It is time. You've nominated 136 candidates for The Truth About Cars' (TTAC) recently rechristened “Ten Worst Automobiles” awards. TTAC’s stable of underpaid and overeducated scribes surveyed the damage and did their duty: they've winnowed the roll call of automotive abominations down to the terrible twenty. Now it's your turn to tell the truth about cars. Go to the bottom of this post and vote for ten vehicles you consider worthy of public recognition as TTAC's Ten Worst for 2007.
Some Ten Worst nominees were as predictable as an episode of Scooby Do– and they would have got away with it too if it weren’t for those meddling pistonheads! A couple of choices seemed designed with TTAC's Ten Worst awards in mind. And here they are: the bad, the ugly, the worst of the worst.
Chevrolet TrailBlazer / GMC Envoy / Isuzu Ascender / Saab 9-7X (2006 Winner – 9-7X)
Chevy Aveo (2006 Winner)
Chevrolet Cobalt (2006 Nominee)
Chevrolet Monte Carlo (2006 Winner)
Chevrolet Uplander (2006 Winner)
Chrysler Aspen (2006 Winner)
Hummer H2 (2006 Nominee)
Jaguar X-type (2006 Nominee)
Jeep Commander (2006 Nominee)
Jeep Compass (2006 Winner)
Lincoln Mark LT (2006 Winner)
Pontiac Grand Prix
Subaru Tribeca (2006 Winner)
To assist you in your sacred duty, lend the Ten Worst selection process an air of legitimacy, amuse you and take us to the requisite 800 words, here are guidelines for assessing each finalist.
Value (price, content, depreciation) - Does it scream "RENTAL UNIT?" Would you be better off in the long run if you just tossed your money down a sewer grate rather than buying this vehicle?
Market segment suitability - How well does the Ten Worst finalist stack up against other vehicles in its class or price range? Is there any real justification for its existence– other than placating dealers or keeping a factory running to satisfy the terms of a UAW contract?
Reliability – When you hear someone talking about "Total Recall," do you think about Arnie's magnum opus or this car? Would you buy one only if you could unload it before the 50K mile mark? Would you let your teen-aged daughter drive one across town at 1 AM?
Build quality – Does the wiring look like a public service announcement for The Duct Tape Council? Can you see the panel gaps from low-Earth orbit? Was the trim applied by Salvador Dali after a three-day bender?
Quality of materials – Are the materials better suited for a city bus than a private vehicle? Would you rather touch a leper than a latch? Is the faux wood/aluminum/carbon fiber as convincing as Britney Spears speaking at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving convention?
Styling – Does it look like it was designed by three different blind people? In three different countries? Communicating via smoke signals? From a bong?
Performance/handling – Is the vehicle's zero to 60 performance best measured with a calendar? Does the hubbub under the hood have any correlation with forward motion? Does the car's cornering prowess bring to mind a rutting walrus?
Design – Are the ergonomics egregious? Is there less rearwards visibility than a 747? Is it a parts bin special bereft of anything remotely resembling "special?"
Desirability- If your company gave you this vehicle as a company car, would you consider changing jobs? If you had to drive one in public, would you pull a cap down over your face and assume the gansta slouch just to keep anyone from recognizing you?
Je ne sais quoi- That's French for "I know this car sucks, but I can't put my finger on the exact reason it makes me gag every time one passes on the street."
So, armed with these analytic tools, we place TTAC's Ten Worst in your capable hands. When you're ready, click at the bottom of this post and vote for up to 10 selections to be named the crème de la crap of the auto industry. (No repeat voting. Violators will be forced to drive the worst of The Worst for one week.) Please feel free to justify your decision and/or lobby your car-crazed cohorts below. Voting closes at midnight, Saturday 27 October. We'll announce the "winners" on November 1.
As always, RF, the entire TTAC team and I thank you for your participation. Although we use a light-hearted tone here, rest assured we understand the importance of naming and shaming the vehicles that bring dishonor to their manufacturers and disgrace our American roadways. And to those automakers whose products appear here, a message: the truth hurts. If your vehicle is on this list, regardless of short term gain, we urge you to do the right thing. For all of our sakes, it's time for the pain to stop.