By on December 12, 2008

You’ve seen the list of TTAC’s Ten Worst nominees and discussed their merits or lack thereof. Our crack team of freelance writers have surveyed your list of losers and narrowed it down, from 119 crapmobiles to 23. (There was a four-way tie for position 20.) Make the jump to savor the list of finalists. And then, the moment of truth. Click at the link at the bottom of this post to select your ten choices for TTAC’s Ten Worst Vehicles for 2008. [Multiple voting or clever geeky cheating will result in a permanent site ban.] Other than not buying these machines, this is your best chance to send their creators a simple message, as espoused by Roomful of Blues: “that will never do.”

Buick LaCrosse
Cadillac Escalade
Chevrolet TrailBlazer / GMC Envoy / Isuzu Ascender / Saab 9-7X (GMT-360)* **
Chevy Aveo* **
Chevy Cobalt/Pontiac G5
Chevy Colorado / GMC Canyon
Chrysler Aspen / Dodge Durango* **
Chrysler Sebring / Dodge Avenger*
Dodge Caliber
Dodge Nitro*
Hummer H2* **
Hummer H3 / H3T*
Jeep Commander
Jeep Compass* **
Kia Amanti
Lincoln Mark LT**
Pontiac Torrent
Saab 9-5
Scion xB
smart fortwo
Suzuki Forenza
Tesla Roadster
VW Routan

*2007 Ten Worst Winner
** 2006 Ten Worst Winner

This year’s choices range from the minuscule (smart fortwo) to the monstrous (Escalade, H2, Aspen/Durango). There’s high tech (Tesla), low tech (LaCrosse), no tech (Colorado/Canyon). Just to show that those who don’t learn from their mistakes are condemned to repeat them, every previous winner that’s still in production made it back for another round (save the Subaru Tribeca née B9). The Detroit Three seem to be getting their act together– or the competition is getting worse. This year marks the highest number of foreign nameplates in our third annual TTAC’s Ten Worst finals.

A couple of things about the list may catch your eye. First, the dismally Daewooian Chevy Aveo is listed, but the Pontiac G3 is nowhere to be found. That’s because the G3 won’t go on sale in the U.S. until spring of next year (if Pontiac lasts that long); it’s ineligible for this year’s award. Also, the Aspen/Durango Hybrids are combined with the rest of the Asparango lineup because they received about the same number of votes. Why choose between one or the other, when they’re both what the bull left in the barnyard?

The rest of the list is pretty straightforward. So which of these excrable vehicles deserve to be called TTAC’s Ten Worst of 2008? Click on the link below, jump to the poll and vote for your favorite (least favorite?) nominee. Voting closes at midnight EST Sunday, December 14th. The winners will be announced toward the end of the week. Thank you for your participation.

Vote here

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81 Comments on “TTAC’s Ten Worst Awards 2008: Voting Still Open...”

  • avatar
    John R

    Ten picks and no more is good. I wanted to vote for all of them, but it’s just enough to really think about what you’re doing.

  • avatar

    How can I choose only 10 among these loosers? What is Pontiac Torrent anyway?

  • avatar

    I couldn’t actually vote for ten; I could only manage seven from this list. Most of them were more mediocre than outright bile-inspiring. The LaCrosse fits in this category, for example.

    One note, though: I supposed the xB is holding down the “Most Disappointing New Product” category and thus would be the reason the TSX isn’t on the list. It certainly got enough initial nominations.

  • avatar

    I can’t believe the Prius didn’t make the list!

  • avatar

    What is Pontiac Torrent anyway?

    Pontiac-badged Chevy Equinox that’s selling so poorly they’re killing it to replace it with a GMC-badged small crossover.

  • avatar

    Great list, there were probably only six of them that I didn’t want to vote for.

  • avatar


    as a very happy owner of a previous gen xB i agree, not happy with where toyota took the 2nd gen but not close to 10 worst either. If they had only given this one a different name they’d be much better off.

  • avatar
    red stick

    I had no trouble reaching ten, most of them the abysmal Chrysler products. But I also thought the list contained a few too many “simply mediocre” or “should have been updated” products. Honestly, you may not care for the LaCrosse, xB, or the 9-5, but they’re not, IMHO, outrageously bad cars deserving a 10 Worst award. Shoot, for the right price, I might even buy a V8 LaCrosse. My criteria was more along the lines of, as launched, was this an effective competitor in its class befitting the time and resources of a thoughtful auto manufacturer. And it was easy to look at the Nitro, Colorado, Commander, H2, and Caliber and say “No, No, No.”

  • avatar

    I tried to vote, but when I clicked the “vote” button, it took me back to the TTAC homepage. Your “multiple voting = site ban” has me scared to try again, though, Mr. Williams.

    The thing that shocked me (well, maybe “shocked” is too strong of a word) was that all my choices save for one (the xB) were either domestic (Sebring/Avenger, Aveo, Caliber, Cobalt/G5) or domestic-derived (Routan). Like psarhjinian, I found some (LaCrosse, GMT390s, Amanti) far less than offending enough to make my list…but unlike psarhjinian, I did manage to vote for 10.

  • avatar

    I agree with red stick, but I guess that’s why we’re voting :)

    I’m sad the TSX didn’t make it to the final list, Acura deserved to have one car on the list for missing the plot so much.

  • avatar

    I had no problem finding 10; try as I might to take a shot at the ruined xB, the best I could come up with is runner up for the Toyota.

    1. Cadillac Escalade
    2. Chevy Aveo* **
    3. Chevy Cobalt/Pontiac G5
    4. Chrysler Sebring / Dodge Avenger*
    5. Dodge Nitro*
    6. Hummer H2* **
    7. Hummer H3 / H3T*
    8. Jeep Commander
    9. Lincoln Mark LT**
    10. Pontiac Torrent

    GM’s overrepresentation suggests they deserve a special TTAC Manufacturer’s honor.

  • avatar

    Jeep Compass – The new interior is a step in the right direction, but when you have the Patriot sitting there looking better AND costing less, what’s the point? This thing should’ve never made it out of the gate.

    Scion xB – I wouldn’t list it otherwise, but they took a formula for a good car and just plain ruined it. Proof that Toyota still struggles to build emotional automobiles

    GMT-360’s – Worst driving dynamics ever. It’s like GM tried to make a (1st gen) Liberty and failed. And then they went and made 6 copies of it? WHAT?! (Buick Rainier and Oldsmobile Bravada are 5 and 6)

    Hummer H2 – I seriously didn’t know they still made this piece of crap. Huge, unwieldy, gas sucking, false image of safety. I actually get angry every time I see one of these.

    Hummer H3 – I applaud GM for making every aspect of this vehicle terrible. It’s truly a wonder how this vehicle fails at everything. Don’t give me that offroading bull, if you were serious about offroading you’d go buy a Wrangler.

    Dodge Nitro – Has no reason to exist. It’s just a less-capable Liberty. What’s the point of that? Besides, if Chrysler was smart they’d can it so they could apply more of their limited 4.0L V6 capacity to the minivans.

    VW Routan – I’m sure Chrysler is loving the free money, but seriously VW what were you thinking. And German engineering? The Routan was engineered in the US and built in Canada. Yep. Real German.

    Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon – 5. Cylinder. Engine. Can we seriously get a good small pickup? The Ridgeline’s a fake. The Dakota is too big. The Ranger is too old. The Tacoma is too rusty. The Colorado/Canyon is just another half-hearted GM effort. What gives?

    Buick LaCrosse – Has anybody ever actually seen one of these on the road? When senior citizens go to get their cruiser, they either go for Lucernes or buy a real car. This product, with many others on this list, demonstrates all that is wrong with GM: no focus and little attention to detail.

    Tesla Roadster – I’m not nominating the car as much as the company. It’s really funny to watch a whole bunch of “smart people” absolutely fail at running a “wittle owld car company”

  • avatar

    I can’t vote for the Hummers just because I am tired of hearing about how they are bad vehicles because the owners don’t use them to their full potential or even for anything off-road. I don’t argue that they are the greatest things ever made, but I don’t think owners’ usage should be a knock on a vehicle.

    I know people who own Corvettes and have never been on a race track. Does that make the Corvette a bad car? Or Ferraris? Or Porsches? I agree that, for the vast majority of the population, Hummers are not really a practical choice, but that is a problem with the owner.

    I actually think the H3 and H3T are among the best bone-stock factory off-road vehicles out there along with the Wrangler Rubicon. Anything with lockers on the front and rear axles will get my vote.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    The recently discontinued GM CSV’s – Chevy Uplander, Pontiac SV6, et. al didn’t get a nom this year. Perhaps a trophy on the TWA Hall of Fame?

    BTW, a whopping 35 Durango/Aspen hybrids have sold so far.

  • avatar

    psarhjinian should not have nominated the 9-5. It is nice great, great engine, just a bit old. So sense in beating up on old people.

    Honestly, I’ve seen less than 1/4 of these vehicles on the roads in DC. I did see 2 saturn astras, and one Volvo c30, however.

  • avatar

    I have to agree with others that the xb is the most disappointing but is far from being a bad car. Actually I think for the room and reliability it is a tremendous value but looks so-so. The original xb was quirkily wonderful and if Toyota would have some guts and go quirky again they would sell more.

  • avatar

    * Caliber
    * Trailblazer & clones
    * Escalade
    * both Hummers
    * Aveo
    * Routan

    I’d like to vote specifically against including the Smart4two in the worst list. The slushbox stinks and it really needs a manual, but it is otherwise not such a bad car to drive, and would be amazingly practical in places like downtown Boston and Manhattan.

  • avatar

    I’d like to vote specifically against including the Smart4two in the worst list.

    I agree. I think the Smart suffers from a similar problem as the Hummer. It’s not practical for most people, so it’s a bad vehicle.

    For me, the Smart is a terrible choice. I have a wife and two kids with another on the way and I live in a rural community where much of my driving is on highways and open Farm Roads. For someone in a large city with no kids, it may be a great choice.

  • avatar

    Some real “winners” there. Is there a reason the Caliber/Compass are given separate line items while other related craptastic offerings are combined (such as Sebring/Avenger)?

    German automakers should know better. The Routan is frustrating – they could have rebadged any van made in Asia and been better off. Who knows what they were thinking. But it’s no worse than the Chrysler vans and has a better interior, so the inclusion isn’t entirely fair to VW when Chrysler’s are omitted (but I voted for it – the Caravan and T&C should have been on the list too).

    Irony must have been the goal with the profoundly dumb “smart” car. My Jetta TDI seats five comfortably, has 16 cu ft. of trunk space, can survive a collision and gets better mileage. It’s true it’s a niche car, but there are better solutions to fill the niche. Mercedes would be better off dumping the “smart” and bringing their magnificent and economical A class to America.

  • avatar

    The Nitro gets a vote for just being stupid looking. It’s not bold… it’s stupid and ugly and whoever approved the final design should have gotten stuck in one of GM’s elevators when they get shut down at night, even though Chrysler made it.

    I eff’ing hate that thing and everytime I see one I want to throw an empty bottle of beer at it. Just thinking about how stupid it looks makes me pissed off. Grrrr!

  • avatar

    This poll is interesting. Most “Ten Best” products would showcase breakthrough or timeless designs which are IMHO easier to identify. “Ten Worst” can mean so many things:

    – Bad design to begin with (Amanti, Forenza, Sebring)
    – Vehicles left to wither and die on the vine (GMT360)
    – Horrible build quality and driving dynamics (Sebring)
    – Outdated ideologies (politically wrong, like H2)
    – Limited appeal (Smart – only makes sense in markets like NYC or DC with tight parking)
    – Horrible branding (Aveo/Cobalt are acceptable by Chevy standards, but abominable as Pontiac G3/G5; SaaBlazer)
    – A total whiff by comparison of predecessor (xB)
    – Aimed at a market which TTAC’s B&B don’t represent (insincerity of an Escalade Hybrid)

    Makes it very difficult and definitely controversial. I was going to argue that platform-mates (badge-jobs) should not be grouped because some cars make sense while others don’t. However in a bitter twist of ironic justice – I suppose it’s fitting that all brother vehicles should suffer the wrath for their parent companies’ poor visions of branding and horrible executions of “platform sharing.”

    I await the final results.

  • avatar

    I tried to vote, but when I clicked the “vote” button, it took me back to the TTAC homepage. Your “multiple voting = site ban” has me scared to try again, though, Mr. Williams.

    It’s designed to take you back to the TTAC home page when you click on the “vote” button. Don’t worry, though. It registered your vote.

  • avatar

    I can’t believe the Prius didn’t make the list!

    I can. It’s not actually a bad car. In fact, it’s quite a good one, it’s just not an driving enthusiasts’ car.

    psarhjinian should not have nominated the 9-5. It is nice great, great engine, just a bit old. So sense in beating up on old people.

    I love Saab and I feel justified in nominating the poor bugger. It’s a decent enough car, but as a symbol of GM’s problems it’s perhaps the most poignant: it’s the flagship car for a luxury brand and GM has let it sit around on platform that debuted in 1995. This sort of treatment is shameful when it happens to mediocre piles like the Cavalier; when it the flagship of a luxury brand, it’s so stupid it’s actually surreal.

    And it wasn’t a premium chassis. It underpinned such luxury pillars as the Opel Vectra and Saturn L-Series. Chew on that: the L-Series actually got a new chassis before the 9-5 did.

    Step into a 2008 9-5 and you’ll find a lot of the same switchgear as the 1993 900. And it wasn’t great switchgear in 1993. That’s terrible. About the only redeeming feature of this car is the 2.3L Saab H engine, which, despite being about as old as the 9-5 itself, still cranks out more power and gets better mileage than the much-newer Ecotec that replaced it in the 9-3.

    And when they refreshed it, they actually made it uglier. The chrome eye makeup looks utterly tasteless. It was a dignified car; it’s a cartoon now, aping concepts like the Aero-X. Hey, speaking of the Aero-X, why not actually spend money and release a real car instead of whoring out concept after concept, year after year, with nothing to show for it. Oh, right, because that would require effort and planning. Let’s just rebadge a Trailblazer instead.

    Ford’s treatment of Volvo is practically gold-plated by comparison: they took the best of Volvo and integrated into Ford, but still pumped dollars–wasted, perhaps–into the original brand. At worst, Ford could be said to have pillaged Volvo. GM took everything special about Saab and flushed it down the toilet, learning nothing and infecting it with mediocrity.

    If you want a car that says it all about General Motors, here it is.

  • avatar

    I don’t think the Jeep Commander should be on the list. It’s actually a nice vehicle for someone that wants a somewhat bigger Jeep over the Grand Cherokee, with more of an older Jeep style.

    It’s problems were:
    1) That back seat should have had enough leg room for adults. The auto media would have had one less thing to kick it for!
    2) It hit the market as gas was going up in price.
    3) Although it looks different, it’s not enough of a change over a Grand Cherokee and therefore just stole Grand Cherokee sales. It should have been bigger (providing it hit the market earlier!) to compete against the large SUV’s.
    4) Plus, if it had a front solid-axle, the Jeep community would be all over it (which was just the issue Liberty had when it was released).

    Personally, I could have saw trading in my wife’s Liberty for a Commander HEMI with Quadratrac II, providing gas prices were stable.

  • avatar

    Buick LaCrosse – Has anybody ever actually seen one of these on the road? When senior citizens go to get their cruiser, they either go for Lucernes or buy a real car.

    I actually see a lot of them. They’re cheaper than the Lucerne, more reliable and about as capable. About the only problem with them is that they’re really quite ugly.

    But yes, they’re a phoned-in effort. They’re what you get at the rental counter when you ask for a “luxury car”.

  • avatar

    I voted for the Saab. Although not truely a bad car (few on the list are) it is just completely outclassed by everyone of its competitors. I also had to pull up a Google image just to remember what the 9-5 looks like. Then I instantly forgot.

    The GMT-360 is a rolling example of GMs ineptitude. Not only did they build a bad platform, but they badge engineered it for just about every marque, spreading out the misery.

    The Routan just makes it more obvious that VW should have developed the Microbus concept instead.

    The H2, Tesla, and Compass all deserve a star on the Ten Worst walk of fame.

  • avatar

    Some real “winners” there. Is there a reason the Caliber/Compass are given separate line items while other related craptastic offerings are combined (such as Sebring/Avenger)?

    Sebring/Avenger both aim for the same market so there’s little to differentiate them or indicate they should be separated.

    Caliber is a crappy little econobox. On the other hand, Compass is a crappy little econobox they’re trying to pass off as a Jeep. The brand dilution that results is enough for it to qualify a separate listing.

  • avatar

    Geez, even the narrowed down list has over 2 dozen contenders. Tough choices to be made here. And yes, there should be a manufacturers award.

    I am pleased that the LaCrosse made it. I used my informal dollar vs shitty calculation for this one. It is not an inexpensive car and, I staunchly maintain, its dash plastic is the worst in production today in terms of both colour and texture. In comparison my ice scraper looks like it is elegantly crafted from the finest materials.

  • avatar

    I don’t see the AWFUL, FUGLY new Craprolla in the list. Why?

    Scion xB, checked. A non sense car. The previous one looked cool… this one looks like a Corolla
    Commander, checked. This is fugly, only good thing is the Hemi… which should be offered in the Grand Cherokee down here.
    Aveo, checked
    Caliber, checked… someone please explain me why the Neon got changed by this.
    Avenger/Sebring… just for the sake of it :D

  • avatar
    John Horner

    A tough list to narrow down. For my voting I used this criteria: Which vehicles would I be most unhappy to get stuck with as a rental car on my next out-of-town trip. I broke my rule for one of the picks though: VW’s Routan. The idea of pitching a face lifted mediocre minivan as the product of German engineering is so revolting I had to vote for it. Well that, and I’m not about to get pregnant just to buy a car!

  • avatar

    I voted for the Lacrosse. I liked it when it came out but now it’s surpassed by Malibu/Aura
    Mark LT
    Torrent- too much of a copy
    smart- maybe it would be OK with a clutch
    can’t see voting for the GMT 360s as they are done anyway.
    I wouldn’t vote for the Forenza because it comes in a wagon. Lousy wagon is always > than good sedan.
    All the Chryslers are decent cars to me

  • avatar

    I can pick 6 easily, 9 with some thought, and I’ll flip a coin for the 10th…

    Cadillac Escalade (especially the hybrid)
    Chevrolet Aveo
    Chrysler Sebring
    Dodge Nirto
    Jeep Compass
    Lincoln Mark LT
    Scion xB
    Hummer H2
    Pontiac Torrent
    Saab 9-7x (a toss up with the Routan, but at least the Routan is somewhat decent looking)

    I don’t think the Smart car should have made the list – yes, it has its flaws, but I think many people are missing the point of the car – similar to what Autoblog did with its title of a recent article about the Tata Nano: “CAR drives Tata Nano, goes 60 mph in 17 seconds”

  • avatar

    How is the Escalade a bad vehicle? I certainly wouldn’t buy one, but from all accounts it drives well, it’s got a great engine, and the interior is decent.

    The smart is an overpriced piece of garbage that doesn’t make sense for anybody, whether or not they live in a city. I have yet to see a city (in North America at least) where the only advantage of driving a smart (the fact that it’s extremely easy to park) really makes that much of a difference. The money saved by buying a used Civic or Corolla can be used to pay for a LOT of parking

    The fact that I’ve been visting multiple car sites daily for years, yet still have no idea what a Suzuki Forenza is was enough for it to get my vote

  • avatar

    Since it seems to be a topic of conversation, I’ve gotta say that I’m gonna vote for the Saab. And I owned one (a 99 wagon) for 7 years. And I loved it… despite my fear that PVC issues and DI cassettes and oil sludging was going to blow it up, and despite that fact that it would occasionally leave my wife and (then infant) daughter driving in socal rush hour traffic with a sudden (and undiagnosable and unrepeatable) complete loss of power on multiple occasions (the reason it went away).

    I’ve never driven a car that was more comfortable and better at eating up highway miles at high speeds while returning 30 MPG loaded to the gills.

    But c’mon GM. That thing is so ancient, and the refresh made it so much less special. It really is emblematic of why GM has sucked so much for so long.

  • avatar
    bill h.

    To me, the Escalade is a perfect example of why the idea that Cadillac should be one of two or so GM nameplates to survive the upcoming corporate Goetterdaemmerung is total fantasy. Trying to make Caddy a credible luxury marque OUTside the US with only the CTS as a contender is pure B(L)S.

    And as a happy 2004 9-5 wagon owner, I can still understand the logic of putting it here as a big UYs to GM’s management. Delaying the new 9-5 to undertake diversions such as the 9-7X made me realize what moronity exists there at HQ.

    Hell, even the service advisor at my dealership (whom I’ve known for years) says they wouldn’t mind Saab getting away from GM. They saw the warranty and other corporate support going downhill after the complete takeover occurred.

  • avatar


    Have to second your “nod” to the 9-5, for the exact reasons you outline. It’s a shame, and if GM had respected (or been serious about) the brand’s luxury stature, they would never have let it happen.


    Voting was difficult, only ten votes, so many cars.

  • avatar

    So glad to see the Escalade on the list. Nothing else says “sucker” quite so loudly.

  • avatar

    So many choices and so few votes.

    RF, I used to live in Chicago, doesn’t that entitle me to vote at least one more time?

  • avatar

    I can’t believe the Prius didn’t make the list!

    But the quintessential enviro anti-christ chariots made it. Shock and surprise huh? There is a limit to the amount of political incorrectness that can be allowed…

  • avatar

    I would have put the Compass and Caliber together.

    Hope the dumb (smart) makes the finals. Anything that small and slow should be showing 2500lb, 5 pass. cars that can do 0-60 sub 10sec a BIG mpg gap. And after 10 years the transmission still sucks.
    It’s OK to make a unique, cute toy. I’m cool with that.
    But making it a lousy toy…it belongs.

    Imagine this list when GM and Cryslur are gone.


  • avatar

    So, Where’s the BMW X6? That vehicle is more stupid than any attempt of anything at all…

  • avatar

    But the quintessential enviro anti-christ chariots made it. Shock and surprise huh? There is a limit to the amount of political incorrectness that can be allowed…

    Oh, boo hoo hoo. Pity the poor, oppressed Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. It must be a conspiracy, because TTAC is such a hotbed of liberal, green-tinted ideology.

    So, Where’s the BMW X6? That vehicle is more stupid than any attempt of anything at all…

    Good question. That’s–along with the new TSX–another one I would have expected to see but didn’t. In lieu of the Commander and Lacrosse, at least.

  • avatar

    Holy eff, the Mark LT is still for sale? Wow, I thought it was canceled last year.

    Ditto for the GMT360’s, that overly long, poorly proportioned chassis looks like an SUV from the early 90’s and performs like one too. With the Explorer’s epic decline, can they be selling 100K/year of the entire lineup combined? Hard decisions made, indeed.

    WTF is a Pontiac Torrent?

    I am disappointed at the omission of the Flex, though. It is such a spectacular flop, I don’t see how it avoided this list. I guess if a vehicle flops in the market, but no one knows it exists, it doesn’t make a sound?

  • avatar
    Dave Ruddell

    I’d like to join in with the support for the inclusion of the smart on this list. I’m in the target market (no kids, live in downtown Toronto) and I just think that this car is pointless. Maybe if it were substantially cheaper, and got far better mileage it would serve it’s purpose. But given the alterantives, the only real plus is that it’s easy to park.

  • avatar

    I had to vote for the Smart. It’s a terrible car because it makes no sense. You can’t carry home a passenger after making a run to Subway for $5 footlongs. For those that justify the thing in cities where parking is tight (NYC, etc.) there is more often than not an excellent metro/subway that nullifies the need for a car. It just makes no sense when its competition (Honda Fit) is so much better.

    Also voted for the Commander. The only “large SUV” thing it’s good at is horrible fuel economy. A right sized SUV that isn’t like the tanks that the Suburban or Expedition are would be nice if it had some good MPG’s behind it. If the economy is the same I’ll go for the larger size of the competition thank you very much. Another stupid move by Jeep.

    Had a couple votes for badge engineering nightmares – the Trailbazer family and the Routan. May they both die in a fire.

    Rounding out my picks were the obvious choices from Chrysler. Best hopes congress does not spend my tax dollars on more Sebrings, Nitros and Compass’.

  • avatar

    Also, gotta go with the Tesla, a supercar that uses 2 refrigerators worth of energy just to sit in your garage, has way too much weight for its size and add lightness chassis, and requires not rich me to give away my hard earned dollars to help its super-rich and powerful customers to be able to buy it.

  • avatar

    I am disappointed at the omission of the Flex, though. It is such a spectacular flop, I don’t see how it avoided this list. I guess if a vehicle flops in the market, but no one knows it exists, it doesn’t make a sound?

    Well, again we have another “Not really a bad car” case. The Flex was badly timed and terribly marketed, but had a lot to recommend it otherwise. Were it a year earlier or stewarded by more astute marketers it would have done far better.

    The whole D3 line is like this. They’re really good cars, just somewhat unexciting and saddled with terminally bad marketing. The GM W-Body cars, for example, outsell them despite being far, far worse cars in the holistic sense. If I could, I’d nominate Ford for The Worst Automobile Advertising.

    You want a disappointing crossover? Have a seat in the new Pilot. I wouldn’t have minded seeing it on this list, if the xB and TSX weren’t better examples of how not to refresh a car.

  • avatar

    Chevrolet TrailBlazer – My father owns one, its made 14 trips to the dealer within the first two years of ownership. He finally fixed a rattle due to lose brake lines under the driver’s seat that nobody else could track down. The interior has “Fisher Price” written all over it. When I first starting reading this site I thought people were overly critical of GM’s interiors, but one look inside a TrailBlazer changed my mind.

    Chrysler Aspen – Why oh why does this exist? They should have just put 4WD, a chrome push bar (complete with KC lights) and a lift-kit on a Dodge Magnum and been done with it.

    Chrysler Sebring – Ugly with a capital UGH! The queen of the fleet queens.

    Dodge Nitro – I think this vehicle holds the title of “worst rated” by Consumer Reports… and for good reason. Every time I see one on the road I want to smack the owner, clearly they did ZERO research on their choice of transportation.

    VW Routan – #1 with a bullet. Pay the VW premium to own a Chrysler? Oh my! Not to mention the WORST advertising campaign in history (new mom = new VeeDub owner? Huh?). These ads make Toyota’s “Saved by Zero” look an Oscar winner in comparison.

    The other vehicles on the list I’d consider below average but they do serve a purpose or atleast attempt to… even the Hummers and the tiny Smart have a place in the market. Maybe I’m crazy but I like the new xB, the previous one looked like it was a cartoon drawn on a cardboard box. And just because they can’t make the Tesla or figure out how far it goes on charge doesn’t make it a “worst”, in fact some might say its actually the best all electric car made right now.

  • avatar

    @ psarhjinian;

    Hey, I agree with everything you say, but it still doesn’t add up.

    You want an indictment of GM’s criminal negligence of SAAB? Besides not understanding it was an acronym, what about not being able to move to SID back to the main dashboard in the new 9-3? The 9-7? The 9-2? There is a whole menu to choose from. But my basic point is nominating (or voting) for a car because of what it represents, rather than what it is, isn’t kosher.

    Your specific problems with the 9-5:

    1. Outdated chassis
    2. Interior looks like it is from 1993: No, it doesn’t. It looks as if it is from 98 or so. I had a early 90s 9000 and the interior is very different.
    3. Ugly metal outside. Well, it is a matter of taste. I agree with you, but that is more the style.
    4. Funny looking projectors: Well, I’d rather have projectors than not.

    None of that ends up being a ten-worst. What GM did to SAAB — yes, one of the dumbest rapes in automotive history. The 9-5 – the last bastard child of a once innovative company — not a ten worst car being sold today.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    @JMII: CR has worse vehicle ratings, but the Nitro is unique in that under the “What’s Good” category, they say “Not much”

  • avatar

    Well, lets see here…
    Aveo – small cars don’t have to be crappy
    Colorado/Canyon – nothing like the S10 that it replaced and overpriced… a loaded crew cab Z71 puts you in a nicely equipped fullsize
    Caliber – they replaced the Neon with this?
    H3/H3T – Hummer mania at it’s saddest…
    Commander – too close in size to the Cherokee… if the Cherokee was smaller and it was called “Wagoneer” maybe, but does Jeep need another SUV? Really?
    Compass – Why? Jeep didn’t need this
    Amanti – Hey, Kia, you aren’t fooling anyone
    smart fortwo – simply overpriced for what it is
    Tesla – nominating the company just as much as the car, lets work on a viable electric car before we bother with electric sports cars
    Scion xB – I was never really a fan of the first one, but Toyota screwed the pooch by making the new one larger. Not really a bad car but sends a strong message if their bloated xB makes a Ten Worst list for the right reasons

  • avatar

    What a craptastic collection of nominees!

    I put the Smart and the H3 on the top of my list. I think Smart’s fuel economy is criminal. The H3 is just terrible – I had one as a rental & longed for my 01 Ranger (at least it offers good visibility).

    Given this list, I’m sure however the voting goes we’ll get a deserving “winner”.

  • avatar
    Phil Roast Beef

    So hard to vote for only 10. They’re all “winners.”

  • avatar

    I didn’t see the vote link before…

    I’m surprised there was no X6 – all the compromises of a coupe and an SUV in one package – and the Acura TL with it’s awful grill.

    I didn’t vote for the Smart, but I agree that fuel economy should be higher – they offer stop/start in Europe though, but it’s probably too costly to bring over here. Anyone see this from the Wheels blog on the New York Times site?

  • avatar

    Didn’t know the Tesla was actually available to the general (and well healed) public.

    Why the name change of this award?

  • avatar

    beken- advertisers
    jkross22’s comment on the Nitro is exactly why its so great, even if it drives horrible and is useless it stands out in a crowd.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Your “Crack Team of freelance writers”? What does your “Crack-Team” do when not narrowing down lists of losers?

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Mark: Crack. Of course.

  • avatar

    I honestly had no idea, prior to reading this article, that the Lincoln Mark LT was still being sold.

    I’m not even sure that I’ve ever actually seen one. Or a commercial for one. Or a person dumb enough to want one.

  • avatar

    2. Interior looks like it is from 1993: No, it doesn’t. It looks as if it is from 98 or so. I had a early 90s 9000 and the interior is very different.

    Actually, it does. Have a look at some of the minor switchgear, seats or the AT shift knob. Now, sit in an NG900 (not a 9000; that’s a Saab/Fiat joint project and a very different beast). You’ll see a lot of the same stuff. Unchanged. For more than fifteen years.

    But my basic point is nominating (or voting) for a car because of what it represents, rather than what it is, isn’t kosher.

    I think it is. If this were just an objective ten-worst, TTAC might as well just license CR’s ratings and publish the bottom ten. I think TTAC should do a little more, some socioeconomic commentary, along with just raw ratings. It’s an enthusiast site, and a little poetic license–at least differentiating “scornworthy” from simply “bad”–is apt.

    Take the xB: again, not bad in the way that the Sebring or Amanti are, but they (in my mind) deserve their place for what they say about their respective manufacturers.

    The xB says that Toyota doesn’t “get it”, that no matter how much they might try, chasing focus group feedback without accommodating your core market is a good way to appeal to nobody (rather like the Epsilon 9-3, actually). For a company supposedly as smart as the Big T, that’s a serious misstep. The TSX says the same about Honda, the X6 of BMW.

    The 9-5 says that GM doesn’t care. They have no intention of doing better unless they have do, have no strategy other than “grind out the same crap, day after day, until circumstances force our hand”. GM has other cars that say the same thing, but none as well as this one. No matter that it’s not terrible, it just speaks GM’s failure at such a volume that you can’t ignore it.

    Look, I like Saabs a lot, but the treatment of the brand in general, and the 9-5 in particular, is borderline-criminally incompetent.

  • avatar

    Edward Niedermeyer : Crack. Of course.

    ZING! Its funny because its not true. :)

  • avatar
    Rev Junkie

    Why wasn’t the ZENN on the list? It’s by far the worst of them all! It has the practicality, speed, and range of a golf cart for the price of a well-equipped compact car!

    Oh well, here’s who I voted for and why:

    1. The Sebring. No explanation necessary
    2-5. The Aspen, Caliber, Compass and Nitro. Again, ’nuff said.
    6. The Torrent. Pontiac is beginning to define itself as a performance brand, so why would they have what is essentially a hatchback that looks like a wagon that looks like a truck with an anemic pushrod engine from the deceased GM minivans. For God’s sake Pontiac, get rid of the G3 and Torrent, and then make the G5 GXP-only with the powertrain from a Cobalt SS and a six-speed transmission with some Recaro seats! Give the G6 a detuned version of that same engine from a Opel Insignia SRi as a base engine and offer the Direct Injection V-6 with AWD as an option, and give both a standard 6sp manual! Get rid of the automatic option on the Solstice, too. The poseurs can buy the better equipped Sky.

    Whoa, where was I?

    Oh yeah,
    7. The “Lincoln” Mark LT: The trunk-bed Blackwood was an interesting idea, but the follow-up a poor, poor excuse for car a brand that is just pulling itself off the respirator. Kill it, Ford! It ain’t doin’ you no good!

    8. GMT360 trucks (TrailBlazer, Ascender, Envoy, 9-7X). The TrailBlazer SS was an interesting concept, a hod-rod truck, but why not put it in a real full-size truck to make a Silverado SS? Also, the interior is crappy even by Chinese standards, the styling is lumpen, and it is as refined as, well, an old pickup truck. No one is buying these anymore, they are moving to large wagons, a.k.a “crossovers”.

    9. The Scion xB. As posted earlier:

    On another topic, I’m really hoping the xB gets a spot on the list because the world’s most cautious and thorough automaker couldn’t keep a simple hatchback from gaining OVER SIX HUNDERED POUNDS during a redesign. Also, for giving a supposed economy car a whopping 2.4L engine, nearly the biggest in its class, with a piddling 158hp, only 18 horses up on a Civic despite having an extra 600cc of displacement. It’s like a late 70s Detroit approach to an economy car. What’s next for the redesign, a new carbureted pushrod engine, a three-speed transmission, and a solid rear axle?

    10. Smart fortwo. Dumb for anyone.

  • avatar

    Chevy Aveo – This subcompact gets worse fuel economy than Chevy’s compact! It’s supposed to be the other way around!

    Chrysler Sebring / Dodge Avenger – I don’t mind the Avenger, but the Sebring is just dragging the Chrysler name through the mud.

    Jeep Compass – Speaking of dragging a brand name through the mud…

    Scion xB – Plumping it up alienated a lot of Scion lovers

    smart fortwo – The fuel economy-to-size ratio of this vehicle is horrendous! You lose 50% of your passenger cabin and about 85% of your cargo area, but only gain about 10% fuel economy over other subcompacts (some of which are priced less).

    VW Routan – Talk about false advertising…

    One more comment: TTAC should supplement Ten Worst Awards with a few title awards like Worst Redesign (Scion xB) or Most Generic/Boring/Soulless (Camry, Corolla) or Most Brand Damaging (Jeep Compass).

  • avatar


    I think it should have made the list since it was one of the most discussed “worst” cars in the previous episode of discussion for the ttac 10 list.

  • avatar

    The xB deserves to be on here. It’s not among the 10 worst in reliability or overall quality, but for the following reasons:

    1. Largest drop in desirability from one generation to the next (and for a car that, originally, had a lot of practical and emotional value for many).

    2. Stupid D pillar. An insurance conspiracy to be sure.

    3. Heavier/less interior volume than the last one.

    4. Big useless 4 cylinder with uninspiring mileage.

    I’d vote for it 10 times if I could (but I’m not a Chicago voter).

  • avatar

    I can’t vote against a car that makes me smile. That takes the smart off the list. In a world sadly lacking in Gremlins and Pacers and Azteks, the smart is downright hilarious. More please.

    Others among the nominees get so much encouragingly wrong, yet can’t quite take that last fateful lunge for kitschy immortality. If perhaps the Sebring Sedan had a dorsal fin, if the Amanti had carried the faux Mercedes theme a step further with gullwings, if the H2 had gun turrets and missile launchers, or better yet, a full fledged Transformer option…if,if, if.

  • avatar

    I understand the arguments about the 9-5 (and the last time I saw one on the street, it stopped me in my tracks with its hideousness — I actually stopped walking while my brain tried to assess what the hell I was looking at). But I still think it pales before the awesome awfulness of the Sebring/Avenger and Caliber/Compass.

    Both the Sebring/Avenger and Caliber/Compass are the primary reasons Chrysler won’t survive. These are supposed to be their mainstream entries in two of the most hotly competitive classes in the industry, and they…well…punted. The miniature Charger styling of the Avenger doesn’t hurt my eyes as much as some of Acura’s latest offerings, but in every other respect, it’s as dismal as its Sebring brother. The original Neon and JA cars (Cirrus/Stratus/Breeze) were so close to actually being competitive, undone (according to Chrysler insiders) by Bob Eaton’s ill-considered cost cutting, but it’s like they’re not even trying anymore.

  • avatar
    unsprung weight

    I’m boycotting the proceedings on the grounds that the Dodge Journey isn’t on the list. Not only does it manage to be worse than the Sebring/Avenger on which it’s based, it’s one of just a couple cars on the list that are new for 2009. A brand new car that blows trumps an equally bad older model.

    With that said, this will serve as my symbolic vote for the 9-5. I’d drive it over any of the others on the list, but it’s so old and so inferior to both its premium competition and just about anything else you can get at even its Red Tag price that it deserves the recognition.

  • avatar

    A lot of people seem to like the odd-ball Lacrosse super. Even this site praised the car. Come on, what can you say about a car than looks like it was designed for 60 year olds, and still can do 150MPH!! It is a strange mix of old tech and modern performance. It even tries with mixed results to look like a 1999 Lexus inside. It is a fascination car that gives mixed messages. Is it an old style American rocket sled or a Lexus wanna-be. You know what – it is both!

    I take this car any day over the bland and safe Camry.

    GM has announced the G8 maybe gone in five years, and don’t be suprised if the Lacrosse is still around at that time.

  • avatar

    I still think that we should be allowed to rank them and points assigned accordingly, 10 pts for #1 (worst car), 9 pts for #2, etc. Just as with the 10 Best Cars Poll you don’t end up with a car that everybody agrees should be on the list being at the top of the list versus a car that most people think belongs at the top of the list but some don’t include at all. Because, even though I think each of the cars for which I voted deserves to be on the list, some (Smart fortwo, Chevy Aveo, and Dodge Durango) deserve it much more than others.

  • avatar

    Oh, boo hoo hoo. Pity the poor, oppressed Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. It must be a conspiracy, because TTAC is such a hotbed of liberal, green-tinted ideology.

    I don’t know why there’s so much antipathy for GM’s BOF two mode hybrids. To being with, BMW, Chrysler and Daimler were partners in the technology and they thought it had merit (as an aside, I can remember when the DOJ anti-trust division would get excited if the Detroit CEOs played golf together, let alone develop joint technologies).

    The technology works and yields about a 25% improvement in fuel mileage. GM & Ford were each selling 3/4 of a million or more fullsize pickups a year, plus a lot of SUVs on pretty much the same platforms. Improving the mileage of that fleet 25% is non-trivial.

  • avatar

    Trevor Creed signed off on the styling of 8 of the cars on the list. He’s also the person who decided to make both the Patriot and the Compass. I remember reading an interview where he described the decision along the lines of ‘what the hell, let’s do them both’.

  • avatar

    Ronnie Schreiber: “I don’t know why there’s so much antipathy for GM’s BOF two mode hybrids.”

    Because the entire program is deeply flawed and they pressed ahead with the Escalade while watching Yukahoe hybrids sit on the lots forever.

    The Yukahoe hybrids get really impressive city fuel economy, for their size, and somewhat improved highway fuel economy.

    Part – probably most – of the reason for the Yukahoe hybrids improved highway fuel economy are two things that could be done to ANY Yukahoe at a reasonable expense… They cleaned up the aerodynamics, removed the roof rack and installed a VCM engine. These changes are probably good for 1-3 mpg at highway speeds. And they cost little. But GM wasn’t satisfied to make small, inexpensive changes to the vehicle to make it the most attractive in its class and universally more attractive to people who might want an SUV.

    But nooo… GM had a better plan! They added a heavy, expensive battery; heavier, very expensive two-mode transmission; aluminum parts; special lighter-weight seats (the latter to offset the weight of the other components), increased the manufacturing cost by quite a lot (some say the transmission alone is $10K) and dropped it on the market for a $10-13K premium (depending on how you look at these things) to sell to people who, historically, don’t care much about fuel economy. And it’s in a top trim and feature level, also further distancing it from the part of the market that involves people who might be interested in saving fuel.

    But here’s the kicker: Since many SUV purchasers are actually buying on wants, rather than needs, most of those who look at an SUV and get nervous about the fuel economy can get better fuel economy in their next vehicle purchase by simply buying something else. As a bonus… they save money on the purchase, insurance and taxes.

    Consequently, in spite of the tiny quantities in which GM produces them, they sit on lots forever. The local dealer has managed to move two but it took massive rebates and discounting to do it. One has been on the lot since February or so and he’s got another at 100 days.

    If they couldn’t bring the Yukahoe hybrid in for a very reasonable premium ($3-4K), the whole program made no sense at all… and that’s how it turned out.

    It beats me why they kept going on the Escalade program and still haven’t delivered a two-mode pickup. GM was right about one thing… you save a lot more fuel going from 15 to 21mpg than you do going from 37 to 48mpg. If pickups are, as I suspect, more often bought on the economic merits, a work pickup hybrid might have a chance.

    It certainly makes more sense to get a hybrid pickup on the market and see how it flies than deliver yet another SUV.

    Considering the basic Escalade as a completely separate issue, I don’t see voting for it. As some say, it’s really OK for what it is, if you like that sort of thing.

    The thing that bothers me most about the Escalade is the recent ad, “If it had a toilet, I could live in it.” The Escalade is (should be) a rich man’s car. Linking it to the concept of living in one’s car – a condition of only the very poorest segment of car-owners – strikes me as a really bad idea in an ad.

  • avatar

    RE the Lucerne

    ‘Is it an old style American rocket sled or a Lexus wanna-be. You know what – it is both!’

    Personally, I think it looks like a Dugong.

  • avatar

    I don’t know why there’s so much antipathy for GM’s BOF two mode hybrids.

    Because they’re woefully mis-planned. Think about hybrid demographics, then think about the kind of people who buy BOF SUVs. They don’t mix often, and GM’s own sales numbers back this up. Adding another model to the mix one makes exactly zero sense.

    GM has two brands (Saturn and Saab) that ought to have hybrids, only one of which does (Saturn), and it’s a weak one at that. That Saab has no hybrid models is criminally stupid if you think about Saab’s demographics prior to 1998: left-leaning, affluent, educarted, willing to experiment. Of my local Saab club, more than a few have replaced their 900s and 9000s with Priuses because, and I quote “It’s like buying a modern Saab”.

    And yet GM cranks out hybrid Tahoes that no one wants. Amazing. How is it that Bob Lutz and Mark La Neve still have jobs?

  • avatar

    I have to say that this blog (and website) is thoroughly entertaining. I have been highlighting the craptastic Lucerne and Chrylser/Jeep products for years with no outlet…thank you, I voted.

    I would love to see a vote on the items or features that should be fixed but never are…like the small ‘driving’ lights on GM trucks…the small ones that are always burned out on at least one side. I have seen GM trucks with these lights burned out for at least the last 5 years. Has anyone seen a GM truck with both working?

  • avatar

    I would love to see a vote on the items or features that should be fixed but never are

    I would love that! That or the ‘stupidest feature’.

  • avatar

    Blobinski – I have noticed the DRL problem on GMT800s also.
    Oddly, in my travels I have noticed that one side or the other being out is dominant in different areas.
    Theory-I think there is a connector that is, a. hard to connect, or b. comes apart easily and the assembly workers at different plants fail on different sides to get them connected.

    A lot of Bland Prix drive around with their wipers straight up because of an electrical issue.

    The way I figure it, if a company is sending out cars with all these problems I can see from a distance how many more are under the skin?

    I do not wish any ill on their employees but I will not miss GM if they die.


  • avatar

    1 (GMT-360)* **
    2 Chevy Aveo* **
    3 Chrysler Aspen / Dodge Durango* **
    4 Chrysler Sebring / Dodge Avenger*
    5 Dodge Caliber
    6 Dodge Nitro*
    7 Hummer H2* **
    8 Hummer H3 / H3T*
    9 Jeep Commander
    10 Jeep Compass* **

  • avatar

    I voted. Where’s my sticker to put on my cap?

    But seriously, the Aveo… I hope the Ford Fiesta is a smashing success and exposes the Aveo as the little NSFWbox we all know it to be. Who’s with me on that assumption?

  • avatar

    Sadly, GM has improved the Aveo, believe it or not. Compare it to the Nitro which hasn’t improved since it was debuted.

    I couldn’t honestly check off the Aveo as a bad car because the Nitro sits on that list.

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