By on December 5, 2008

With all the industry news we’ve been covering, the Ten Worst Vehicles Awards got pushed to the back burner. But now that the meltdown is underway and seems to be running on autopilot, it’s time to take a look at the jaundiced jalopies that contributed to the fiasco formerly known as the auto industry. For those of you who are new to the site, the Ten Worst Vehicles is TTAC’s homage to excessively egregious examples of vehicular vomitus the automakers puked on the car-buying public during the year.  TTACs Best and Brightest (that’s you) make the nominations, our crackhead team of writers narrow the field to 20 or so of the crappiest and then you vote on the top (or bottom) ten. Just to refresh your memories, here are the buckets of bolts you selected as the crème de la crap in 2007:

10. Saturn ION – Thankfully they finally rethinked this one right out of existence

9. Chrysler Aspen – A high-tech hybrid powertrain and massive incentives aren’t enough to revive this turkey.

8. Chevrolet TrailBlazer / GMC Envoy / Isuzu Ascender / Saab 9-7X  – All but dead.  Good riddance.

7. Hummer H2 –  Sells so poorly the entire division is on life support.

6. Hummer H3 – That’s not an exhaust note, it’s a death rattle.

5. Chevrolet Uplander – Dead and finally gone.  They even closed the plant.

4. Dodge Nitro – Fizzled like wet fireworks.

3. Chevrolet Aveo – The mouth breather grill won’t help this bottom feeder.

2. Chrysler Sebring – So bad even the rental companies aren’t buying it.

1. Jeep Compass – Jeep enthusiasts asked WTF and buyers agreed.

In case you’ve forgotten since last year, or you’re a Ten Worst virgin, here’s are the rules:

1.  Any car or light truck offered for sale as a new vehicle in the U.S. between January 1 and today is eligible for nomination. I know those of you in Canada and other countries feel left out, but we have to draw the line somewhere to keep this under control.  It doesn’t matter who built it or where, just that it’s sold legally in the States.

2.  All nominations have to be justified.  That doesn’t mean just saying it’s a POS car.  Tell us WHY it’s a POS car.  Nominations may be deleted unceremoniously and without warning for any of the following reasons:  insufficient justification, excessive verbosity or pontification, foul language or patent absurdity.

3.  All nominations must meet TTAC’s house rules on flaming or trolling (i.e., don’t).  Offensive comments about other readers will be summarily deleted and the writer could be banned from TTAC.  However, offensive observations about the nominees are encouraged.

4.  Blatantly badge-engineered siblings can be nominated jointly if they all suck equally (see winner #8 above).  Platform mates can be nominated separately, but may be combined at the whim of the editor for the final vote.

5.  If we can wake them up long enough, TTAC’s writers will select 20 finalists from the nominees, give or take a few.  The number of times a vehicle is nominated is irrelevant so don’t waste the pixels on typing “me too.”

6.  Readers will vote via an electronic survey on the 20 or so finalists to determine America’s Ten Worst Vehicles.  Multiple voting ain’t kosher so don’t even try.

7.  Nominations begin today and will continue until midnight EDT, Sunday December 8, with the 20 finalists presented for voting a few days afterwards.  The winners will be announced whenever we get around to it.  We have nothing to give the winners but our disdain, so the winning manufacturers will find out about it like everyone else.

How do you decide what crapmoblies are worthy of your attention?

– Styling so bad it could even make Stevie Wonder look the other way.

– A market misfit that makes you wonder what the product planners were smoking, drinking, shooting up or otherwise self-administering.

– Engineering malpractice that makes the vehicle practically undrivable or so bland you wouldn’t want to drive it.

– Something that you can’t quite put your finger on but gives you the urge to regurge anytime you think about it.

So now it’s in your court.  Make your nominations below and tell us which ones you think are really deserving of being named one of TTAC’s Ten Worst Vehicles for 2008.

Please note: Nominations will close at midnight EST Sunday, December 8.

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257 Comments on “TTAC’s Ten Worst Awards 2008 – Your Nominations Please...”

  • avatar

    Sebring has to be there again this year. My mother for some reason leased one. Difficult(at best)to get into. Horrible, just horrible seats. Awful driving position. Cheap poorly designed dashboard and controls. Terrible stereo. Ugly. Really bad car. The worst on the market.

  • avatar

    Let me be the first: Pontiac G3. And for that matter, G5. You can put a pretty bow on a turd, but it’s still a turd.

  • avatar

    A little import flavor for a change of pace: Honda CR-V. The interior just looked awful, and it is underpowered to the point that merging onto a busy highway would be dangerous.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Frank – last year’s turkeys are all still eligible, right?

  • avatar

    NA Ford Focus – Only because MEXICO gets the fantastic Euro Focus ST and we get the crap.

    Chrysler anything.

    Ford Flex – Because Ford already had a seven seat station wagon on the market and didn’t need to WASTE the billions developing the Flex…which is a flop

    Lincoln MKS – A tarted up Taurus as a flagship? And it does not even have a V8 or proper RWD.

    Pontiac G3 – Why GM…why?

  • avatar

    The Chevy HHR – I hate to kick them when they’re down but what was GM thinking? It is an underpowered and unattractive attempt to come at the PT Cruiser. If it hadn’t been for the Pontiac Aztec (which by comparison makes this thing look almost nice) it may be GM’s weakest attempt at a small CUV. Compare this to the Pontiac Vibe – about the same size and economy but both a better built and better designed machine (no small part due to Toyota I am sure)

  • avatar

    Richard Chen:
    Frank – last year’s turkeys are all still eligible, right?

    Yes, as long as they were offered for retail sale in the U.S. at any time after January 1 this year.

  • avatar

    OK, this year, last year’s and possibly the year-before-that’s worst car is hands down the Dodge Caliber. From the moment I first laid eyes on this vehicle in its rental car version in my parent’s driveway I knew that Chrysler was done as a car company.

    It’s just a mod Omni/Horizon with the nerdiest front end and pigeon-toed stance I’ve seen on a model in years.

  • avatar

    Toyota Corolla:

    Horribly bland styling inside and out.

    4-spd auto on the 1.8 liter engine (hello, smaller engines require more gears, and you know how to do eight).

    The economy is in the tank, but gas is cheap. People are going to want cheap reliable cars, but not hybrids. You’ve just ceded this market to Honda.

    It does not matter how nice your Lexus is, if a poor student has a bad experience with a Corolla you’ve lost them.

    Do not start the deathwatch until Toyota has 8 brands, 7500 dealers and oppressive UAW contracts, but this is a very “GM” small car.

  • avatar

    The Jeep Compass is good for another go around. Its a so-so small CUV that has NO place in a Jeep showroom. Jeep needs to go back to its hard core off road niche roots with 2-3 models: Wrangler and some slightly larger 4 door SUV about the size of the Cherokee or current Liberty.

    The new KK Liberty gets an honorable mention with the leak prone “sky-slider” roof. The slider top will just get worse with age. Just because it was cool at SEMA does not make it ready for prime time.

    The Tesla Roadster can also get a mention here now that they have actually delivered a handful (sans working transmission) to paying customers.

  • avatar

    BMW X3
    Terrible looking, high priced, poor sales.
    Every time I see one of these I flinch.

  • avatar

    — The Dodge Caliber: Bland, weak-kneed and ugly as well. The living definition of “cheap”, it does nothing well, and makes the driver glad to park it. “Rental car hell” in the flesh.

    — Lincoln “Mark LT”: is there anything sillier than the concept of a Lincoln pick-up truck? Truly, lipstick on a pig. Uglier than a bag of rocks, and so wrong for the market.

  • avatar

    First of all the Toyota Prius, for being overweight, ugly, boring and incompetent around corners…sure it’s good at heavy traffic fuel economy, but that dosen’t make it a good car, it makes it a decent appliance. Plus Toyota makes it, and since they refuse to make a sports car at all then they deserve all the scorn it is possible to give. Also, as an aside, Prius drivers should be forcibly neutered.

    Second, I feel obliged to mention the Mitsubishi Galant, if you think the Sebring is bad check one of these out the next time your drooling over an evo at the dealership. Worst interior ever, no other redeeming qualities.

    Third, Toyota Corrola. Yes Toyota makes it, which helps along any nomination in my book, but most importantly it is the single most boring car I have ever driven. I’ve had way more fun in rental hyundais and the odd focus, and really…what does it do well again? Not break? Lots of cars don’t break, you no longer get a cookie for that.

    Fourth, I would mention the cobalt, but from what I’ve read the SS redeems the breed, so I’ll have to nominate the Maxima. I really really don’t want to hate this car…but I do. How could Nissan bill anything with a CVT and no manual stick option as a sports sedan? Come to think of it, how can you sell anything costing over 30k with a CVT? I hope that this transmission breaks on an epic scale, costing the company millions in warranty claims and lawsuits, then I hope that Carlos Ghosn tracks down the suit who pushed the CVT decision and neuters him. That is all.

  • avatar

    Chevy Impala!

    My current vehicle (Toyota RAV4) got laid up after an accident with a deer. The rental company stuck me with this P.o.S. after they couldn’t get me a Mazda 3.

    This vehicle is just plain god awful.

    With just 16,000km on the dial it has:

    1) squeaks, rattles and groans (even when not moving)
    2) a ride of the worst type of floaty mobile from the 1960’s (you know old style Buicks etc)
    3) I’m scared taking this puppy into any kind of snow – less than an inch will turn it into a handling pig
    4) materials are plastic craptastic
    5) fit and finish are from the 1990’s
    6) gas mileage sucks
    7) The steering is disconnected from the front wheels (it feels that way anyhow)

    All in all a vehicle guaranteed to set a senior citizens (greycap) blood on fire.

    Give me my Toyota back! Pleeeze!

  • avatar

    Mini Clubman.

    A) Defeats the entire purpose of owning a Mini.

    b) Ugly rear doors

    C) Only one access door for rear seats?

    D) Puts a wet blanket on the whole “fun” thing.

  • avatar

    Acura TSX: It’s not that it’s bad, per se–it would make a pretty decent Acura TL–it’s that is just so disappointing. If you spent any time with the old car, the new one should make you weep for it’s loss. With any luck, Honda will learn from the debacle that was the 2008 WRX.

    Chrysler Sebring: Proof-positive that whomever was in control of Chrysler at the time had zero interest in what Chrysler was actually making. I have serious doubts that neither Dieter Zetsche nor Tom La Sorda nor Bob Nardelli have actually sat in this car.

    Saab 9-5: Another car that isn’t bad in and of itself, but bad for what it represents. It was a bad thing when GM left the Cavalier to rot on the vine for twelve-plus years, but you could at least expect it of an economy car. That they let the flagship of a luxury brand do the same is absolutely shameful. It’s also proof-in-the-metal of why GM is where they are today.

    Dodge Caliber/Jeep Compass/Patriot: When you can see the little spiral of plastic shavings from where they drilled the hole for the door-lock post in the showroom, you can tell that no one cares anymore. Not management, not lineworkers, not dealers. Unfortunately for Chrysler, customers still do.

    BMW X6: This years entry into the “German Auto Execs Know Better Than Their Own Customers” contest. Past entries? R-Class, Phaeton, C230K, 318ti. The hubris never stops coming.

    GMT900 Hybrids: A Venn diagram with environmentalists in one circle and full-size BOF truck buyers in another wouldn’t be a Venn diagram. It’d be two separate circles. On two different pages. Probably in two different books. Possibly not even in the same building.

  • avatar

    I’d like to amend my TSX comment, but I’m not being allowed to. To whit:

    Acura TSX: It’s not that it’s bad, per se–it would make a pretty decent Acura TL–it’s that is just so disappointing. If you spent any time with the old car, the new one should make you weep for it’s loss. Someone at Honda must have read the glowing reviews of the old TSX, split out the criticisms, written them down as bullet points on two lists, and then handed them to engineers. Who mixed up the headings.

    With any luck, Honda will learn from the debacle that was the 2008 WRX, which did exactly the same thing.

  • avatar

    Start by re-nominating the top 4. All are still in production, and all still suck, the Compass’s new interior sucking slightly less than last year not withstanding.

    New nominations:

    The Scion xB. Bigger, uglier, worse mileage. Toyota working the great GM tradition of making the new model worse than the old.

    Mitusbishi Galant. Ugly on the outside, cheap on the inside. Serves as a reminder that aside from the Evo, there is no point for Mitsu to be selling vehicles in the US.

    Chevy Traverse. The 4th!! Lambda, yet the cheapest looking and feeling interior, terrible commercials (it’s raining shoes!), and a sky high price. Shouldn’t the Chevy version be less expensive than the Buick version? Oh, wait. This is GM…

    VW Routan. VW buys minivans wholesale from Chrysler and slaps a VW badge on the hood?! The worst kind of badge engineering we used to only see from the Big 3. Then they have the nerve to advertise “German engineering.” Are they serious???

  • avatar

    Chrysler Aspen / Dodge Durango.

    Dinosaurs, both. May they hasten towards extinction with all possible dispatch.

    From the wretched fit & finish to the pathetic excuse for a hybrid version, I can think of no reason why anyone would consider buying one of these ogres over the competition. They’re ugly, inefficient, poorly built with crap materials, and handle clumsily even for a full size SUV. They are an offense to the motoring public, and for that reason deserve to be recognized with a TTACTWA of 2008.

  • avatar

    I think the mini clubman… I know its a tough sell, It even seemed like a good idea, until I saw one in person…

    It just isn’t what a mini should be, its too long too weird and just not there… Is it Sebring bad… probably not but its a slippery slope

  • avatar

    I must nominate the Smart ForTwo. For around $16,000 (Passion coupe with decent options) you get something more expensive than a decent compact (Corolla, Rio, Elantra, Fit) with less room, less power, unknown reliability, and nearly identical fuel millage. Mate that to a whiplash-inducing 3-speed auto and the ride will leave you crying for anything else, even a 2008 Focus coupe.

    I wanted to like this car. It is decent looking, (in a Euro-centric, hipster-wannabe sort of way) and it had the potential to be a decent 2nd car for people in more dense urban areas. If the SMART EV ever arrives, and doesn’t cost any more, it may be worth a look, but for now the smart is TWAT (I still like the old name better) material.

  • avatar

    BMW 1 series, 90% of the weight, 85% of the price, and half the room of the already small 3 series.

  • avatar

    Point of Order: Do cars that you can pay for, but not actually own (Camaro) qualify for a nomination?

    Not that there is any indication that Camaro would qualify on the merits, just wanting clarification.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    How about some special achievement award for Honda/Acura? The new TL and TSX are ugly, bloated, and worse then their predecessors in most ways. Sure, they’re not as bad as the others on the list, and Motortrend still loves them to death (evidence enough for me right there) but Acura just hamstrung it’s two bread-and-butter vehicles.

    And I really want to nominate the 2009 Accord for it’s hideousness. A car that’s supposed to be an inoffensive appliance shouldn’t look like a Bangle design. After he was hit on the head.

    But there’s so much worse out there.

  • avatar

    Chevy HHR – Terrible plastics inside with shaved mouse fur for carpet. A poor imitator of the PT Cruiser.

    Pontiac G3 – An uglier version of the Aveo that puts to rest any doubt that GM managers are beyond stupid, they are Terri Schiavo vegetables.

    Honda CR-V – A heavy vehicle powered by an undersized four cylinder with a hard plastic interior unbefitting of the price. But Honda was so determined to save weight they used thinner glass and less sound insulation, so you need to crank the stereo up to not hear traffic. Honestly, it isn’t even as quiet or as solid as an eight-year-old Impala.

    Acura TSX – What was once conservatively stylish is now ugly enough to be badged as a Pontiac.

    Acura TL – Will be joining its smaller stablemate at Pontiac, and helping to put a fork in the Acura brand. The F1 pre-race show will lose its biggest sponsor.

    Toyota Corolla – Pinching pennies on the interior is a great way to alienate customers. Now they’ll think Ford is a luxury brand!

  • avatar

    VW Routan must be on the list, just from a marketing perspective. With minivan sales at the bottom of the toilet, why the heck did they feel they needed one? And then to advertise it as German engineering?

    I’d like to nominate the G5 GT. Borrowed one for a bit. Not a terrible car, but the sticker on it was 21! Twenty-one large can buy you some very nice stuff. The G5 GT is not it. The engine (especially with an auto) is by no means deserving of the GT title. It did not feel sporty or fun in any sense. About as much fun as the Corolla everyone hates. The Civic Si is a much better car at that price.

  • avatar

    I second any nomination for the G3/Aveo5. The Cobalt/G5 XFE gets better fuel economy, no? And the front end of the Aveo5 looks like it was designed by someone who, to quote the great philosopher Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, is pants-on-head retarded.

  • avatar

    Pontiac Solstice. Does a more useless vehicle even exist? It has less cargo room then a 12-speed bicycle.

    Kia Amanti. This is still for sale? It would have been a decent vehicle in 1998. What’s the depreciation on this if you buy one today? You’d have a chart with a vertical red line going down.

    Chrysler Sebring: If you add together the factors of ugly+horrible+depreciation (again) is there a worse choice a buyer could possibly make?

  • avatar

    The Chevrolet Malibu/Saturn Aura/Pontiac G6,

    and the Saturn Outlook/GMC Acadia/Buick Enclave/Chevrolet Traverse

    These are not bad cars on their own. In fact they are pretty good. They are bad vehicles for what they represent.

    Even if GM makes good cars it cannot succeed because of the costly, overlapping marketing, consumer confusion and cut throat between-brand price competition that come with having eight brands and 7500 dealerships.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    I really can’t argue against the Clubman’s inclusion on the list, other then saying in the right color and trim options, I think it looks natty.

    It’s can also break $35K withoutdipping into the JCW parts. That’s an awful price.

    Although on the overpriced-small-hipster-car front, I’d second the Smart nomination. It’s like a fun vampire, and the quality is terrible as well.

  • avatar

    BMW X6: An answer to a question that no one asked. A truly horrifying extreme of the current BMW styling (or lack thereof). And then they wondered why it didn’t sell very well…

    @SpeedJebus: +1 to the MINI Clubman. A MINI should be cute, fun, and nimble. The Clubman satisfies none of these.

  • avatar

    Scion xB- It’s ugly and you can’t see out of it.
    Ford Flex- same reason as P71- Ford had a perfectly good crossover already
    Honda Accord- cause it’s ginormous
    Saturn Astra- It’s a great car but nobody wants it, it replaced a worst award winner that sold 10x what it does.
    Lincoln MKS- Ford doesn’t seem to want to try with this.
    Toyota Tundra- cause the interior is whacked with the crazy long reach to the climate controls and the horrible color schemes
    I like the Caliber, Aveo, Patriot, Compass, X3, HHR.
    Love the Durango/Aspen, one of my favorites

  • avatar

    I need to disagree with nominating the Solstice. It’s purpose is to look good, have fun RWD handling and get you laid. Mission accomplished. Besides, I would feel dirty trashing a manual transmission rear driver as any sort of worst car, the auto execs are finally moving back in this direction and we should reward their efforts.

  • avatar

    Ford Flex (Chrysler Pacifica 2.0)

    – huge foot print plus less room than minivans
    – swing doors for a family hauler
    – competes with at least 6 other Ford/Mercury/Lincoln models
    – polarising design, MiniCooper wannabe
    – body ridges
    – huge
    – does not know who it is targeting.. MiniCooper buyers who need more room???

    And, what happened to TWAT??

  • avatar


    I agree with you on this one. What’s the opposite of seconding a nomination?

    The philosophy behind the Solstice is sound; it’s good looking, RWD, available with a manual, and not too expensive. It’s got it’s problems, but has too many good qualities to be a ten worst.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    @davey49: Favorites for list inclusion?

  • avatar

    Scion Xb – They tried to sell to youth, but old people bought it. So they made it bigger with more horsepower, less milage and interior room, and now no one buys it.

    Ford Flex – Too big, too heavy, too much money, and too late. Just when I thought I was supposed to be “living life on the Edge” they bring us this.

    Ford Focus – It’s ugly, and its liberal use of plastic chrome bits doesn’t add a touch of class. A radio that obeys voice commands isn’t worth getting behind the wheel of that thing everyday.

  • avatar

    Dodge Caliber: I always wondered how Luke Skywalker felt trying to dodge Obi Wan’s lazerblasts with that helmet covering his eyes in Star Wars. I had that same experience driving this wheezing little turd down the interstate last weekend as my rental car. You can’t see out the front, you can’t see out the back. Luckily, the driving dynamics are terrible enough to make the prospects of a blind head-on collision somewhat inviting.


  • avatar

    Dodge Caliber: Acres of cheap plastic and an agricultural grade engine? No thanks.

    Chrysler Aspen: Who does Chrysler think they’re fooling with this heap?

    Lincoln MKZ: An uglier version of the Fusion with a bigger price tag. Cars like these are why Lincoln is a perennial also-ran to Cadillac.

    Buick Lucerne: Committee-designed boringmobile with absolutely no features not already found in a garden variety Camcord.

    FJ Cruiser: Strange how so many people ignore Toyota’s horrendous gas guzzlers, especially this abomination which requires premium fuel.

    Chevy Colorado: Bottom of the parts bin vehicle made even more irrelevant by the fact that you can get a base Sierra/Silverado for comparable money at a GM toe tag sale.

    Honda CR-V: Cheap plastic interior with anonymous styling and a gutless four-banger.

    Acura TL: Look at it.

    Smart ForTwo: Ultra tiny vehicle with subpar fuel mileage and large price tag.

    BMW 135: This is the best they could come up with? I have yet to read a review that doesn’t say to spend the extra money and get a 3-series instead of this overweight and cramped excuse for a BMW. Not to mention that the 135 price is in Hyundai Genesis territory, which is a superior car in every objective measure except number of doors.

    Dishonorable mention: Nissan GTR – Phenomenal numbers car that was beaten at its own game by the ZR-1, not to mention the launch control issues and dealer gouging.

  • avatar

    Pontiac Torrent, only because no one has ever actually seen one of these.

  • avatar

    BMW X6. All the size of an SUV, without the pesky fuel economy or additional utility and seating.

  • avatar

    Hummer H2 and H3: you bought it because you wanted to look cool – but now everybody is laughing at you. The symbol of the excess that drove us to the current crisis. (I’m amazed no one mentioned those yet…)

    BMW X6: might be a great vehicle, but horrible timing to market, and looks pretty certain to be a flop.

    Aston Martin DBS: The same car as the DB9 for $100,000 more. And it doesn’t look nearly as good (and yes, I realize I just nominated an Aston Martin!)

    Obviously, there are plenty more, but many have been nominated already, so I’ll avoid too much redundancy.

  • avatar

    The Jeep Compass is still the worst. Why is this CUV? Even after years of looking at it the styling is as offensive, if not more so, than the day I first saw one. It also has a platform mate that fits the Jeep image, in style at least, and is the exact same vehicle with a different body. Why? How can anyone at Cerberus ask for us to add to their cash horde while they continue this blight on humanity?

    Next has to be the spectacular flop that is the Flex. Did they even sell 10K of them? It is the epitome of the answer to the question no one asked, a huge vehicle with SUV like fuel economy and manueverability, but car like capability. It compromises everything except the ridiculous MINI styling and the even more ridiculous name.

    Moving on in the D3 travesty brings me to the Taurus X. The invisible vehicle the Flex replaced but Ford kept on sale anyway. What kind of crack would you have to smoke to sell both of those vehicles under the same brand at the same time? Meanwhile the Taurus X was designed and marketed as though it were a test for some form of vehicular cammoflage that the military could never use. Well hidden is the fact that it is actually a fantastic vehicle that does everything a family could ever need. Put some sliding doors on it and give a real name with marketing support and Ford would have had a genuine winner.

    This brings me to the Lincoln MKS. It does nothing better than any of the stiff competition, is a generation behind styling trends but with an added touch of cleft pallet grill and performs like a tarted up Taurus, and costs $35K discounted. Even worse, the supposed salvation, the promised “ecoboost” engine will be brand innapropriate, more expensive, less reliable, and less fuel efficient than the V8 it should have. It screams “Lincoln has no reason for being but we will keep this vegetable on life support forever anyway”.

    I could go on and on but I’ll finish this thought by nominating the whole D3 platform.

    Next I nominate all of Mercury. You think Ford is doing the best of the big 3? While true, that is quite sad. Explain to me how any competant manager capable of running a profitable automaker in this economic climate could decide to keep this brand?

    more to come…

  • avatar

    First of all the Toyota Prius, for being overweight, ugly, boring and incompetent around corners…

    I second all that. In addition, it’s ugly as sin, it’s a mobile political statement not a car, and you’d save money buying a better car FOR LESS MONEY and using the savings to pay the difference in gas.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure if I really mean it, but how about the forester? I like engine and the awd, but subaru seems to be getting a free pass lately for selling us a 4-speed automatic (+ no manual on the interesting turbo model) and turning a good station wagon into a notreallybiggerinside SUV. I know that this website in particular can and has heaped scorn on domestics that don’t update their drivetrains, and does have a love for wagons, so how about it?

  • avatar

    Chevy Colorado / GMC Canyon: The 5 cylinder engine alone makes these a joke…and does nothing to help the mileage. Hard to believe GM could do worse than the S10 they replaced, but they managed.

    Add my vote(s) for the Mini Clubman and Smart ForTwo.

    Three vehicles where you spend twice as much for half the utility of similar rides.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Porsche Pannamera. I cannot begin to understand who would spend such money on such an uglification.

    Porsche Cayenne. Still a wretched excess. Best argument for income redistribution yet. If you have the money to buy one, and the poor taste to be seen it, you don’t need the money.

    Acura RL. The Accord is basically the same car, only a lot cheaper — even with sat nav.

    Acura TSX. They took a nice small car, added 500 lbs and whooped it with an ugly stick. Not a good idea.

    Mercedes RL lacks the grace of the S and the utility of the GL.

    BMW 1 series. Hey guys, just go see if you can find the plans for the original 2002 — you did it right that time.

    Sat Nav. How come I can buy a portible for a couple of hundred dollars, but a built in always adds a $K or more to the sticker.

  • avatar

    The Panamera doesn’t qualify– yet. The vehicle must be for sale in the United States during calendar year 2008.

  • avatar

    Here we go – alphabetical order:

    Acura TSX – what was a beautiful gem that was slightly underpowered is now a hideous sore with nothing underneath to excuse it (ala 2002 WRX bugeye). It is not a bad car, it is made well and performs ok – but such a complete disappointment and a major step backwards.

    Chrysler Seabreeze and Dud Avenger – I cannot believe these also rans are still trying to be sold. Everytime I see one of these cars I get that not so fresh feeling.

    Chrysler Aspen / Aspen Hybrid – Chrysler again late to the game answered a question nobody ever cared about – we need a full size suv hybrid. It shows they were even more incompetent than GM. That’s pretty hard to do. The standard Aspen answered another question people didn’t care about – why doesn’t Chrysler have a Escalade competitor.

    Dodge Nitro – Hey – take a Liberty (you know the one with hardly any interior room and footwells for the driver passenger so small you need to have geisha sized feet to comfortably sit up front) and let’s say it’s hip!

    Ford Flex – A minivan in an elemental disguise. Didn’t trick me though and with a high teens / low 20 mpg really not that efficient. Just go buy a Caravan or Odyssey and get the same space, sliding doors and get over the minivan stigma.

    Hummer H3 – Our favorite rebadged Chevy Colorado – no matter if they stuff a v8 in there it’s a bad platform and underperforms. Now why doesn’t the Colorado get a v8 if the H3 can get one?

    Jeep Compass – This aborted Caliber in off road guise needs to go…just like the Patriot.

    Pontiac G3 and Chevy Aveo – The Daewoo was so poorly built and selling they had to create another rebadged version of excitement? Tells you GM has a lot of crackheads with rubber stamps.

    (not so) Smart ForTwo – Wow…the suckers who bought this tiny contraption for substantially more than the price of a Fit. First ride on the interstate in a Smart car during a test drive will keep these little tyke cars in the big city and not wander out to where the speed limit > 50 mph

    VW Routan – STOP LYING to buyers telling it is a German made / engineered masterpiece that chiks get knocked up just so they have a reason to buy – even Miss Lipstick Jungle cannot do her best Jill Wagner “I’m hot” to sell an overpriced Caravan. If I were Germany I’d sue VW for the libel claiming the Routan is “German”!

  • avatar
    Steve Green

    The new Jeep Liberty. It’s ugly. It’s underpowered. It’s oversized. Its silly canvas roof leaks. It wears its Trail Rated badge like a fake Gucci handbag.

  • avatar
    Steve Green

    Oh, and the Toyota Pious. I just paid $1.59 for gas. Neener.

  • avatar


    I know that it may be stretching the rules a little to nominate a car company. However, it is justified. No company has done more to create visual pollution than Honda/Acura.

    The new Accord-beaten with an ugly stick. The Pilot/CRv/Ridgeline-did Honda hire the designer of the Aztek away from GM? The entire Acura Line-I foresee that people will still buy vehicles for their traditional Honda values, but they will ram them into brick walls to obscure the ugliest corporate beak ever put on a line of automobiles.

    What does it matter that these cars have great engines, get decent mileage and hold their value well if the sight of one makes one want to throw up a little?

  • avatar
    John R

    Saab 9-3 2.0T Special Edition Convertible

    Once again, a car that could be deemed solid if judged on its own merits. However, one would have to be force fed crack intravenously to go along with paying $47 large for a ‘vert that would have a hard time getting away from a Solara.

    With the Infiniti G37 ‘vert coming to market who are Saad/GM trying to kid?

    Speaking of convertibles, I failed to mention the Sebring and G6 hardtops and am surprised no one has mentioned them yet. Why would someone in their right mind pay $32-34k for these two?

  • avatar

    Chrysler Aspen/Durango
    Chrysler Sebring
    Chevy Aveo
    Chevy Cobalt
    Toyota Corolla
    Toyota Yaris
    Jeep Commander
    Hummer H2
    Acura TL
    Acura RL

  • avatar

    In these times of being “green” I nominate two electric vehicles because they are the two extremes of why electric vehicles are not ready for mainstream use:

    The Tesla Roadster:

    Too small to be practical

    Too expensive to be purchased by the average person

    Plus the company is more about PR than cars.

    The ZENN car (I believe these are sold in the US):

    Top speed of 25mph

    Too small to be practical

    Basically a glorified golf-cart.

  • avatar

    I definitely nominate the Dodge Nitro again. The ultimate answer to a question no one asked, and boxy styling that tried to rip off Scion and failed miserably. And no one’s bought one.

    Can the Porsche Panamerica be nominated, or does it have to go into production in 2008? Destroys a brand’s identity, is completely hideous, and really overpriced even for a Porsche…

  • avatar

    Dodge Caliber – When they upgrade you to this at Enterprise, don’t fall for it. Useless CVT that clunks from new, terrible seating position, ugly exterior, cheap, cheap, cheap.

    Ford Focus (NA)- I want some of what they were smoking when they sent the nice car south. Or not.

    Toyota Prius – Hypocrite car. ‘Nuf said.

    Acura TSX – After Christmas weight watchers program anyone?

    Honda Ridgeline – Useless both as a truck and a car all wrapped up in one. Oh, ugly too.

  • avatar

    Chevrolet Malibu, after all the hype it’s another fleet queen.

    Toyota Prius, overpriced and sales are down big time.

    BMW 3 Series the 1 series is what the 3 should have been. The bigger is better theory has bloated the once nimble 3 series into former 5 series territory.

    Dodge Caliber, just the sightlines alone nominate this one.

    Scion XB, from edgy to over the edge in one swift move.

  • avatar

    I’m going to throw in the Nissan Versa:

    It’s ugly from just about any view (the sedan is particularly awful). The SL trim is CVT only. The aforementioned CVT is noisy, just like the rest of the car. The interior is made nice stuff, but it’s lacking in durability or comfort. Have I mentioned the brakes suck? Stiff initial grab and that’s about it; press it half an inch or slam it, it feels the same and stops eventually. Nissan also made some questionable decisions about options; like anti-lock brakes as an option, and ridiculous option bundles that add cost without benefit.

    It feels like a cheap car with a good veneer, initial surprise and pleasure give way to an uncomfortable ride, fun sucking dynamics and a slow, irrational hatred for the vehicle.

  • avatar

    Toyota Corolla. I sat in one and right there, decided that Toyota was the new GM. They must have gotten a contract with the same people who supply Chrysler interiors. Awful. I may switch to exclusively Hyundai or try a Honda rather than going back to Toyota if this is the direction the company is obviously going in.

    Smart car. I’ve been calling them “Dumb” cars even when gas was $4.50 a gallon, now they’re even less – smart.

    Chrysler Sebring/Dodge Avenger. Just plain awful; no redeeming qualities whatever.

    Dodge Caliber/Jeep Compass. At least the Patriot somewhat LOOKS like a Jeep “should”; why did they bother with these other two?!

    Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger. Long in the tooth; like sitting in an armored car, the greenhouse is so small; gas hog engines. Dead in the water.

    Chevrolet Impala. Floaty, nasty, obviously WAAAY past it’s best sold-by date, OHV V6’s, 4 cog automatics (literally 1939 – 1960 GM Hydramatics had 4 cogs; the world’s moved on!)

    Chevrolet (should be in quote marks; it’s a Daewoo) Aveo/Pontiac G3. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat their life partner or business partner; same with companies. GM’s had “affairs” with how many companies in order to bring badge-engineered cars to market over the past few decades, then dumped them unceremoniously? Let’s see… Vauxhall (that’d be incest), Opel (likewise), Daewoo (remember the awful “Pontiac LeMans”?), Isuzu, Suzuki, Toyota. Something’s wrong with a company which can’t bother to design, build and engineer their own small cars and prove they can’t do so over a 50 year span.

  • avatar

    Routan simply for the Brooke Shields commercials. They have a Boys From Brazil feel to them. The words “German engineering” and “babies” should never be said in the same breath.

  • avatar

    I just saw my first new Acura TL in person the other day and I actually felt sick. The new TSX is bad, but the TL is shockingly terrible. Due to the cohesion of ugly throughout the design, it might actually be worse to look at than the Aztek, which is saying something. I suppose it will sell well to the old folks who bought up the previous TLs, as their vision is bad enough that they won’t notice that they’ve bought the ugliest new car on the road.

    Similarly, the BMW 1 series is awful trash. It looks like a very fat man sat on top of a 3 while it was being squished from front to back at the same time. That it costs nearly as much as a 3 for less functionality and features only serves to muddle its purpose.

    I’m going to pick something that got a lot of positive press and stick it to the new Chevy Malibu too. I took one for a test drive when my mom was looking for a new car and it was nowhere near the Japanese competition. Massive torque steer on the V6, crappier interior, worse ride, handling, and so on. If this is the best American car that’s been made, as the magazines trumpeted, then Detroit should just close up shop. It can’t compete on any rational level with an Accord, Camry or Altima.

    The BMW X6 is a pointless car/truck. Every review says it’s brilliant to drive. That’s lovely. It looks like crap, and it’s a 4 door, 4 seat 4×4 coupe on stilts. I live in an area where people buy up all sorts of crappy niche cars – there’s a tiny army of Mercedes R’s running around town, but I have only seen one X6 on the road. It’s ugly, impractical, expensive and completely pointless, even to people with more money than brains.

    Finally, the Porsche Panamera takes classic styling, refined over decades of reiteration, and ignores it. Hideous.

  • avatar

    please nominate the fj cruiser, toyota’s attempt to out-ugly the pontiac aztek. not entirely successful (how could anyone top the aztek?), but it’s still a totally repulsive vehicle that speaks volumes about the sadsack that’s driving/owning it.

    at the risk of watering down my nomination, allow me to partially agree with menno – i’d change the vehicle to the toyota yaris, but otherwise second the notion that the beast of aichi is trying very hard to out gm the general …

  • avatar

    1. Dodge Journey. Where do I begin? It’s horrid quality gave TTAC’s own Michael Karesh an unintentional footbath. It’s a replacement for the short-wheelbase minivan, but it has less room and gets worse gas mileage. Plus, the seats don’t come out. Actually, a V-6 Journey gets worse mileage than a full-size Dodge Grand Caravan, and it costs about as much, especially if you’re talked into the limited function all-wheel drive which adds a couple hundred pounds of parts that can break.

    2. Toyota Venza. (Assuming it goes on sale soon enough to make the cut-off date) And I thought the Pontiac Aztek was ugly. This thing is Aztekier. Those weird eyebrow headlights make it look like a bad manga cartoon. Speaking of the Aztek, the 4-cylinder Venza weighs about the same as the 6-cylinder Aztek, has about the same horsepower, but less torque, and similar fuel economy. That’s a decade’s worth of progress? Speaking of the new 2.7 liter Toyota 4 cylinder, it’s specs look a lot like the 2.7 liter Dodge 6 cylinder, the engine that Dodge gave up on.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Escalade, Hybrid or Regular. Over-priced, over-blinged, example of GM’s marketing cluelessness. That so many athlete’s, rappers and wannabee’s buy them is an indictment of the education system in our country. Whenever I see one of these, I understand why 90% of the rest of the world despises our decadence. The hybrid version of this is the classic “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” attempt at camouflaging a vehicle whose entire raison d’etre is to flaunt the owner’s disregard for any concept of self-restraint.

  • avatar

    I will vote for 2 GM cars :

    1. Saturn Astra.
    Technically, it is not a bad car, but it DOES NOT FIT THE MARKET at all.

    Pricing – too high, more expensive than entry level Camry ?

    Body style – American like sedan, but there is no sedan option. Only hatches are available.

    Tuning – Too German, too hard, American likes soft riders. This car can be a niche car for those like German cars but cannot afford to buy a BMW, but this is DEFINITELY NOT the car what an average Saturn buyer wants to buy.

    In the first 11 months, it sells less than 11000 cars in US ! A total failure !

    2. Buick Lacrosse
    It is the worst car I tested in recent years. It combines harsh ride and body roll, the worst of both worlds together. Styling ? Terrible !

  • avatar

    Point of Order: Do cars that you can pay for, but not actually own (Camaro) qualify for a nomination?

    Nope. Collecting a deposit isn’t the same as actually selling it. “Sold in the U.S.” means it physically exists and is actually available for delivery to a customer.

  • avatar

    Scion Xb, just so so wrong looks wise. needs a diet or chapter 11 to shed some weight.
    Ford flex, a horribly proportioned over rated car. complete rip off of the range rover brand inside and out.
    Prius, hate looking at these push me pull you cars that are more statement than fact.
    Camry, and tundra, same issue with the looks etc, actual interior feels cheap and nasty too.

  • avatar


    As a proud Pius owner who uses his hybrid to tow his Galant to the dealer for repairs as well as towing his Corolla race car to the track for events, I am deeply offended by your comments.
    Actually, I strongly agree with most of what you said.
    in addition:

    I figure the easiest way for a car company to get a car on this list is to introduce a model that is WORSE than the car it replaces.
    Some examples:

    The Ford Focus- is the first to come to mind. It’s a letdown in nearly every aspect to the previous generation. Not to mention the slap in the face of having to see the rest of the world get something far better. pretty insulting.

    The current Camry- for most buyers, they’ll never notice the difference. They’re mostly happy that they remember where to put the key and which pedals to push. For the rest of us, the interior quality just dropped off the chart on the new generation. Go ahead and sit in one to see: there is visible flashing anywhere plastic meets, the materials are on par with mid 90’s GM products and the knobs feel ready to fall off in your hands and you haven’t even turned it on yet! It’s irresponsible to supply people with such a powerful V6 in a car that has such poor control over it. Beyond steering that is numb and poorly proportioned for even a Japanese car, the chassis control is utterly non existent. I consider it a border line dangerous vehicle.

    Every new Honda- I have great respect for Honda as an engineering firm, but the best built car in the world is no good when you have to look away when it pulls up. As has been mentioned repeatedly, the Acura beak is a disaster, the new pilot? awful. Even the Accord, long a portrait of restrained and down to earth good taste, leaves my gag reflex on overdrive. Alas, seeing the CR-Z in LA leaves me with hope…

    Scion Xb – The first one played an important role and established the brand. What next? Make it fat, slow, ugly, more expensive and less reliable. Perfect!

    Ditto for the Clubman.

    Another good way to get on a list is to force something on the public that reminds them that your company is completely out of touch.

    Challenger- Bear with me, granted, this is a good car, but instead of addressing the huge problems dragging Chrysler into the nearly irreversible situation they now find themselves in, they spend years building a “me too” retro pony car that will do nothing for their books, image or overall model line. Maybe paint it orange and put 01 on the doors…

    I’m sure there are more under this category…

    Honorable Mention:
    Kia Amanti

  • avatar

    Dodge Caliber. Even Stevie Wonder says its an eyesore

    Dodge Challenger. D- execution of retro styling

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    OK, I’ll give you the definitive…

    Chrysler Sebring – I will give the Avenger minor props for having some semblance of styling in an exceptionally mediocre package. The Sebring though is just a hideous creature made out of 1700 Tonka toys. If it were any more plastic, it would be made in Hollywood.

    Hummer H2 – The perfect vehicle for those who have always ridden in something yellow.

    Hummer H3 – Cheap, chintzy, flimsy, anemic, phony and more garish than the late Tammy Faye Baker.

    Pontiac G3 – Huh?

    Dodge Durango – I got one of these for free on a week long trip to Myrtle Beach. I still want my money back.

    Jeep Compass – Always points to ‘Lost’

    Jeep Commander – The ‘What, Me Worry?’ of SUV’s. The plastics are so cheap that they oughta have Chinese insignias on every interior panel.

    Just for breaking the obvious monotony I’ll offer three imports…

    Mitsubishi Galant – Every time I look at the interior components I’m reminded of the plastic cafeteria trays that we had in high school. It’s easily one of the most ignored vehicle at the auto auctions. Exterior styling came straight out of a 1980’s soap derby contest.

    Scion Xb – Toyota took a beautiful box and tried to put a Roseanne in it. If it were any fatter and fugly it would be the official car for ‘Sweatin to the Oldies’.

    Honda Ridgeline – A new car sales manager’s worst nightmare. Underpowered. Virtually no utility. No towing capacity. No gravitas. Deathly expense. Let’s face it. It has no purpose whatsoever regardless of whether gas is $5 or 50 cents.

  • avatar
    Point Given

    Chrysler Sebring/Dodge Avenger -repeated flaws many times over.

    Chevy Aveo – Small, wheezy, underperforming. A small car embarassment.

    Kia Amanti – A car built for no-one, when in fact it was suppose to be a Korean Buick.

    Cadillac DTS – Outdated, not a worth competitor in it’s category.

    VW Passat CC – Not a passat, not a cls. Another Phaeton?

    and uh, they are all so ugly Stevie Wonder wouldn’t be seen driving one.

  • avatar

    Bimmer X6 – Retarded

    Pontiac G3 – Retarded

    4 (5?) god knows how many Buick Enclave/GMC Envoy/Chevy/Pontiac who knows clones for the SUV/CUV/Bimbobox set

    Smart Car – GOD I HATE THIS THING – worse fuel economy than a Civic, less space than a Fit – it does NOTHING useful, costs too much, has no power, has mediocre to average economy, is a death trap – what kind of moron buys this vehicle?

    Porsche Panamera – COME ON PORSCHE – ok, this one just gets me RAGING MAD – its a Cayenne underneath – same running gear – same engine/tranny/drivetrains – hell, and they didn’t even bother to style it one off. They just chopped the top off a Cayenne to give it a sleeker profile then lowered it a few inches – it still looks like a god damned beetle backed Cayenne with the SUV rear end – man this car drives me nuts, how stupid can buyers really be to not realize what it really is? Badge engineered brand betrayal. Not that Porsche cares anymore, being a bank that has a subsidiary that occasionally sells cars (at maximum profit with no incentives or discounts or wiggle room even on MSRP).

    phew – those last two get me so pissed off.

  • avatar

    Steven Lang:

    You sir, are a funny man.

  • avatar

    Oh yeah – and the Tesla roadster.

    Need I say more?

  • avatar

    Yes, Kia Amanti is terribly ugly ! Really too terrible !

  • avatar

    Dodge Caliber SRT-4
    Dodge didn’t deliver on its 300hp claims, but even worse, the car is hideous beyond words and makes up for it with sub-standard performance

  • avatar

    Frank Williams :
    December 4th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Richard Chen:
    Frank – last year’s turkeys are all still eligible, right?

    Yes, as long as they were offered for retail sale in the U.S. at any time after January 1 this year.

    Given that criteria, I predict they will still be eligible next year, too

  • avatar

    Kia Rondo. Terrible styling. Although not remotely as bad as the Aztek, some of the Pontiac’s rear styling cues are prominent in the rear. The optional 3rd row seat is difficult to access and useless and can only seat toddlers and amputees, which the latter would probably still find uncomfortable. Its slow, noisy when stressed, handles poorly and has somewhat of a cheap ride to it. Even with a good warranty, sales seem to be very slim as well. I think i’ve seen 2 at most in town and one of them was a dealer car being test driven.

  • avatar

    alright stammel I’ll bite. While it looks like we agree on the fundamentals here, I don’t see why the entire honda lineup needs to take a swim. The civic is still a good car, the Fit is a phenomenal one and the S2000 is one of my all time favorites. While I don’t like their new styling direction any more than you do it simply dosen’t affect a single car that I would consider buying, so a big shrug from me there.

    And the Challenger…really? C’mon, they finally get a rear wheel drive coupe to market, with a stick shift option, a choice of 2 huge V8’s (one of which gets over 20mpg cruising) and styling that inspires innapropriate glances at those exhaust pipes. What’s not to like.

    Also, to point given…are you nuts? The CC is a beautiful car that starts south of 30k, with two great drivetrains, a lovely interior and, from initial reports at least, none of the squishy handling that ruins most medium sized sedans. Why would it even merit consideration for this list? Mind you, I agree completely with the rest of your list.

  • avatar

    1. The Mini Cooper Clubman. Essentially a Cooper stew that simmered far too long on the stove.

    2. The Hummer H3T. If a product that no one needs doesn’t move cars off the lot, why not do what everyone else is doing? (

  • avatar

    Do all those Jeep Compass nominations automatically nominate Jeep Patriot too?Does anyone can tell the difference between them?

  • avatar

    I know it’s not for sale yet, but the Pontiac G8 sports truck is the retardedest idea I’ve come across lately.

  • avatar

    Ford Flex: American instance of the automobile neo-cubist kind originated by scion xB and honda element, low ground clearance 5.1/length 201.8(compare to 8.2/188.0 -Jeep Grand Cherokee 2009)

  • avatar

    For the defense of the Ridgeline – if there really is one. It was made for 80% of truck buyers. Those that tow a small trailer of Motorbikes or ATVs or Jetskis or run to Home Depot to get only a 500-1,000 load of wood or bricks. It fits that purpose just fine where a 1500 or larger pickup is way overkill for such small needs (in fact a minivan will fit 80% of truck buyers requirements and 99% of suv buyers). What the Ridgeline gives up in terms of truck toughness is on road stability (4 wheel ind suspension and lower center of gravity – no live rear axle, ladder frame and large suspension travel). It will haul 1,500 lbs in bed or 5,000 lb towing capacity. This is what a light duty pickup (Colorado or Tacoma) can tackle – Ridgeline just provides it in a more car efficient package.

  • avatar

    BMX X6

    Less functionality, heavier, slower, uglier and more expensive than an X5 or 5-series wagon. Why would anyone buy this car? Why?

  • avatar

    1) Dodge Caliber
    2) VW Routan
    3) KIA Amanti
    4) Pontiac G3
    5) Buick LaCrosse
    6) Ford Taurus X
    7) Tesla Roadster
    8) Chrysler Asspen
    9) Chrysler Sebring
    10) BMW X6
    11) Jeep Compass
    12) Jeep Commander
    13) Chevy Impala
    14) Chevy Aveo

  • avatar

    The list is a little harder this year. Some great contenders are gone.

    It’s just not interesting to list Chrysler products.

    So, I say:

    Nissan Sentra/SER
    Infinity FX35
    Kia Amanti
    Lexus ES300 (Camry in drag)
    VW Routan
    BMW X6
    Acura TL
    Acura MDX
    2008 Subaru WRX (not 2009)
    Subaru SUV whatever it’s called

  • avatar

    2009 accord sedan for churlish exterior. Honda really should be spanked considering their perceived potential.

  • avatar


    My post referred to “Every NEW Honda”, It was mainly commentary on the styling direction that began a couple years ago and seems to get progressively worse. I even mentioned that they could easily redeem themselves if they worked in the CR-Z concept’s styling cues.

    I stand by my Challenger comments. It reflects a company who refuses to accept the reality surrounding them. An expensive to develop, limited run car is not going to change how the rest of their line up is seen. If they spent all the Challenger’s resources and money on thinning out and improving their line up, they’d be in better shape today. Case in point: the Routan, a vehicle that made my honorable mention list due to the general concept and shameful brand engineering, is an example of what Chrysler should have been doing all long in their minivans’ interiors.

    I agree with your CC comment. Despite TTAC’s rather bitter and biased sounding blanket condemnation of the CC as a whole in it’s recent review, it could not be further from how I felt after driving an entry level 6 sp. CC sport a couple weeks ago. Suspension was well sorted (much better than Passat sedan) and better balanced than the VR6 boat anchor/tiptronic 4motion model that TTAC drove. With the exception of the loose throttle tip-in mentioned in the review, the engine/tranny combo are a perfect match for the chassis and for $27k OTD, it’s a steal that, feature wise, competes very well against the Japanese and offers progressive and handsome styling that looks like it costs more than an entry Acura or Lexus…

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I am so sorry that I didn’t include the BMW X6.

  • avatar

    Lots of good nominees above–

    One new one from me–
    Mitsubishi Raider… two horribly uncompetitive companies get together to make the Dakota even worse. 2008 is a special year for the Raider, too–decontented so you can’t get a V8 or side airbags or ABS. Yeah, because nobody would want those things in a mid-size truck?!

    I think I saw one on the road, once.

  • avatar

    The aveo/G3 turd twins-sub compacts with midsize mileage. Un-wow.

    Solstice/Sky-Unreliable, sad ergos, best description I ever saw of the top was “Soviet level engineering, and to top it off they lose 10k per. CR consumer satisfaction scores have spiraled downward-apparently the longer you own one the worse it gets.
    Bad for the owner.
    Expensive for it’s fiscally challenged builder.

    Cryslur-where to begin.
    lo-Caliber und clone
    Commander-bad answer to a question that they stopped asking

    Lobalt/G5-Best road test mpg I’ve seen was 25. That was an XFE. GM-you DO NOT make any economy cars.

    Suzuki SX4-lame car with lame mpg.

    Colorado/Canyon (Col/on for short), bottom of the pack in compact trucks. 5 cyl manages the mpg of a 6 with the acceleration of a 4. Nice.

    VW Rotten van-cryslur technology, german price. */* Yay!

    Impala-big outside, smallish inside, mediocre everywhere. Why?

    Hummer should get some sort of special award.

    The wankers attacking good vehicles that do their job well (ya you- Prius bashers) just because you don’t like them-GET OVER IT.

    Dumb (Smart) car-thorough lousy vehicle in a cute package with only a slight mpg (on premium) bump over Yaris & Fit for similar ching. Sad.


  • avatar

    Lacrosse-so dull and unimportant I forgot it existed. ’nuff said.


  • avatar

    How could I have forgotten the VW Rotten

    oh, and the SX4 absolutely DOES NOT belong on this list – its a totally cool vehicle – good fuel economy (remember, its an SUV, not an economy car), shift on the fly 4WD, peppy transmission/engine/suspension. Now I just wish they’d jack it up, give it a soft top and repackage it as the Samurai.

  • avatar

    I nominate the 2009 Honda Fit.

    Hear me out. It is a great car, but, in typical Honda fashion, the outgoing model had better fuel economy. That is a failure in the sub-compact economy car segment. Even the Chevy Aveo (2007 ten worst) has better fuel economy and costs much less. Even in the same Honda showroom you can get a Civic with more power and better fuel economy for the same price as a Fit.

    Aw hell, I nominate the entire subcompact segment as the big lie of 2008. Fit, Yaris, Versa, xB, and Aveo were all big sellers when gas prices spiked. The buyers paid sticker price, sometimes more. Yet all those economy cars have sisters in the same showroom with the same or better fuel economy.

  • avatar

    I think to win the “worst car” award it’s not enough to just happen to be bad. Or to be bad because you’re cheap or downmarket, etc. Such cars will always fail to inspire, by definition.

    No, I think the “worst car” award needs to go to a company that spent time, money and prestige on a model that turned out to be a turkey.

    Given those criteria, it’s hard not to nominate the BMW X6. It’s ugly, useless, abominably wasteful and costs a fortune. It also represents an attitude on the part of BMW that suckers will line up for anything they make, so they don’t have to make a product that actually makes sense for anyone.

  • avatar

    Scion xB: Toyota took everything right and good about the original and ruined it by making it big, fat, rounded, and thirsty.

  • avatar

    OK, this is going to be hard. Not only am I an American expat who lives in the Netherlands, but I’m also a little drunk.

    I haven’t been in the US in the last 2 years so I will have to wing it.

    I can’t put my picks in order so you’ll have to do it for me, here it goes:

    – Jeep Commander, because copying Hummer is a bad idea for so many reasons.

    – Mercury Mountaineer, I don’t even know if this still exists, but a bad Ford rebadged is a worse Ford.

    – Dodge Caliber. They sell this in NL. It’s utterly horrible on so many levels. But what caught my eye in particular is the fact that the dash plastic still had edges, and I’m talking about the kind that you get when you are building a model airplane.

    – Suzuki SX4 – otherwise known as a Fiat. The Fiat is better and you’ll never see it in the US.

    – Mercedes R-class- what happened? How? Huh?

    – Mercedes SL – Don’t relabel a perfectly good looking car, especially not a few model years early. What they did is blasphemy!

    – Volkswagen Passat – Fat, overweight, trying to look like aaaaah an Accord? Hate it. Two snaps down!

    – Audi A4 – Simply for the interior. It’s a lovely car if you never, ever take passengers with you. It’s so clausterphobic inside, esp. in S-trim it makes my eyeball itch.

    – Mini Clubman – What the hell is the point. Raping a brand that sold well. That’s all I have to say!

    – Volkswagen Jetta – Oh, we’re back to putting a trunk on the old Golf, are we?

    That is all.

  • avatar

    Suzuki Reno – Most of you probably never heard of that one, right? Because it sucks in almost every respect. A subcompact with 19mpg city and 28 highway?

    You’d expect it to have the power of a Corvette with that kind of mileage, but no. 127 hp, naturally-aspirated, 2-liter engine. VW used to get that kind of power in a 2-liter back in 1977.

    The list goes on… Optional ABS, no stability control, mediocre crash safety ratings, no alloy wheel option (!!!), no sunroof, no power seats – the list of decontenting goes on.

    Heck, Aveo 5-door, the biggest turd on the subcompact market, has about the same interior dimensions, while managing to have better crash ratings, and it actually gets decent mileage in comparison.

    Now, Reno is rather cheap, but a decontented Yaris is even cheaper, AND it actually has more content in it.

    POINT: This is the sort of car you’d see on sale in 1978, not 2008, and sales numbers show it. I’ve only seen one, EVER. Put appropriate Mr T. quote here.

  • avatar

    Ford Crown Victoria – a 16th century covered wagon in a 21st century world. Pretty well every car in it’s class is better (not to mention they’ve all been designed sometime in the last 2 decades.) When the police are the only ones buying them, you know Ford’s gonna kill it if they want gov’ment cash. Or maybe they’ll use it as a bribe.

    Smart ForTwo – a small, stupid, relatively inefficient, small, ugly, useless, small, over-priced, underpowered, ugly and stupid. Makes Paris Hilton or Jessica Simpson look like a rock scientist.

    Pontiac G3 – a crappy knock-off of a Pontiac Wave, which in itself is a crappy knock-off of a Chevy Aveo, which in itself is a crappy knock-off of a Daewoo something-or-other, which in itself was a crappy car. Holy badge-engineering, Batman! Every competitor is better (well, maybe not the Smart ForTwo) – they (the competition) all offers increased reliability, resale value, fuel economy, and probably more.

  • avatar

    1.) Chevrolet Aveo/Pontiac G3 – Why isn’t the Cobalt/G5 be the “entry level?,” it they try so hard!
    2.) Chrysler Seabring/Dodge Avenger – Exciting at first but ending in disaster. Enterprise even hates them!
    3.) Volkswagen Tiguan – It is a nice looking car, but the interior is bland and seems cheap (when it’s not).
    4.) Toyota Camry – It’s almost like the “new” Camry was introduced when the older Honda Accord was in its “mid-life.” The Toyota seems outdated and boring. Plus it is ugly, not saying the Honda is much better.
    5.) Chevrolet Impala – They say looks don’t matter, it’s whats on the inside that counts. Well if that’s true, the Impala is one ugly duckling… And I like Chevy a lot.
    6.) Acura TSX – Okay, this is a tough one. The TSX is a really nice car. But the 2009 looks like it ate an elephant. The interior is the same way, bulky and overwhelming.
    7.) SAAB 9-3 – Again, I like swedish cars. (I think I am the only one) I think SAAB (GM) makes a good product, but they could do better with the 9-3. It just cannot suck those A4 buyers away from the Audi dealers. Or is SAAB even trying to? They should.
    8.) Dodge Durango – Ugly, expensive, ugly, Mitsubishi, cheap feel, ugly, Dodge.
    9.) Kia Amanti- It tries so hard, but now with the Hyundai Genesis alive and well, the Amanti just needs to go away.
    10.) Jeep Compass – It’s a bird, it’s a plane, its not a Jeep. It’s a Dodge, and the Dodge is better at it than Jeep. The Compass is ugly, offending, and a waist of Chrysler’s money…especially at this economy.

  • avatar


    The Crown Vic is no longer available to the public. It can only be bought as a police or taxi fleet vehicle.

    The Mercury Grand Marquis however is still available to the public but it has to be special ordered because they are no longer keeping them in dealer inventory. So I suppose the Mercury would be a better nomination. And as for the Police Interceptors and Taxi Vics, well cops pretty much swear by them. Tough, crude,low-tech,no-nonsense RWD sedans that can get down and dirty and get the job done with minimal maintenance costs. Ford is always going to have a loyal customer for these cars, just not the general public.

  • avatar

    I have to nominate the Gen 2 Scion xB one more time, now that its predictably dismal first year of sales have proven that “ugly” only sells in conjunction with “useful.” Derrrrrr.

    The Gen 1 xB was a vehicle that nobody could look directly at, but people bought anyway. Wisely, Toyota decided to fix this. Unwisely, they fixed the “people bought them” part. Whoops!

    The fact that the unboxy box is the ultimate BoomerMobile proves that Toyota can’t market ‘cool’ any more than GM can market…well, anything. They call the new model an “upgrade.” I call it “The Death of Cool.”

    Simply put…have you noticed that even Scion’s marketing department relies more heavily on the original xB than the new one? That really says it all, doesn’t it.

  • avatar
    George B

    Maybe I’m too generous, but cars on my Worst Car list are ones that I would refuse to rent and probably wouldn’t buy at any price. Not worth registration and insurance cost even if the car was almost free.

    Chrysler Sebring
    Jeep Compass/Dodge Caliber
    Kia Amanti
    Pontiac G3
    Dodge Nitro
    Mitsubishi Galant
    Smart ForTwo
    Hummer H3
    Dodge Journey
    Chevrolet HHR
    Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon

    Beyond the worst list, maybe there should be a major disappontment list for ok cars ruined by really bad styling.

    2009 Acura TL (rhinoplasty stat!)
    2008 Honda Accord (call Jenny Craig!)
    Honda Ridgeline
    Pontiac G8 (looks ok at a distance at night)
    Scion xB (toaster on wheels)
    Toyota Camry
    2009 Ford F-150 (more rhinoplasty)

  • avatar

    1. Jeep Compass: When I first saw it I considered gouging my eyes out with a rusty nail to keep from seeing it again. Almost. Kind of. OK, maybe not THAT extreme but it is every bit as hideous as the Aztec.

    2. Dodge Caliber: I think that a plastic Barbie doll would be offended by the plastics in this car. It is heavy, dynamically challenged, has a poor driving position, has a marginal safety rating considering it’s size, and it is assembled with all of the care of a disposable food container but made with worse plastics. Simply hideous in so many ways.

    3. Chrysler Sebring/Avenger: See 1 and 2.

    4. Kia Amanti: Totally bizarre. Did any retail customers actually take delivery of one?

    5. BMW X6: Come on… Ultimate Driving Machine? Heavy, thirsty, impractical, ugly… need I go on?

    6. Porsche Cayenne: Yeah yeah, I know… it finances the sports cars that I love and own… but still… I just hate it all around.

    7. Toyota Camry: Why is it that whenever there is a long line of traffic backed up in the left lane there is a Camry (usually in gold or white) holding things up?

    8. Chevy Aveo5: tiny tiny tiny wheels and a fake Audi grill that is 6-sizes too big for the face on the car. GM styists must have thought: “That will make the buyers think it is a small Audi, right?” Wrong.

    9. Chevy Cobalt/Pontiac G5: Simply outclassed and cheap. Like the Cavalier it replaced. Again. Get a clue GM!

    10. Subaru Impreza 4-door Sedan: OK, the 5-door is kind of cool, but the 4-door sedan is just plain hideous. I can forgive the plasticky interior though because at least it is well assembled and tough like the rest of the car.

  • avatar

    I stand by the Solstice as one of my choices. It does everything a Mazda MX-5 does, only much worse. This despite the fact that the MX-5 is older and all they had to do was copy it. And they still managed to make a horrible car, with horrible cargo space, and a horrible folding top. Relative to the Mazda, I can only assume it’s less reliable and depreciates harder as a “bonus”.

    Anyone who buys one rather then a MX-5 must be terrified of good sense.

  • avatar

    !) Escalade Hybrid $94,000 msrp in Canada

    2) Yukon Hybrid $70,000 msrp in Canada

    3) Cadillac DTS – Depreciates 50% in it’s first year

    4) Buick Allure/Lacrosse

    5) Pontiac G8 base.. Priced to close to a GT and almost the same fuel economy

  • avatar

    Sebring has too be the worst. The tranny is awful, refuses to downshift in a timely manner. The interior plastic is a new low and the seats are extremly uncomfortable. What motivated Chrysler to take a compact platform and stretch it into the midsize sedan?

  • avatar

    Darn… I forgot one more totally hideous car:

    The new Acura TL… that car is just SO fat and ugly I cannot believe what Honda was thinking… they need to do a FAST FAST FAST redesign of the grill before any more get onto the road. This car may go down as one of the all time style-clunkers like the Edsel, Aztec, Compass, etc…


  • avatar

    I see a few nominations for the Camry.

    This is nowhere NEAR the crappiest car. So what if it’s mainstream? So what if it doesn’t handle like a sports car? Sure, the interior might not be as good as the previous generation, but then the previous generation’s interior was top notch. Current interior isn’t that bad.

    As for my nominations:

    Hyundai Santa Fe. Fuel economy of the Lambda Cross-overs but much more cramped, noisy, and crappy.

    Hyundai/Kia Sportage. Uncompetitive pricing + outdated engines/suspension/etc. etc. etc. It’s a 90’s car at a 2008 price.

    Chrysler Sebring. Super-expensive convertible, ugly as hell, “odor-resistant” seat fabric WTF! Horrible, horrible car.

    Lexus ES350. This is what’s dragging Lexus down prestige-wise. Mid-size car for 33k from a luxury brand. BMW’s mid-sized car = 45k+, Merc’s 55k+, Audi 45+. It’s hard for me to explain, but in order for the Lexus nameplate to be desirable/prestigious, the entry price for their mid-sized car should be much higher. Also, it reeks of Camry in the proportions and the interior in some places.

    Lexus needs to be direct competitor with BMW/Merc, and they’ve been trying very hard to do so. The ES makes them seem to compete with the other semi-luxury brands like Acura or Volvo.

    BIGGEST FAIL, THOUGH, IS ACURA RL. I don’t care if this doesn’t get alot of nominations (because people forget it exists), hear me through. 55k for a Honda-look-alike, short and stubby proportions, V6? Hyundai Genesis is an all-out better car. So is the Avalon. So is the ES/GS, etc. etc. Hyundai Genesis is 15k cheaper, stronger engines, quieter, better looking, newer/modern interior, longer warranty, etc. RL is OUTCLASSED by EVERYTHING. HAS NO REDEEMING QUALITIES.

    Honda needs a real flagship, not a freaking Accord with a shovel for a nose and a 55k pricetag. Massive, massive fail. RL SUCKS!!! EVERYONE SHOULD AGREE!!!!

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    The Chevy HHR – I hate to kick them when they’re down but what was GM thinking? It is an underpowered and unattractive attempt to come at the PT Cruiser. If it hadn’t been for the Pontiac Aztec (which by comparison makes this thing look almost nice) it may be GM’s weakest attempt at a small CUV. Compare this to the Pontiac Vibe – about the same size and economy but both a better built and better designed machine (no small part due to Toyota I am sure)

    Craig this thing is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I own a 2.4 model and it replaced a full size van. I am astounded everyday at the amount of stuff I can cram into it when me and the wife got to Sams club. Its solid quiet and it works. I bought an LT model in sunburst orange with leather heated seats and the chrome package. I’ll be honest the first time I saw a prototype I said “are you kidding me that mess will never sell.” Well the wife strong armed me into one and I was way reluctant even though I work for the company that manufacturers it. I caved, and after two weeks of driving it I wouldn’t give it up if you paid me. Its solid, it does not squeek, its cozy and it works. 24000 thousand miles and solid.

  • avatar

    Until I started reading other nominations, I forgot the Pontiac G3 existed. Definitely nominating that one.

    At the LA Auto Show, the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep booth was the real funeral. Is the PT Loser still for sale? GM and Ford were a bit livelier and had some new products displayed. They had nothing new besides the Dodge Ram, and their most recent offerings were all horrid. I nominate all FWD Dodge/Chryslers, with the exception of the minivans.

  • avatar

    BMW X6 – wtf? Why is this CUV? All the size of an SUV with none of the space, the Porsche Cayenne II of the other once most focused drivers car brand. It colors my nightmares.

    MINI Clubman – What is MINI about this poorer handling, heavier, slower, ugly version of a great car?

    Chrysler Sebring – Picking on this car is like making fun of the mentally challenged.

    Chevy Aveo/Pontiac G3 – How to make an already unprofitable car more so.

    Porsche Cayenne – Ugly, stupid vehicle that led Porsche to buy VW instead of giving us more capable Porsches brought to us by the people that turned Porsche into a bank.

    Porsche Panamera – I know it is not a valid candidate but I move that an exemption to the rules be made for this abortion.

  • avatar

    1) Chevy Traverse – first knock-off of a Korean vehicle
    2) BMW 5,6 and 7 series. started the whole ugly styling trend.
    3) H3 – awful styling, ergonomics and powertrain
    4) TSX – make me love the old one

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    Top ten dead meat cars
    Acura TL Its just a gussied up accord.
    Aveo all, Its simply time to go it embarrasses me.
    Sebring: Dude loose the hood crinkles, the cad guy was having a crack moment.
    Ford focus WTF on the fender vent and the stupid crease line down the side.
    Scion XB: Sorry guys but the Box is an insult to american intelligence.
    Compass/Caliber OMG
    Pontiac G3 My company is making pontiac fans suffer the humiliation
    Hyundai SNOTTTTTA Pass the Kleenex and Please Kill me now
    Honda Pilot Holy cow that front end hit every stick on the ugly tree from the top to the bottom.
    Nissan GTR: What an over hyped transmission spewing turd.
    Cadillac DTS: Big homie its been nice but it’s time for you to get a hobbie and retire.
    Porche Boxter: Have crank will travel. Feel comfortable on the camskin while you wait for the tow truck to arrive.

  • avatar

    The “Smart” car.

    For the price, it’s too small (and thus unsafe), too slow and too ugly.

    For the size, it’s too expensive and too fuel inefficient. It’s OK to offer such a small car, maybe at $5000. It’s not OK to price this big toy at the same price point of a real car such as the Honda Fit.

  • avatar

    The Smart car for sure. It’s unrefined. It’s slow and small, yet manages to get ho-hum fuel economy. It looks like a clown car. Remember how the drivers in these cars were thumbing their noses at everyone when gas was $4? Well buddy, we’re not laughing with you when you parade by in that thing now! Personally, I’d rather hitchhike than drive this thing.

    They still make the Dodge Caliber right? The cheap interior is an immediate turnoff. The CVT trans is not fun to drive. This little car doesn’t get 30mpg highway so what’s the point?

    OK, another clown car for the list – the Chevy Aveo. It must be too easy to build a junky, unrefined vehicle that gets horrible mileage for its size, since I just listed three of them right here!

  • avatar

    The G8, V8 power and handling aside it’s an ugly car. Like the GTO it was designed in Australia, which we all know is the home of world class styling and muscle car love. I hope the Camaro fares better. Millions in developement and production costs and now it’s being cancelled because of poor sales.

  • avatar

    Honda CR-V – I’ll join the small chorus here and agree that it lacks refinement. I drove it and the new Xb back to back and actually preferred the Scion (yikes!). The CR-V is loud, has no manual option and its tumble-forward rear seats steal vast amounts of space from the cargo area. Why not buy a Fit instead?

    Toyota Venza – Please just offer a decent mid-sized wagon, NOT this blinged-out bloat-mobile.

    Mini Clubman – Why?

  • avatar

    Alright, here we go…

    Jeep Compass – You see, there’s this thing. It’s called the Jeep Patriot. It actually looks pretty nice. And then you have this Compass, and it looks crappier, is less capable, and COSTS MORE than the Patriot. What?! Can we just take this thing out back and shoot it, please?

    Toyota Venza – If Toyota admitted that this was a Camry station wagon, I’d wouldn’t put it on, but they call this blob an SUV, so here it is.

    Chevrolet Traverse – So after GM, was done making three other Lambda models, they saved the ugliest one of all for their best brand? What?

    Pontiac G3 – Proof that GM doesn’t really want the Pontiac brand to succeed. They made a successful G8, so they had to rebadge the crappiest GM car in production and stick it next to it on dealer lots.

  • avatar
    Charles T

    File these under “Parent company should have known better.”

    All three Acura sedans:

    RL- Looks like an Accord after the Supersize Me diet, and no matter how much power they try to squeeze out of an otherwise lovely V6, it’s not going to compete in that V8-dominated market, to say nothing of the SH-AWD attempt at being “better” than RWD. Quiet applause for making an effort, but Honda of all people should know that it’s the execution that counts when trying untried approaches.

    TL and TSX- Both are afflicted with horrible anime acid trip restylings. The numbing of the TSX takes away its only selling point. Is there a rule that says as Infiniti rises, so Acura falls?

  • avatar

    come on people, stop nominating cars like the Pontiac Solstice because they don’t have any cargo room, is missing the point of a car like that.

    my nominations

    Toyota Corolla- cheap feeling and ugly
    Mitsubishi Galant- very dated
    Dodge Caliber- cheap plastics, poor design
    Toyota Camry- boring and ugly
    Chevy Aveo- why?
    Chrysler Sebring- ridiculous styling, cheap plastics (again)
    Ford Taurus- hideous
    Jeep Compass- Jeep should be ashamed
    Jeep Comander- makes the Taurus attractive
    Kia Amanti- just silly looking

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    BMW X6: This years entry into the “German Auto Execs Know Better Than Their Own Customers” contest. Past entries? R-Class, Phaeton, C230K, 318ti. The hubris never stops coming.

    Couldn’t agree more!

    GMT900 Hybrids: A Venn diagram with environmentalists in one circle and full-size BOF truck buyers in another wouldn’t be a Venn diagram. It’d be two separate circles. On two different pages. Probably in two different books. Possibly not even in the same building.

    One of the funniest things I’ve read in months!

  • avatar

    Just in time! The Volkswagen Passat CC. ‘Hey, we took the unreliably of Volkwagen and put it in this cramped CLS wannabe!’

    The old new Beetle. Looks dumb, no room, shitty performance and ****ing bud vase. And VWs legendary reliability.

    And the Routan because it’s fugly. And it will have VWs legendary reliability.

    The Aveo is a gimme just for having being an economy car with all the penance and none of the savings. The G3 for being a badge-engineered version of a an economy car with all the penance and none of the savings.

    Jeep Commander for being a stunned monstrosity. The Nitro for being big on the outside, small on the inside, and looking stupid…and sucking.

    Yes, yes, the Compass and the Patriot, the Sebring more so for being dreadful and more scorn for the Avenger for being a tarted up Sebring.

    MINI based on it’s abominable reliability, the sundial speedometer and now the stunned convertometer.

    BMW X6 for sheer bloatedness and impracticality and poseurishness. And the 6 series for being hideous.

    The Lamborghini Reventon for being created simply to part rich fools from their money. And same for the Bugatti ‘Pur Sang’. If you sell performance cars, sell performance cars, not dust collectors.

    Anything from Acura, based on sheer ugliness.

    The Buick LaCrosse for plastic of poorer quality than that little bucket and spade you brought to the beach when you were a kid…at least you could use it to make sandcastles and club your sister.

    The Lincoln LT because it makes me want to punch someone.

  • avatar

    Yes, Kia Amanti is terribly ugly ! Really too terrible !

    Ohh, yes, the Amanti. Forgot that one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another modern car actually shudder on it’s wheels like a bowl of Jell-O when people step in or out. No car I’ve ever seen has a suspension so terrible.

    It’s not so much ugly as it completely derivative. And not in a good way, but in a knockoff-Prada-handbag way. The only reason Mercedes and Jaguar haven’t launched a look-and0feel suit is because it would dignify the Amanti’s styling with a response. This car is a holdover from Kia’s bad days, and it needs to go away.

    I second, third and fourth this car. It may actually be worse than the Chrysler Sebring, but it gets some reprieve for being more than a half-decade older.

  • avatar

    VW Rabbit.
    Original Rabbits we cheap, light, and economical. The new ‘Rabbit’ is the cheapest VW, but mine could barely break 21 mpg with its standard 2.5L 5-cylinder. That’s the same mileage my 84 VW Quantum got out of it’s 5-cylinder. Is that what we get in 24 years of “progress”. My 1990 VW Golf that barely runs can still pull off 25+ mpg. Sad that there are no efficient german cars for sale in the states.
    The new Rabbit is no “economy” car. Get yourself the GTI and enjoy the power and improved mileage. I took a several thousand dollar hit to terminate my lease on this car 1.5 years early. It made me mad everytime I walked passed it to drive one of my beaters!

  • avatar

    1. Jeep Compass–I like the Patriot, but the Compass … well, yeah, like everybody else says.

    2. Chevy Colorado–I was looking at this one for a long time. Specifically, its four-cyl crew cab automatic variant–the only four-cyl crew cab pickup truck sold in America. Specs are lowest of all four-cylinder trucks and it has the lowest towing and hauling capacities. So much promise, so much failure.

    3. 2010 Ford Mustang–Kept 4.0 liter 6 cylinder for another year. Same mileage and power going up against more powerful rivals. Kept 4.6 liter V8 too. To my knowledge, same mileage and power. I know it looks better and its interior is better, but those engines should already be dead. If Ford finally builds the Duratec 35 in the Mustang I’ll rescind my nomination of the ‘Stang.

    4. Dodge Challenger–Nice looking car, nice interior, atrocious timing. Oh yeah, and its most fuel efficient V6 is a complete dud, underpowered and inefficient.

    5. VW Beetle–No fuel economy advantage over many much better cars. At 23 mpg, it’s pretty much a travesty to the original. And then there’s the five cylinder as both its base and top engine. Yuck.

    6. Jeep Liberty–Ugly, overdone styling coupled with ugly interior. In my humble opinion, the only nice thing about this SUV was its nice approach and departure angles, which are now only attainable if you remove the front and rear bumpers.

    7. Dodge Dakota–Used to be beautiful first-gen. Now it’s ugly and ungainly looking. No appeal here for me.

    8. G3 (and Aveo)–Both equally suck. Neither really has a reason to exist outside of South Korea (and even there it’s debatable.)

    9. Nissan Frontier/Suzuki Equator (only the base models)–During a fuel crisis, keeps a teensy high-revving four-banger from a sedan. In spite of being one of the most underpowered base trucks in the segment, it’s also got the worst mileage, with a paltry 19 mpg with automatic. Bad fuel economy AND bad performance.

    10. Ford Ranger–Bad truck, good timing. If Ford literally does anything to improve this truck I’ll rescind my nomination. C’mon, side-curtain airbags, stability control, a crew cab? Ford?

  • avatar

    Pontiac G3: Let’s see, what could GM do to make make the Aveo worse. How about badge engineer a version for a dead brand, not to mention that the product is totally inconsistant with what that brand is supposed to represent.

    Pontiac G5: See above and replace the word Aveo with Cobalt

    Nissan Maxima: A Nissan priced like an Infiniti with none of the premium qualities of the Infiniti. Leave the CVT’s in 4 banger economy cars please. And a note to all manufacturers… loading a car up with cheap electronics does not make it premimum. I’ll take a G37 any day over this, or the Genesis if I want a touring sedan.

    Toyota Matrix: Toyota already has Scion for those who want a funky styled hatch with a cheap plastic interior. So what is the point of this. The more mature and mainstream Auris would have filled a nice gap in the U.S. Toyota lineup.

  • avatar

    Ford Crown Victoria – a 16th century covered wagon in a 21st century world. Pretty well every car in it’s class is better (not to mention they’ve all been designed sometime in the last 2 decades.) When the police are the only ones buying them, you know Ford’s gonna kill it if they want gov’ment cash. Or maybe they’ll use it as a bribe.

    Are you NUTS???

    Not only is the Crown Vic and the Panther line Ford’s most reliable, durable, and proven platform…it is the ONLY one that actually makes them money.

    How else do you think they got the money to fund all of the D3 flops…all 8 of them since 2005?


    And I second the 2010 Mustang. It is the same candy in a different wrapper.

    Using carryover power trains was one of the dumbest things Ford has done of late…and there have been many.

    For $23,999 I can get a 300HP Camaro…but to get 300HP in a Mustang, I have to spend $28K.

    Bold Moves indeed.

  • avatar

    Oh dear. I just realized the 2010 Mustang hasn’t been released yet, so it’s ineligible to be a TWAT.

    Well, Ford, you may have won THIS ROUND. But just you wait till next year…

  • avatar

    Thanks to all for staring into the abyss of autodom. Some truly inspired selections.

    I mentioned singling out the TSX previously, but I think the way to do it is to nominate the previous generation model for ten best. I think it’s the sort of slap in the face Honda needs/deserves.

    Of course it brings up a wonderful topic for discussion: new models that are clearly in the shadows of the previous generation. Matrix/Vibe? Accord? Corolla? Sebring, obviously. Caravan?

    I think dropped balls are the big story here, not perennial underachievers, or top tens. The solid center of the marketplace is being shortchanged, so how pervasive is it? Who is resting on their laurels, and who is resisting the temptation to cut corners.

  • avatar
    Your old pal Bob

    I have two groups:

    Dodge Caliber/Jeep Compass/Jeep Patriot: Underpowered and overweight siblings with much-hated CVT. Plus – and this is what makes me sad – the Jeep models make my own Jeep parts bin babies cry. AMC erred on the side of beef to build my Jeepster. Chrysler erred on the side of cheap crap to build the Compass and Patriot.

    Toyota Prius: Rolling badge for people who hate cars to display their disdain. The A-to-B people can wear a smug grin despite (!) lousy storage area, fuel economy that can be beat daily by a cheaper Corolla, bizarre driving dynamics, and needless distracting gizmos.

    Can we add all of the truly hideous Acrua snouts? When I see a new Acrua in the side mirror I’m always freaked out that we’re being attacked by evil and ugly robots. Too much Doctor Who, I suppose.

  • avatar

    In no particular order…

    The January Car & Driver actually called this a “breakthrough design.” The thing is seriously hideous. The grille is simply horrible, and is only tolerable in black, where it can’t be seen as well. The profile view is too generic, except for the front fender accents cutting into an otherwise fine style line running the length of the car. The proportions are off, partly because of the Mazda3-esque C-pillar that makes it look like the stylists chopped off a few inches in the rear. The Acura TL is a breakthrough design in the same way my gas earlier this morning was a breakthrough human achievement. Either way, I’m not buying it.

    This one deserves special reconition just for the oh-so-abortable “Routan babies” campaign. In classic VW form, the commercials are funny the first time, only to become exceedingly annoying. The fact it’s just a mediocre Chrysler minivan in VW drag is the icing on the cake.

    After exhaustive research (i.e. a ten second internet search), I found the G3 isn’t yet availible. Intentionally left in for comic effect. I almost went old school Motor Trend here and nominated the entire Pontiac brand, but the G3 is the worst of the worst. We all know Pontiac builds excitement, and nothing makes anything more exciting than fender vents! Especially when said vents are attached to the Aveo, arguably the single most autrocious modern automobile today.

    Because the Cobalt gets the knock-your-socks-off SS version, but GM’s “performance division” doesn’t.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • avatar

    Hummer H3T – Base an SUV on a moderately mediocre pickup platform (Colorado/Canyon). From that, turn around and create a pickup. Then introduce it at the same time your “parent” corporation announces it’s desire to sell/kill-off your brand. Yep, has all the makings of a real (10 Worst) winner.

  • avatar

    Cadillac STS: My God, you have no idea how bad it is until you test it with every other sedan at $45k. Sure, I drove the V6 model for a TTAC review, but even with a Northstar headgasket motor I can’t imagine getting one relative to its peers. RWD be damned, the STS makes the Lincoln MKS look like a Home Run. The CTS has to be a ten best winner just to make us all forget about the STS’ existence.

    Toyota Venza: answer to a question nobody asked, and it even looks ugly when looking prim and proper at the NAIAS.

    Kia Amati: it shouldn’t be. Ugly, cheap and dull.

    BMW X6: The sexiest 1980 AMC Eagle Sport Coupe I’ve ever seen. Absolutely brilliant.

    Mercedes R-class: brand corrosive, butt ugly, expensive, unreliable.

    Lincoln Mark LT: Considering it makes the Versailles look like a clean sheet design, it needs to be nominated again before Ford pulls the plug.

    VW Routan: all the dependability and elegance of a Chrysler with the customer friendly service and premium asking price of a VW dealer. Epic win!

    Subaru Impreza: fat, ugly and shameful compared to its forefathers.

    Dodge Dakota and Mitsu Raider: crappy interiors, lousy V6 engine, and can buy the latest and greatest full size truck for the same money. Or a less-crappy Ranger for…less.

  • avatar

    Cadillac STS: My God, you have no idea how bad it is until you test it with every other sedan at $45k. Sure, I drove the V6 model for a TTAC review, but even with a Northstar headgasket motor I can’t imagine getting one relative to its peers. RWD be damned, the STS makes the Lincoln MKS look like a Home Run. The CTS has to be a ten best winner just to make us all forget about the STS’ existence.

    Toyota Venza: answer to a question nobody asked, and it even looks ugly when looking prim and proper at the NAIAS.

    Kia Amati: it shouldn’t be. Ugly, cheap and dull.

    BMW X6: The sexiest 1980 AMC Eagle Sport Coupe I’ve ever seen. Absolutely brilliant.

    Mercedes R-class: brand corrosive, butt ugly, expensive, unreliable.

    Lincoln Mark LT: Considering it makes the Versailles look like a clean sheet design, it needs to be nominated again before Ford pulls the plug.

    VW Routan: all the dependability and elegance of a Chrysler with the customer friendly service and premium asking price of a VW dealer. Epic win!

  • avatar

    In alphabetical order:

    Acura RL: When the new model was first introduced it was already a questionable value to TL. Except for some extra horsepower, AWD, and a slightly nicer interior it didn’t offer much more, and it was just a smidgen larger. The redesigned RL, however, is even worse. Now that the TL is larger, has AWD and more horsepower available Honda needs to rethink the RL fast. Don’t even get me started with the styling. They took a conservative, but attractive car, and added a guillotine to the front.

    Acura TSX: The only thing wrong with the previous generation was engine output relative to the competition, but instead of fixing that one problem, they take away 4 horsepower, mush up the handling, and slather the interior with plasti-metal and call it a day. I call it game over. (Although I do get to feel a little smug that I have a 2006, which is now sort of a classic)

    Cadillac DTS: Nothing about this car is competitive in its class. Though I’m not sure what class it’s in exactly, sofa sedans maybe?

    Dodge Caliber:Instead of refining the Neon all these years they let it turn to crap, so they drop the nameplate and introduce a car that is even less desirable.

    Ford Focus:Why does North America get a 2nd refresh of the last generation Focus? It’s not a good refresh either, they took out the telescoping steering wheel, softened the handling when it rode nicely already, and the styling has gotten worse with each refresh. Moreover, what happened to the hatchbacks and wagons?

    Infiniti QX56:This large luxury SUV was launched well before the big SUV implosion but nobody bought it then either, maybe that’s because they could see.

    Jeep Compass:Unlike most compasses this one always points south.

    Lincoln’s new model names:MKS, MKZ, MKX, LOL

    Mitsubishi Galant:It wasn’t even competitive when it was introduced. Someone needs to tell Mitsubishi that cars are not fine wine, they do not get better with age.

    Smart Car:A car built just to be thrifty that runs on Premium Fuel, and it costs too much.

  • avatar

    I was in a Dodge Avenger recently. I agree with the Sebring/Avenger nomination.

    Also, Jeep Compass. Who the heck at Chrysler though that was a good idea for Jeep?

  • avatar

    My top picks have already been nominated, but there’s still a couple of stragglers that need mentioning.

    Suzuki Forenza – the rebadged Daewoo most famous as Top Gear’s second reasonably-priced car has now thankfully reached the end of its life. It’s still awful and screams “cheap” like nothing else on the road.

    Toyota Matrix – you may have missed this one due to the slightly greater offense of the 2nd gen xB, but the ghastly new Matrix doesn’t come far behind. How do you remake a car, keep the dimensions and power more or less the same, and still add 200 pounds to the weight? It deserves a nomination more than the Corolla, in any case (at least you can see out of its sibling).

    Dodge Nitro – forget Bimmers and Audis, if you want to look like an ass then this is the ride to buy. I could forgive the sheetmetal if there were any other redeeming factors, but there aren’t (at least an H2 can go offroad sometimes). Even lacking anything to back up its goofy hyper-macho looks, this thing is the ideal poseur car.

    I would have also suggested the X-type (on the same “they’re still selling that?” logic as the 9-5), but I just don’t have the heart. Lots of other cars can summon up venom; the X-type just leaves me feeling sad.

  • avatar

    Most of my top picks have already been nominated, but there’s still a couple of stragglers that need to get called out.

    Suzuki Forenza – the rebadged Daewoo most famous as Top Gear’s second reasonably-priced car has now thankfully reached the end of its life. It’s still awful and screams “cheap” like nothing else on the road.

    Toyota Matrix – you may have missed this one due to the slightly greater offense of the 2nd gen xB, but the ghastly new Matrix doesn’t come far behind. How do you remake a car, keep the dimensions and power more or less the same, and still add 200 pounds to the weight? It deserves a nomination more than the Corolla, in any case (at least you can see out of its sibling).

    Dodge Nitro – forget Bimmers and Audis, if you want to look like an ass then this is the ride to buy. I could forgive the sheetmetal if there were any other redeeming factors, but there aren’t (at least an H2 can go offroad sometimes). Even lacking anything to back up its goofy hyper-macho looks, this thing is the ideal poseur car.

    I would have also suggested the X-type (on the same “they’re still selling that?” logic as the 9-5), but I just don’t have the heart. Lots of other cars can summon up venom; the X-type just leaves me feeling sad.

  • avatar

    Sebring – come on now. This one is a shoe-in and thus needs no more explaining. This one should be an automatic entry for every year it remains in production.
    BMW X6 – Makes as much sense as a submarine with screen doors. Seriously, why would anyone want this?
    Ferrari California – that’s right, I want a FERRARI on the list. Don’t like it? Tough. This fugly-styled poser-mobile is just another step closer to Ferrari’s sell-out status and over-commercialization. I sure do like my hyphenations huh? :-)

  • avatar

    That Ford Edge AWD I rented recently was a stinker. Big, but not all that roomy. Can think of no reason to pick this over an Escape other than the styling which I have to admit is good.
    Lots of road and wind noise. Performance so-so. And baby it though I tried, the best fwy mileage I got was 21 mpg. That’s pathetic.

  • avatar

    Driven as rentals in 2008:
    Dodge Caliber. Bad in every way, but what really stunned me was the appalling outward visibility. A school bus could hide behind the chunky A-pillar/mirror combo. No exaggeration: I’m more comfortable maneuvering a 14-passenger van than this plastic disaster.
    – Chevy Aveo. Made me long for the power and luxury of my 1998 Suzuki Sidekick. Exaggerating only slightly.

  • avatar

    Ford Fusion: A re-incarnated Ford Taurus. Everything in this car is terrible.

    Nissan Altima Hybrid: The seats in this car are made of 1980’s mouse fur. The engine would randomly kick in during driving in hybrid mode and cause the car to lurch forward when stopped.

    Chrysler Sebring/Dodge Avenger: Daimler drove this company into the ground, then Cerberus made sure you never forgot.

    BMW 6-Series: An overweight cruiser that I’ve never seen driven in Germany (wonder why?).

    Honda Accord: Japanese re-incarnation of the Ford Taurus. Overweight, too large, poor dash materials and bad styling.

    Pontiac G6: Why is this car in production when the extremely good Saturn Aura and Chevy Malibu are here?

    Mercedes C-Class: Very cheap interior, high service costs (BMW is $0 for 3 years), suspension in C-300 Sport is needlessly harsh.

    Cadillac DTS: Hard to imagine who this car’s market is. The vehicle is so large and the sight lines are so bad, that there are parking sensors ON THE FRONT.

    Toyota Highlander: Volume controls are the size of a hubcap. Dashboard feels brittle and the gas mileage is very poor.

    BTW I have driven all of these cars for business travel this year.

  • avatar

    I’ve been working at the New England Auto Show for the past couple of days and this has given me some time to walk around the show. I’m amazed at how many unappealing options there are. I was also shocked at how many I’ve never even heard of or forgot they were making (Dodge Journey and Pontiac Torrent and G3, Mercury).

    Anyway, my nominations are based on the amount of arrogance and “those customers are idiots” attitude displayed by the car’s manufacturer. I’ll avoid bashing Chrysler products any more as it’s just too easy:

    BMW X6. Really? You seriously thought there was a market for this thing?

    VW Routan. Huh? Where did this idea come from and how does it possibly fit your brand? And the commercials are even more insulting.

    BMW 1-Series. It’s easy to bash GM for failing to anticipate the shift in demand for more fuel efficient cars. Yet, here’s BMW failing to offer the cool body styling and lighter and more efficient 4-cylinder engines to bring American buyers a awkward-looking and overpriced turd. Then again, if you think of it as a way to get a fast 3-series with the option to trade rear seat room for no I-drive perhaps it sounds like a better deal.

    Any BMW with I-Drive. Seriously, BMW (and all the other manufacturers who are copying these types of systems), can you please start listening… these integrated systems are HARDER to use than good old-fashioned buttons and the thought of owning one of these cars when they are 10 years old is terrifying. If this thing breaks you won’t be able to turn on the fan or change the radio station without coughing up thousands to replace it. The cars will be completely disposable. Not to mention that in another year the thought of coughing up thousands of dollars for an integrated GPS system when your phone already has it will seem silly. Oh, right, that already happened.

    Ford Focus. Why did Ford spend a singe penny redesigning this car? Incredibly, they actually made it worse in every possible way over its predecessor and the coupe is just embarrasing.

    Malibu and Aura hybrids. The Malibu and Aura are nice cars (even possibly great ones and GM’s best effort in midsize cars since the introduction of the small-block Chevy) but the hybrids make no sense at all. They are a weak effort and the new 6-speed auto/4-cylinder engine delivers nearly identical mileage for less money. I bet they could sell you little “hybrid” badges to glue on the fenders of the base Malibu for $200 and it would make a bigger difference in attracting green-minded buyers to their showrooms.

    Escalade Hybrid. Which marketing genius came up with this plan? Let’s see… people who can afford an $80,000 luxury SUV (or would still be seen dead in one) couldn’t care less about the cost of fuel or emissions and consumers interested in saving gas or making a “green” statement wouldn’t be seen dead in a 6000 lb SUV with Dubs. WTF?

    To throw a little vitriole at Lexus: you still make the SC430? It’s horrible to look at and with a base price of $67,000 still manages to be less appealing than a Solara… which makes an Aveo seem like a logical purchase.

  • avatar
    Jeff in NH

    Toyota RAV4: Cheap plastic interior with anonymous styling and a gutless four-banger. The sperm whale of compact SUVs when equipped with the V6. You can just hear that well-engineered engine screaming to get away when forcibly confined in the RAV4 engine bay.

    Nissan Altima: Explicitly advertised for its purported durability, coming from a car manufacturer that has adopted (with quiet resolve) the concept of planned obsolescence, as so adeptly practiced by General Motors.

    Chrysler Sebring: Beating a dead horse here, but hoping for its quicker burial.

  • avatar

    10. Pontiac G6
    9. Chevrolet Cobalt/Pontiac G5
    8. Chevrolet HHR
    7. Dodge Caliber
    6. Jeep Compass
    5. Ford Ranger
    4. Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon
    3. Suzuki Forenza/Reno
    2. Chrysler Sebring/Dodge Avenger
    1. Chevrolet Aveo/Pontiac G3

  • avatar

    There are a few easy ones:

    BMW X6 – as everyone else has commented – WHY? Hubris? Greed? Actually, it is a joke by BMW. How can we prove that even our own customers are stupid. Build the ugilest, most pointless car we can come up with and see if they bite. Please let this be the start of their fall from grace.

    Chrysler Sebring – no more words required.

    Smart – pointless in every way you can measure it

    Mini Clubman – take a great car – roger it from behind, and assume the brand can take it – no it can’t

    Maybach – I mean really. If you have that much money, go and get your eyes tested before you ever step in to a Maybach dealership (assuming one exists)

    Esclade Hybrid – it is an outrage that this exists and has garnered any awards. It is a disgrace in every way.

    Acura RL – what a disappointment

    Honda Odyssey – what to drive when you have finally lost the will to live and know nothing about cars. No wonder Car and Driver love it.

  • avatar

    Pontiac Grand Prix, especially in black. Not only for it’s dubious engineering and midlife-crisis-on-a-budget image, but for the way it inspires aging Darth Vader wannabes to climb onto my ass at 70 mph with wanton disregard for the children in the back seat and my karate gear in the trunk.

  • avatar

    Pontiac G3, but NOT the Aveo!. The Aveo still has a purpose in the Chevrolet line-up, as the cheapest entry level econobox. The G3, however, is a slap in Pontiacs face. It is evidence that not only doesn’t GM have a clue, on top of that, they just don’t really give a shit. They are pissing on the little heritage Pontiac had in those matters. Portholes in the A-pillar? Get the f**k outta here…

  • avatar

    Some brands (Dodge instantly springs to mind) are just waaaay too easy to pick apart. They’ve been like that for years – I say let them collect themselves post bailout – then it’ll be fair game again. Meanwhile – tsk.. tsk…

    Also – there is little practical use for comments like “look at the cheap plastic interior parts on this POS ” Think! The engineers really don’t have much material to work with. It’s like poking fun at a 10 year old about how short they are. Shame…

    The real travesty is when the product is north of 40K and they still somehow screw the pooch. I expect the design engineers have a clean slate on these vehicles – “make it as slick as possible” – and they drop a turd instead. Makes me wince.

    To wit:

    Acura – I complained about the shovel on the snoot of the MDX last year. It looked like something meant to push the cattle off of the rails on an otherwise nice looking SUV. Well – the guy that came up with it appears to have been promoted and now their whole product line is getting the same ama-a-a-azing Aztec makeover. The ’09 Acura TL peaks the charts and is shamefully ugly. It’s as if they are really trying hard to undo the fantastic Honda engineering that is underneath that hellish sheet metal. So frustrating to look at. Sheer wasted potential.

    BMW – once they had the best looking machines on the road. Now they resemble cost reduced plasti-clad Pontiacs. I wish they’d hurry up and abandon the bulbous and random-line look and get back to what they once did so well – simple and clean designs. I often wonder if Audi raided beemer’s design guys a few years back and left behind the stoners.

    Infiniti – specifically the ’09 FX50. At a base price of $58,400 you get something that looks like a poorly done pinewood derby car.

    Saab – (most specifically the 9-7X). They brag about engineering that came from jet fighters, but for $42K this one seems to have come from a Chevy Trailblazer.


  • avatar
    John Horner

    The Aspen/Durango hybrid twins have got to be in there somewhere.

  • avatar

    BMW X6 — I pointed one out to my 12-year-old son, who immediately dissed it for being as ugly as the Pontiac Aztek and asked why a company would design something so hideous. I didn’t have a good answer for him.

    Ford Flex — rolling proof of John Keats’s assertion that, when an automaker cross-breeds two vehicles, the offspring combines the worst features of both parents at a higher price than either one. The Flex is the child of a conventional SUV and a minivan. It lacks the minivan’s interior spaciousness and easy rear-seat access, and it doesn’t offer the SUV’s off-road capability as compensation. It’s an expensive fashion statement with ponderous handling and leisurely acceleration. It’s a pity the Ford design group wasted one of their best-ever interiors on the Flex. Maybe they can salvage some of the comfy and attractive bits for the 2010 Taurus freshening.

    Toyota Corolla — is ToMoCo channeling the late, unlamented Chevy Lumina? The new Corolla should have been so much better than it is. The cheap interior materials and poor chassis dynamics remind me of the Chevies of yore, and that’s not a good thing.

    Scion xB — the new model is larger, heavier, thirstier and uglier than the one it replaced. To top it off, Toyota’s designers and engineers managed to excise all the quirky charm that made the previous xB so oddly compelling. What’s to like?

  • avatar

    Here in italy we have very few american cars and trucks, however there are a few around and they certainly stand out

    The Dodge Nitro , this is the one that all the italian kids fall over laughing at , a real ugly , cannot comment on the interior as I am convinced it would be unsafe to travel in one !

    All the new Jeeps are without exception hideous , an insult on
    once proud name , if the american army had to count on these to go into war with ,well…….

    Dodge Caliber , well its enough to say that there is a dealer down the road offering two for the price of one !

    here also we have some lemons too , I totally agree with the nominations for the BMW X6, a throughly revolting looking motor which sums up everything that is wrong with the world
    in a massive case of design homicide !

    The latest batch of SAAB’s are also worthy of inclusion having
    been subjected to a broad stroke of GM’s bland pencil which
    has removed all of the former companies quirky-ness and
    most of its customers at the same time !

    As for the TESLA I do not agree with its inclusion , having
    followed is development for two years now , I believe it has
    a great future , I will accept it is not perfect however if the
    majority of motor manufacturers had continued developing
    electric drive after the EV1 fiasco I think the once proud american car industry would not be in the mess it is in now.
    Tesla is the “Tucker ” of the 21st century , try not to blow it
    again !

    It is a little ironic that GM at this time are hingeing their
    recovery on a partial electric drive car !

  • avatar

    I’d like to add a blanket nomination for all Detroit cars (not trucks) with live rear axles (Mustang, Crown Vic/Grand Marquis, maybe more?) The Europeans figured out long ago that cars have four wheels, so they should each be treated independently – when will the Americans realize that and make RWD cars that handle almost reasonably well?

  • avatar

    Honda Accord- Boring car afflicted with horrendous styling
    Toyota Camry- Boring car afflicted with boring styling

  • avatar

    #1 – Chrysler Sebring – had one as a rental. Hands down one of the worst cars I’ve ever had the displeasure of driving

    #2 – Jeep Commander – are they still making these? Porportions are just terrible, Cherokee on steroids. Economy is worse than a much more useful suburban. Why overpriced. Further proof that people will buy anything with a Jeep badge.

    #3 – VW Routan – 50% for the stupid ad campaign and 50% for badge engineering a Chrysler minivan. I can see a rebadge of a Odyssey, but the Caravan is a turd that can’t be polished.

    #4 – Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country – See above. Just terrible when compared to the Honda/Toyota competition. New boxy styling doesn’t do it favors either.

    #5 – Toyota FJ Cruiser – What? A more stupid move than the whole Tundra flop.

    #6 – Jeep Patriot – Took a design that I’ve heard many women call “cute” and turned it into something nobody even notices. Smart move.

    #7 – Smart Four Two – Expensive, no utility and not very good MPG’s given it’s size. Makes zero sense for 99% of America.

    #8 – Mazda 6 – Took a “right sized” sedan and made it huge with uber poor timing. Now it’s no longer an alternative to the Camry/Accord boats. Crappy MPG’s too. Dumb dumb dumb.

    #9 – Chevrolet Impala – Another terrible rental I had. This model should’ve been discontinued the day the Malibu was released.

    #10 – Toyota Corolla – Mostly because everyone is beating up on this one and I think it’s a complete dud next to the Civic. I’d like to nominate the whole Toyota line for that saved by zero campaign. That’s enough to keep me off a Toyota lot for years.

  • avatar

    Pontiac G3 – worse than the Chevy Aveo in that it disgraces an already disgraced brand.

    Chrysler Sebring – reinventing “Geriatric” design language that even Buick was smart enough to let die.

    Honda Accord – the thinking man’s car sold out to the fatty-boom-batty hype.

    Acura TL/TSX – an exercise in how to take a good design and turn it into a horrible design.

    Cadillac Escalade Hybrid – not fooling anybody. Neither are the idiots that buy them.

    Dodge Dakota – the entire vehicle was an afterthought, and a bad one at that.

    BMW 1-series (US-spec) – glorious power can’t save ridiculous styling, cramped space, and obesity when significantly better options are available for just a few bucks more (3-series).

    BMW X6 – a vehicle as pointless as its owners.

    Hummer H3T – The Colorado was a sad excuse at a compact pickup to begin with – a now politically incorrect body makes it even less desirable. Launching a vehicle “because it’s ready” is an example of bad business decisions.

    Jeep Compass – there’s no point in a non Trail Rated Jeep. Plus it’s as cute as a stomach pump.

    That is all.

  • avatar

    replying to romanjetfighter

    I don’t agree that the Camry is a decent car…it’s an extremely oversized, extremely ugly car that is outcompeted in every way by it’s competitors (who may also be oversized but at least they don’t suck otherwise). Plus it’s, and I’ll say it again, a Toyota…the new 1980’s GM.

    Someone stood up to defend the Prius up there, and I don’t understand that either, it’s an appliance, not a car. And a poorly designed one at that. For all the hype it acheives there are superior vehicles in every price bracket below it, in almost every field in which it supposedly excels. On the image side, someone called it a, “yuppie icon” recently and I think that’s being unkind to yuppies.

    I will stick up for the Acura cars (not the SUV’s though)…yes they are ugly, but dynamically they are very sound, with classy (not tacky at least) interiors, nicely judged handling and a clear brand identity reflected in their powertrains. Hell, I don’t even know if a V8 is ultimately a good idea for them, sure right now they lose out on extremely high end buyers, but I think they’ll be fishing for their very own phaeton in trying to go top market in price and power. So I wouldn’t buy one due to hideousness, but I can’t hate either, I like their engineering just where it is.

  • avatar

    Daimler still fully owned Chrysler when that turd of a minivan was greenlighted, so technically the Routan is “German engineered”–just not by VW.
    Too bad Chrysler lacks the funds and commitment to take the minivan back to its roots.

    While we give the CR-V some well-deserved trashing, let’s not forget the Element.I hate this thing for the same reason I hated 1st-gen 4-door “club cab” pickups–to access the rear seat, you’ve got to open up that whole friggin side of the interior. AND you’ve got to get up out of your driver’s seat to assist rear passengers as they can’t just get themselves out unassisted.

    Others on this board dare join me in trash-talk of the omnipotent Toyota concerning the hard, short-cushioned Corolla seats and the gross mini-Hummer the xB has become? I can just hear our Asian overlords plotting with their paid-for politicians to impose a “fairness doctrine” upon the internet in our near future.

  • avatar

    and no seconds on my maxima nomination? Really? Everyone here loves CVT transmissions I guess. Lets reward the japanese companies who are forcing them on us by not calling them out. Because, clearly, the transmission is really where we want automakers hunting for .5mpg at the expense of driving dynamics.

  • avatar

    Ford Ranger DOES NOT belong on the list-at least not in its basic 4-cylinder stickshift form.

    It does everything it’s supposed to do. It’s cheap to buy, cheap to run, cheap to maintain, long-lasting–at least in its basic form.People who want expensive
    stability controls don’t understand that this little truck is used for urban deliveries and doesn’t normally travel at speeds where one could get in much trouble.

    The V-6, automatic,and 4WD models ARE overpriced compared with a big Ford, and don’t get any better gas mileage than a big one, either.

    I feel that Ford needs a redesigned mid-sized pickup for those who want more power,4WD, automatic, power-this and power-that, while leaving the original basic Ranger alone for us commercial users.

  • avatar

    Dodge Caliber – for various reasons including an aweful interior as well as an dreadful suspension that floats and crashes as well an a pathetic powertrain that couples a lackluster engine with rubber band rearbox.

    Smart For Two – An expensive fashion item that uses too much gas for its size, handles like an old Cavalier and offers less storage space than a Goldwing.

    BMW X6 – Is a tarmac-only off-roader or an obese sports car? The very expression of BMW’s identity crisis.

    Acure TL/TSX – The art of taking two good looking affordable sporty cars and making them so stomach turningly ugly and overpriced that you’d have to suspect that Acura is feeling suicidal.

  • avatar

    In defense of two that don’t belong here…

    Ridgeline-wins every comparo handily, great owner satisfaction scores, retail sales beat the Canyon and Dakota at mid-year. One thing everyone misses on their sales, they offer only one cab, one drivetrain, one bed size and yet they outsell vehicles with a multitude of choices. The Taco is probably the only line selling more crew cab, short beds with V-6s (the new standard compact truck).
    This is a very good vehicle in a tough segment in a bad market.

    Prius– Let me get this straight-someone makes a good (not great) midsize sedan, for a midsize sedan price that gets the BEST MPG on the market and has been stunningly reliable even stuffed full of new tech and it’s bad?

    For comparison, a ‘Bu-brid costs more, has almost identical interior room and acceleration, less luggage space and gets 15 mpg less.

    These nominations are rubbish. ;^P


  • avatar

    Honorable Mention: Honda Accord
    – Too big, interior is too busy. I would like to buy a new 1994-gen Accord again…
    10. BMW X6
    – Really, what were they thinking. Let’s sell an overpriced SUV and leave out the cargo capacity. Smart.
    9. Hummer H3
    – Terrible execution. I can’t wait for it to finally die.
    8. Scion xB
    – Toyota engineered everything that was great about the original out of the follow-up. Best example of redesigning by focus-group.
    7. Toyota Corolla
    – Most boring car I have ever driven. Looked at one for my fiance and she said the same thing (and she generally has no opinion about cars.)
    6. Dodge Durango/Chrysler Aspen
    – Again, I can’t wait for these terrible, over-sized beasts to get off the road. I had to rent one once (last car on the lot) and hated every minute driving it. People, if you really need a vehicle of this capacity drive a Suburban or Expedition – they are far better.
    5. Smart Four Two
    – An extremely small car that only matches MPG’s of much better, larger alternatives (Fit/Civic/etc.)
    4. Chevrolet Cobalt/Pontiac G5
    – Both are GM’s way of saying the economy buying public won’t notice how bad their offerings really are. Die please.
    3. Jeep Compass/Dodge Caliber
    – The first time I was forced to rent one of these I couldn’t believe how bad they were – and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it.
    2. Chrysler Sebring/Dodge Avenger
    – Repeat comment #3.
    1. Chevrolet Aveo/Pontiac G3
    – A small car that CAN’T COME CLOSE to the MPG’s of much better alternatives (Fit/Civic/etc.)

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Some vehicles deserve to be on the list but are so irrelevant (e.g., because they are already on their way out) that I question wasting the slots. Among those, the Kia Amanti, Jeep Commander and the Mitsubishi Galant. Why not focus on vehicles where the automaker is still suffering from a massive case of denial?

    I’d disagree that the Mini Clubman, Solstice, Prius, BMW X6 and Ford Ranger are among the 10 worst. The Mini won’t survive without extending the brand, and the Clubman strikes me as a reasonable way to do it. From a financial standpoint GM made a mistake by investing in the Solstice, but I think it’s a nicely styled car. I’d never buy a Prius, but this is a trend setting car, and I know a number non-gearheads who are quite happy with their “green” appliances. BMW’s X6 isn’t my cup of tea but why begrudge an automaker for exploring a new market niche? At least the styling doesn’t look like it was penned by space aliens, unlike so many BMWs. Yes, the Ford Ranger has been neglected, but it is still the most efficient workhorse truck on the market. Not everything has to be sacrificed to the god of planned obsolescence.

    Which cars would I nominate?

    BMW 1 series: This is what happens when GM-style product planning takes over. BMW figured that it could trade on the 2002’s legendary branding by nipping and tucking the 3 and wrapping it in one of Bangle’s biggest styling disasters yet. The front end reminds me of breasts squished against a window and the side reeks of a Datsun B-210.

    Lincohn MKZ: A friendly disagreement with those who pan the MKS, which seems to be a decent car for folks who don’t need a rear-wheel-drive V8. However, the MKZ jumps the shark. That level of badge engineering is simply unacceptable in a luxury brand. To make matters worse, Ford did a terrible job of dressing up the MKZ. The exterior styling is too anonymous in the outgoing generation, and the refresh is downright ugly (particularly the back). Proof that Ford is not out of the woods yet.

    Honda Ridgeline: The basic idea of a cross between a car and a truck is a good one, and I hope we see more of these. But Honda’s execution, particularly on the styling front, demands severe punishment. If TTAC doesn’t pick the Ridgeline, please single out another Honda product that epitomizes that company’s terrible new styling direction.

    Toyota Corolla: Toyota has a number of vehicles that deserve recognition, such as the Tundra (should have stayed a mid-size) and the Scion xB (should have stayed small), but the Corolla is also worth singling out because it oozes GM-think. Of course, this has been the case for many years now because the platform has been shared with a GM small car (the Prizm and, more recently, the Vibe). Excessive decontenting is evident everywhere, particularly when compared to the Civic.

  • avatar

    Im going with 08 Impreza WRX, talk about missing your market; way too softly sprung and not nearly powerful enough the 09’s getting 50 more horses and the suspension has been stiffened up by 50% but is still a little too soft according to C&D.

  • avatar

    Can I just nominate All of Chrysler Corporation? Two or three worthwhile Jeeps, one ageing MB-derived platform, and the rest of the company’s offerings are the worst in their respective classes. If you want specific nominees:

    Dodge Caliber / Jeep Compass
    Chrysler Sebring
    Dodge Journey
    Dodge Durango / Chrysler Aspen

    Someone please just shoot this lame horse.

  • avatar


    The prius isn’t really a mid size, it’s a hatchback largish compact car being sold at near premium mid size prices. I don’t uprate the Fit past subcompact because it has a cavernous interior, it’s an efficiently packaged subcompact, that’s all. Best mpg…really? Have you driven one on a highway or a back road? In neither situation does it rate that distinction. I recently drove a very new prius on rural back roads in northern new york and I got dismal mpg in return. The battery never cut in and I was caning the piss out of a talentless, gutless, too-small engine just attempting to maintain a spirited back road pace. Every turn I came to I had to decellerate at least 10mph below what I could acheive with a much cheaper regular car, just in order to be safe. The ultimate (estimated I admit) mpg that day wasn’t far off that of my mother’s Magnum R/T on similar roads (16-19). On the highway I invite you to try a VW diesel, there really is no comparison in mpg or power.

    But I will grant you that if you only drive to sit in traffic the electric thing works out. I just am not willing to buy a second car so that my weekend trips don’t suck.

  • avatar

    tedward, this comment:

    The prius isn’t really a mid size, it’s a hatchback largish compact car being sold at near premium mid size prices.

    is either stunningly misinformed or a lie. Let me know which one. The EPA rates it mid-sized; and they have an objective reason for doing so (they’re not the only ones either).

    And, yes, it gets the best highway mileage of any car for sale to the US mass market. Including the new VW diesel COMPACT. For every BS story from a guy like you, I could counter with a hypermiler who gets 100 mpg – but neither one is representative of typical use; while the EPA, CR, and other people who actually test cars all found the Prius beat the new Jetta.

  • avatar

    Toyota Prius: Rolling badge for people who hate cars to display their disdain. The A-to-B people can wear a smug grin despite (!) lousy storage area, fuel economy that can be beat daily by a cheaper Corolla, bizarre driving dynamics, and needless distracting gizmos.

    Dude. Lying isn’t cool. One of your four complaints is objectively false (fuel economy); one is false on any reasonable planet (storage); and the other two are arguable (subjective).

  • avatar

    Here’s my shot

    1. Saab 9-7x. Born from Jets? Yeah, just like Chevrolet, Buick and Isuzu. Oldsmobile Lives!

    2. Nissan Versa sedan. I understand the B-car concept. I own a Honda Fit. But the Versa sedan? Make a little, cramped car but make up for it by eliminating all of the utility. And it looks funny.

    3. Toyota Yaris. Same problem. All the looks of the Brave Little Toaster without any of the personality. In its defense, though it looks cheap, at least it IS cheap. Unlike all those cars from GM over the last few years (decades?).

    4. Chevy Colorado. This is the oddest looking vehicle out of GM since the Aztek. Has developed a horrible quality reputation. And a 5 cylinder engine. Fascinating.

    5. VW Routan. The first new vehicle product announcement I can recall that made me belly laugh. Actually, in a way, there’s probably a lot of german engineering there. At least VW’s quality rep is so bad that a rebadged Chrysler can hardly hurt. Farfegnugen.

    6. And the winner is – – – The Smart Car. Let’s see. Costs as much as a Honda Fit. About the same gas mileage as a Honda Fit. Carries 2 people and each can bring along an apple. They should call it Smug Car. “Hey everybody, look at me. I’m green. I’m eco. I’m cool. Look at what a job I’m doing saving our planet.” Gag.

    Epilog. I have to throw a little love at the Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis. Come on, guys. This car is the automotive equivilent of a good, home cooked meal out for $3.99. When we consider that the power train is 15 years old and that the platform is 30 (1979, no kidding) this was a heckuva car in its day and has worn very well. It is comfortable, roomy, quiet, reliable (a transmission that won’t give you trouble in 150k miles really stands out in our current world) and my old ’93 still gets 26 mpg on the highway. This car is the automotive bargain of the world, and what Detroit iron used to be all about. Comfortable, durable, and reasonable.

  • avatar

    I’m not going to nominate anything because others have already done it so well I’d just be wasting bytes. I will say that I like the theme here, which is not so much bashing the generic $10000 econobox for being an econobox, but rather taking the manuafacturers to task for producing such utter garbage when they can and should do better, especially at the $20,000, $30,000, even $50-60,000 range.

  • avatar

    really? I haven’t seen it beat a diesel in highway mpg tests recently. In fact, in the last 2-3 weeks I’ve read/seen several mpg comparisons where the prius did walk away with city mpg but did not perform to the new jetta’s standard on the highway, and I personally vouch for it’s lousy spirited-driving back road mpg (which I do a lot of so I weight heavily). It also only exhibits a fraction of the jetta’s usable torque when you realize that the battery isn’t always there helping you out.

    As for the EPA size rating I will grant that, but disagree with their standard. When it comes down to vehicle footprint the prius isn’t far off the mazda 3 crowd, and while I admire an efficient package (fit, element and prius) I think that the relevant factors in vehicle size are weight(!), footprint and styling constraints. The Prius is heavy, has an admirably small size (see, it’s not all negative) for it’s interior and is styled as a compact hatchback. So I will grant the mid size on weight but not on footprint or styling. And that is nothing to brag about.

    As for slamming the comparison to the jetta b/c that’s rated a compact, have you even seen the wagon version? Looks better, nicer interior, more power, better performace driver and much more usable storage area. OH, and (I believe) cheaper when you play the, let’s compare the options I actually want game.

  • avatar


    Vehicle footprint is irrelevant to class. That’s just retarded – it rewards stupid designs. The EPA size rating is NOT based on weight, by the way, it’s interior volume. And, from tdichat here:

    As for the Prius being bigger on the inside than the Jetta, it is. Instead of drinking Kool-aid, go sit in the back seat of a Jetta, and then go sit in the back seat of a Prius. There’s a ton more legroom in the Prius. In everything else, their inside dimensions are practically identical.

    The EPA highway ratings are 41 (Jetta) versus 45 (Prius).

    CR just tested the new Jetta – it came close but not quite on the highway, and of course lost by a mile on the city number. Let’s hear yours.

  • avatar

    I agree with your criticism of the other commenter that the prius does indeed have a good storage area, mostly when not using the rear seats, but so does every other hatchback. However, you’re way off base defending the driving dynamics of the prius (regenerative braking, poorly set-up electric assist steering, excess weight, an indifferent suspension damping strategy, and a chassis that is either underengineered or overweighted relegate the Prius to back of the pack status on all dynamic fronts). These things screamed their obviousness after less than an hour of my getting in the damned thing.
    Plus, accusing us Prius haters of lying just isn’t cool.

  • avatar

    tedward, it’s a lie to say the Corolla gets better mileage than the Prius. I do not share the curious reluctance of many to look out the window when two guys disagree about whether or not it’s raining. It’s also misleading, at BEST, or uninformed at worst, to pretend that the Prius isn’t a midsize car and is thus effectively no bigger than the Jetta you prefer. Your own guys said otherwise – stop drinking the kool-aid.

    I said nothing at all about driving dynamics. I have not driven a TDI; I am thus not qualified to judge that part of the equation. I merely pointed out places where people like yourself and others were making obviously false claims about aspects of the Prius that are easily and objectively verified.

    This continued tendency of many here to make false statements about the Prius is baffling. It’s difficult to understand the motivation in many cases – but they persist, and they need to be answered, or people will continue to be under unhelpful misapprehensions. (See also: “you’ll have to spend thousands replacing the battery in a few years!” and “they never pay back!”).

    You do not see similar misrepresentations or outright lies being spread about diesel cars. Ask yourself why that is.

  • avatar

    But I wasn’t referring to the EPA designation for vehicle class, which was kind of my point. I view those standards I just listed as far more important. And bumping up in size to my eyes is a big detraction for a car, so it’s not rewarding a stupid design to consider footprint. If a vehicle gets better interior volume out of a smaller footprint it deserves the benefit of remaining in the smaller class size. Ultimately I disagree with how the EPA standard reflects the tastes of the American car buying public and not mine.

    The jetta size comparison…I do believe that VW prioritized behind the seat storage and Toyota prioritized rear seat leg room. And I never criticized the Prius for being big on the inside, it is and I like that. It’s certainly not unique in that respect either.

    Plus, it’s hard to imagine crediting a vehicle size classification that dosen’t take into account weight as credible…which kind of supports my overall gripe with the EPA system. But this is all irrelevant to the many criticisms I’ve lobbed over there about the Prius’ capabilities.

    I have seen the CR test and I’ve read the EPA numbers, but I’m not link hunting right now for the (I repeat) numerous occasions I’ve seen the jetta trump the prius’ highway mpg. Maybe later.

  • avatar

    I agree that the Corolla dosen’t get better mpg than the Prius, but then I didn’t write that.

  • avatar

    The prius does attract a lot of hate dosen’t it? I think it’s really a function of it having no dynamic upside, it’s great at city mpg and passenger ferrying, but it completely looses the plot when it comes to providing a driver’s experience. And I think it’s a total fail on this, which is why I hate so hard. All Toyota had to do to avoid this was provide a stick, a better damping rate and steering ratio, no-cost option some real tires and stiffen up the chassis a little (basically finish engineering the car). I wouldn’t care about it’s underpowered gas engine b/c there are lots of those out there and the electric surge is cool when it does kick in. It’s not like I demand a limited slip or anything.

  • avatar

    tedward, I’ve seen a couple ‘tests’ where they ran ONE Prius against ONE Jetta on a highway route where they sped the crap out of both, and the Jetta barely won (Popular Mechanics, for instance). This is so different from what CR and the EPA do it’s not even the same universe.

    I didn’t say you said the Corolla lie. You did try to misrepresent the vehicle class, and then you asked why I call Prius haters liars (the Corolla liar was a Prius hater, wasn’t he?). If the EPA and others say midsize, you can’t just assert “nuh-uh” without some justification better than “I just feel that way” and expect anybody to believe you.

    As for the size comparison, the Prius also has superior ability to haul – with the hatch and the folding rear seat, the cargo area is gigantic (I fit a rain barrel in there and managed to close the thing). It’s a far more useful family car, overall, than is the Jetta. Even if the Jetta might be more fun to drive, assuming it’s not in the shop when you feel like driving it.

  • avatar

    In no particular order:

    1) Acura TL. God, it’s ugly.
    2) Jeep Compass. No explanation needed
    3) Passat CC. Why?
    4) Ford F150. It’s a caracature of what’s wrong with Detroit.
    5) Chevy Camaro. It’s NOT out yet? oh.
    6) Ford Mustang. It’s new? oh.
    7) Dodge Challenger R/T. It costs HOW much?
    8) All Hybrid/Electric vehicles, Global Warming and Al Gore
    9) Porsche Panamera. If ever there was a case for late-term abortions, this is it.
    10) Smart Fourtwo. Fix the damn tranny already.

  • avatar

    It’s a different _kind_ of driving experience, tedward. I actually enjoy trying to get the mileage higher than my wife does; I like being able to tool along with no gas sound; and I especially like not having to have the car in the shop. And the pep from a dead stop makes up for the lack of oomph at higher speeds.

    My previous car was an Eclipse GS-T Spyder (1997). Not a Camry driver here, in other words.

  • avatar

    golf4me :
    9) Porsche Panamera. If ever there was a case for late-term abortions, this is it.

    I’m saving the Panamera for the 2009 awards, and have three spots reserved for it on my TWC list. Hopefully some other worthy contenders will die by then (cough – Sebring – cough)

  • avatar

    And in part II of my nominations I’d also like to include:

    Mini Clubman – Taking the fun and good looks away from the basic Mini without adding real utility is not a clever move. Add a pricetag that soars past $30K with any meaningful options and all you have left is a clever marketing campaign.

    Chevy Aveo/G3 – terrible Korean econo-box makes used Cavalier look like a Lexus.

    Any Mitsubishi excluding Lancers with forced induction.

    Any Chrysler that is not a Dodge Ram or Jeep Wrangler.

    Volvo S60 – Yes uncle Sven is still alive. Outclassed by everything in it’s class except…

    Saab 9-5 – Even the last coat of lipstick can’t obscure the late 90s Opel Vectra hiding under the skin.

  • avatar

    fair enough, (we’re on the cool down stage of this aren’t we?) about the different kind of driving, but hey, I passionately care about my back road boogie, and the 96 tdi I drive (huge suprise I’m sure) gets absolutely ridiculous highway mpg…the worst I’ve done in NYC is an average of 40, and I believe I’ve approached 75 on a trip to DC (hyper-nothing by the way). I just wish the Prius handled better really, I feel like they really let the car team down releasing this technology without A. Better handling & stick shift and B. a diesel or forced compression gasoline backup engine. I think that this is symptomatic of Toyota’s recent poor management (80’s GM) and it’s a shame that the engineers who put the hybrid system together don’t get to see it put to good use. This car was never going to be a screamer, but they should have benchmarked the Golf or Mazda 3 instead of the Buick Lucerne when it came to the basics. Same problems exist with the Yaris, Corrola and twins, and the Camry to a lesser extent. And thus I conclude that Toyota must be punished with the TWAT for their disloyalty to the sacred principle that I shalt not be pissed off by the car I’m driving.

  • avatar

    That kind of mpg test is more accurate from my perspective than a village course or an actual speed limit observed road test set up by CR. I’m either stop starting in Queens, maintaing between 70-80 on anything remotely resembling a highway (b/c let’s just be honest here) or driving relatively hard on back roads upstate. The foot is always down so I would never see a hybrid benefit outside of the city. When I was in college it would have been a different story (small city, campus etc…). But like I mentioned before, a diesel or turbo backup in the prius would have made that particular criticism moot and the Prius would indeed be real world mpg king.

  • avatar

    Toyota Prius – As a cyclist, I like to hear what’s coming up behind me.

  • avatar

    tedward, for every guy like you who claims he can thrash the Prius with his Jetta, you’ll have a hypermiler who can get 75 mpg in his Prius. Again, this is why we HAVE to have figures like the EPA and CR.

    And if you have to go 75-80 to get to the point where the Jetta’s highway MPG beats the Prius, you’ve just proven the point – the Prius IS the real-world king. Most of us never get to go that fast on our commutes.

  • avatar

    For $23,999 I can get a 300HP Camaro

    How, the thing hasn’t even been released yet, and even when it is, expect high dealer mark ups and expensive options to push the price much higher than this. The Mustang may be a tired car, but let’s wait until the Camaro actually comes out to crown it the winner.

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi Galant: does anyone own one of these? If so, why?

    Toyota Prius: drum brakes and paper thin doors?? I thought this car was high tech…

    Chrysler Sebring: nothing need be said.

  • avatar

    Regarding the Prius…
    Since this website is supposedly dedicated to those that “enjoy the sport of driving” I can see nomination of the Prius for being a soul-less boring drive.

    I’ve been castigated for giving props to “appliance” cars and trash talking other vehicles for IMO terrible fuel economy. So, given the general theme of the website, yes, the Prius is fair game.

    I’d nominate the Prius mostly for the smugness of their owners. In that same vein I’d nominate any diesel Jetta owner for their own brand of smugness. They are equally as bad IMO.

    So, I’d like to have a special category for vehicles that are clearly bought for image reasons

    #1. Prius hybrid (it sells well because it looks different)
    #2. Jetta diesel (their owners make damn sure you know it’s a TDI)
    #3. Smart Four Two (have you seen one?)
    #4. Camry Hybrid (starting to see a lot of these as taxis touting “hybrid”, uh I’ll take the ‘vic.)

  • avatar
    the duke

    The really obvious stuff is taken, so I’m going to second what was only mentioned once or twice:

    The Honda Pilot. Will it be reliable? Most definitely. Not the point. Its larger and quite heavier than the outgoing model, and looks like an ugly truck. Poor planning and poor execution all around.

    The Pilot goes against everything Honda [used] to stand for: outside the box thinking that gave the customer exactly what they needed, not what they thought they needed, in a quality piece that usually weighed less and used less fuel than the competition. The styling was nondescript but would age well.

    Soichiro Honda should be rolling in his grave over the new Pilot. Some are hating on the new Accord, and deservedly so, for it is guilty of some of the same sins, but if Honda is losing its touch the poster child of the fall is the Pilot.

  • avatar

    Maybe we’re just talking past each other on geography here. Where I am the average speed range begins at around 70-75 (regardless of posted speed limits) b/c the NYPD simply does not pull over speeders unless you really get their attention (which means crashing) and the state troopers don’t have many safe places to set realistic speed traps. I go 80 in between NYC and Westchester and guys are blasting by me like I don’t exist…it’s kind of dangerous I’ll admit. I don’t even think about the passing lane until traffic thickens up b/c my car will be in the way unless I’m approaching three digits.

    When I see a Prius doing average rate of speed I know for a fact I’m beating him out on mpg in this case, which definitely colors my perception on this issue. This may be where Corolla guy was coming from before (same engine as the Prius I believe and less weight so he would be doing better as well), but I can’t really speak to that b/c the Corolla/Camry crowd are perpetual left lane cloggers here…I swear to god everyone traded in their Oldsmobiles for a Toyota when GM folded that hand. Maybe they were giving out free hearing aids with every vehicle purchase. (In the Prius’ defense the avg. Prius owner drives at least 10mph faster than the rest of the Toyota set from what I see)

  • avatar

    In no particular order, I nominate:

    1. Acura TL – Honda styling needs some help of late.
    2. Chevy Aveo / Pontiac G3 – it STILL sucks.
    3. Chevy HHR – I swear this thing has a larger steering wheel than their Express van.
    4. Chrysler Aspen / Dodge Durango – not to beat an old horse
    5. Chrysler Sebring / Dodge Avenger – not to beat it again
    6. Dodge Caliber / Jeep Compass – and again…
    7. Honda Pilot – I know everyone seems to like it, but it’s ugly, smaller inside than any of GM’s Lambdas or Ford’s Flex and gets worse mileage with less power. This is a Honda?
    8. Mercury Grand Marquis – at least its two siblings serve a purpose, this car just NEEDS to die.
    9. Scion xB – it got fatter and uglier, so why would I buy it?
    10. Toyota FJ – this should have been on every worst-10 from the get go.

    I’ve left a lot of great contenders and dissapointments off (Chevy Cobalt, Toyota Corolla – you had 2 years to benchmark the Civic, idiots, Kia Rio/Hyundai Accent, Ford Focus, various other Chrysler products, BMW X6). And I’ve omitted stuff that are ending production this month (ie – Trailblazer/Envoy – so long suckers).

    Hope you enjoy.

  • avatar

    “Prius hybrid (it sells well because it looks different)”

    Here we go again. Do you guys all carpool to Liars’ Anonymous in the same SUV or what?

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    M1EK :

    Here we go again. Do you guys all carpool to Liars’ Anonymous in the same SUV or what?

    Of course not. We take an SUV per person. By the way, we call it “Our Opinion Anonymous.” I suppose you’re so certain of your belief that it’s a fact, and anyone that disagrees must be lying.

  • avatar

    M1EK – It has been well documented that the Prius outsells all other hybrids because it is the only hybrid with distinct styling.

    Belive it or not, people buy that over all the MPG greatness or size/utility. Not everyone, but enough to make it the “class leader”

    I don’t hate the thing. It does have a lot of utility and great MPG’s for around town. That said, it’s no enthusiasts car.

  • avatar

    No, but I can call a spade a spade – and anybody who at this point, after the Prius has sold a MILLION UNITS, can say it’s only because of the way it looks, even given the sales of the much-more-unusual-looking original Insight, is a liar or has no idea what the hell they’re talking about.

  • avatar

    200k-min, it’s been ‘well documented’ by people with an axe to grind against ‘greenies’ and the like. It fails every basic test of logic – if we were to believe that distinct styling was the main, or even A main reason for the Prius’ success, then the Insight (2-door version) would have ruled the roost for years.

  • avatar

    I’ll pitch in:

    Suzuki SX4 “SUV”: Okay, this thing is FUG! They give these atrocities away in my hometown with NO CREDIT CHECKS. They should actually leave them out beside the road like a bag of garbage and let the homeless have ‘em.

    Lexus RX350; Man, do I hate seeing these 3rd grader-designed POSs on the highway. Not even remotely good looking and selling just because of the Lexus name. I know, not necessarily a turd, but it still looks like one…

    Mitsubishi Galant; Our local dealer closed up shop and moved out all of the cars except a brand new green one of these…just left it behind the building. Stayed there for 3 weeks. I would’ve done the exact same thing….except I would’ve left it at my city’s landfill.

    Base model Toyota Tacoma: I don’t know what Toyomonkey specified that this fugly little trucklet should have 12” wheels and bald tires from the factory, but he’s definitely a total ‘tard (I’m talking FULL retard). The truck itself looks like E.T. with those bulging headlights…

    Mercedes R Class – rolling (when they’re running), overpriced Sperm whale-lookin’ pieces of crap. Just hopelessly U-Gly, I don’t care how much you AMG them. What the hell are they supposed to BE, anyway?!?

    Suzuki Equator; Never seen one and probably never will…oh wait…it’s a Nissan Frontier, so yeah…I’ve seen it.

    Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable; Same name, different car, same reputation. Get outta hee…

  • avatar

    When I see a Prius doing average rate of speed I know for a fact I’m beating him out on mpg in this case, which definitely colors my perception on this issue. This may be where Corolla guy was coming from before (same engine as the Prius I believe and less weight so he would be doing better as well),

    I was just in New York a week or two ago going from JFK to Eatontown. In the middle of the night on the way there, in the rain, the road was clear enough that I suppose people could have gone pretty fast, but nobody did. On the way back, at 3:30, it was stop and go for a large part of the trip – just like it is for many of us in a large part of our daily commutes – and at no point would you have been able to remotely approach 80 mph.

    Sorry. Fails basic sanity check.

    And no, the Corolla does not have the same gas engine as the Prius. The Prius’ engine is 76 hp. The whole point of the hybrid system is to allow the car to get by with a thriftier engine that runs in a more efficient mode of operation than you could without the battery (you’d never tolerate accelerating up to highway speed on 76 hp). If you’re that ignorant of the basic facts of the vehicle, allow me to suggest that you are unqualified to opine on it to this degree.

  • avatar

    let’s be fair to the insight, it was smaller inside, uglier (yes it’s possible, calling it unusual is very charitable), and came out when mpg wasn’t on the radar. I believe 200k-min is correct about the look-at-me styling appeal of the Prius. Maybe we should thank Toyota for this one though… it might just inch people towards reaccepting the might wagon. I could put up with a few million more Prius’ if it lead to the death of the suburban SUV.

  • avatar

    tedward, again it fails the basic test of logic. If image was the main, or even one of the main, reasons people bought the Prius, then the Insight would clearly have done more than the pitiful numbers it did its last few years, when mpg WAS on the radar. It wouldn’t have to be #1 to prove your point, but when it only sold a few hundred units when gas was $3.00 a gallon, it destroys the whole thesis.

    And yes, people did buy the Insight for how it looked. When I see one these days here in Austin, it’s more often than not a company car.

    As for the engine, here’s an interesting summary of the gas engine in the Prius:

  • avatar

    I was one of the nominators for the Compass last year, and I don’t see any reason not to do so again. It’s a butt ugly, brand value destroying, poorly built car trying to pass itself off as a jeep. They could have built something that was fundctional rather than cheap, but they missed it. Hell, they could have copied the Suzuki Samurai and sold 20,000 of them with Jeep labels.

    BMW X6 – okay, I love BMW’s, and I wanted to like this car (it ain’t a truck, or an SUV, it’s a car). It came out uglier, rather than sportier than the X5. Perhaps they should have scaled it down and made an X4 instead. I still think there is a market for a modern CUV that has a dune buggy, or baja bug sort of appeal. The X6 isn’t it.

    I can’t agree with the folks nominating the other BMW’s, I just think there is a good amount of Bimmer hate out there. The X1 was a disappointment for many reasons, but it’s not a bad car. My neighbor has had one for months and is still excited about driving it. The X3 isn’t a bad seller around here. I don’t have the stats, but they are everywhere. It may not be a looker, but it is nicer than the 3 wagon, and my wife has the “no mom car” bug. I, on the other hand, keep thinking about picking up a used allroad.

    Maybe we should do a TTAC ten worst decisions list for bone headed moves made by auto makers. I know I would get outvoted and that the jet plane thing would be on there, but I think it could be an interesting list.

  • avatar

    I would like to add the

    2008 Cadillac STS

    This car is now grossly underpowered and out classed by everything that it competes with… Wait a second what does this compete with? Nothing from BMW, Lexus or MB… No this car competes with the Cadillac CTS… (which is kicking its butt in sales)

    This car more than any other in GM’s line up shows just HOW messed up GM’s product placement, marketing and branding is. Cars like this is why the GM death watch exists.

    They refreshed the CTS to make it even better… But this last kick at the cat for the STS was just LAME… And sales numbers are trending where the 2009 STS will be as rare a purchase as the 1993 Allante was…

  • avatar

    I nominate the Scion Xb for worst sophomore slump of any recent car. They took a cheap quirky, efficient box on wheels, bloated it up, hit it with an ugly stick, and destroyed its original character in the process. The Ford Focus also deserves some major stick, since instead of going to the new generation Euro Focus, Ford wasted a pile of money tarting up the old one, resulting in a car whose best feature is the radio.
    The Porsche Panamera also deserves a nomination for butt ugly styling and still more brand dilution, although a four door sports sedan is at least less of a betrayal than the Cayenne.
    While I’m raving, throw in the BMW 1 series for diappoinment of the year. I expected a simple, light, fun to drive reincarnation of the 2002, and got an overweight, overpriced sawed off 3 series.
    Fortunately the F800ST is brilliant and shows that one division of BMW has a clue.

  • avatar

    I couldn’t care less about the Corolla’s engine, so frankly it dosen’t bother me to be wrong about that. And by the way, how much horsepower do you think my 96 tdi is pushing? Check it out before assuming too much about my accelerating habits. I actually hate seeing people jackrabbit around out of traffic lights.

    Also, I still wouldn’t be suprised to see a Corolla do better than a Prius at high speed, the engine could potentially be doing less work and moving less vehicular mass. This would depend on gearing etc… so I can’t say for sure, but it’s still possible.

    So in the RAIN at the only time of day/night when cops would have the sightline to give tickets, you didn’t find speeders and you assume I must be wrong or lying. OK. Did you drive up the westchester parkways or 684, or spend any considerable amount of time just driving around the city outskirts? Or did you just hop up 87 until it hit 84 (the truckers route where everyone knows there are cops)? On the way back did you actually take 87 straight down knowing rush hour was only an hour away (3:30pm I’m assuming)? I wouldn’t expect to see speeders then either. Next time take 684 up (a little out of the way I believe) and marvel at the 120mph jackasses.

    *Came back to add this after seeing your link, I thought they put the Atkinson in the Corolla as well, but I guess not.

  • avatar

    tedward, the point is that yes, sometimes you can go 85-90 around NYC, but to state that as the NORM is just ludicrous. It’s not the norm even in much less congested metropolitan areas. GMAFB.

    And yes, I did see people going that fast ONCE around NYC when I drove down from Hartford a few years ago. But it wasn’t the norm for everybody, and it wasn’t for very long (traffic got too heavy).

    Again: the average car buyer does not need to worry about what kind of mileage their car gets at 85 mph. Most will not have the opportunity to ever go that fast on their daily commute.

  • avatar

    VW Routan: Maybe VW thought putting the still-delectable Brooke Shields in this vehicle’s advertisements would keep my eyes on her and not notice VW was trying to sell me a Caravan. Didn’t work.

    Dodge Aspen: Looking at this thing makes me think of a Tyrannosaur from oh so long ago looking at a strange fireball appearing in the sky one day, and its thumb-sized brain not computing that it was looking at its own doom.

    Acura TSX: Comparing this thing to previous iterations of the model is like looking at a chimp-to-human evolutionary chart…backwards.

    Chevy ZR-1: I haven’t seen this pick elsewhere in the list, but I’ll go on a limb here. An excellent piece of engineering to be sure, but kind of pointless excess next to a Z06, and it gets away from the “purist” angle on the Vette DNA with the forced induction. Halo cars from big manufacturers earn the money spent to develop them not through sales, but through Image Building, which makes this all the more strange given the company’s issues at this time defining its image already.

    Its like the friends of someone who committed suicide being dumbstruck and mystified by the incredible care, penmanship, and snazzy parchment used for the suicide note.

    Chevy Aveo/G3: This thing is proof-positive that GM has more problems than market downturns or American labor costs. Even when GM builds a car in Korea it still sucks next to a KIA for the same money. Oh, and Pontiac is so sad I didn’t realize the G3 existed outside of reading TTAC.

    Honda Ridgeline: Motors that rev to billion RPM and have no torque are awesome in high-strung little cars. Not so much in a truck. Plus, the extinct Chevy Avalanche called and they want their styling back.

    BMW X6: Nothing like watching a premier car company playing me-too with a Nissan Murano. Bangle got into the liquor cabinet before hitting the CAD station on this one.

    BMW 1-series: The thing is ooogley, only the X6 is an uglier Bimmer compared to what else is in BMW’s stable, and it urinates on the old BMW’s heritage at the same time. Its like Ferrari coming out with a 4000lb uglified F430 as their tribute to the 246 Dino.

    The Sebring…Enough has been said previously.

    SmartCar: Compared to a Honda Fit, its half the car for the same price, and basically the same gas mileage. I wonder how easy it is to roll the thing too, given it seems to be higher than it is long or wide. It looks like a roller-skate for a not-so-giant giant stricken with a club foot.

  • avatar
    Gary Numan

    1. Jeep Compass
    2. Jeep Liberty
    3. Dodge Journey
    4. Chrysler Sebring
    5. Toyota FJ
    6. Toyota Tundra
    7. Hummer H3
    8. Hummer H2
    9. Dodge Nitro
    10. Dodge Durango
    11. Chrysler Aspen
    12. BMW X6
    13. BMW 1 series
    14. Lincoln MKS
    15. Pontiac G3
    16. VW Routan
    17. Scion Xb
    18. Honda Accord….(too big, bad styling and bad mpg, it pains me to nominate this one due to the previous two generations being so good. Apparently Honda wants to take on Buick now with the Accord)
    19. Acura Division for the horrid brand styling award. Fire the design manager immediately and the brass who signed off on these recent designs or at the least, the grille designs.

  • avatar

    on the highways around NYC I need to go 70-80mph, as I said before, to stay in the flow of traffic (that means at 60 everyone is passing me, no exceptions), sometimes the traffic slows down, of course, but if you do a good job avoiding it, that is the default speed. Even sometimes when there are mere feet seperating cars front to back and inches side to side on the parkways, I don’t understand why that is, but it is. If you live in or anound NY and you are an active driver, how your car handles at 70-80mph is very, very important. Can’t really argue this with you if your just going to say no and cite an anecdote. I do this every day. In fact, I’m going to go and do it right now. And the Prius is still and awful heap to drive. Good night.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    BMW X6 – Since when did we need another AMC Eagle? Or is it for Subaru Forester drives who win the lottery?

    BMW 1-series – We needed a replacement for the 2002, not another dead grampus on Cape Cod.

    Mercedes-Benz R-class – Too bloated for a wagon, or is it like a bad-liposuction job on a minivan. Only a scaredresser knows for sure.

    Toyota Prius – I had the “pleasure” of riding in one of these recently and concluded that I now know why there aren’t as many squirrels in my yard as there used to be. They’ve all been imprisoned by eco-weenies into these rolling forced rodent labor camps. It was a truly awful experience.

  • avatar

    Nissan Pathfinder Armada – haven’t seen that listed yet. What a total bad as a Hummer imho.
    I second (third, fourth, 20th)
    Sebring – Worst sedan on the road
    X6 – The first one I saw made me burst out laughing
    Saturn Vue Hybrid..How many HYBRID stickers and badges can you put on one vehicle??? Owners should be supplied with a hair dryer, fishing wire and a can of WD-40.
    Pontiac Wave/G3 | Aveo – bad mileage and bad small car.
    Ford Flex For all the talk about Ford being the best positioned of the D3 I take one look at the Flex and ask WTF they were thinking. They announced the end of the Taurus X today.. should have killed the Flex imho.

  • avatar

    Toyota Tundra – Toyota builds a new truck that guzzles more gas, has more recalls, and is less capable than anything out of the D3.

    Smart ForTwo – While I like the styling, other vehicles come in at a much lower price and offer more space and just as good if not better fuel economy.

    Dodge Avenger – Can’t compete in terms of features or driving experience with anything else in its class.

    Now, some rebuffs for other nominations ->

    Flex – Every review has been positive, the interior is 10x better than the TaurusX, plus it doesn’t carry the baggage of the Taurus name. Driving dynamics are good for the size, and pricing/fuel economy fall in line with the competition. Yes, minivans may have a bit more space inside, but best in class first second and third row room is nothing to laugh at, and there is still good storage.

    Lincoln MKS – It has outsold competitors from Infinity, Cadillac, and Acura for the past four months, sales are brisk, and the car looks damn good inside and out. Yes, it is FWD and only has a V6, but it is a powerful V6 and big luxury cars don’t need to be sports sedans. It is based on the same platform as the Taurus but there is no shared sheetmetal and hardly any shared interior bits.

  • avatar

    I would nominate Toyota Prius for the best car of the year just for pissing off all the slack-jawed yokels who can’t stand the fact that it looks different and doesn’t need a truck to transport more than a couple of shopping bags.

    Now for the worst: every single boring me-too mid-sized sedan on the market. Yeah, that’s it. How about a whole category? A mid-sized sedan.

  • avatar

    seth l- no, I like all those cars. I’m not a Chrysler hater.
    Even if the Solstice does get you laid, you can’t take it any further and go off on a romantic weekend because there’s no room for luggage and if it rains your date will be pissed off because it takes an hour to close the roof.
    Weird, there’s a bunch of hate here for the Colorado/Canyon this year. Last year there was a bunch of hate for the Ranger. Compact trucks are an ideal and any maker who has one should be praised.
    hwyhobo-I nominate all the mid size sedans too.
    There is a V8 available for the Colorado.
    I suppose I would nominate the Pilot for styling reasons but it seems to be very nice. If I can like the supposedly horrible Dodge Nitro or Jeep Commander because of their styling I guess I can like the ugly Pilot because it drives/rides/works well.

  • avatar

    Acura TL because it’s heinous to look at and therefore embarrassing to be seen in.
    Acura TSX because the previous generation was better, and devolution should be punished.
    Infiniti FX35/50 for the same reason as the TSX.
    Lincoln MKS for failing as a flagship to bring positive recognition to the brand and act as a halo vehicle.
    Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione for being absolute garbage to drive despite being unable to cash the cheque that its unbelievable sheetmetal writes.
    Lexus IS-F for hurting my eyes with the perverted ricer bodykit that destroyed the simple, clean lines of the regular IS. Also, for starting the quad stacked/trapezoidal tailpipe trend. Not cool.

  • avatar

    I would also like to nominate the Toyota Prius. It’s the only vehicle in recent memory that can transform normal people into self righteous douche bags. There should be laws regulating smug emissions.

  • avatar

    I nominate the Toyota Prius. It’s the only car I car in recent memory that can transform normal people into self righteous douche bags. There should be laws against such high smug emissions.

  • avatar

    I agree with:

    1) Avenger / Sebring : It’s called coming to a firefight with a BB gun – The cars are unrefined as can be with hideous power and fuel comsumption.

    2) Flex

    3) Compass / Caliber

    4) Routan : Stick a VW badge on a Voyager and call it “German Engineering”? Oh please! (Though they might be, sadly, the most reliable of all VW’s)

    5) Mini Clubman : Defeats the purpose of being called Mini.

    6) Scion Xb : Bad execution

    7) G3 / Wave / Aveo : enough has been said already.

    8) Hummer H2 : The worst assembled and most expensive Tahoe / Suburban clones this side of the Escalade.

    9) Hummer H3 / Colorado / Canyon : 3 awful vehicles built on the same platform.

    10) Aspen / Durango : 10 years too late, they are humongous and unrefined, not to mention expensive to own and maintain, as well as ugly as sin.

    However, I agree a bit less (or not at all) on:

    A) The TSX and TL: They might not be the most glorious designs on Honda’s part (and a bit on the heavy side too), but they are still nice to drive.

    B) The Corolla, Yaris and Fit: they are what they are meant to be: reliable, simple transportation at a reasonable price (Don’t forget the amount of usable space in the last two…)

    C) The Malibu: GM is making progress when it comes to making decent midsize cars: The ‘Bu is a step in the right direction.

    D) The Impala or the Charger: They are not the most refined vehicles out there, but they are still a lot of car for the money (Some people need larger cars).

    E) Ditto for the Amanti (See C and D above)

    F) Finally, the Accord. Yes it is too heavy. Yes it is a bit too big (especially the sedan) but, in my experience (I drive an ’08 4 Cyl. Coupe with a Manual Trans), it is quite a fine vehicle, well equipped and comfortable, with reasonable power and fuel consumption. Is it perfect? No. A top 10 worst? Not in a thousand years.

  • avatar

    You guys don’t ACTUALLY think there’s a chance in hell the Prius will actually end up on the TWAT list, do you? We’re talking about a car that was on the “Top 5 Hardest Vehicles To Find” list barely six months ago. Despite how you feel about the car OR the drivers, that’s not exactly a smart bet.

    In the meantime, the 400 pointless back-and-forth comments on the matter are just crashing my stupid browser. Can you guys just exchange email addresses or something?

  • avatar

    I will expand the Prius nomination to include all hybrids.

    These Church-Of-Global-Warming fashion accessories are an ill-conceived reaction to a temporary oil bubble which has already burst. What is so high-tech about adding 600 pounds of golf cart batteries to an underpowered shitbox? This is 2008 for cryin’ out loud… where’s my nuclear-powered hovercar?

    Hybrids should all be crushed and mixed with old dot-com stock certificates and disco records to form a giant monument to human folly. Their sheer popularity alone qualifies them for a Ten Worst award.

  • avatar

    I forgot about the Lexus SC430.

    No turd list is complete or comprehensive without one.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow


    The entirely overwrought reaction to the Prius suggests to me that it’s serving as a proxy for the environmental movement and a code word for its detractors. Yes, the Prius is ugly. Yes, the Prius is basically a POS to drive. Yes, it’s even over-priced. And yes too, its owners are sometimes sanctimonious (which admittingly is annoying as hell). I too would dread to have to drive one every day. But it does have some sterling qualities as well,namely that it’s great on gas and certainly has a roomy and quiet interior. Added to that is outstanding reliability. So for don1967 and other Prius bashers, might it not be friendlier to lighten up a bit on the poor homely Prius and perhaps say what you apparently mean to say?

  • avatar
    Detroit Todd

    1. Avenger/Sebring (All wrong, in all ways.)

    2. Trailblazer/Envoy (The 1970s called and they want their vehicles back.)

    3. Honda Pilot (Just, just, fugly. Class-trailing utility, shitty fuel economy and much too expensive.)

    4. Toyota Prius (Nuff said above.)

    5. VW Routan (How stupid does VW think North Americans are?)

    6. BMW 1-Series (No rebirth of the 2002, no big diff in the price from the 3-Series. Therefore, no raison d’être.)

    7. Jeep Liberty (I liked the old one; the refresh is ugly, and the driver’s footwell is smaller than a toilet bowl. How this made it into production, we’ll never know. And the fuel economy still blows.)

    8. BMW X6 (Just stupid.)

    9. Ford F-150 (Formerly the best looking truck on the market, now the ugliest. The styling cues look as though they were lifted from the Griswold-mobile in National Lampoon’s vacation. It’s like a nice girl wearing wayyyyyy too much makeup.)

    10. Mazda 3. (A lesson in how to take a perfectly pleasant compact and make it way, way, way, too ugly for consideration. If you like this car, get a 2008 while you still can.)

    I know my comments may be based a bit too much on styling, which is entirely subjective. But, let’s be honest. Just like with dating, a vehicle has to look, minimally, not hideous. Then you can go forward and discover what the vehicle has to offer. (Consider the Pontiac Aztek. Not a bad vehicle, but Holy Mother of God, that thing was most unfortunate looking!)

  • avatar

    I forgot one. The new Chevy Traverse. Why does this vehicle exist. If Buick, GMC and Saturn cannot sell enough of the 3 flavors they already have, why does GM think that a fourth attempt will get them somewhere that the first three did not. Other than into Chevy dealerships. GM could save a lot of money here by emulating the old Chrysler approach with the Omni/Horizon. No pretense. Same car, two different nameplates. Just pick the best version, and sell the damned thing at all the dealers. Nobody under 70 believes that there’s a whiff of difference between what GM used to call divisions anyhow (with the exception of Cadillac)

  • avatar

    1. BMW X6
    2. Mercedes R-Class
    3. VW Passat CC
    4. Mercedes A-Class 3-door
    5. Range Rover Sport

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Rod Panhard:

    Toyota Prius – I had the “pleasure” of riding in one of these recently and concluded that I now know why there aren’t as many squirrels in my yard as there used to be. They’ve all been imprisoned by eco-weenies into these rolling forced rodent labor camps. It was a truly awful experience.

    I have no strong feelings about the Prius one way or the other, but you made my Saturday morning get off to a good start. Thanks for the laugh.

  • avatar

    And now we’ve heard from the people who broke the dial off their radio once they’d tuned into their local EIB affiliate. Thanks, Rush!

  • avatar
    Detroit Todd

    And now we’ve heard from the people who broke the dial off their radio once they’d tuned into their local EIB affiliate. Thanks, Rush!

    Rush Limbaugh is a fat-assed, drug-addled, blow hard who makes a great living telling frightened, paranoid, non-critical thinkers that some “other” is out to get them. It can be gays, blacks, Nancy Pelosi, or whom/whatever. Doesn’t matter, really.

    The Toyota Prius is an over-hyped, over-priced, rolling piece of shit that is purchased, in the main, by people who never have and never will derive any pleasure whatsoever out of driving an automobile. They never even expect to. (The Prius is to automobiles what a can of Ensure is to a Prime Rib dinner. Both do the job, but one is much more enjoyable.) The Prius is simply jewelry for the greenies or, more accurately, for those who want to be perceived as being green.

    You can hate Rush Limbaugh and loathe the Toyota Prius. They are not mutually exclusive. For me, both things are true at the same time!

  • avatar

    In “other” words, the “other” that is out to get you is the environmentalist. Nice show!

  • avatar

    Folks, this is not Consumer Reports. To earn a good poke in the eye, a car should be nauseating for what it is and/or the folly of what it symbolizes.

    Just as a tail-finned 1957 Chevy says something about a public obsessed with the jet age, so do Hybrids say something about the global warming hysteria. (And you know it is a hysteria when dissenters are mocked as above. They also mocked me for predicting $30-$50 oil.)

    The more vigorously people argue in defense of Hybrids, the more they prove that Hybrids belong at the top of this list.

  • avatar
    Detroit Todd

    Just as a tail-finned 1957 Chevy says something about a public obsessed with the jet age, so do Hybrids say something about the global warming hysteria.

    “Hysteria” is the perfect word to use.

    All reasonable people want to improve mpg, reduce pollution, recycle, etc. But it is not and should not be a religion, nor is it a point of any particular virtue. The doomsday climate crowd seem to be able to make themselves feel better only by tsk-tsking others.

    To wit: the retarded “Earth Liberation Front” who like to set SUVs and ex-burban housing developments ablaze. I wonder how good all the burning rubber, foam, electrical wire, chemicals, etc., are for the environment? No matter, because the perpetrators “get their message out.”

    It’s kind of how Rush Limbaugh and his idiot followers see themselves. The ELF, Earth First!, etc., believe that they are the sole possessors of the truth, and the rest of us are too blind/selfish/stupid to understand it.

    Anyhoo, give me my old, reliable, fun to drive Saturn SL five-speed, with 40 mpg on the highway and 32-35 in the city, anyday over the slow, uncomfortable, hideous-looking, piece of crap, Toyota Prius!

  • avatar

    -Dodge Journey…a CUV based on the Sebring/Avenger platform? ‘Nuff said.

    -Pontiac G3
    -Pontiac G5
    -Pontiac G6

    -Chevy Traverse
    -Saturn Outlook
    -Buick Enclave
    -GMC Acadia
    These are the most overrated SUV’s of all time. They are OK, and just that, and the fact that the press humps them like they are the domestic auto industry’s second coming is appalling, and immediately puts them on the list. They are not that good. They are not that efficient. They are not as good as the competition.

    -Chevy Colorado/Isuzu i-Series
    -Any GMT-360 platform vehicle
    -Chevy Impala

    -Ford Edge
    -Lincoln MKX

    I could go on, thats enough.

  • avatar

    “Smug” seems to be the insult of the year here. How many Prius owners have you guys met that were actually smug, and how many have you not met that you assume are smug?

    Like it or not, it’s a well-designed vehicle that gets exceptional mileage in everyday use, insane comparisons at 80+ MPH sprints aside, and it’s very reliable. It’s boring? As mentioned, it has it’s own style of fun. It would presumably be possible to tune the powertrain to take advantage of the impressive off-idle torque of the electric motor, but there’s not chance of a manual transmission, and, at the end of the day, it’s not what people want. Enthusiasts are the minority. Toyota has made a good product that people want.

    It’s fine if you don’t like it, but it’s nonsensical and brings down the level of discussion to essentially say “I don’t like this car, therefore it is a bad car.” These awards exist to call out the car companies when they just didn’t give a shit: Caliber, Compass, G3, 9-7, MKX, etc. Toyota very clearly gave a shit about the Prius, and turned out an exceptional product.

  • avatar

    ctoan, +1.

    The Prius is the only vehicle on the road with what can be described as a 21st century drivetrain. Toyota set out a mission for it and built the car to that mission, maximum utility, maximum fuel economy. It certainly isn’t a driver’s vehicle but it’s also not bad. And it’s not a bad place to spend a little time if you must go somewhere, it’s comfortable and airy inside. Beats the hell out of those claustrophobic 300 windows.

    And some of you can stop reading motives into Prius owners reasons for buying the car. Yes, some owners are certainly concerned about environmental impact and they are grateful that they can buy a car that minizes that to some extent. Some believe that gas will go up, significantly, and the car will pay for itself in savings. Some just captivated by the idea of recapturing energy when braking. The only Prius owner I know who can be described as openly pious is simply openly pious about his religion.

    I wish to nominate the Saturn Outlook. Not only is it emblematic of badge-engineering excess, it’s the most obvious sign that Saturn has lost the plot. Saturn was all about practical little cars. A Traverse makes some sense, perhpas, for Suburban owners downsizing to a CUV but there’s no way the traditional Saturn owner would be looking to move into the Outlook. All it can do is steal sales from another GM sales channel.

    I also nominate the Vue. As I said, Saturn was all about practical little cars and the old Vue wasn’t a great extension of the Saturn paradigm into cute-ute but it made at least a little sense and it was as close to practical as you could get in compact ute-dom. The new Vue compares so badly to a Rav or CR-V as to be embarassing. The new Vue is overweight and overwrought and is just not a Saturn.

  • avatar

    The only smuggery around these parts is coming from those who insist they’re not Rush Limbaughites, and proceed to sound exactly like him. And the South Park episode where this came from was a perfect example of bias via false equivalence, by the way, from two guys who practice it every single chance they get.

  • avatar
    Rev Junkie

    The rental queen Avenger and Sebring, the useless Lexus SC430 and exceedingly geriatric Lexus ES, the Prius, the what-the-hell-are-they-thinking G3, the paleolithic Town Car and Grand Marquis, the affront to an iconic badge Jeep Compass, the V8-powered two and a half ton, gas-swilling LS600hL for self-centered piles of shit that think they are altruistic and “saving the planet” in a stretched full-size sedan that gets less than 20mpg and costs over $100k, the “crossover-sports-off-road-coupe-utility-active-lifestyle-five-door-whatchamacallit” which in reality is the world’s only $80k hatchback, the BMW X6, and the remnant of Cadillac’s fall from prestige in the ’70s and ’80s, the wrong-wheel drive, nautical, bench-seat, column-shift, badge engineered, elderly reminder of Cadillac before the CTS, the worthless DTS.

  • avatar

    It’s incredible to see lists/comments that include/deride the Prius, yet completely omit the NA Ford Focus, a rolling turd of a vehicle that never would have sold in any numbers if it hadn’t been for the skyrocketing price of oil at precisely the time it was introduced, and would have surely made last year’s list were it eligible.

  • avatar

    As I believe someone mentioned before…if this is a site for driving enthusiasts then it is entirely appropriate to put up a car that is awful to drive (and no one has convincing argued that the Prius is any good for actual driving by the way). The is not The New York Times auto section. Also, it was pretty weak to accuse all Prius haters of being Limbaugh groupies…this I do not understand. I am about as far from such a thing (Limbaugh listener) as it is possible to be, and I can find plenty of reasons to hesitate before proclaiming the Prius to be an environmental solution (battery related resource extraction, potential industrial accidents with god knows what consequences, the fact that hybrids are currently too expensive to meaningfully replace a diverse vehicle fleet, and that fact that hybrids all need to lug around ICE engines anyway (keeping in mind the environmental costs of manufacturing as well))

    Besides, now that I think about it, none of the conservatives I know could care less about the prius, less gas and more space are fairly universal positives. No, the only people I know who dislike this car are young, opinionated, relatively well-informed (about cars) enthusiasts who think that an automotive appliance is a concept that GM stood for during our childhoods. We hated 80’s oldsmobiles and buicks, and now we hate the Prius. Gay hating, environmentalist flaming Limbaughnites we are not.

  • avatar

    I find it quite interesting and humorous watching the congregation of the Global Warming Cathedral react to criticism of their most blessed virgin vehicle…

    For YEARS we’ve had to listen to every slam, slight, scorn and derision they could hurl at the “EVIL” SUV, and we were just supposed to accept their (self) righteous proclamations as “truth”.

    But isn’t it funny how things change when the shoes on the other foot? How DARE anyone critisize their holy chariot? Why, that’s just BLASPHEMY!! Just gotta love them “open minded”, “free speech defending”, “different strokes for different folks” liberals communists…

  • avatar

    tedward, the dude right after you is the caricature of the Limbaugh listener I’d make if he hadn’t made it himself already.

    You yourself are more like a Hannity – FUDding with a smile and expecting not to be called on it. Like this crap:

    battery related resource extraction, potential industrial accidents with god knows what consequences, the fact that hybrids are currently too expensive to meaningfully replace a diverse vehicle fleet, and that fact that hybrids all need to lug around ICE engines anyway (keeping in mind the environmental costs of manufacturing as well)

  • avatar

    yes…care to refute the claims that hybrids are more expensive than (already expensive to most americans) cars and that they will remain so, that mass production of batteries hasn’t already caused numerous environmental tragedies (in manufacture, recycling and extraction), and that hybrids don’t have to also carry an ICE engine and therefore increase their initial environmental cost in manufacturing? Anything besides an attack on me personally?

    Really? Hannity?! Left coast liberal you are talking to here, and isn’t Hannity the one who brings people’s statements into doubt without providing any reasonable explanation as to why they’re wrong? I do agree with the climate change theory, do agree with the greenhouse gas hypothesis, and am starting to suspect you just like pissing people off online.

    I don’t know that I disagree with Wolven’s comment noticing how touchy people are about their Prius’. A little off his rocker calling liberals communists, but the idea that people who have invested up to 35k on being right about the environmental debate (and who have mostly been in the front lines screaming bloody murder about SUVs) might get a little pissy when faced with a debate on the merits of that purchase dosen’t seem so far fetched. I mean I’ll be the first to admit the shortcomings of my car (low rev limit, low hp, awful emissions, shaky engine, heavy engine) and I couldn’t honestly get that angry if it was nominated for a TWAT, and if I was a Prius owner I’m pretty sure I could do the same (low revs, no torque, excess weight, excess cost, ugly, handles poorly, etc…) But then, I don’t associate my car with a major belief system of my own or link it in any way to my social status (it says “I’m cheap” and “he’s poor” in that order without any help from me).

  • avatar

    yes…care to refute the claims that hybrids are more expensive than (already expensive to most americans) cars and that they will remain so, that mass production of batteries hasn’t already caused numerous environmental tragedies (in manufacture, recycling and extraction), and that hybrids don’t have to also carry an ICE engine and therefore increase their initial environmental cost in manufacturing? Anything besides an attack on me personally?

    If you repeat claims from shill studies that have been debunked about ten thousand times, including on this very site, don’t expect to be treated with kid gloves.

  • avatar


    Your statement advances your argument not one bit. You basically said his points were false without backing it up, and then said that he deserved ad hominem attacks and rudeness from you because he disagrees with you. Nice.

  • avatar

    Landcrusher, this very site has debunked that story several times – it’s not that hard to google. I don’t accept homework assignments from people who are clearly either ignorant or willfully misrepresenting the truth.

    google: hummer prius study

    first link:

    References the infamous CNW study, as per this comment:

    The article loses any shred of credibility in the last paragraph, when it mentions the CNW study that claimed a Hummer was more environmentally friendly than a Prius. Calling the study “controversial” is inadequate; it was entirely bullshit.

    Another good chunk:

    Folks, ya gotta take these studies with a grain of salt. Okay, a dumptruck of salt.

    And the whole battery thing. Look, the Prius has been on the road for 10 years now. Anybody who’s still bleating that tired old “batteries in the landfill” saw can be easily identified as somebody who hasn’t been paying attention. If it’s an average joe or jane, I can forgive that to some extent.

    But readers of this site probably should know better…long battery life and recycling has been mentioned many times by myself or other Prius owners.

    And of course, if it’s a member of the press repeating such nonsense, then I think it’s okay to pass judgement on them. They’re not doing a minimum of research. They’re not paying attention. Or they are letting their bias run rampant. Or they’re in SOMEBODY’s pocket. In any event, it disqualifies them from any further respect in their profession.

    There’s more. Read the remaining links if you like.

  • avatar

    My point still stands. Just like you, I ain’t taking homework assignments, even long enough to read this ridiculous thread. You likely could have done a better job in your refutation, but you did not.

    Try forgetting the rest of the thread, and take his statement which you quoted, out of context, as I have (I am not accusing you of taking his words out of context, I am merely pointing out that is what I have done because I didn’t even know who is quoted). That statement stands on it’s own merits. It is easily defended, and does not reference the study you just cited. (btw, I would not say that the study was clearly refuted on TTAC either. The methodology of end of life costs was pointed out to be rather fishy.)

    At any rate, you now see the problem with SUV hate. SUV hate and Prius hate are so analogous, it’s almost funny. Both are based on a few facts, a lot of bullshit, and many false conclusions.


  • avatar

    Wow, leave this thread for a little while and look what I get…look, I didn’t reference that study (b/c I don’t agree with it’s methodology either) and I don’t have to agree with TTAC’s bland dismissal of a battery problem that will only get worse with the further proliferation of hybrid powertrains. 10 years is not a reasonable amount of time to pass before declaring the problem nonexistent. Almost all of these cars are still on the road and the basic battery technology hasn’t changed much so recycling is still a viable financial option. You think 20 years from now Toyota will gladly recycle batteries of a type they no longer use..they may, but they will have to justify that against their immediate financial interests (and no fair predicting how that will go). Or will they do what every other tech company does and outsource recycling to low bidders with poor environmental standards? This is a genuine long-term problem for any company, especially one relying on electrical tech. for environmental credibility. And I do know several people (directly and indirectly) who have had to have Toyota switch out battery packs for them, although all were under warranty.

    But I notice that your criticism also only addresses the straw man of a study that I didn’t cite, and that I’ve only responded by listing battery concerns. Care to acknowledge the more important point that they add mechanical complexity and cost, regardless of application? OR that a hybrid, by definition, requires an ICE? Is it, for some reason, ok to callously disregard the cost of this double manufacturing? This is a straight up environmental and financial cost.

  • avatar

    tedward, that’s absurd. The cost of the two engines is factored into the car (that’s why the hybrid Camry costs more than the regular Camry) – and since Toyota sold so many hybrids so quickly, they don’t get the tax credit, so it’s not as if taxpayers are subsidizing the extra cost. If it turns out to be uneconomical, those who CHOOSE to buy the hybrid bear the full cost of their decision (since the environmental costs are FUD).

    Yes, I think 20 years from now, Toyota will recycle these batteries. They’re certainly far more likely to do so than GM is to be around then to fix any of their cars; or VW is to maintain their emissions controls on their diesel engines.

    Landcrusher, I supplied you excerpts and pointed you to the thread. You’re nothing more than a sore loser.

  • avatar

    I am removing my remarks. I should not have been baited back into this argument. It’s just silly.

  • avatar
    Rev Junkie

    The Prius, in essence, is a practical, reliable, innovative, and relatively efficient car, but I hate it because of the people who drive it, and the philosophy it represents. Those annoying greenie-weenies demonizing the car because it emits…. OH, DEAR GOD! CARBON DIOXIDE!!! QUICK PLANT A TREE BEFORE IT KILLS A BABY SEAL!!!!!! All of this “go green” crap on NBC and some other TV networks makes me want to vomit. And they don’t stop with cars. They want their “green” movement to permeate every aspect of your life. Not even Christmas is spared. Has anyone heard of the children’s book “When Santa Went Green” hawked on the Today show? It even had a Santa in a green outfit! How apropos, a fictional character describing a fictional condition, global warming. More and more scientists have debunked the “global warming by CO2 emissions” theory, and yet politicians cling to it, most likely to wring some more tax money out of the constituents, like London’s congestion charge. And call me naive, but anything Al Gore believes is wrong. I can’t buy “global warming” from the self-proclaimed inventor of the internet.

  • avatar

    Gosh, I wonder how I could ever have gotten the whiff of Limbaugh on this stuff.

  • avatar
    Rev Junkie

    Listen M1EK, there is no point in arguing when all you do when someone insults your beloved Prius is call them Rush Limbaugh. Now I’ve never listened to the man on the radio, I don’t even know what the hell station its on! For God’s sake, the Prius is the poster child of the “green” movement! You could see it from space! (And while you’re up there, please notice the polar ice caps still in existence.) And by the way, I agree with you on the Prius batteries, it does no harm to the ecosystem as they are recyclable.

  • avatar

    When I went on a business trip to Colorado for two weeks I had at my disposal a Toyota Prius rental, so I got a chance to drive the car without being predisposed to owning one.

    Given how the vehicle’s reputation precedes itself (see above) I felt like I was “trespassing” in a way by driving it, given that I am not a card-carrying member of Al Gore’s Global Warmingnetics Climatology crew.

    The verdict on it is mixed. A pretty good around-town car. It handles strangely, because it is a heavy car, but the weight is all below the CG. The thing was useless on the freeway. Once the battery is out and you’re on heat-cycle power alone, that thing is the most anemic vehicle I’ve ever driven.

    One thing about the Prius experience though that I think indicates hybrids are here to stay is the torque it had. Electric motors have so much torque for their power, and it can be so finely controlled. Those attributes were apparent in the Prius, especially taking off from a stoplight. Strange as it was, you felt like you were accelerating much faster than you were just because it felt so solid in acceleration with all that torque. I could see a very high-performance car constructed as a hybrid with a relatively lightweight high-discharge, low capacity battery and electric motors just for things like launch and traction control. In that context, electric-motivated road cars do have a unique performance quality about them. And if that quality can be felt through something as novacained and underpowered as a Prius, that bodes well for future developments that way.

    Also, you do get addicted to the MPG meter on the MFD in the dash. Its like a game trying to get your mileage up. And with all that care trying to maximize my mileage driving around Ft. Collins, I never got a better average than 46. Geo Metro does better on gas and out-accelerates the thing. ‘Nuff said. Don’t buy one. But it was an interesting experience nonetheless.

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