trolling.

    I have notified 2006300c that if he tries that kind of bs again– or anything else– he will be permanently banned from posting on this website. I am livid at this mockery of our mockery of Car of the Year awards.

    I want to state again, that I will NOT tolerate ANY personal attacks against other members of this community. Ever.

  • avatar
    2006300c

    okay than bye bye

  • avatar
    f8


    I am livid at this mockery of our mockery of Car of the Year awards.

    Well, my nomination of the Accord/Civic was a joke, so I just want to make it clear that it wasn’t a troll to undermine the TWAT awards. I just wanted to point out how ridiculous the anti-Camry accusations sound.

  • avatar

    You’re good.

  • avatar
    b.russ

    I know this is a long overdue response, but CMan, you’re attack on the Ridgeline must come from not having ever driven it. I started my driving life behind the wheel of a GMC Sierra, and having grown up in Utah, I know trucks. I too thought the Ridgeline must be a joke when it first got advertising back in 2004, it looked ridiculous to me. But I have since had the opportunity to test drive one. Its delicious. Its fun to drive, it can haul 5000lbs (which is sufficient for 95% of the truck owners out there), and the features and accessories as well as the layout show that Honda put immense amounts of time in R&D, I believe it paid off. I can honestly say, I intend on buying a Ridgeline in the near future.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I got to test drive an RDX last weekend when I took in my wife’s TSX (yes we have a FWD sporty car – it’s the wifes and very safe, sporty and all weather transportation for an amatuer driver). It is small for an SUV and more like a sports wagon. After working around and playing with it a salesperson just said take it out for a drive, so I did. Man for an SUV this thing handles better than either BMWs or Mazdas sports ute could ever (both of which I have driven). The engine doesn’t have as much power as the Mazda but the cornering makes up for and the braking control you can get out of it is quite impressive. I have been road racing for over 5 years so I’m quite accustomed to getting the most out of a car’s handling. I would note that the awd system may never be used by 90% of its drivers but I gave it a good workout.

    Seeing the RDX or a Camry on there b/c of someone’s opinion on how it looks is just stupid…there has to be more basis for a TWAT award besides somebody’s subjective opinion. If you nominate a car you have to had at least looked at it in person, driven it, understand the purpose of the cars market, understand the purpose of how it fits within the brand, and last but not least how successful the car has been. Some nominations are just made out of some spite. So the Camry took a more daring step in styling doesn’t make the best selling car in America a TWAT. It makes the nominator one!

    Here are some examples of good TWAT nominees that fail in almost all respects of their design and purpose:
    - Jeep Patriot/Compass (read review in 1st TWAT posting)
    - Chevy Colorado (designed in Thailand, gets a weaker inline 5 engine than the tried and true 4.3 ohv v6, H3 gets spawned off of it making it slower than most 80′s 4 cyl minivans)
    - Jaguar X (as in excrement type) – a Ford Mondeo with a Contour’s engine and no customers (no one shags in this Jag)
    - Ford Freestyle (actually looked like it could be a competent family wagon if not for the 3.0 v6 and corporate parts bin interior)
    - VW Beetle (when is this play on emotions past going to roll over and die). I’m waiting for the lawsuits from rear passengers getting their heads through the rear window as there is no headroom in the back for tall passengers…or the 2.slow engine which was a piece of crap when it was first developed – only til last year they finally put in the 2.5

  • avatar
    ktm

    I really, REALLY want to know what the justification for the nomination of the Infiniti G35. The coupe is a fantastic vehicle and the sedan offer great sporting luxury.

    RF and crew, the idea of the TWAT award is brilliant, but the list of automobiles earns a TWAT award itself.

  • avatar
    f8

    I really, REALLY want to know what the justification for the nomination of the Infiniti G35. The coupe is a fantastic vehicle and the sedan offer great sporting luxury.

    It’s not nominated for a TWAT

  • avatar
    Lantern42

    This is a list of the NACOTY. The cars in BOLD are actually the ones that overlap with th TWAT awards. The Infiniti G is up for NACOTY, but is not a TWAT nominee.

    jaje-
    you’re absolutely right. To fairly nominate a car for TWAT, you should at least take a look at it in person. Not just on paper and/or the internet.

    That being said, I believe the Nissan Versa should be removed from the list. It’s a car that has a lot of merit and many very useful features that even the Honda Fit doesn’t offer.

    Instead, I vote for the Toyta Yaris. I’ve had the opportunity to drive all three (Yaris, Fit, Versa) and while I only got the chance to try the automatic Yaris, its odd styling, poor handling, and poorly-placed center of the dash guage cluster put it far below Toyotas usual standards. Whatever they want to name it, it’s the next generation Echo. While the Honda and Nissan bring good things to the table, the Yaris makes an excellent reason to look at C.P.O. cars and avoid cheap new cars. Which is a diservice to the class. While I’m sure that the Yaris will find buyers, it will have more to do with Toyota as a brand than it does with the cars merits….or lack therof.

  • avatar
    DrVali

    Not one Suzuki, Kia, Isuzu, or Mitsubishi?

    Wow.

    Just. Wow.

    We might have to start over.

  • avatar
    chanman

    130 vehicles are competing for the TWAT… that’s what, more than half the total number of models for sale in the US?

  • avatar
    gunnarheinrich

    Wait just one damn minute! We went from nominating the Mercedes-Benz R-Class to the S-Class ? Are you crazy??? And from Jaguar X-Type to XKR????

    This is indeed and strange and distrubing universe…

  • avatar
    DrVali

    OK, the list has cars people are passionate about – either because they hate the brand, the particular corporate decision to have a model type that doesn’t match the brand, or one that is good, but not great.

    But people, the worst car of the year should be a car that no one even thinks about, ever. One that rental fleets won’t even touch. If you can buy it new for under 10K, it absolutely must be in this list. A new car for 10k indicates total crap – a throwaway vehicle.

    The Kia Rio – for cryin’ out loud, they’re advertising “Buy One Get One Free” on cars in my area. Buy a Kia Minivan and get a Kia Rio for free. If that doesn’t define a craptacular car, nothing does. This site cannot possibly take itself seriosuly if the Kia Rio doesn’t place in the top 2, and it’s not even on the list yet.

    And the Suzuki Reno – another spanktabulous vehicle choice for this award. The damn thing is built by a second-rate car company and named after a second-rate Nevada town.

    If those two aren’t in a dead-heat for the TWAT, then the award is worthless.

    I’m also dissapointed that the Chevy Mailbu Maxx isn’t on this list. The main selling feature of the vehicle is that the front seat folds flat. Seriously, what genius thought of that?!?? You have slushy Chevy handling, crappy chevy interior, styling from the group that made the Aztek, and seats whose biggest feature is not that they’re comfortable, but that they fold flat.

    First, look at this list:

    Kia Rio
    Suzuki Reno
    Chevy Malibu Maxx

    Now, take a look at this list – a compilation of the bolded vehicles above that have been nominated for a TWAT as well as COTY.

    Acura RDX
    Audi Q7
    Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban
    Chrysler Sebring
    Dodge Caliber
    Dodge Nitro
    Hyundai Santa Fe
    Jaguar XK/XKR
    Jeep Wrangler
    Lexus LS 460
    Mazda CX-7
    Nissan Versa
    Saturn Aura
    Saturn Vue Green Line
    Toyota Camry
    Toyota FJ Cruiser

    Few, if any of you, would trade a car in the second list for a car in the first list. That is the essence of the TWATtys.

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    Pretty intense differences of opinion considering that every morning we all drive to work surrounded by thousands of all of these types of vehicles and all of them take about the same amount of time to go from home to work and back, and how fast do we really need to go around a corner anyway?

  • avatar
    Campisi

    Here’s the best reason I’ve heard as to why the new Camry deserves to at least be on the TWAT list. A four-cylinder Camry from fifteen years ago goes faster, rides better, lasts longer, and gets better fuel economy than the four-cylinder Camry just released this year.

    Damn.

  • avatar
    f8

    Here’s what my list would look like (not in order of importance):

    1. Dodge Nitro – godawful styling, basically an offspring of a Jeep Liberty and a Brinks security truck that fell from the ugly tree and hit every branch with its chrome grill

    2. Jeep Compass – very ugly, not off-road capable, basically a Caliber variant

    3. Dodge Caliber – let’s take Neon, a compact American car that wasn’t the best, but was slowly shaping up to be an inexpensive alternative to Civics and Corollas, then throw it out the window and replace it with an ugly mini-SUV! Genius idea! Raises for everyone! For bonus points, let’s make a “sport” version of said mini-SUV in a 300 hp FWD, even though that’s completely retarded!

    4. Grand Marquis – why does this exist? The previous Grand Marquis was essentially the same from 1992 to 2005, and the 2006 model is just a slight update on the bodystyle. Let this thing die already

    5. Lincoln Zephyr/Mercury Milan – one of the lines in a Milan commerical is “like nothing else”. Yeah, except it’s exactly like a Fusion. Which is a Mazda 6. You know Ford, if you’re going to make one car into 3 other cars, at least try to improve them somehow.

    6. Chrysler Crossfire – hey, let’s make a sports car that has a front that wouldn’t look out of place on Grandpa’s Sebring, and body moulding gaudy enough for a 3rd gen Eclipse, and then wonder why it doesn’t sell. Another great idea from Chrysler.

    7. Chevy HHR – what happens when you pick a crappy “retro” design to imitate and turn into a mini-SUV, but somehow manage to make it look even worse, while giving it an anemic 4 cylinder engine? Why, that would be an HHR. At least the PT Cruiser has a turbo version.

    8. Buick Lucerne – I know you must be running out of names, Buick, but Jesus Christ, try not to name your cars after dairy products. I don’t want to explain to everyone that I didn’t in fact buy a milk truck.

    9. Buick Rendezvous – Another winner with a hard to spell name from Buick. Half minivan, half SUV, all ugly. It is the embodiment of an old person’s vehicle – if this car could talk, it would probably yell at you to get off the lawn

    10. Kia Amanti – Totally overlooked in this award, this automotive gem is truly a horrible design if there ever was one. From the front that screams “cheap Mercedes ripoff” to the awful rear lights to the “chrome” side trim, everything is so cheap and tacky that it can in no way be a luxury vehicle. It has a roofline and body styling to rival those of the aforementioned Grand Marquis. And it can all be yours, complete with Kia’s awesome reputation for quality- for only $28.6K starting. It’s a “luxury” car that noone in the world would ever aspire to own.

    I suppose my post is too late to be included, oh well

  • avatar

    If anything, the TWAT nominations are showing that the readership of this webpage are, in general, a pack of sanctimonious, hyper-critical automotive snobs, more than happy to condesceningly slam the efforts of any automotive manufacturer for one reason or another – no matter how minor or minute.

    Yeah, I got my own (private) list of ten worst automobiles. I’ll simply avoid buying them, and leave it at that.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Here’s the best reason I’ve heard as to why the new Camry deserves to at least be on the TWAT list. A four-cylinder Camry from fifteen years ago goes faster, rides better, lasts longer, and gets better fuel economy than the four-cylinder Camry just released this year.

    Although the 3rd gen Camry was a landmark car for Toyota, I get to drive one every now and then. I have a 5th gen Camry for comparison, and let’s just say, you’re completely off the mark.

  • avatar
    noley

    I’ve been on the road for a week and am finally able to weigh in on this. Here’s my take at the moment:

    Toyota FJ Cruiser: It’s so ugly it just has to be on the bad list. The Honda Element should be here along with it.

    Audi Q7: And the point of this “car” is??

    Chev Tahoe/Suburban AND the Silverado (along with the Avalanche, Escalade, Escalanche, etc.) The whole damn family.: Set the Wayback Machine to 1968…

    Ford F150: If it’s so bloody good why do they keep changing it. It was too fat a decade ago. Needs a diet.

    Dodge Caliber (and the Jeep equivalent): About the calber of a BB

    Jeep Wrangler: They were good once, about 10 years ago. I’d also add the Liberty.

    Chrysler Sebring: Born boring, relentlessly refined to be more boring

    Nissan Versa: Warmed over Renault something or other

    The whole Hummer family: All bad, with no redeeming value except as scrap metal.

    Saab 9-7: a Chevy with better springs and a relocated ignition. Certaainly not a Saab.

    But what is the Fit doing on the TWAT list? Economical, versatile, not bad looking. Very good at what it’s meant to do.

    Agree that the terminally boring, seriously ugly drive-the-speed limit-only Camry is wanting in an enthusiast’s eyes, but it’s not a TWAT. I just won’t rent one, let alone make payments on one. Still, it’s a good car for those who worship at the altar of Consumer Reports and consider cars as appliances. I thought I’d get used to the new body, but I gag each time I see one. Instead of becoming used to it, I hate it more.

    Other cars to add: Anything from Kia or Hyundai. OK transportation units when new, otherwise they’re as disposable as inkjet printer cartridges.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    DrVali:

    Fear not, The Malibu has been nominated a few times. Rightfully so, too.

    Noley:

    The Fit has been removed from the list, they just havent updated the editorial to reflect as such.

  • avatar
    ktm

    f8, you are right. I had to read the paragraph again to understand what it was saying. My mistake.

  • avatar
    Ar-Pharazon

    DrVali has made some extremely valid points . . . in reality this is a popularity (or unpopularity) contest more than anything else. If that’s what it is, and that’s what it’s going to stay . . . then by all means keep the Camry on the list, as it seems to belong there.

    But if we take the good doctor’s advice and want a REAL TWAT award, then of course the Camry should not be there.

    But neither should the Ford 500, or the Cayenne, or any BMW, or the Zephyr, or practically any vehicle that’s on the current list. Almost none of them are bad cars . . . as has been pointed out, even something seemingly obvious like the Mazda B Series is a decent ride and fulfills its purpose just fine.

    So let’s assume that we’re sticking with the current format . . . in this case, no arguments are valid for removing the Camry or pretty much any other vehicle from the list. I think Camrys suck, you think 500s suck, he thinks the X Type sucks . . . either they all do, or none of them do.

    The truth is, I haven’t driven but a small, small percentage of any of these vehicles (as may be true of many here). So my opinions are based on published articles and specs, voiced opinions of other owners, and seeing them on the road. Suppose I put myself in the position of having someone (a malevolent parent, perhaps) imposing a vehicle on me to be mine to own and drive for the next five years. Which one would I be most upset by? That would be my personal TWAT. It would not be a Camry. It would not be a 500. It certainly would not be a Jag or a BMW. It would not be a Fit. Based on my current feelings, I’d have to say it’d be a Kia Rio. That’s my new vote.

  • avatar
    Steven T.

    Al – Kia Rio? Sure, but I’d put the Jeep Compass in the same category of “wouldn’t be seen dead in.”

    I took a road trip the other day and was struck by how many positively ugly new cars are out there right now. The current design trends remind me a lot of the excesses of the late 1950s, where everyone fell over themselves trying to be outlandish.

    The catsup oracles tell us that trucks have got to be made as “scary” as possible. The Japanese seem to have rediscovered their inner weird. Many of the classic European brands have discarded understated tastefulness in favor of cartoonish audacity. At least before Lutz, GM’s recent designs have looked like they were scrawled by 13 year olds (Malibu, Ion). Chrysler’s masters abandoned Tom Gale’s elegant curves in favor of the artillary vehicle look. (“We’re at war, you know.”)

    At what point does this spasm of bad taste end? Who will become the icon of this era, the veritable Edsel of our time? The Compass is certainly a competitive nominee, but I’m thinking the forthcoming F-350 may be the ultimate winner because of its, er, striking, “brick on wheels” grille. My god, you’d think aerodynamics had been declared unconstitutional. Way Forward ho!

  • avatar
    murphysamber

    enough with the Camry that runs into the hundreds of thousands of miles. it’s not the exception. There are lots of cars that do that. Case in point: my cousin’s overprice VW Jetta ’91 with 295k on it. His fathers diesel Golf ’84 with 727k on the original engine. My grandfather’s ’89 bmw 325e that still purrs with 196k on it. Jesus, I’ve got an ex-girlfriend that swears by her 95 chevy lumina even after it just past 260k. And these are all people who ride them hard and put ‘em away wet. The reliability of Toyota is their big claim to fame, but I’ve often felt they just claim it louder than other makes. And after watching countless Prius (prii?), Avalons, new 4runners, Tundras, and even CAMRYS towed up to the service drive at the Toyota store across the street from me every day, I just don’t see how the reputation is still intact. It must be like saying domestic cars and german cars are crap. I’ve never had a single problem that I didn’t cause with any volkswagen i’ve owned. My brother has taken his 2006 Solara (2 f*^$king door Camry) back to the dealership for various rattles, electrical problems, and shoddy interior related dissapointments 7 times in the past 8 months. My mother just loves her Odyssey, but the Honda dealership has had it overnight at least 3 times in the same time frame. Strange for a Honda with @36k on the clock…or is it?

  • avatar
    mikey

    Hey murphyamber good post nice to see that some people understand that all cars break down sooner or later.Most problems are driver related.Yeah thats right lousy maintenance,and ignoring warning signs lead to bigger problems.Its allways easy to blame the car company or the dealer.
    260 K on a Lumina ? its just broke in nice its gotta another 200 k left I do know that if we where still selling them they would make the TWAT list though.

  • avatar
    f8

    Are you serious?

    I would not put a single American car on the “twat” list because I wouldn’t touch a single American brand with a 10 foot pole. They are not even worthy of consideration (or my derision). Oh, just to cut down on stupid retorts: Yes I am aware that some European brands are American owned, that some Japanese cars are built partially in America, etc., etc.

    Leave it alone. Stop pretending that American cars matter.

    What does this even mean? People buy American cars, people drive American cars, most of the US car market is, in fact, owned by American cars/trucks. Many, if not most of them, are of inferior quality, but that’s sort of the point – it’s the Worst Automobiles Today awards. Did you somehow misread the title of the topic or did you simply feel the need to type out a long, pointless, off-topic, and incorrect rant?

  • avatar

    These comments suggest one thing I already knew from my site: many people don’t read.

    No nominations myself, even if the deadline hadn’t already passed. I don’t encounter many cars worthy of this award. The Compass is the only exception that springs to mind, and it seems to have been covered plenty already.

    On the NACOTY list, a car doesn’t have to be good to be on it. Just new.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I know – it’s after 5:00PM, EST.

    But I’m traveling and had a chance to drive the B-I-L’s 2007 Camry LE, 2.4L, with 15K miles on it. I test-drove the Camry in some of the harshest, most inhospitable, most demanding roadways in America.

    Yes, that’s right, driving in Boston to and from Logan Airport and the Western suburbs.

    No way it’s a TWAT candidate. Yes, there are things that I would do differently and it is absolutely not the most beautiful car on the road but, as a family sedan, it’s quite good. Ten years ago, this would have been a luxury car. And considering both the fuel economy and performance that Toyota wrings out of an I-4 in what is really a pretty large car, Toyota actually deserves a commendation for something here.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    The Camry’s pretty ugly, but hardly among the worst. (Altho the last generation with that hanging exhaust system makes me shake my head every time I see it.) I am surprised by the widely held scorn for the Jeep Compass. While I am sure it is a bad car (if it is based on the Caliber) the looks seem innocuous to my eyes. The Jeep Liberty, on the other hand is seriously mis-designed; the proportions are all wrong. Hard to believe DCX used it to replace the previous Cherokee which could have been the dictionary illustration of “SUV.” No, the real steaming pile from the folks over in Auburn Hills has to be the new Chrysler Sebring. The thing is just plain wrong on virtually every level. Not since the 1959 Chevrolet has there been such an evident case of the front end designers never meeting the crew that penned the rear.
    To spread the blame around, perhaps someone can ‘splain me how the relatively inoffensive Chevy Trailblazer (and clones) becomes Frankenstein’s monster when made into the long wheelbase version? Proportions are important, people.

  • avatar

    I have banned user zly1969 from commenting on this site, due to his personal attacks on other members.

    Either we will have civilized debate here, or we will have none at all.

    Thank you to those of you who brought this to my attention.

  • avatar
    Lesley Wimbush

    “We know that NACATOY nominees were selected by a hand-picked panel of automotive “experts” who are wined and dined regularly by the manufacturers, go on all-expenses-paid junkets and get box fresh, manufacturer-supplied examples of all of the cars delivered straight to their door, gassed-up and ready to go.”

    Sure as hell wish that were the case up here in Canada.
    In order to attend the Candadian Car of the Year awards, I must use my vacation time, and my own gas to get to the site, four hours away. Four nights in a hotel are paid… by me. There are a few lucky souls with big publication dollars bankrolling their testweek, but most are freelancers, like me.
    We don’t pay for the gas during test week, unlike regularly booked test fleet cars, which must be returned to the manufacturer clean and full of gas (not delivered to our door, unfortunately). I pay my own gas while testing. I’m not reimbursed in any way by the outlets I write for.
    Ccoty week is spent test driving the vehicles in teams following route books, which must be strictly adhered to. We’re each responsible for evaluating some eighteen vehicles over the week. Spreadsheets must be filled out, which are turned in and tallied. We don’t vote on which cars are eligible – their eligibility is determined on whether they are new and available to the public in the upcoming year.
    As for wined and dined… LOL, first of all, I don’t drink, secondly, after a full morning of slogging through a mud pit with a succession of various SUV, freezing my ass off, I’d fight you to the death for the box lunch that’s provided, and usually eaten in the vehicle with the heat turned on. Dinners are arranged by the journalists association (and are generally boring affairs since the AGM and awards nights are held at the same time, snore.) There are invitations to attend car and tire manufacturer sponsored cocktail gatherings afterwards if one so wishes.

    I’m there for one reason. Because I like cars. I don’t really spend much time pondering the machiavellian politics of the car manufacturers… because they don’t interest me.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    i suppose i just dont notice cars that i dont like – why dwell on them when i can dwell on cars that i do like? I generally like small cars with small peaky engines and excellent handling, so thers not many american cars that i ever even see. highways area blur of tan and gray metal behomoths that bear more resemblance to houses then cars. but i digress. i was happily passsed by a mini cooper the other day, and like a punch drunk fighter, i smiled as i noticed the “works” label on its tight little rump. ah, bliss.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    There are SO many bad cars, heres a few of my favs:

    all SUV’s, CUV’s. and whatever the hell they are called this week. and dont give me this “family hauler” shit. there’s hardly ever any more than one person in these monsters.

    Pickup trucks that are used only for haulin the owners attitude around.

    all hummers especially. there is simply no excuse. Marie Antionette met her fate for less. Ostentatious, preposterous, nonsensical cartoons that waste everything, including my limited attention span.

    most everything that Daimler Chrysler builds for sale here. They think we are morons. They are right, but its tuff being called on it.

    Ford? are thy still in business? I yawned past a ford 500 the other day. what a shame. If it were any duller, it would simply evaporate.

    Sorry that I could not be more specific, there are such sameness everywhere. Its difficult to tell the difference anymore.

  • avatar
    dean

    Sykerocker said:

    If anything, the TWAT nominations are showing that the readership of this webpage are, in general, a pack of sanctimonious, hyper-critical automotive snobs, more than happy to condesceningly slam the efforts of any automotive manufacturer for one reason or another – no matter how minor or minute.

    I agree with you Syke. Yet I am still compelled to read…

  • avatar

    Dean,

    I’ve gotten to the point that I still enjoy the editorials as being well-written and reasonably insightful, even the ones where I feel the writer is completely full of it. However, I’m rapidly getting to the point where I’m just going to skip the comments section completely. The level of complaining is rapidly verging on the inane.

    Having gone through all the comments to the series of TWAT editorials, I can only assume that fully one quarter of this sites readership who is commenting does not own a car – as it’s obvious that NO manufacturer can possibly make something good enough for their lofty expectations, so they’re certainly not going to compromise themselves by driving less than the expected perfection. There’s always something badly wrong with whatever make is being mentioned – be it something that’s regularly slagged, or, something that actually has held a very good reputation.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    The reader comments are what make this site such a blast to read!

    What exactly do you mean by “good reputation?”

    We are all different, with different experiences, different needs, different wants. In other words, it’s all relative, and it’s all subjective.

  • avatar
    SavageATL

    I neglected somehow to nominate the Toyota Echo, of which I’m sure a hopefully very few were sold between 2005-2006. It certainly should count as one of the ten worst cars of all time.

    This car reeks of failure on a grand scale, the kind of failure and lack of personal ambition and responsibility which results in its owner eating beans out of a can alone every night and a general lack of personal hygiene. Nothing good is ever going to happen to me, is the statement that this car makes for its owner. While other econoboxes are content to travel the freeways in ignorable anonymity (the Tercel, its predecessor) or Cheap and cutesy styling (Geo Metro/Dodge Neon), or even stabs at stylishness (Daewoo ?Lanos?) This car screams, insistently, Do NOT take me seriously! I am middle aged, live in someone’s basement, and collect strange objects!

    Its odd attempts at style, a la the center mounted speedometer, shriek of a very middle aged, balding man wearing a baseball cap backwards and saying “Dude!” while wearing a stained wife-beater. It also is burdened with a name which suggests something unreal and insubstantial. Echo? Merely an Echo of a decent car.

    It is much, Much uglier than the unfairly maligned Aztek.

    Yes, it may be a Toyota and therefore durable, but would you WANT it to last that long?


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