By on October 11, 2012

Readers have been busy nominating vehicles for the Ten Worst Automobiles Today, and the Best & Brightest has delivered a diverse shortlist of what they consider the most objectionable cars money can buy.

Among the vehicles listed by our commenters were

Jeep Patroit
Scion iQ
Mitsubishi Galant
SmartForTwo
Scion xB
Toyota Camry
Chrysler 200
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
2013 Chevrolet Malibu
Nissan Murano CC
Honda Crosstour
Acura ZDX
Kia Sedona
Lincoln MKT
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Maybach
VW Beetle
Fisker Karma
Cadillac Escalade
Nissan Juke
Toyota Matrix
Nissan Sentra
Lexus HS250h
Mitsubishi Eclipse
Dodge Avenger
BMW 5-Series GT
Chevrolet Volt
Lexus GX
Honda CR-Z
Nissan Versa Sedan
Ford E-Series
Chevy/GMC full-size vans
BMW 3-Series
Nssan Quest
Honda Civic

Who says you can’t buy a bad car today? Keep adding your nominations. We’ll announce the voting process shortly.

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125 Comments on “The Preliminary TWAT Shortlist...”


  • avatar
    nickeled&dimed

    “Jeep Patroit”

    Is that the French captive import that’s supposed to be “trail rated”?

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Although I could go along with the MKT, I’d like to nominate the Lincoln MKS. It’s just an overweight, overpriced turd. The last redesign of the Ford Taurus went in the wrong direction, and the MKS went farther the wrong way. Even the name “MKS” is stupid – say, maybe that’s what the “S” stands for.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      If the MKS is bad, which it is, then the XTS is even worse.

      All of the $25,000 in lipstick smeared on a $24,000 fleet special yet none of that lipstick made it under the hood. At least the MKS has the SHO option.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I’d disagree with the MKS or MKT being TWAT material. Does the MKS have the same snob appeal or performance as a 7 Series or S class? No. But it is comfortable, quiet, roomy, built with high quality materials and is both reliable and inexpensive to service.

      Most of the arguments against it seem to boil down to ‘It’s FWD and based on a Taurus’ which is true, but neither one of those things makes it a bad car.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        You’re right of course that no $50,000 car is worst list material in absolute terms.

        But comfortable, quiet, and roomy are already givens at half the price.

        A luxury positioned car faces higher expectations. Forget the strawman $80,000 Germans, look what $50,000 gets at Infiniti, Lexus, Chrysler or even Hyundai. Not TWAT. But TW50KAT.

        The MKS’s problem isn’t that it’s based on a cheaper car, it’s that the cheaper car it’s based on (and barely changed from) trails its class even at $25,000. It’s huge outside but narrow inside with short seats, it drives huge but doesn’t ride especially well, you can’t see out of it.

        I never heard anyone say the 300C sucks because it’s based on the Charger.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        I can see your point, but I do believe there is still a value proposition here. Yes, quiet and roomy can be had for a lot less money, but you don’t get anywhere near the same level of interior quality. Part of what you pay for in a luxury car is the highest quality leather, the real wood trim, the leather wrapped dash and console, etc, and the MKS delivers on all of those points.

        The Taurus the MKS is based on does well in its class – yes, some people don’t care for the large center console while others love it, but it tends to be 2nd/3rd place in the large sedan category in sales month after month (Impala seems to have a hard lock on #1 while the Charger and Taurus trade off for #2 most months).

        The MKS has a less intrusive console, larger seats, and completely different interior/exterior from the Taurus. Ride quality made a huge jump with the 2013 model and the new active suspension dampers. I think a big problem is a lot of people think the ’13 model was a minor facelift when in fact is was a very thorough update to the car that makes it much more competitive in the segment. Speaking of which, maxed out a MKS hits about $55K, compared to a similarly equipped Lexus GS at $65K or an Infiniti M37 for about $64K. The Hyundai Genesis doesn’t come close in interior materials quality, but the 300C does present a bit of a problem. Chrysler knocked one out of the park with that car, and it beats the MKS on price at about $48K fully loaded, but then you can almost always find a non-luxury nameplate car with similar features for a lot less than a luxury nameplate.

        I’m not saying the MKS should qualify for the top ten best car list, but for someone looking for a big, comfortable luxury sedan with a lot of features for a (relative to the class) affordable price, it certainly warrants a look, and doesn’t suffer from any particular weakness that I’d see which could put it in contention for ten worst.

      • 0 avatar

        The current MKT is a TWAT. It looks like a whale. Bottom line.

        The MKS, however, should not be on this list. It has has a bad deal. Not only is it made by Lincoln–who as a company is ailing–but it is also positioned in a steadily-decreasing market for front-wheel-drive, full-sized luxury sedans. Its only real competitors are the Acura RL, Cadillac XTS and (if you want to go way downmarket) the Volvo S80. However it is a very competent sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      motormouth

      “…the real wood trim…”

      That’ll be the problem, wood trim no longer implies luxury after its reputation was ruined through liberal application of the fake, peeling substitute across a raft of models undeserving of the addition (the wood, not the plastic). Now, wood inserts are only appropriate on a Morgan or a Rolls.

    • 0 avatar
      SP

      I have to say that I hate the IDEA of the MKS. Why so large and not roomier? Why so heavy? Why so expensive? The same applies to the MKT and the MKS’s Taurus cousin.

      But then I drove one.

      While the theory is repugnant to my mind, the REALITY of the car is … well … wow, this is a pretty nice car.

      And I am fairly picky.

      Let’s just say that, if money were no object for me, any one of those 3 vehicles would be welcome in my garage.

  • avatar
    ganong

    BMW 3 series?
    It may not be the E46 but its certainly not the worst among all cars.

  • avatar
    Acubra

    Looking at the list I wonder how many responders actually drove all these cars, especially Fisker and Maybach.
    Also, it appears that modern folks are pretty spoilt brats and simply not familiar with the concept of proper horror at the wheel.

    So my humble addition to the list would be anything with a Lada badge: starting from the early 80s and (I’m afraid) well into the future.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      The Lada Niva is impressive in its own way, a cheap and crude but near-indestructible smaller version of the Land Rover Defender or the ur-Jeep. Still in production, largely unchanged, for 35 years now.

      But no Ladas are available for purchase in North America today anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      I had three Lada Nivas – fantastic vehicles. Crude yet durable.

      • 0 avatar
        Acubra

        Fantastic – by the late 70′s standard. While I too very much like their shape and concept, they suffer from wrong engines, poor build and material quality, and a whole bunch of engineering oversights that have never beem cured. From late 80′s they also suffer from the most terrible interior and seats that I’ve experienced, ever.

    • 0 avatar
      Strippo

      “Looking at the list I wonder how many responders actually drove all these cars, especially Fisker and Maybach.”

      I’m reminded of the old joke about riding a moped.

  • avatar
    Ciriya.com

    Chevrolet Sonic. While I can’t comment on the driving impressions, it’s one of the cheapest-looking, ugliest cars of the past 30 years. Even the Aveo is decent looking by comparison.

    Runner up: Scion xD, Hyundai Veloster and Honda CRZ.

    • 0 avatar
      Ciriya.com

      Oops, I missed that the Toyota Corolla didn’t make the list. It’s cheap as hell, miserable floaty handling, looks cheap like a Chinese car, and is noisy as hell, in a non sporty way. I drove a BRAND NEW one and revved the engine on the road, and it vibrated the entire dash.

      • 0 avatar
        Lightspeed

        Agreed. I rented one with not even 500KM on it and it felt like it had 200,000KM on it. A truly horrible car, at 130KPH it felt like it would fly apart. So much for the “Little Lexus” reputation this car once had.

    • 0 avatar
      Freddy M

      Disagree. I think the Sonic is quite a good looking car for its segment, and far superior to the Aveo it replaced. The only car I prefer the look of over the Sonic is the Kia Rio. By contrast, I think the Honda Fit is the best car of the segment for absolutely everything … EXCEPT its looks.

      But I haven’t driven the Sonic either so as far as performance I can’t say.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        On the basis of styling alone, I would choose the Juke over the Sonic. The Sonic is pretty decent in its mission to be the cheap-and-cheery Chevrolet.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        If we were to throw the Juke in the mix, I’d agree with you. But is the Juke in the subcompact car category? Or some subcompact CUV mix along with the Soul, xB, Countryman etc?

        In any case, like I said I agree with the Juke as I love its styling and its difference from the rest, but I think the majority of people here and elsewhere on the interwebs have already proclaimed the Juke to be a styling abomination.

        Oh, and as JC once said; “there’s no such thing as cheap and cheerful, there’s cheap and nasty, and expensive and cheerful.” But I think he was a bit wrong on that one too.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Sorry, I meant that I would choose the Juke for the TWAT list based on the styling so we may not agree on this.

        The Qashqai is a far more decent-looking design (to me) but for some reason Nissan USA decided they needed to be more radical.

    • 0 avatar

      I think people should drive these cars before you declare them to be bad. The Sonic, from any of the reviews I’ve read, drives quite nicely and is fast with the turbo-charged four and available 6-speed manual. As well, the Veloster is, by all accounts, a pretty impressive package.

      People need to learn: just because you don’t find it attractive does not mean its a bad car.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The Sonic is one of the more fun subcompacts out there (and the Yaris is worse looking).

      But yeah, the Corolla should definitely be on the list.

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    On the 12th day of TWATSMAS, TTAC gave to me:

    1 domestic bias
    2 japan field trips
    3 junkyard finds
    4 reports on china
    5 curbside classics
    6 sales analyses
    7 vellum venoms
    8 union updates
    9 model from Chengdou
    10 photos of Carlos
    11 shoot the pinks
    and a review by Mike and Alex Dykes

  • avatar
    jimboy

    I love the title!

  • avatar
    gslippy

    You may as well list every car made. There are duds everywhere, and my 05 Odyssey was one of them.

    My 09 Sedona is by far the best minivan among the four I’ve owned, and a great value to boot. Yeah, I’m a fanboy, so I object to its presence on this list.

    I also call shenanigans on the 2013 Malibu, which is barely on the street yet.

    And I’ll even go to bat for the Volt (gasp!): Just because it doesn’t make sense for everyone doesn’t make it a ‘worst’ automobile.

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      Gslippy – another vote to take the Sedona off the list. From another owner (2012 model). Is it the best minivan on the market? Of course not. Is it the best minivan on the market for anywhere near the price? Absolutely. In fact, it may be the industry’s best value for a 7 seat vehicle of any kind. But it is gone now, so I guess it no longer matters. But you and I will continue to enjoy ours.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        Take heart; Kia is supposed to be releasing a 2014 model after a year’s hiatus. I’m impressed with their courage.

      • 0 avatar
        applesartini

        I have a 2007 Hyundai Entourage, which is a Sedona in every way. Not only is it leaps and bounds ahead of every other minivan that we looked at, it trumped them all on price. Over 100,000 miles of virtually trouble free operation mean that it has beaten all of our friends’ Siennas (sludging) Odysseys (failing door latches, electric motors, rattles) and Caravans (transmissions, general construction). Terrible car? Not by a long shot. I’ve had terrible cars, a Ford Focus being one glaring example. Take the Sedona off the list.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    I only have two and it’s because of ergonomics. The Jeep Liberty, horrible entry. You whack your head on the frame every damn time trying to get in it and the VW Passat CC. So swoopy that it’s too low for me to get into it. I mean that literally, I can’t get into the car. Design over function.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      I’m 5’9 and was hauling my 6’5 uncle around in my Escape. I thought it fits me just fine but it’s too small for him. I also kept a pair of goggles in my Miata for my taller friends.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I agree about the Liberty. It’s also very small in the front passenger area – the transmission tunnel intrudes mightily into the footspace.

      I don’t know if that’s enough to warrant TWAT status though, for smaller drivers it’s likely OK.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Well if just ergonomics is the precursor for TWAT status then the Camaro does it for me. However, the car has so much more to offer that one can overook such things.

  • avatar
    holydonut

    I’m disappointed my nomination for the Nissan NX commercial van was removed but the Ford and GM vans were somehow included.

    If you’re a small business owner (who isn’t using the hobby-business as a tax write-off), then you absolutely want to avoid the Nissan offerings or the Dodge Sprinter.

    I’m must be missing the point where failing to satisfy the needs of your target customer base results in being a good car while vehicles that do spectacularly well for its customers are included for being labeled one of the worst automobiles.

    • 0 avatar

      Do you include the Mercedes Sprinter as the Dodge Sprinter? People seem to really love them down here in South Florida, and the TTAC review was quite positive.

      They seem particularly useful as rolling advertising platforms – they are the perfect shape and size for a gigantic truck wrap. If you haven’t seen them, they print a photo or illustration on a huge piece of plastic and wrap it around the vehicle. Some of these ads are amazingly intricate and beautiful; I’m sure they bring in business and make the vehicle fairly cost-effective as a combination of truck and advertisement.

      It seems particularly effective to associate the business with the Mercedes-Benz name …

      D

      • 0 avatar
        holydonut

        The Sprinter isn’t so bad. The Nissan NX on the other hand is a dog. I didn’t nominate the Sprinter for a TWAT. Companies that opt for Sprinters tend to have odd reasons… albeit enough effective reasons that it’s not worth of a TWAT.

        But the NX… it has a nice interior. Do fleet buyers want a nice interior? No? Wow. Shocker.

        What is silly about the editors excluding the NX nomination is that they decided to include the Ford and GM offerings as TWATs even though those vehicles (especially the GM van) do everything their customers want. Hardly worth TWAT nominations.

        There’s an obvious hint that they picked the wrong cars for “worst” in the fleet lines. Go look at the fleet sales for the respective vehicles. It’s plainly obvious which vehicles are the ones that satisfy the needs of customers. Unless of course the editors here think thousands of fleet customers are idiots.

        If people are avoiding a car when their dollars are at play, then the vehicle is no good. And it’s not for lack of effort. Nissan markets very hard into the fleet buying market. But their product isn’t up to snuff.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      +1 on this. Inclusion of the E-series and GM vans is baffling, particularly given exclusion of the Nissans.

      May whoever made that decision be stranded next time they are waiting for an airport shuttle!

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I also call BS to the 2013 Malibu, at least in 2.5 and turbo form. It is one of the more comfortable feature laden sedans I have driven lately, the interior was very attractive and well constructed, especially after driving a 2013 Camry LE in comparison, the 2.5 is very smooth, quiet and offers more than enough thrust for every day driving and observed mileage was a pleasant surprise after an hour on an expressway. Also notable about the LT Bu that was missing on the 08-12 models- overhead assist handles at every door, a glove box light, a rear seat center armrest with cup holders and storage, a sliding fore-aft center armrest up front, a larger trunk with a wider opening, far nicer interior materials with pleasing color two tone color hues that make a nice contrast to the dull tedious black/gray offered everywhere else and superior fuel economy on every model. I also like the rear end because it looks distinctive and think the front has a more aggressive character that the previous generation lacked. I do think that each model is priced about 1K more than it needs to be and that the front seat cup holders should be side to side instead of inline to avoid the problem of moving the armrest up and killing the rear holder. otherwise I was very impressed overall and this car would appear to fit a variety of needs well.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Agree, I don’t understand why the Malibu is on this list. IMHO the Camry also doesn’t belong on this list.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you! My sentiments exactly. And its styling will age much better than the radical Hyundai Sonata/Kia Optima twins, or even the new Ford Fusion…

        Also, Maybach has been retired and Lexus stopped making the HS, so you can let those go. But in the place of the latter, I would add that homely Lexus CT.

  • avatar
    Easton

    Wow, a lot of those cars I didn’t know even still existed (the Galant?!). I would add the Nissan Cube for being so aesthetically offensive, the Toyota Corolla for being the anti-car, and the entire Lincoln line-up for lacking any real purpose or direction in life.

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      And what do you drive Easton. I would like to make a typical bone headed statement like you just did. I agree it’s looks are not for everyone (anyone) but the cube is a great car unlike the POS that you drive (whatever that might be).

      Now that we have both sounded ignorant, perhaps we can get some criteria for this list. If it’s just cars that don’t appeal to me it will be a really unique list. So will yours be.

  • avatar
    djsyndrome

    Toyota Matrix. The first generation was a light, tossable, incredibly useful and comfortable cheap runabout. And if you sprung for the XRS engine, it was actually kind of fast. I got eight years and almost 250k out of mine and loved every mile.

    Then Toyota took everything that was right about the car, threw it in the shitter and spat out an overweight, thirsty, drunken mess of a fat Corolla. Meanwhile, the rest of the world gets the Auris.

  • avatar

    They still make the Eclipse?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Good times we live in. Every car on that list should run to 100K miles without any major maintenance issues. When a vehicle is nominated for being bad because of ingress/egress issues, you hate the styling, or heaven forbid it doesn’t have 2236 cup holders; I say we have it pretty good.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Are there going to be different voting categories (styling, ease of ingress/egress, cargo space, handling, reliability, economy, etc) for what is considered the worst? Otherwise, I really don’t see any point in this.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      It’s actually an entertaining chance for a lot of the readership to slag cars that they hate, despite having never driven one, much less owned the model. Ghod forbid that we should be saying that the manufacturers are turning out anything good.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I don’t disagree with the nomination, but didn’t Lexus already kill the HS250h for 2013?

  • avatar
    lon888

    The Porsche Cayenne and Panamera need to be added to the list. Those two cars only beg one question. Why?????

    • 0 avatar
      iainthornton

      There’s a customer base. Don’t hate Porsche for it; hate the buyers.

    • 0 avatar

      Is it really awful to want a customizable performance vehicle that has four doors and cargo carrying capacity? If you have a family should you be deprived of the ability to have a fast car with a nice badge?

      I don’t understand the hate pouring down on these cars, which certainly have their uses and buyers. I read the reviews of the Porsche Panamera, and it seemed like it was fast, handled well and was very comfortable and pleasant to be in. So what’s the point of hating it?

      (For the record, the author’s next car will probably be a used Mercedes CLS-class, which is not dissimilar to the Panamera in product category. The Tesla Model S would also be on my short list if I could get a used one – so it might be my next car after the CLS.).

      D

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      lon888…

      Probably to make money for Porsche, so that they can fund our fun with the new Boxster! (^_^)..

      ——–

  • avatar
    RGS920

    I have to go with the Honda CRZ and this is coming from someone who loved the CRX for everything it was at the time it was introduced: Cheap, efficient, fun to drive and at the time it was in production not a slow car because it weighed so little.

    The saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” really seems to define the CRZ. At $19,656 it’s not exactly cheap. At 31/37 mpg for the manual transmission it’s not really that fuel efficient compared to other hydrids and I am hard pressed to think of a small car with worst highway mpg. It’s not exactly fun to drive as discussed in reviews on here. It’s not exactly lightweight at 2650 lbs thanks to all the hybrid baggage. And there is really no interior space while the CRX had a surprising amount of hauling capability for such a small car.

    The fact that it does nothing well is enough to get it on the short list; however I think it deserves to be a twat because Honda took a storied namesake and sacrificed everything that made the CRX great to the hybrid gods. Let’s hope that the NSX doesn’t follow a similar fate!

    • 0 avatar
      Battlehawk

      I had brought up almost these exact same points with a friend thinking about buying one. Ended up buying a Fit instead.

      Although, Eibach throwing a K24 in one apparently made it a better car in nearly every respect

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    That list above is worthless. Nearly all are not bad cars, they are just cars most people have some weird & shallow personal issue with, stylistically or otherwise. If you want a useful list, you will need to set out a more clearly defined criteria of what makes a car a TWAT.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      I agree. How bout a list of the worst selling cars of 2011?

      10. Subaru Tribeca
      9. Mazda Tribute
      8. Mercedes-Benz R-Class
      7. Suzuki Equator
      6. Cadillac Escalade EXT*
      5. Toyota Land Cruiser
      4. Acura ZDX
      3. Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback*
      2. Hyundai Azera
      1. Acura RL

      Of this list our list above only touches two: the appalling and acutely egregious Acura ZDX and venerable favorite TWAT the Caddy Escalade. I’m surprised that no one had mentioned the Acura RL as no one has deemed it worthy of purchase. Sadly will have to wait til the 2012 list to see if the Juke has made the honor roll so I can hope that it would be euthanized.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Acura ILX

    If there was anything built that is as close to a Japanese answer to the Cadillac Cimmaron, this is it.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I think we need a little better precision of language. There are bad cars (of which there are very few today) and unpopular cars. The Lincoln MKT is no worse a car than the Ford Flex. Neither is a bad car, in fact, they seem to be quite good cars. But neither is very popular (with the MKT being REALLY unpopular).

    I think that the last truly bad cars came off the list when Marchionne got control of Chrysler and the Sebring/Avenger got a thorough refresh with a new engine. The rest are just not very appealing.

    The Ford E series is a puzzler. It is an antique, but is still quite good at doing what it was designed to do. It is going to go away soon, and a lot of people are going to miss it.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Of course it turned into a list of “What cars do you hate”. Any condemnation of a car should concisely describe as factaully as possible why the car is “bad” as a vehicle.

      Ugly, isn’t a BMW, doesn’t hav X engine or X transmission, isn’t RWD etc. aren’t really valid reasons to consider a car bad.

      I think that was the intention at the onset, but it inevitably turned into a list of cars whose faults extend to being subjectively ugly and non-performance minded.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, technically it was a while after Marchionne’s takeover before the fleet-destined Caliber was retired.

      I would not have put the 200 on this list. Chrysler couldn’t change the hard points of the platform, so it still has some of the shortcomings of the Sebring, but it has made a gross improvement and is something of an aspirational vehicle. The Avenger, on the other hand, has no reason to exist.

      I, in turn would like to make a few suggestions, and mine are mainly based on cars that feel like they’ve been abandoned or neglected by their respective manufacturers, or are just plain irrelevant:

      1) The Chevrolet Impala–for obvious reasons.
      2) The current Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins.
      3) If you’re going to include the Lexus GX, also include the Land Rover LR4.
      4) Take off the Nissan Juke
      5) Take off the BMW 3-Series. That’s just plain hateful. I myself am not a big fan of BMW, but I can admit that it is a venerable vehicle that leaves everyone else playing catch-up.
      6) Take off the Honda Civic.
      7) How did we miss the Infiniti EX?
      8) Take off the Cadillac Escalade; add the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator/EL.
      9) The Volvo S80.
      10) The Land Rover LR2.
      11) Take off the Nissan Versa and Kia Rio; you get what you pay for
      12) Take off the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.
      13) The Toyota Venza.
      14) Take off the Toyota Camry (really?!).
      15) The Mercedes-Benz R-Class.
      16) I don’t know if anyone here knows what the “Wheego” is, but it needs to be added…
      17) I’m not sure how you all added the ZDX (which should be removed, by the way), but missed the RL.
      18) The Honda Ridgeline.
      19) The Fiat 500
      20) The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
      21) The Volvo XC90 (Even in biblical times things didn’t last this long…)

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        ’4) Take off the Nissan Juke’

        @kyreeswilliams, I agree with most of your choices above and can debate the TWATness of over-priced and ego-boosting Super-Sized SUVs with you, but I cannot let the Juke go. It is a terrifically horrifying design owning absolutely no angle where it even remotely looks good. It has very little cargo room, passenger space, and no towing capacity allbut things shoppers enjoy when purchasing a CUV. It’s an answer to a question no one asked and is so offensive to the senses, I would wholeheartedly support its euthenization by tying all of them in a bag and throwing them off the container ship into the ocean. Seems cruel but in the end, Nissan would be better off.

  • avatar
    mcs

    The iQ doesn’t belong on the list. It may not be the best car for cruising the open highways of Nebraska, but when it comes to navigating narrow euro-sized streets and fitting into tight parking spaces that exist in places like the Boston area, it’s very well suited.

    Nominating the iQ is like nominating the Miata because it can’t haul 20 sheets of plywood and 8 passengers. These cars have a specific mission and they should be judged only within the context of their intended use.

  • avatar
    George B

    I propose a test for what cars belong on the TWAT list: Is it such a bad choice in its class of comparable cars that very few people would miss it if it was gone? Cars like the Galant, for example, are TWAT worthy because there are numerous better choices.

    The Toyota Camry doesn’t belong on the TWAT list. It’s boring, but the Camry is at least average in it’s class of family sedans. Many people would miss it if it was gone. I’d give the SE version the faint praise of “one of the better fairly large sedans you can rent from Hertz”.

    The Chevrolet Volt is expensive, but in what class is it worst? It can invoke niche vehicle limited immunity.

    The Honda Civic is a disappointment, but I’d consider the Corolla and Sentra to be worse in its class.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Of current model cars that I’ve driven and consider downright lousy, the current run of the mill Nissan Sentra takes the dishonor.

    Sluggish with the 2.0L/CVT combo is an understatement with the handling, interior and exterior being underwhelming at best. Particularly annoying are the very forward A-pillars which make periphrial vision a chore.

    Honestly, a Prius is more sporting from a driver’s standpoint.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised that the Jeep Patriot made the list and not the Jeep Compass. Chrysler’s decision to make both, from the same platform as the Caliber (Mitsubishi in origin, I believe) has got to be one of the bonehead moves of all times in the car biz.

    At least the Jeep team tried with the Patriot, you’ve always been able to get it in a “Trail Rated” form. The Compass was based on the notion that women wanted a cute Jeep that never left pavement – as if women don’t buy and drive plenty of Grand Cherokees.

    The money that Chrysler spent on the Compass would have been better spent on making the Patriot better.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      I agree 100%. The Compass is far worse than the Patriot.

    • 0 avatar
      iainthornton

      This is very true. I can’t see who Chrysler intended as the demographic customer for the Compass. Presumably Environmentalist Jeep enthusiasts who are scared of any surface that isn’t tarmac. I can’t say that I’ve ever met such a person.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        More likely it was to offer a ‘Jeep’ that could be had with four doors for a lower payment than a Wrangler, and to help raise the Jeep brand fuel economy scores.

        The Compass concept was actually cool idea – sort of a modern day VW Thing/sand buggy with hints of Isuzu Vehicross. The actual car that resulted was less than inspiring due to the limits of working with the Caliber as a base.

  • avatar
    redliner

    I’ve been keeping quiet to see which cars people would nominate, and there are a few that have not been nominated that deserve to at least be considered for TWAT status.

    Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid:

    Have you ever driven one? It’s herky-jerky non-transparent hybrid systme may have Li-ion batteries, but the driving experience is to unrefined, especially in low to part throttle transitions. Basically, it’s the same issue the Sonata hybrid suffers from. Not okay in a $90k car.

    Lincoln Navigator:
    Do I have to explain this? It’s an aging design, on an aging platform that is eclipsed by similarly priced luxury SUVs in everything but towing capacity. It’s worse than a Cadillac Escalade (which is a TWAT nominee), so there’s that.

    Honda Ridgeline:
    I love the concept, I really do. But it hits a wall when the fuel economy isn’t any better than a regular BOF truck, the ride is not appreciably better than some trucks (especially the new air sprung IRS Dodge Ram), and the towing, off-road, and general “truck-ness” is not comparable to BOF trucks.

    As mentioned previously, the Acura ILX:
    The $30k Civic no one was asking for. The hybrid version is SLOWER than a Prius, but gets worse MPG and cost more. The Standard version is not exactly “fast” with it’s 140hp and the 2.0 four can be had for less money in a Civic SI or for just few more dollars in the TSX. A “starter-luxury” if there ever was one.

  • avatar

    WHY is everyone slamming the 2013 Malibu? Need we go back a couple of generations just to see how hideous it was before?

    • 0 avatar
      rickhamilton620

      Easy. The outgoing model was a better car. It handles better and has a bigger rear seat. Not to mention the awful launch of the current Malibu.

      I do think that the Sedona doesn’t deserve it’s spot on the list. It’s still plenty refined plus has a better interior than any Sienna.

  • avatar
    DemosCat

    How about a list of Ten Worst Automobiles of All Time (TWAAT)?

    A TWAAT list might include:

    Chevrolet Corvair
    The Yugo
    Chevrolet Vega
    Ford Pinto
    Ford Edsel

    etc.

    • 0 avatar
      iainthornton

      I can think of far worse nominations than the Corvair! The others I can appreciate. The Vega was great in concept but terrible in execution. Is the Mustang II not worse? Or, if we think further afield, the Volkswagen Beetle (sales do not make a good car) or maybe England’s Morris Marina? (I’m English and feel this is a strong contender).

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      DemosCat…

      Strongly disagree about the Corvair. And so do a lot of aficionados who bring it to old car shows. Yes, the rear suspension allowed the car to do the “watusi” (as Ralph Nader would say), but GM was in the process of fixing that when “Unsafe at Any Speed” was released, and the bad publicity forced them to cancel the whole thing.

      Had that not happened, America could have continued down the rear-engine pathway, and we might have ended up eventually with our own version of the Porsche.

      If you have ever driven a Corvair (say, 1964 sedan), you would sense its lightness of steering, good maneuverability, and unbelievably aggressive winter traction. In my view, it was a brilliant design that just needed refinement and evolution.

      ———–

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        A friend of mine years ago in Colorado Springs had a ’63 1/2 Corvair Coupe, Light blue metallic with the big metal dash, and Insta-Glide 2 spd automatic tranny on the instrument panel. Will say that it had lightness of steering and fair maneuverability only if it were compared to other American cars of the era. The 2spd begged for another gear and the steering wheel was so massive as to make you feel you were piloting a tuna-boat making parking still a hardy chore.

        However it was an incredible car in the snow, twin-carbed six laying low and flat in the rear on the axle, that was only let down by its low ground clearance.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Hi dolorean..

        Yeah. Sounds neat. The one I was thinking of was a deep red 4-door with stick shift on the floor. The owner, a fellow student, actually let me drive it (his baby, polished every day),—for all of about 1 mile with him sitting nervously in shotgun… But then, I could not blame him.

        ———

      • 0 avatar
        DemosCat

        I’ll have to admit, I mostly threw the Corvair in there because of Nader’s book. If I recall, it had other problems besides easily breaking loose the rear end, such as a solid steering wheel shaft that would impale you in a collision. Then again, a solid steering wheel shaft was not uncommon in other cars of the time too.

        But that swing axle design, a problem shared with early Volkswagen Beetles, was a real problem and what made Nader’s name. As you cornered, the tires tended to tuck up and loose traction.

        Oddly enough, my father’s 1958 Mercedes 220s also had a swing axle, with the joint dead center and the differential offset to one side. But the front engine design meant the rear end didn’t get away from the average driver.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The Chevrolet Corvair is one of the best cars that GM ever produced. The 2nd generation, with the rear suspension corrected, was amazing, and even the 1st generation was no worse than a VW or Porsche, except that it had more power to get in trouble with.

      There was even a turbo version, basically a Porsche 911 turbo a generation before Porsche came out with the Porsche 911 turbo.

      And its super clean design inspired a number of European sedans and coupes.

      If I was in the market for a ’60s car I would look really hard for a 2nd generation Corvair turbo coupe.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem with Ten Worst lists is that they always include either the same cars as on your list or as in Dan Neil’s list, deliberately contrarian choices.

      There’s a lot of urban legend and narrative attached to cars that make worst-of lists. Was the Edsel a market failure? Sure. Was it a bad car? No worse than any other late ’50s FoMoCo product.

      What makes a car bad? The ’57 Mopar “Forward Look” cars are classics today but they were rushed into production, had quality and rust problems and ultimately weakened Chrysler.

      Speaking of Chrysler, I’d nominate the downsized ’62 Mopars because they are awkward looking cars that were the result of a bonehead business decision and they didn’t sell well either. Apparently some Chrysler execs driving by a GM facilty in Detroit spotted a smaller Chevy. Thinking that GM was downsizing their larger cars (they weren’t, they were working on the Chevy II compact) a rush downsizing was ordered for Dodge and Plymouth The concept cars that Virgil Exner Sr had done with the styling that ended up on the ’62 Mopars were a bit odd but more or less worked as styled, on the smaller cars the proportions looked very funny.

      http://ateupwithmotor.com/family-cars/146-chrysler-downsizing-disaster-1962.html

      I’m amused at how the Studebaker Avanti makes both 10 Most Beautiful and 10 Ugliest car lists.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      Ralph Nader is always credited with killing the Corvair, but this is another automotive urban legend. What killed the Corvair was the fact that it never sold as well as its conventional, front-engine rwd competitors. The Ford Falcon outsold the Corvair by a healthy margin and the Chevy II was created to beat the Falcon. For a time the Monza coupe was the bright spot in the Corvair line-up, but its market segment was soon taken over by the Ford Mustang.

      According to Richard M. Langworth, before Nader’s book was published GM management had already issued an order that no further development work be done on the Corvair. By this time the second generation Corvair was already on sale. It has been argued that Nader’s book actually caused the Corvair to remain in production longer than it would have otherwise. Even though GM had given up on the Corvair, they did not want to give the impression that this car was being discontinued as a result of Nader’s criticism.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Joe,

        Thanks for the different perspective. It is indeed a complex story. I am sure that several factors contributed to eventual lower sales with the Corvair, but Nader’s influence is still huge among them. He started his vocal campaign against the Corvair in the early 1960′s, long before he consolidated and published his views in “Unsafe at Any Speed”. And that no doubt influenced GM right away. See link, which also shows diagrams of swing-axle behavior:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Corvair

        After the “axel fix” (Gen. II), this is what David E. Davis said about the Corvair in “Car and Driver”:
        “And it is here too, that we have to go on record and say that the Corvair is — in our opinion — the most important new car of the entire crop of ’65 models, and the most beautiful car to appear in this country since before World War II.” “When the pictures of the ’65 Corvair arrived in our offices, the man who opened the envelope actually let out a great shout of delight and amazement on first seeing the car, and in thirty seconds the whole staff was charging around, each wanting to be the first to show somebody else, each wanting the vicarious kick of hearing that characteristic war-whoop from the first-time viewer.” “Our ardor had cooled a little by the time we got to drive the cars — then we went nuts all over again. The new rear suspension, the new softer spring rates in front, the bigger brakes, the addition of some more power, all these factors had us driving around like idiots — zooming around the handling loop dragging with each other, standing on the brakes — until we had to reluctantly turn the car over to some other impatient journalist … The ’65 Corvair is an outstanding car. It doesn’t go fast enough, but we love it.”

        If I remember, the Falcon was beating the Corvair on HP, styles available, fuel mileage, and price…and most car-buying Americans were not savvy enough at that time to appreciate the RWD, and were allowing themselves to be influenced disproportionately by Mr. Nader’s comments. And, yes, there were also 60-70 well-publicized lawsuits pending against GM for Corvair accidents. Taking the time to learn the handling characteristics of RWD was not part of the American psychology, and the longer wheel base of the Corvair did make the “pendulum effect” of the chassis somewhat more exaggerated than that of a VW Beetle. Again, you simply had to learn to drive this car properly to realize its advantages, and people weren’t willing to do that.

        Ironically, GM as a whole, was outselling Ford throughout the 1960′s. Initial sales of Corvair were very good. And GM did have to resources to keep developing and evolving the Corvair to create a more advanced RWD successor, but they had just too many lawsuits and bad Nader publicity: they had enough, and threw in the towel completely by 1968.

        That was a shame. But the landscape is littered with car makers or brands that went under for reasons other than the quality or unique nature of their cars: Studebaker, Packard, and Hudson come to mind from the 1950′s and 1960′s; certainly Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Mercury, Saturn, and Saab in the current era. All of these, including Corvair, should by viewed as tragedies, IMHO.

        ————–

  • avatar
    vanwestcoaster

    I don’t like seeing the MKT on this list either – it’s my secret fantasy car – if I had a wife. And kids. And a suburban house. And worked for a company that provided a sweet car lease allowance….

  • avatar
    Colinpolyps

    Number one on that list has to be the Smart car. There is a true POS if there ever was one. Gas mileage not even close to cars twice as large. No back seat. And priced higher than most small cars. You would have to be stupid to by one.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      +100

      I can’t disagree with anything you said!

      Why, when you can buy a slightly larger car (that is much roomier inside) that is safer, gets better fuel economy, has a better dealer service network, and costs less?

      It really makes no sense. And yet, I still see a few driving around here and there.

      So consider this another vote for the (not)Smart car!

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The Smart car starts at $13,240 and has an EPA combined fuel economy figure of 36 mpg. What is safer, roomier, gets better mileage and is less expensive at the same time? 36 combined mpg is above pretty much any non-hybrid other than the iQ, and that car costs more. Spark can’t match its fuel economy or standard equipment and safety is by Daewoo. Prius C costs much more. Various eco-special compacts don’t achieve the combined fuel economy figure because their city ratings are so much lower. I don’t like Smart cars much at all, but I’d like to know where I can buy a new four seater that does everything better for less than $13K.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        In what way does the Smart Pure come with better standard equipment than the Spark LS?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Automatic transmission being standard in the Smart Pure is a biggy, even if it is a crummy automatic transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      So you are saying someone with a low “iQ” would by a Smart car ;)

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      It’s flawed, but I have a hard time hating a lightweight rear-engined two-seater. It’s small, it’s optimized for city driving, and it has character, something that’s increasingly hard to come by.

  • avatar
    Joss

    On my 3rd Sentra in 20 years. Completely dull, low main & reliable – won’t burn a hole in your pocket. And yeppa I’m a TWAT.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I disagree with the Escalade. It is overpriced for what it is, but it is not a bad car. It is reliable, comfortable and can tow a lot.

    The price may be bad, but the car is fine.

    The same goes for the Camry. It may be boring like TTAC considers all midsize Japanese sedans, but it isn’t bad. It is reliable, comfortable, and efficient. Most owners buy them for this reason and 99% are happy with it.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I probably won’t vote for it, but I’d say the Escalade is overpriced enough that it at least warrants consideration on the list.

      Same reason why I think the Maybach belongs here.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Just looking at this list I don’t think being the worst here is quite that bad, especially when you compare it to years with the Chevy SSR or the Aztec or some of the other monstrosities of the last 20 years.

    The worst cars here aren’t even total maintenance basket cases. Bland, boring and dull very much so, but nothing that bad. While I certainly wouldn’t enjoy any of these cars, I also wouldn’t complain if someone gave me a free one of them either.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Who the hell nominated the full sized vans? If you need a van to haul around the tools of your trade they work very well. Plumbers don’t need or want a high tech/cost Euro-van. Now if you are getting one to paint the Martian Aztec Warrior Mural down the side then, well…that is EVEN MORE AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I think TWAT is a stupid list, IMHO. Let me summarize the absurdity of the nominations by forgetting about cars and making a list of hypothetical objections using a similar consumer good. Say, smart phones.

    -Palm ABC sucks because they built their heritage on PDA’s, won championships with their sleek PDA’s, and I had wet dreams about their PDA’s 10 years ago. Now they’re in the smart phone business, and its a dilution of everything Palm stands for.
    -Toshiba DEF is for boring people who eat vanilla. I want to manually shift my own buttons. Even though I take mine to the shop every second week.
    -HTC GHI sucks because it’s antenna is on the wrong end. I only buy mine with antennas on the rear like God intended, not on the front. And adding antennas to the front and back adds weight, complexity, and shortens battery life.
    -Samsung KLM is a monster phone for people with small members. Who needs a 5 inch screen? They’re just compensation for something.
    -Vertu NOP is blatant bling, and totally distasteful. Bring on the rap stars and housewives of Anchorage.
    -LG QRS isn’t even a smart phone, and it’s tiny. It’s marketed to the Millenials, and costs $30, but who would buy this crap? They can just buy a 1-2 year old used smart phone instead. Loser!
    -Asus TUV is great, and they should bring it back. It’s a 15 year old design, I can wrench it myself, parts are cheap, and it’s easy to mod.
    -Zenith XYZ sucks because they sold crap in the 1970′s and 80′s, and never again will I buy that brand. The imports are better!
    -Apple 123 sucks. One word: maps!

  • avatar
    Colinpolyps

    The only thing the so called ‘Smart” car has going for it is the monoque (sp) construction for saftey but I am sure this adds a considerable amount to the cost. But I sure would not want to be in one without the roll cage were it to be in an accident. I will just let them rot at the Mercedes dealers. We have had them here in Canada a lot longer than the USA and let me tell you there is no such thing as a repeat customer and they are showing up on lots of second line used car lots. And for any fanboys of said vehicle ask a current owner what it costs to have the oil changed.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “But I sure would not want to be in one without the roll cage were it to be in an accident.”

      I have made the argument before, a crash with a real vehicle will not end well for the so called ‘Smart’ owner. Personally, I don’t want someone’s death on my conscience if I make a mistake on the road and they would have survived in a conventional small car model such as Civic etc.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Any driver in vehicle X can kill any driver in vehicle Y, where X and Y are pretty much anything sold in the US in the last 80 years. If you can’t accept that, then perhaps you should go home and crawl under your bed.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I personally survived unscathed a 35MPH crash in which I was hit on the side by an ’90 Accord in a ’96 Escort with no passenger airbag for me. What happens when either of those hits your Smart car at 35mph, do you think you would even survive, let alone emerge unscathed? Yes, s*it happens and you don’t live your live by ‘what ifs’, but heaven forbid you kill someone because they did not drive something safer, you’re still on the hook due to their ignorance… no matter who is actually blame for the accident.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      3.5 quarts of Mobil 1 0W40 and a Wix filter from Napa are brutally expensive, but that’s nothing compared to the 24mm box wrench pressed from the fossilized husks of Incan mummies.

    • 0 avatar
      Austinpowerless

      Look hate all you like, but stick to the facts.
      Expensive oil change?!? It costs less than most cars in that: one, it takes less oil, 3.5 quarts, two, the Mitsubishi engine uses a filter size popular for certain motorcycles and, most important, anyone, and I mean anyone can change the oil themselves–the Smart is the only non-truck I’ve ever owned that I didn’t need a jack to change the oil.
      As you’re Canadian, I assume you’re talking about the previous 450 model without the Sprintex-designed 800 cc engine that had no drain plug; yeah, that’s a pain to pump out. The actual Smart being produced and sold in North America today (451) has an ordinary hex-head metric nut to drain the oil.
      So …. it costs this current owner about 12 bucks.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    IMHO, a TWAT should truly stand out. It is not enough for a car to be simply boring (Camry, Civic) or not keeping ahead of the competition (3 Series). For me that means a car has to be a really dumb idea (CrossTour, ZDX, 5 Series GT) or a good idea with really poor execution (CRZ)

    IOW, a true TWAT should, on first glance, make you wonder what the hell they were thinking and how did this ever make it into production. Or a 5 minute ride in the car should leave you wondering how they managed to take a good concept and screw it up so badly.

  • avatar
    Marko

    I nominate the Bland…err, Land Rover LR2. Reliability so poor you’ll confuse a rusty Yugo carcass with a Lexus LS. Gas mileage so dismal (at least in the 2012) I’m surprised they haven’t made an “OPEC edition” yet. Price so ridiculous you’ll be asking people who paid full price for the last new SAABs to host motivational speeches on “living within your means”. Proportions so awkward they make a Cimarron look like a classic Fleetwood limousine.

    And the best part? I still see suckers driving these around. P.T. Barnum was right, I guess, there’s one born every minute. Must be that green oval on the front – while I’ve never met an LR2 owner in real life, something tells me they won’t settle for a blue oval or the three ovals.


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