By on October 27, 2006

1974-ford-pinto-122.jpgThe Truth About Cars (TTAC) TWAT Award Selection Committee has convened. Fifteen members of our cadre of car critics and commentators carefully considered the full horror of your 131 nominations. They then selected 20 vehicles that deserve your consideration for the final 10 winners/losers. And so, now, we turn to you, our avid devotees and unshakeable critics, for your knowledge, passion, honesty and sarcasm. It’s time to VOTE for the ten vehicles which will be anointed TTAC’s top TWATs for 2006.

As you may have noticed during the nomination process, some vehicles practically dripped with TWAT-iness, bobbing to the top of the toilet bowl and staying there for the duration. Many of these execrable rides made it all the way to the top 20. Others kept a fairly low profile, but were decreed fully TWAT-worthy by my esteemed colleagues. The list of finalists shows that bad taste, poor design and questionable construction know no price, market segment or country of origin. So without further ado, here are the 20 finalists, listed in alphabetical order:

Buick Rendezvous

Cadillac Escalade

Chevrolet Aveo

Chevrolet Cobalt / Pontiac G5 / Saturn Ion

Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Chrysler Aspen

Chysler Crossfire

Ford Ranger / Mazda B-series

GM Minivans

Hummer H2

Infiniti QX56

Jaguar X-type

Jeep Commander

Jeep Compass

Lincoln Mark LT

Lincoln Navigator

Saab 9-7x

Subaru B9 Tribeca

Subaru Baja 

Selecting 10 of these worst of all possible vehicles from such an undistinguished list will be tough. How do you decide which cars are the crème de la crap? To help you separate the chaff from the toxic waste, here are some factors to consider when voting. [Fair Disclosure: we’re providing this guide simply to give the award gravitas amongst any media spies who may be monitoring our efforts.]

Market segment suitability/competitiveness  Is it a badly badge-engineered bodge born to placate greedy, boneheaded dealers looking to sell something, anything in a particular market? Does it live up to the claims of the marketing goons? (Then again, can anything?) Is there any justification whatsoever for its existence?

Reliability/Safety  Has it been recalled more times than a favorite fairy tale? Does it have a reputation (anecdotal or statistical) for dying (perhaps of shame)? Would you put your loved ones in one of them for a cross-country trip, assuming you're not planning on collecting on the insurance?

Build quality  How does the overall quality of construction, fit and finish compare with other vehicles in the same price class/market segment or, say, a Walmart sofa? Does the vehicle rattle, thrum, drum and hum so much you could dance the conga to its beat?

Quality of materials  How do the materials used compare with other vehicles in the same price class or, say, a K-Mart suit? How well do the controls work? Is there obvious cost-cutting everywhere you look or touch? Can you look or touch it without puking?

Styling  When you look at the vehicle, do you feel yourself slowly turning to stone? Could it be a useful tool for interrogators at Guantanamo Bay?

Performance/handling  How well do the acceleration, handling, fuel economy, and drivability compare to other vehicles in the same price class/market segment or, say, one of those rolling tables teachers use for overhead projectors?  

Design  How well does the vehicle’s overall design (interior, ergonomics, exterior styling, space utilization, visibility) work? Is it an exercise in wretched excess or a paean to bad taste? Is it a modern design or does it hearken back to ye olde days of crapteryear?

Desirability  How would you feel about owning this vehicle? Would you rather walk/watch The Wiggles than be seen behind the wheel? If a rental agent handed you the keys, would you consider it an insult?

Je ne sais quoi  Does the vehicle have that certain “something” that makes you throw up in your mouth a little when you see one drive by? Should it be sent to the crusher on general principles?  

Yada, yada, yada. It’s time to vote for your TWAT. Click here and you’ll link through to the polling site. Again, vote for ten choices from the list. Once you’ve made your choices, you’ll be magically returned to the TTAC home page. Obviously, your votes will be held in the strictest confidence and tabulated with mindless electronic impartiality. You are, of course, invited to list your choices below with a short explanation of your decision making process.

The poll will be online through next Wednesday evening. We’ll announce the winners (losers?) on Monday. Thanks you for your help in this important experiment in journalistic freedom and, let’s face it, payback.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

90 Comments on “TTAC’s Ten Worst Automobiles Today (TWAT) Award: The Polls are Now Open!...”


  • avatar

    I would think a simple vote would suffice by this time. We’ve certainly been opinionated to death over the past couple of weeks on what and why constitutes a terrible car.

    Just vote, shut up, and allow the results to speak for themselves.

  • avatar

    Thank god the Camry (or any Toyota) isn’t on there.

    But it’s still gonna be a tough choice between the Compass and those hideously awful GM Minivans.

  • avatar

    ash78: I’m down with that. The Aspen is one of my top TWATs, but the Durango doesn’t bother me that much. I guess I’ll still give it my vote, ’cause the Aspen is bad enough to sink the Durango with it (and Chrysler, but that’s another story).

  • avatar
    Brian E

    When voting, please keep in mind that the Buick Rendezvous is a badge engineered Pontiac Aztek.

  • avatar

    Oh don’t worry Frank, my votes are unchanged. Thanks for the explanation though.

  • avatar
    a_d_y_a

    RF,
    Why did you associate recalls with lack of reliability ?

  • avatar
    mikey

    Let see 8 GMs 0 Hondas or Toyotas some Fords and a few from the Dodge family interesting.The Impala makes it and the Camry doesn,t?Yeah should be some good reading for next couple of days.

  • avatar

    Not a single Mitsubishi? For shame!
    I suppose they are so far off the radar that noone really cares..unless somehow the whole company gets a pass due to the Evo.

    Also shouldnt it be Compass/Caliber?

    Vote once, vote often…

  • avatar
    Jon Furst

    Having not driven or even sat in many of the 20 finalists, I will refrain from voting, and I hope others in my situation will do the same.

    To be honest, I’m not even sure why RF put voting criteria in the post above, because this is going to end up an ugly car contest, or an “it’s-cool-to-hate-GM-cars” contest.

    Also, any list without Kia’s awful Amanti and Hyundai’s utterly worthless Tiburon is not a list of the Ten Worst Automobiles Today.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    u folks are too f’n much

  • avatar
    saleenstang

    alot of those cars dont seem that bad the subarus definatly should be there but not all the cars are bad

  • avatar
    Hutton

    Camry or no Camry, the Impala is a disaster, that’s why it was included. Do you guys actually think the Impala doesn’t belong on the list? Haven’t you ever rented one?

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I will admit to driving the Subie Trucklet, Saab97, Impala SS, JagX, Cobalt ss(lower case mine), Navigator and Aveo. None deserves this ranking. The Jag was decent, with a superior interior, the Cobalt way more car for the $$ than you would expect ( at true transactional $$) etc., etc. These are not the holy grail an auto engineer would aspire to, but each in their real world price range is competitive. I think that people paying $4-5K premium for an Accord or Camry over an Impala or Malibu need their next CAT scan free. Stats show that at 39-44 month trade intervals, that would buy the gas for operation. So, I vote for the Rendezvous, reluctantly, and only because it is so damn ugly.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I agree that Nissans are ugly, but they do very well as the “excitement” arm of the Japanese invasion. They just take everything the others do and add 20hp. Profit.

    Kias aren’t great cars if you’re comparing them to average, mid-$20s cars…but if I were shopping under $15k right now, they’d be at, or near, the top of the list.

    The new Camry may be ugly to some (I’m indifferent), but the Impala is the ultimate, bland, camel-committee vehicle in every possible way. At least the Camry TRIES. The Impala is basically everything the Camry was 5-10 years ago. I’ve rented them a few times. GM today is doing a terrific job competing with GM from 5 years ago, but not so hot when compared to the real competition.

    VW? All their new models are getting good reviews. I HATE the styling (longtime VW owner), but it’s good for business and the market seems to be loving it, too.

  • avatar
    airglow


    Hutton Wrote:

    Camry or no Camry, the Impala is a disaster, that’s why it was included. Do you guys actually think the Impala doesn’t belong on the list? Haven’t you ever rented one?

    I’ve rented many Impalas, a very innocuous, large FWD sedan. The Impala is certainly not a “bad” car. It is similar to the Camry, which I’ve also rented. The problem with the Camry is that giant wart/tumor/zit on top of the grill in addition to all the weird lines, angles and swirls on the car. I think Toyota hired the old Hyundai styling department to work on the new Camry.

  • avatar
    airglow

    ash78:
    VW? All their new models are getting good reviews. I HATE the styling (longtime VW owner), but it’s good for business and the market seems to be loving it, too.

    I included VW for one reason, PRICE. Every car they sell in the US is insanely overpriced.

    “Come on down to your local VW dealer and fold yourself into the world’s best compact, for the price of all of our competitors full size cars!”

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yes Mr Hutton I have rented them I have seen them assembled I have seen them crushed and crash tested.
    The Impala is the best vehicle GM has made in years and will
    beat Camry in every aspect.

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    It would be helpful to know what form the voting takes. Do we vote for one, vote for up to ten or rank up to ten?

  • avatar

    Vote for ten vehicles on the list.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Seriously no Aztek. That was going to be my vote

  • avatar
    Hutton

    Mikey: The Impala is the best vehicle GM has made in years

    Hence, deathwatch.

  • avatar
    SS3

    The Saturn Ion should not be teamed up with the Cobalt/G5. The Ion is distinct enough to be on it’s own – suicide doors on coupe, dashboard design, etc.

    The Impala should NOT be on this list at all, it deserves the Camry treatment. It is not a car I want to own, but it is selling well and it meets a need (modestly priced large car) in the marketplace.

  • avatar

    Guys, the list is what it is. We voted for the cars to be on it and the editors of the site made their decisions based off what we had to say. It’s not going to change so quit bitching about it and vote.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    SS3: Good call — the dash on the Ion is so bad, that if the car was otherwise perfect, I would still vote it a TWAT.

    Sadly for Saturn, that’s not even the worst part about the Ion.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    this is one of the funniest things i’ve ever read about cars, much less participated in. Thank you, i am greatly amused.

    The fact that there is great confusion and angst is even more hysterical. The great seriousness that alot of folks seem to have about it, all the self righteous sword waving about a favorite brand, now dissed into infamy.

    this is so much fun!

  • avatar
    tms1999

    It’s not about how well the car sells or how successful it is with soccer moms/small wee wee dads. It’s about the cars that deserves the title of worst car of the year.

    And think of this exercise as having as much relevance as all those magazine “best car of the year”.

    The 1997 malibu was “car of the year” of some sort. If you don’t agree it was the worst car of the year you should consider reviewing your value system.

    The list contains alot of huge numb gas guzzlers. That makes me happy. Hope the Escalade wins!

  • avatar
    jazbo123

    75-80% domestic. It seems that they actually do know a country of origin.

    Think I’ll abstain. Auto elitism is not something I want to participate in.

  • avatar

    Some of you guys need to lighten up.

  • avatar
    confused1096

    I don’t agree with the whole list but some of ‘em are pretty bad. Just vote you opinion, to each thier own, after all. Heck, I’m one of about 4 people in America that thinks the Aztek looks good…

  • avatar
    jaje

    Jeep Compass is my vote.

    Market segment suitability/competitiveness – CDX Sells out the Jeep name. In fact the Caliber is such a ho hum Neon Wagon as a Dodge and just warmly works it over to sell as a Jeep. This Jeep CUV just stabs Jeep’s heritage in the back and is the start of blurring Jeeps image. In fact Business Week gave it a 1/2 star rating.

    Reliability/Safety – the Caliber/Compass is too new really to get a good gauge, but it’s predecessor the Neon was abysmal in reliability. Wonder why the Neon disappeared after selling so well. No repeat business!

    Performance/handling – the 2.4 liter with 172hp sounds good until you hear that tractor engine start up and get the most power soaked up by a poor CVT transmission – this thing is slower than 109 hp econoboxes and it is supposed to be an R/T model (same engine/drivetrain from the Caliber R/T).

    Design – Very minimal changes from it’s Caliber foundation.

    Desirability – None at all…Jeep is becoming sysnonymous with Cheap and this all but starts the downward spiral to oblivion.

    Note: The Chryshler Asspen was a close 2nd…a blingy rebadged Durango (sorry DCX but you missed this rapper movement 5 years ago). Welcome to the late 90′s!

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    I hope GM is paying attention, there are no less than 9 entries on the TWAT list not including derivatives. That’s a lot of negativity. I am not sure the Impala deserves the rap but if it trully is the best car GM has made in years, then all I can say is God help GM because it is fast getting to the point where only God Himself can save them.

    $0.02 worth.

  • avatar
    Teds

    I was given a stripper model of a white plastic ION the other day from Hertz… I had reqested a Mazda 5 with Sat Radio for a 4 hour driving day… No substitutions were possible and I almost cried.

    I haven’t actually driven a lot of these cars but it is pretty easy to use the other criteria to make some judgements.

    The only one I have any real issue with including is the Baja, sure it’s a useless ugly variant, but the Outback it’s based on is a great car. That should count for something.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    Hutton to Mikey: The Impala is the best vehicle GM has made in years

    Hence, deathwatch.

    Ouch!

    …but he has a point.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    If the Impala is on this list, shouldn’t the Grand Prix be on the list as well? Pontiac’s W-body is a much, much more egregious offense. It’s way uglier than the Impala and the interior quality is even worse. So how about making the Impala option Impala / Grand Prix / LaCrosse in honor of the horror of all of the surviving W-bodies?

    As bad as some of the cars on this list are, there are some true TWATs that got overlooked here. If market suitability is our metric, is the Suzuki Reno suitable for any market?

  • avatar

    In case you guys didn’t notice, the Compass is now stand alone, so not all platform mates will be mentioned.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    Mikey:

    The market votes with their wallets. Based on sales and resale values, the Impala is not competitive.

    As for the Reno, Tiburon, etc., first a car has to be noticed to be nominated.

    I suspect the folks who come here don’t have such cars on their radars.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Infiniti QX is definitly on the top of the list, I could not believe the bean counters/marketing dept actually think people will buy that POS for the price, come on, at least put some nice sheet metal on it.

    Baja is also a bad one, too ugly, too small of a bed as a pickup, and too small of a cabin space as a wagon. Why not just get a crew cab pickup and san the 4wd?

  • avatar
    TreyV

    Not really sure where the Baja hate comes from. It’s such a niche-y, low volume car and underneath is the perfectly capable legacy/forester platform, why waste a TWAT voting slot on it? They barely advertise the thing.

    The Tribeca, on the other hand, is indeed a “throw up in your mouth”. So agrees me the twice in a row Subaru owner.

  • avatar
    SS3

    Zarba – the Impala has been in the Top 10 in vehicles sales in 2006, it’s the 6th best selling car in the U.S.A. And that’s despite reduced fleet sales. AND it’s built in the highest quality manufacturing facility in North America (Oshawa, Ontario).

    Nope, the Impala should not be on this list.

  • avatar
    Luther

    Hey Robert, how about a TWAT-like award for the worst automobile manufacturer website. Just a thought. I vote for http://www.vw.com

  • avatar
    artsy5347

    I almost keeled over when I saw the QX56 on this list. If anyone has ever driven that vehicle they’d understand that it is one of the best executed large SUV ever, if that’s your cup of high test.

    Likewise the Tribeca is Gawdaful ugly, but it’s a very nice vehicle. The Escalade is just anti-SUV backlash, while the Navigator really is a POS from a build standpoint.

    The Ranger is the true dinosaur on this list and the Jeep Commander wins the what were they thinking award now that the Aztek is gone.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Tough call but I’d have to vote for the Hummer H2 as it scores for being a re-badged last generation Tahoe, has lousy build quality inside and out, has the driver visibility of a tank, drinks like fish and cost $50K – now that is a major TWAT.

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    a FWD V8 Impala SHOULD be on this list……that alone makes it a TWAT. What would you be saying if the Mustang GT was FWD? or the 300C/Charger/Magnum??? they would neer have been a success. IF GM would have put the drive wheels in the bak they would have had a HUGE hit….but….they didnt

  • avatar
    Zarba

    SS3:

    They sold a lot of Vegas, too. Doesn’t make it a good car.

    See resale value of the Impala vs. Accord or Camry.

  • avatar
    SS3

    Zarba;

    Your criteria, not mine: “Based on sales and resale … the Impala is not competitive.”. Based on sales the Impala is very competitive.

    I am not sure about resale values on the 2006, I have been told (by persons in the business) that the traditional Impala residual values are improving.

    Nope, the 2006 Impala should not be on the list.

  • avatar
    f8

    I’m not entirely sure I understand why Subaru’s solid, yet misunderstood (and therefore poorly selling) Baja made the list, while the awful Kia Amanti did not. I mean, Baja isn’t a looker, but Amanti in my opinion would fail on all the listed criteria.

    I’m also not sure about the Ranger/B-series nomination – are they really that awful? They don’t really stand out in their design or capabilities and seem like perfectly average small trucks.

    Anyway, I voted, and it’s a good thing that Lincoln’s Mark LT was there to make my 10th selection easy. From what I’ve seen around here, it seems to be going the way of the Blackwood (anyone remember Blackwood? anyone?)

  • avatar
    stormj

    The H2.

    It displays as much disdain for the environment as the Prius displays pomposity and pride in caring for it. Virtually no one who owns one owns it for any legitimate reason. Other SUVs perform better off-road. Other cars and SUVs are more luxurious on the inside, have better engines, and more exciting features.

    No, the only reason one owns this hideous space is the schoolyard bully-like pride one gets in taking two parking spots and looking “bad.” It isn’t even a testosterone mobile, like a raised pickup, or a mid-life insecurity vehicle, like a Corvette. It is just a tribute to the low-mindedness that all of us wish we left behind in kindergarten but know is with us til the grave.

    People my age will be shaking our heads and beginning sentences with “those were different times” when we try to explain the H2 to our grandchildren.

    My suggestion is that if you want to parade around like a rooster ruling his roost, get some feathers, and if you want to play army man, sign up–they can use the extra help.

    Hopefully, Karma will provide each and every current H2 owner with a Kia for their next car, and will provide us with all the scadenfreude we can handle as we chuckle at the terrible repair records of this shitbeasts.

    Definitely, definetly: the H2.

  • avatar
    f8

    Here’s what I mean about Kia Amanti (I know,it’s not on the list):

    Market segment suitability/competitiveness

    A “luxury sedan” that starts at $28,675 (according to Kia’s site) that has to go against cars like Infiniti’s G35. It does not do anything that it’s slightly higher priced competitors can’t do much much better. For less than $3K extra, you’ll get a G35 with 280hp, much better looks, interior
    quality, overall reliability, and resale value. And you won’t be embarrassed to tell your coworkers that you drive a Kia.

    Reliability/Safety

    It’s a Kia.

    Build quality

    It’s a Kia.

    Quality of materials

    It’s a Kia.

    Styling

    A horrible combination of a blatantly copied Mercedes front and generic late 1990s car design. Please refer to this image: http://www.kia.com/amanti/images/amanti1-1024.jpg

    Performance/handling

    Kia manages to squeeze a thundering 200 hp out of its 3.5 liter V6. For comparison, the G35 manages to produce 280 hp from its 3.5 V6. G35 is also RWD, while Amanti is FWD. The price difference between the cheapest G35 and Amanti is just $2775. Also, Kia has 16 inch wheels, while G35 comes with 17s

    Design

    Awful – the aforementioned faux-Mercedes front (which is reason enough on its own) is bad enough, but the car looks like it could have been made in 1996. There are no modern styling cues present anywhere in its sheetmetal. The interior looks very dated as well, especially the stereo – (warning-huge image) http://www.kiamedia.com/secure/images/amanti2004/2004amantisema11.jpg

    Desirability

    It’s a Kia. When has a Kia been desirable?

    Je ne sais quoi Does the vehicle have that certain “something” that makes you throw up in your mouth a little when you see one drive by? Should it be sent to the crusher on general principles?

    Yes. Come on – just look at that thing

  • avatar
    dgduris

    I don’t believe that cars which are no-longer manufactured, ie., which the manufacturer has pre-ordained a TWAT, should be included.

    So the Crossfire goes and the Baja goes….what else?

    There is plenty of GM crap left to pick 10.

  • avatar

    >>Camry or no Camry, the Impala is a disaster, that’s why it was included. Do you guys actually think the Impala doesn’t belong on the list? Haven’t you ever rented one?

    I rented one which I drove for a couple of K miles. While it’s not particularly exciting, it was quite decent. The only way it’s a disaster is when the styling is compared to impalas of the late ’50s and early to mid-60s.

    >>SS3: Good call — the dash on the Ion is so bad, that if the car was otherwise perfect, I would still vote it a TWAT.

    >>>Jonny Lieberman:
    Sadly for Saturn, that’s not even the worst part about the Ion.

    If there were an award for entire brands, I’d give it to Saturn for the way GM dumbed down the original concept and car. No wonder GM is on death watch.

  • avatar

    Love the Pinto photo at the top.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    The Crossfire is on hiatus, as there were no 2006 models made for the US, with hopes that they would sell out the 2005′s and bring in 2007.

    I see that Baja has been discontinued in favor of … Camry (da dum dum).

  • avatar
    DrVali

    Seriously, no Kia on the list?

    Kia is advertising buy-one get-one free. That’s beyond Big 2.5 Fire-Sale desperation. BOGO deals are for coupon-clipping grocery shoppers, not automobiles.

    This list will be much better next year if you do a TWAT for each segment over 10 months next year and then pick the worst from that list.

  • avatar

    Can I nominate the Porsche Panamera for next year’s award? Autoblog.com has a link to some pics and I must say, this thing is hideous to my eyes. First the Cayenne, now THIS. Frightening. As it stands, the worst car on the road today is Chevy’s Aveo, no question.

  • avatar
    robbe

    Are you kidding me …

    how about a Ten Worst Ten Worst Automobiles Today Nomination Lists (TWTWATNL)

    back in the day, 50% just was not a good score

    this list just got my vote

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    With a name like Aspen, I dare somebody to not vote this car to the list. What’s next, another 70′s revival with grand names like Pinto, Vega, and another crack at the Mustang II?

  • avatar
    nweaver

    The Impala sells well for two reasons:

    Its a big MoFo, and GM almost gives em away.

    To start with, the Impala does have “value”, read “cheapness”, its the size of an Avalon, but with the price of a 4-banger Camry. This is useful to a lot of people.

    But GM does that one-more. The camry? No special offers on the 06 or 07 right now. Impala is $1500 cash back on the 2007 model! A stripped 07 Impala is less than $20k!

    Lets say that again. The bigger Impala, with a bigger engine, is less than the camry!

    And thats even BEFORE you start haggling down the dealer. Haggle on a Camry, you’ll get laughed at. Haggle on an Impala?

    I supect that even if GM had Toyota’s labor cost, the profit per Impala would be less than the profit per Camry, by a large margin.

    I’m not sure if its a TWAT, its boring, bland, and the like. I’ll never willingly drive one ($5/day upgrade to be in a 300 touring instead? Sure, Mr Enterprise person!), and I’ll never willingly drive (or buy) a Camry either.

    But if the Impala was the same price as the size competition (Avalon), nobody would touch it. Its like a Hyundai Elantra: it sells because it is cheap, and it feels it.

  • avatar
    f8

    I just dont get it… where are all the poor crap boxes? no honda’s or toyota’s ? ? ? ?

    Hahaha

    Go ahead, try to fit a Honda or Toyota into the criteria set from the article

  • avatar
    Campisi

    From where I’m standing, the Impala and the Camry either deserve or don’t deserve to be on this list for the exact same reasons. Therefore, either they both go on there, or they both don’t; anything else would be favoritism.

  • avatar
    OlympicTorch

    Sorry, I don’t agree. The Camry is a comfortable, semi-lugurious family sedan. It’s vanilla. Very well done vanilla. Really ugly vanilla, but vanilla nonetheless.

    The Impala is just plain horrid. cheap on the inside, cheap-looking on the outside, clunky, inefficient engine (the Camry has 268 horses vs the Impala’s 211, both sporting same sized 3.5 liter engines – see, bigger isn’t always better) and abysmal handling. Yes, the Camry wasn’t made for going on winding mountain roads, but at least you feel like you can survive them.

    But despite all this, I have to put my vote in for the Monte Carlo as the number one TWAT of the year. There’s no reason to buy one. It’s a sporty coupe that weighs as much as my SUV, with lifeless steering, spongy suspension, and an interior that looks like it was taken strait from a 20yr old Hyundai. And the SS model (With 303 horses out of a 5.3, great job!) pouring all of that horsepower through the front wheels, you’re going to get nothing but catastrophic understeer every time. That’s just the final touch to one of the worst driving packages ever. Face it: the RX-8, Mazdaspeed6, WRX, Civic Si, Golf GTi, Mustang, Charger, hell even the new Eclipse, or even GM’s discontinued GTO would make a far better, saner choice than either the half Monte or the full Monte. There’s just no reason to get it. And for GM to build this monstrosity and then pass it off as a sporty coupe is a personal insult to every driving enthusiast in the country.

  • avatar

    Gentlemen,

    The stated policy of this website is, has been and always will be that we will not tolerate accusations of anti-domestic bias against the site or its writers.

    If you feel strongly on this issue, you are free to email your objections to robertfarago@thetruthaboutcars.com for a private discussion.

    You are also free to attack, defend or dismiss any automobile or manufacturer you choose using rational argument and civilized discussion.

    But I will NOT tolerate trolling, baiting or flaming of TTAC, its writers or commentators on this topic, or any other.

    Violators will be permanently banned from posting on TTAC.

    As for the methodology used to select this list of TWAT finalists, we have been transparent in our criteria and selection process from the start. Click on Editorials, then TWAT for all of our writings on this subject.

    Again, this will be a respectful forum for passionate opinions or it will not exist.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    TTAC: We’re equal opportunity haters, not biased at all!

    I submitted my votes yesterday, wishing I could choose more than 10. Anyone else inclined to do so?

  • avatar
    kablamo

    *sigh*

    Only 10 votes…

    I had selected more than 10 in the last, and had to remove a few. So disapointing…

    Note: Maybe it’s just me, but I wasn’t clear on where to go to vote at first. All I see is the tiny link as part of the text, it doesn’t stand out very much and is easily missed. I wouldn’t want that to keep participation down…

  • avatar
    murphysamber

    No matter what car or truck get’s chosen, I think it is safe to say that finishing second, third, or 130th in this contest is no mark of acceptance and praise. Unlike the Special Olypics, nobody gets to be a “winner” here. It’s just sad that the list of nominees was so long. I never would have imagined that there could be so many objectionable contenders sitting on a lot somewhere awaiting my love/money. So many duds overlooked; so many “God damn, WTF were they thinking?!” that I forgot about. And I’ve driven almost all of the vehicles on the list. A “perk” of the job if you want to call it that.

    I’m convinced that automotive design and execution are very much like politics. You are forced to choose the one who’s BS you like the most. And I supposed I’d be willing to over look an RS4 getting head from an intern every once in a while.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    The Camry did not make it as a finalist, and rightfully so. Also, there is now a clear set of criteria in terms of what is a TWAT. Thank you TTAC, my faith in this site has been restored once again!

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    From KIA’s Spectra 5 page:
    http://www.kia.com/spectra5/index.php

    The responsive 2.0-liter DOHC delivers more horsepower than the Toyota Matrix or Ford Focus*

    *Comparison based on MY04 models.

    WTF, mate?

  • avatar

    Write in votes:
    - Kia Amante.
    - Mitsubishi Lancer.

    For all the talk about Big 2.5 being a model cycle behind the competition, these 2 are the ugliest and most backward designs on the American road today.

    They both look like they’re from Pyongyang ca. 1995.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    I’m not convinced the Impala should be on this list. Still, that’s not so much an issue of biased writers as it is a problem of biased readers. I doubt the Impala is notably worse than the Ford Five Hundred (both of which are basically cars by Costco, I wouldn’t be surprised to see pairs of either plastic-wrapped to a pallet), which was barely brought up. Neither are great cars, but for the unwashed masses who use their cars for nothing more than commuting, they’re not terrible choices. But, there’s not much left to be done at this point besides just not voting for the damn thing.

    Can’t wait to see the results though.

  • avatar
    f8

    The responsive 2.0-liter DOHC delivers more horsepower than the Toyota Matrix or Ford Focus*

    *Comparison based on MY04 models.

    WTF, mate?

    Well, they’re technically correct

    Base Matrix – 126 hp

    Focus 2.0L – either 136 hp or 130 hp

    Kia Spectra – 138 hp

  • avatar
    Campisi

    The Impala is just plain horrid. cheap on the inside, cheap-looking on the outside, clunky, inefficient engine (the Camry has 268 horses vs the Impala’s 211, both sporting same sized 3.5 liter engines – see, bigger isn’t always better) and abysmal handling. Yes, the Camry wasn’t made for going on winding mountain roads, but at least you feel like you can survive them.

    The Impala’s interior may not be as good as the Camry’s, but the exterior (in my opinion, as are all comments on looks are the opinion of the one speaking them) is both vastly better looking and of a higher class cut. The engine is economical and only a modicum less smooth than the one in the Camry. If you want more power, you can opt for a larger V6 for the same price (after rebates and haggling) as the Camry’s base or go full-boar for the V8 in the SS for about the price of a similarly loaded and less-powerful Camry. Smoothness is identical in each 3.5l engine as far as the target buyer can tell, so that’s not a concern either. Handling is, well… less than adequate for my personal tastes in each car, but once again the target buyer doesn’t care about that. Overall, the lower price (and especially the lower transaction price) on the Impala is a fair trade for the slightly lower quality, and proves to be a major deal for those who cannot stand the decidedly more polarizing looks of the Camry.

    As I said earlier, the failings of each vehicle are almost identical in both identity and scope, as are most of their benefits. Due to this, it should either include or exclude both cars.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Campisi, you’re beating a dead horse. Feel free to continue to write in support of the Impala but the Camry is the clear winner and people are going to keep giving you excellent reasons why the Camry is the clear winner. Here are mine:

    For similar performance (not engine size, but performance), the Camry offers better fuel economy. For similar-sized engines, the Camry offers better fuel economy AND performance. OK – under some conditions, the DoD feature may yield better fuel economy than the Toyota V6 – but I’ll have to see it to believe it. For the thrifty, the Camry is available with one of Toyota’s economical and very good 4-bangers. I’ve driven an I-4 Camry recently, and it’s not a rocket ship but it’s easy to see why they sell. The I-4 Camry moves along smartly and offers terrific fuel economy for a car of that size.

    The Camry interior is close to luxurious. The Impala interior is not bad but it’s not near as nice.

    Yes, many say the Camry is ugly. Driving it, however, I don’t have to look at it. :-) And this is purely, PURELY subjective. I happen to think it looks OK. Others think it looks good.

    The Camry is probably considerably less expensive than the Impala. Yes, the initial purchase price may be higher (the list price is lower for the Camry but the dealers aren’t dealing like Chevy dealers) but you’re going to save money on fuel, repairs, and keep a higher percentage of your purchase price at trade-in time. My experience with GM and Ford is that fixing problems takes more than one trip to the dealer. Factor in the expense of your own time and the Camry leaps ahead again. Yeah, other customers’ dealer experiences may vary but that’s the experience I’ve had.

    Yes, you may object that GM has got its quality problems under control but I’m going to wait a few years before I agree with that judgement.

    Finally, there’s the intangibles. The Impala has a pushrod engine. Most every other manufacturer has gone to OHC/DOHC. The judgement of rest of the entire auto industry is that pushrods are history. What’s GM’s problem? And this is their newest engine family. Just a few years ago, they deliberately set out to introduce the engine of 1950 to the automobiles of the 21st Centry. What were they thinking?

    What’ the end result? Compared to Toyota’s engines, GM’s are nothing to write home about. The Toyota 3.5L yields 268hp. The General’s 3.5L offers 211. I’m also quite sure the performance difference goes beyond the numbers. I’m extremely pleased with how lively my 2.0L I-4 Toyotas are and I’m really impressed with how quickly my 3.0L V-6 Toyota minivan goes.

    The one feature that the General offers that Toyota doesn’t is DoD and they only put it in one motor – the thirstiest. They could have gotten as much or more improvement in fuel economy with a better transmission without resurrecting the specter of V-8-6-4-0. Honda does offer DoD, so the General doesn’t even have a unique offering there. I expect we’ll be seeing Toyota doing that, soon.

    And the tranny… Jeepers. Four-speeds are ancient history, too. Five is the new standard. This reminds me of how GM clung to the PowerGlide for so long (building both unnecessarily slow and thirsty cars).

    And then there’s the cachet – or lack of it – that comes from being part of the GM line. I know we’re supposed to rate each car on its own individual merits but Toyota builds 21st Century stuff and does it well. They’ve been selling a true hybrid here for 6 years (I know people that one the older ones and they’ve been trouble-free for all that time). The General’s hybrids are a bad joke. The Vue’s engine shuts off at stoplights. Oh. Wow. You know, I can do that with the vehicles I own now. And, in the Camry’s case, it’s not just the cachet from the rest of the product line, the Camry is available with its own hybrid drivetrain.

    And then, there’s the sheer ridiculousness of building a muscle car (the SS) on a front-drive platform. When you step on the gas, the REAR wheels should smoke. End of Story. Well, unless you have AWD. It’s permissible for ALL the wheels to smoke.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Heads up, poll has been linked by Autoblog. Any other sites linking to the TWAT06 contest so far?

    Is the Buick Rendevous Fan Club coming to defend their warmed over Aztek?

  • avatar
    mikey

    KixStart
    You make some good arguments Camry vs. Impala.But thats not what were here for.The Impala or the Camry does not belong on the TWAT list, but the Impala is and the Camry didn’t make the cut.OK fair enough I hope the Impala doesn’t make the final cut but if it does it does.
    Yesterday I drove to a Toyota dealership to take an objective look at a Camry The salesman was very helpfull even after I told him I had no intention of buying a car.
    He even complemented me on how nice I keep my 6yr old Grand Am [boy could some of the GM dealers take a lesson from this guy]
    I didn,t want to waste his time,so I declined an offered test drive.
    I have spent 35yrs in a car/truck plant [15 yrs in final finish] so I got a good idea what a new car is all about.
    Kixstart is right, interior has got the Impala beat, but not by much Fit and finish?The Impala is a clear winner you could debate this forever but there is no way the Camry is ahead on what we call percieved quality.
    Yeah subjective it is, but that Camry is butt ass ugly.Push rod vs OHC does the average buyer care?I,ve seen G.M. engines run 300k.Call it proven technolgy Don,t see too many Toyota taxis do you?
    Yeah the Camry is not bad for a Japanese car.but for my money take the Chevy.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    Hey – the wife and I are considering a Rendezvous – they are roomy, comfortable, quiet useful vehicles that are well built and come with huge discounts from the list price, and I could pay cash. Better yet, we’ll look for a year old used one at an even bigger discount.

    It may not satisfy the vain in life, but I could care less.

    That would be a Rendezvous for the wife, and a Grand Marquis for me – talk about two 40 year old nerdy white people!

  • avatar
    f8

    That would be a Rendezvous for the wife, and a Grand Marquis for me – talk about two 40 year old nerdy white people!

    No offense, but you guys are about 25 years too young to even consider either one of those vehicles :)

  • avatar
    f8

    mikey – Don,t see too many Toyota taxis do you?

    Around here in the Bay Area many taxis are old Crown Vics and Impalas (due to their low cost and since taxi drivers like to buy used police cars for their options), but quite a few taxis are 2-generation-old Camrys.

    Push rod vs OHC does the average buyer care?

    I care about gas mileage. Camry’s V6 is more powerful than Impala’s pushrod 6, yet more fuel efficient than Impala’s V8.

    Look – Camry SE has a V6 that puts out 268 hp, only 35 less than the Impala SS. The SS also gets 18 city, 27 hwy – less than SE’s 22/31.

    Yet Camry SE starts at $24,615, while Impala SS starts at $28,540. That’s a $4K difference – made up for by Chevy with rebates, deals, and promotions, because people have shown time and again that they will not buy a more expensive domestic car instead of a cheaper Camry.

  • avatar
    Stepjam

    So many haters. It would seem that any GM product is met with derision by the self-styled “enthusiasts” who populate this board in such great numbers.

    I own a 2006 Chevrolet Impala. Without going into any great detail which I know will be ignored by most, I’ll just say that I like the car very much. I like it even more today, and here’s why:

    Two days ago, while at a complete stop at a traffic light, I was rear ended…hard…by a twenty-something asshole who was “enthusiastically” driving a 2003 Honda Accord coupe. Apparently, he was looking down at his stereo while fiddling with the tuner. He didn’t even have time to brake, and hit me doing approximately 25-30 mph, based on the heavy traffic conditions at the time.

    He hit me so hard, he pushed me into the intersection, where I was struck again broadside by another motorist who fortunately did react, and braked enough to mitigate the impact.

    Damage? The Honda’s front end was basically demolished and it wasn’t driveable. The innattentive audiophile had to be helped from his car by EMT’s; his airbags saved him but beat him up a bit and he was put in a brace. His door was popped out of line and had to be forced with a Halligan. The person who hit me in the intersection (a 1998 Taurus) sutained some frontal damage, but nothing too severe. Her airbags also deployed and she was okay.

    Me? Well, the back bumper is destroyed, my quarterpanels are creased and the deck lid is pushed in. My front passenger door is pretty well banged up, and there is some damage to the frame. My front AND curtain airbags all deployed. Nothing but seatbelt burns and some jittery nerves.

    Oh, yeah…..my eight and ten year old sons were buckled up in the back seat. They’re just fine, if a bit shaken up

    The car is repairable, and I’m here to tell you that the damn thing is built like a TANK. That’s why people buy Chevies, and put their children in them. ‘Nuff said.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    1.- I rememeber when Impala SS’s were cool cars, or was i just young ans impressionable?

    2.- No one would buy a camry for its smashing good looks or its thrilling at the edge driving experience. Its comfort, reliability, lack of road noise, roominess, frugality, yes.

    Its not Alfa Romeo for heavens sakes.

    If people in this country cared more about beauty and thrilling driving then reliability, Alfa would still be here, and Toyota would be a memory.

  • avatar
    f8

    1.- I rememeber when Impala SS’s were cool cars, or was i just young ans impressionable?

    When they were RWD and had tons of power and actually looked cool.

  • avatar
    Ar-Pharazon

    Just my 2 cents worth . . .

    I see basically the same arguments being made for the Camry and against the Impala, and for the Impala and against the Camry . . . only by two different sets of people. Neither sounds like a particularly exciting car, nor a particularly bad cart. The major difference seems to be that the ‘in’ crowd likes the Camry . . . so it gets a buy (or probably more accurately the Impala gets the screw-job). I don’t think either should be on the list.

    Also . . . if this group is an alleged bunch of ‘enthusiasts’, why is everybody arguing about engine HP and not torque?

  • avatar
    mikey

    stepjam
    The good news is everybody survived the crash,even the kid in the Honda.Cars are built safer these days.Seat belts,air bags and well enginered cars.Nothing will compensate for the dummy behind the wheel.

  • avatar
    f8

    Also . . . if this group is an alleged bunch of ‘enthusiasts’, why is everybody arguing about engine HP and not torque?

    Because torque isn’t everything, and besides, we’re talking about FWD family sedans. We’re not really out to compare 0-60 and 1/4 times. People that get Camrys and Impalas don’t care much about that. Chevy doesn’t even list torque for the SS on their Impala page.

    Fuel mileage is more important, and for that matter, I find it pathetic that Chevy’s V6 only makes 233 hp to Camry’s 268, yet gets 20/29 mpg, while Camry gets 22/31. And that’s with Chevy’s Active Fuel Management that shuts off 3 cylinders – Impala shuts half its cylinders off on the highway and still gets worse mileage. If that’s not a testament to the benefits of new technology and superior engineering that separates Camry from Impala, I don’t know what is.

  • avatar
    Ar-Pharazon

    Still, this is not supposed to be the ‘Top Ten Cars That Compete With Camry But Are Not As Good’ contest. If you look at the criteria listed in the header to this article, the only one Impala possibly lacks is “Je ne sais quoi” . . . which is to say, it’s made by GM.

    And perhaps torque isn’t everything, but horsepower isn’t anything. HP is little more than a marketing number, and it’s odd that the people here would be bandying it around. Torque for the GM 3.5L is 214 ft-lbs, vs 245 for the Camry 3.5L.

    Looks like the FE difference is about 7% . . . I don’t see how that minor difference will differentiate a TWAT from ‘God’s gift to family cars’, anyway. I still agree with the ‘both, or neither’ crowd.

    I saw plenty of comments that said ‘if you include Camry, you’ll blow the credibility of this site’ or something similar. Frankly, including the Impala but not the Camry after the flurry of nominations and the lack of any real reason to put the Impala on does the same thing. Only in this case, it’s slamming a domestic car, which is obviously not seen as being outside the mission statement here.

  • avatar
    capdeblu

    I used to think the Cadillac Escalade was the most gross, vile auto on the road.

    And then it happened. I rode in one last week. It had a very pleasant and comfortable ride. The xm radio was great.

    When the chauffeur pulled up to the hotel I only wished someone besides homeless people would see me get out of this black beauty.

    BTW I didnt ask for this brand of car to be sent.

  • avatar
    foobeca

    And perhaps torque isn’t everything, but horsepower isn’t anything. HP is little more than a marketing number, and it’s odd that the people here would be bandying it around. Torque for the GM 3.5L is 214 ft-lbs, vs 245 for the Camry 3.5L.

    HP is very meaningful. It’s torque that isn’t. I can take my 36″ breaker bar and apply 200lbs of force on the end of it and get 600ft/lbs of torque. See, I’m stronger than both the Toyota and GM engine. Heck, I’m stronger than the LS7 engine. You should use me to power the car.

    HP is a function of rpm and torque. It’s basically how useful torque is. I can pull as hard has a LS7 engine, but I have only ~0.06% of the power of a LS7 engine. Power is how quickly work (acceleration) is done. A 4 banger putting out 150lbs of torque at 8000rpm does exactly the same amount of work (acceleration) as a V8 does putting out 300lbs of torque at 4000rpm.

  • avatar
    stretchps

    This is such a wonderful storyline. Hats off to TTAC for doing the most fun and most useful top ten list ever. What a hoot.

    It’s been too long since I traded my 240Z in on a (really nice) bicycle, and I guess the 19 Tauruses sucked most of the automotive soul out of me. What do I want from a car? Practicality, room, some style, but mostly resale value.

    I was just looking at Edmunds at resale values on many of the cars on this list. Using decidedly unscientific techniques, I saw some truly stunning values there. Among them, a 4 year old QX56 is worth about a third of the new value. There are quite a few models that come it at less than half the original value, including the Navigator, GMC minivans, and Rondezvous. I couldn’t help but look at the much discussed Camry – it’s about 75%. That makes me wonder about my methodology….

    I was away a few days and missed my chance to nominate for the final 20 TWATs my latest disaster – with car number 20 we got choice. I got a Freestar. It’s only for a year, how bad could it be? My wife’s Odyssey is pleasant. Mustang wasn’t on the list…. It’s aweful. Absolutely horrid. Maybe someday I could do a review of booster batteries for TTAC, based on my extensive experience. Resale value is about 40%. Feeling better about my methodology.

    I almost cried when I got my email today about number 21. This year I’m paying for the upgrade. Going with a 500. Hoohaa.

  • avatar
    artsy5347

    Oops – posted this in the wrong place.

    Robert – I think you should strike while the iron is hot and do the 10 worst cars of all time. TWCAT. It doesn’t have that naughty, “heh heh, he said TWAT, heh heh” ring to it, but it would set up a battle roayl between Audi 100LS, Chevy Vega, Triumph Stag, Renault Le Car et al.

    LET’S DO IT!!!!!

  • avatar
    Ar-Pharazon

    foobeca, your logic is flawed. HP in part influences the top speed a vehicle can achieve, but torque determines how quickly it can get going. This in turn determines the driveability. Using your example, we can also include 800 ft-lbs at 1500RPM. You find me one single person on this site who’d choose 150 ft-lbs/8000rpm over 800 ft-lbs/1500rpm and I’ll eat my hat.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India