Category: Ten Worst Autos

By on November 13, 2006

x07ct_up006222.jpgThe polls are closed. We’ve tallied and rank-ordered the votes. You, TTAC’s ever faithful and always vocal readers, have selected the Ten Worst Automobiles Today (TWAT) from all the vehicles for sale in the US during calendar year 2006. Some of the votes were pretty close (only 35 votes separated the 10th place winner from the first runner-up at number 11), while others ran away from the pack from the very beginning. Here they are, starting with 10th place and counting down to number one, the winners of the 2006 TTAC Ten Worst Automobiles Today awards:

10.  Chevrolet Aveo  Chevy likes to tout the Aveo as the “lowest-priced [new] car in America." In spite of their warning “content may vary,” it’s easy to see how they achieved that goal. From the hollow-sounding doors, bargain-basement plastics and skinny tires to the coarse-sounding engine that strains when faced with even the slightest incline, it exudes “cheap” from every ounce of its being. The Aveo also refutes the smart shopper’s mantra “you get what you pay for.” In the case of this captive Korean import, you pay little and get even less.  – FW

9.  Lincoln Mark LT  Lincoln’s badge engineered Ford F-150 is an unholy degradation of the world-famous Lincoln Mark nomenclature. While Brother Navigator sets the luxo-truck standard for wikkid beat boxes, wood-trimmed tillers, ventilated seats and power running boards, the LT went the adhesive-backed bling route, hit the showers and called it a day. From the richly textured but rock-hard interior plastics to the exterior’s mega-dose of bottom-dollar spizzarkle, the Mark LT is a rolling testament to Dearborn’s short-term, suicidal reliance on bean-counted engineering.  – SM

8.  Saab 9-7x  The Saab 9-7X is a Chevy Trailblazer with the ignition key between the seats. Moreover, the Saab 9-7X is a Chevy Trailblazer with the ignition key between the seats. I can't stand the fact that the Saab 9-7X is nothing more than a Chevy Trailblazer with the ignition key between the seats. And when you stop and think about it, the Saab 9-7X is little more than a Chevy Trailblazer with the ignition key between the seats. Who did GM think they were fooling when they released the Saab 9-7X, which is nothing more than a Chevy Trailblazer with the ignition key between the seats? You know what I hate most about the Saab 9-7X? It’s a Chevy Trailblazer with the ignition key between the seats.  – JL

7.  Subaru B9 Tribeca  Subaru execs may have been stony-faced when TTAC described the front end of their new SUV as a “flying vagina," but at least they didn’t turn to stone. Given the unrelenting hideousness of the Tribeca’s design– from its genital front end to its fallopian dash to its alien eyes rear end — they should count themselves lucky. The fact that the B9 is also slow, thirsty and cramped proves that repulsiveness can be more than skin deep. Why Subaru felt the need to enter the SUV segment when it offers such a wide range of superb four wheel-drive sedans and wagons is anybody’s guess. Clearly, they shouldn’t have bothered. – RF

6.  Chevrolet Monte Carlo  The Chevrolet Monte Carlo is a wrong wheel-drive engineering joke from the late ‘80’s. But it's main claim to shame is its merciless butchering of Chevy's once decadent “personal luxury” lines.  In one fell swoop, the baroque fenders went from tacky-posh to adolescently unrefined. From the front, the Asian-inspired headlights assault the muscle car values once associated with this famous coupe. At the rear, sacrilege takes the form of taillights that look like a two-way bookshelf speaker that met the business end of a heat gun. Factor in various grades of interior panel gapping, Wal-Mart spec’d polymers and parts bin swapping with zero integration and you’re done.  – SM

5.  Hummer H2  The Hummer H2 is a rebodied Yukotahoburbelade that’s so damn heavy the IRS will give you a tax break because you just bought a piece of commercial farm equipment. It looks like a school bus from behind and a morbidly obese Cherokee from every other angle. It doesn't handle. Braking distances are straight from 1956. It gets less than 10mpg and takes longer than 10 seconds to reach 60. The chances that its owners will take it off-road are slimmer than the odds of Nicole Ritchie eating. Even the name sucks (literally): the H2 is a sad simulacrum of the first Gulf War winning off-road champ HUMVEE. While the H2 doesn’t come with hair plugs, it tells the world that the man behind the wheel has a small penis, or brain, or both.  – JL

4.  Chrysler Aspen  Chrysler is trying to flog this monstrosity as a blingmobile– which is like trying to sell cocaine as a sleep aid. Chrysler's barely badge-engineered Dodge Durango is ugly. It’s thirsty. It’s slow. It’s badly built. It’s cramped. It’s expensive. Although the Aspen was an inexpensive cheap way for the Dark Lords of DCX to expand the Chrysler brand portfolio, it’s a perfect example of the old adage “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.” – RF

3.  Buick Rendezvous  Based on a 1997 minivan and introduced in 2002, the Rendezvous is a platform partner to the Chevrolet Venture, Pontiac Montana and Oldsmobile Silhouette, and a fraternal twin to the gruesome Pontiac Aztek. It’s outlasted them all, creaking along with nothing more than a few trim changes and corporate-wide mechanical updates. The ungainly Rendezvous’ ride, handling and performance are on par with… a 10-year-old minivan. In fact, the Rendezvous embodies everything that’s brought GM to the brink: penny pinching, brand dilution and chronic neglect. It’s set to be replaced by the Enclave, and not a moment too soon. – FW

2.  Jeep Compass  Props to DCX for trying to introduce an economical model for fans of the storied Jeep brand. A pox on their house for building the Compass. In this horror story, Dr. Frankenstein (played by the mustache-twirling Doktor Z) grafts round headlights and a seven-slot grill onto the face of a mediocre high-riding sedan (a.k.a. the Dodge Caliber). He throws the switch and an ugly, gangly, underpowered, mud-aversive half-breed staggers into the light, turning all who see it– or God forbid buy it– into grotesque, bobble-headed morons. The Compass stomps all over Jeep’s reputation as America’s purveyor of authentic off-road vehicles. It’s time to get out your pitchforks.  – WCM

1.  GM Minivans  Talk about retro-design. Rather than simply cop styling cues from bygone classics, GM built the Chevrolet Uplander, Saturn Relay, Buick Terraza and Pontiac SV6 using 25-year-old engineering. (Though not literally true, it’s true enough.) In terms of dreadful driving dynamics, contemptible aesthetics and torturous ergonomics, no other vehicles sold in America can compete with these ridiculously-named “Crossover Sport Vans.” For their antique engineering, woeful looks, cancerous effect on not one but four GM brands and their abject inability to hold a candle to their foreign-owned competition, GM’s minivans earn The Truth About Cars’ accolade as the worst vehicles currently for sale in America.  – WCM

By on October 27, 2006

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

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

Buick Rendezvous

Cadillac Escalade

Chevrolet Aveo

Chevrolet Cobalt / Pontiac G5 / Saturn Ion

Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Chrysler Aspen

Chysler Crossfire

Ford Ranger / Mazda B-series

GM Minivans

Hummer H2

Infiniti QX56

Jaguar X-type

Jeep Commander

Jeep Compass

Lincoln Mark LT

Lincoln Navigator

Saab 9-7x

Subaru B9 Tribeca

Subaru Baja 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By on October 22, 2006

x07ct_up0011222.jpgLater today, I’ll compose an email to The Truth About Cars’ (TTAC) coterie of writers asking them to select the final candidates for our Ten Worst Automobiles Today (TWAT) awards. Thanks to Mr. Williams’ organizational OCD, our best and brightest will have a most Excel-ent spreadsheet of all the vehicles you’ve nominated, with your reasons for doing so. Frank will collate their choices. By mid-week, we should have both the final 20 and the software we need to throw it to you for a democratic vote. Again, thank you for your help and support. Before the deal goes down, I want to highlight the importance of this award to all of us.

The purchase of a new or used vehicle is the average consumer’s second largest financial expenditure, after their house. While most of us here are pistonheads who’ve elevated this acquisition to something approaching a religious commitment, it’s important to remember that most motorists share neither our passion nor knowledge. To select their next vehicle, they rely on you, their friendly neighborhood automotive alpha, and, increasingly, the new media. JD Power recently revealed that US car buyers spend some six hours on the net researching their next car purchase. That’s more time than I spent to choosing my investment portfolio. (Both shares.)

TTAC has a large influence in this electronic sphere. Google “Ford Fusion SEL.” We’re number one. Google “Chevrolet Aveo.” We’re number seven. The vast majority of our reviews lie within the top 20 Google listings. Yes, we’re still small potatoes compared to the e-tuber mountains called and But we are still the largest “take no prisoners” automotive review site on the web. Those of you who believe that these e-monoliths equal our commitment to tell the “truth” about cars, consider their reviews of a couple of our TWATs.

Take the Jeep Compass [please], a heavy favorite for a TWAT. Edmunds’ review acknowledges the vehicle's brand betrayal, dismisses it as irrelevant, and then tries to damn the model: “We're not so sure the brand's first crossover delivers what young urbanites are looking for.” And Darwinism is unproven. “The interior of our test car was also plagued with a few fit and finish issues like misaligned trim, manufacturing flash and bunched carpeting.” Plagued with a few? “The result is an interior that screams ‘rental car,’ which is a shame, because the seats are unquestionably comfortable and the driving position is excellent.”

Bottom line? “The Jeep, like the Caliber, is also generally satisfying to drive, quite affordable and sometimes fun. Comfortable, too. But upscale? Fashionable? Refined? Ah, not so much.” Obviously and in relation to their other critiques, Edmunds is not so much enamored with the Compass. Yes, well, why doesn’t reviewer Scott Oldham simply come our and say the Compass blows? Two guesses and the first one can’t have the word “advertising” in it. Hey, at least we got Edmunds to admit that the manufacturer loaned them the vehicle. hasn’t reviewed the Compass. But they have cast their electronic eyes upon the Uplander, the Chevrolet minivan our reviewer William C. Montgomery called “a half-assed has-been that never was and never shoulda been.” Kbb doesn’t quite see it that way. Their unnamed sage proclaims the interior “one of the nicest you’ll find in any minivan” and “the Uplander is well-suited to the needs of small families.” Fair enough– if you’re a masochist who harbors a near-murderous hatred for your family.

As you’d expect, the situation is even worse in the print media. I just received AutoWeek’s “07 Ultimate Car, Truck and Sport/UTE Buyers Guide,” bundled with my weekly issue. Jeep Compass? “While not ‘Trail Rated,’ the Compass offers many Jeep-like qualities to fend off incursions from the growing number of crossovers.” So that’s alright then. After perusing all the “Our Opinion” summaries of the vehicles named, I found myself searching (in vain) for the words “Special Advertising Section.” And yes, Jeep has a full-page ad within Crain Communications' “ultimate” guide (albeit touting the Wrangler).

Clearly, there’s still a need for an automotive website that’s willing to tell it like it is for the public good and, let’s face it, our mutual amusement. While this article (and our award) are predicated on the theory that by thy willingness to slag-off a loser thy shall be known, it’s important to remember that TTAC is just as quick to identify and praise automotive quality wherever we find it. Despite being banned by BWM from their press vehicles and launch events, we’re happy to declare that we LOVE the new 335i.

In short, our readers are our first, last and only priority. We’re proud to be able to serve you with the plain, unvarnished truth about cars. The TWAT awards symbolize and extend that “brand positioning.” Again, thank you for the opportunity to provide this service. 

Since this article was written, we've begun voting on the '06 TWAT awards.

Please click HERE to cast your vote on the final 10. You will be returned to the TTAC home page.

By on October 20, 2006

suvfront22.jpgAccording to Automotive News, jurors for the 2007 North American Car of the Year and North American Truck of the Year awards are currently considering some 26 vehicles. Yeah, well, 130 vehicles are competing for the 2006 TTAC Ten Worst Automobiles Today (TWAT) awards. And that includes badge-engineered clones which were nominated jointly. And you/we ain’t done yet. You’ve got ‘til 5:00pm EST to add your nomination to the list. Meanwhile, guess what? There's overlap!

Yup, there’s overlap between our list of TWAT nominees and the list of nominees for the North American Car/Truck of the Year (NACATOY) awards. In fact, over half of their nominees are also yours. Here’s the list of their candidates; the names in boldface are also nominees for a TWAT.

Acura MDX
Acura RDX
Audi Q7

Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban
Chrysler Sebring
Dodge Caliber
Dodge Nitro

Ford Edge
GMC Acadia
Honda CR-V
Honda Fit
Hyundai Santa Fe

Infiniti G35
Jaguar XK/XKR
Jeep Wrangler

Lexus LS 460
Mazda CX-7
Mercedes S class
Nissan Altima
Nissan Versa
Saturn Aura

Saturn Vue Green Line
Toyota Camry
Toyota FJ Cruiser

Finding so much commonality between two seemingly dissimilar groups of vehicles is somewhat surprising (and more than slightly amusing), but at least their list doesn’t include the number one TWAT nominee: the Jeep Compass. I reckon even co-opted journalists experience a blinding flash of reality from time to time.

So what criteria did NACATOY use to select their nominees? Hell if I know. I have no idea what voting process they’ll use to make their final choices either. (Perhaps one of their members would care to enlighten us below.)

We know that NACATOY nominees were selected by a hand-picked panel of automotive “experts” who are wined and dined regularly by the manufacturers, go on all-expenses-paid junkets and get box fresh, manufacturer-supplied examples of all of the cars delivered straight to their door, gassed-up and ready to go.

We also know that TWAT nominees were chosen by a group of passionate and very vocal pistonheads who spend their own hard-earned money for their transportation, know what they like (or dislike) and don’t have to worry about pissing off car makers, advertising agencies or media outlet beancounters. And, um, probably haven’t driven, nor will ever drive (mostly out of choice), a fifth of the nominated vehicles.

TTAC’s list of 10 most nominated TWATs seems to have reached an equilibrium point. Keeping up with the number of nominations and the vehicles nominated has been a challenge and privilege (in a perverse sort of way). However, it’ll soon be time to put those numbers away and begin the second round of the process.

In a week or so, the TTAC selection committee will convene to carefully consider the merits, or lack thereof, of each candidate. We’ll narrow the list to 20 finalists using our keen insight and every analytical tool available to us. Or maybe we’ll just put all of their names in a fishbowl and draw 20. Whatever method we use, we guarantee you’ll have 20 really good (bad) winners (losers) to select best (worst) of.  Then let the chips fall where they may!

Since this article was written, we've begun voting on the '06 TWAT awards.

Please click HERE to cast your vote on the final 10. You will be returned to the TTAC home page.

By on October 19, 2006

j2006_3092222.jpgOnce again, thank you for helping TTAC with our Ten Worst Automobiles Today (TWAT) award. We’ve been most gratified by the number and quality of the nominations. The nomination process will judder to a halt tomorrow at 5pm EST. TTAC’s staff (that’s me) will then begin the arduous process (which may or may not involve the use of dart boards, adult beverages and TV psychics) of paring a list of almost 200 losermobiles down to 20 really bad finalists. We’ll open the voting sometime next week, and announce the winner the following week. Meanwhile, here’s another quick recap.

Here are the top ten most nominated TWATs as of this morning:

Jeep Compass
Subaru B9 Tribeca
GM Minivans (joint)
Toyota Camry
Jeep Commander
Mercedes R-Class
Chevrolet Impala
Chrysler Aspen
Chevrolet Aveo
Chevrolet Monte Carlo

RF reports that he’s amazed at the quality of the writing from our nominators; he’s offered assignments to five of you so far. (If you’re interested in writing for us, don’t wait for an invitation.) We’re all extremely pleased by the fact that so many long time readers have finally broken radio silence to participate in this effort. We urge you to continue making your voice heard on other issues. By now, we’re a solid community of pistonheads. You’re all welcome.

And you’re all nuts. Again, what’s with the Camry? Finding the most popular car sold in America associated with this group was like finding your Aunt Matilda in the holding cell after a whorehouse raid, guilt or innocence not withstanding. In fact, this topic generated the bulk of yesterday’s discussion. Here are a few representative comments:

The Camry and RL may be boring, soulless appliances, but they are not bad cars. Nor are they particularly ugly. Just forgettable. – Zarba

I’d vote for the Camry because it gets bigger and uglier every generation and it is to cars what Novocain is to gums. – artsy5347

A TWAT is a vehicle that fails to live up to its purpose. If its purpose is to be the most comfortable, reliable, and vanilla way to get from point A to B, then the Camry is no TWAT. – Jeff in Canada

I tested the LE model and found land-yacht handling thresholds (unacceptable for Soccer Moms, don’t even let pistonheads get in the equation), misaligned interior panels, RATTLES, high asking price (24k and it’s a 4-banger?) and one butt ugly design.  – Sajeev Mehta

The Camry delivers the boring vehicle that people who buy them want. It’s not a bad car, just a case of giving people what they want. – Claude Dickson

The new one looks eye-poppingly awful from the outside; really really bad; worse than ‘96 Taurus bad. – maxo

The Camry is a soulless drone of a car but it is absolutely flawless piece of machinery made to accomplish what it was designed for: A to B anonymous dependable transportation. You can hardly qualify a best seller that consistently fulfill that niche, forbidding any competition (except the Accord which should then be nominated as well!) a bad car or a TWAT.  – rashakor

The reason I feel the Camry is deserving of the nomination is the styling. They have taken what was supposed to be a boring family sedan and attempted to add style to the exterior… It’s like putting a tuxedo on a pig… It looks stupid and makes the pig mad. – BimmerHead

Looks like it’s a hung jury on whether soullessness and bad styling make a car worthy of a TWAT. We would be less than honest if we didn’t admit right from the start that the selection committee will have to consider the effect of a Camry TWAT on this website’s credibility. On one hand, it would certainly fit TTAC’s brand positioning as the nutter in the internet attic. On the other hand, anyone predisposed against our, um, style, would use it as another excuse to dismiss TTAC with the old “anyone with a keyboard can run a website” argument.

Suffice it to say, our first obligation is to the truth. It will probably come down to a single question: would we, the jury, rather gnaw off our hands than wrap them around a Camry’s steering wheel for any length of time? Or something along those lines.

In any case, keep those nominations coming. Remember: the more justifications for a given nomination, the more likely it is to make the top 20. So let’s get those TWATs out in the open for everyone to see.

Since this article was written, we've begun voting on the '06 TWAT awards.

Please click HERE to cast your vote on the final 10. You will be returned to the TTAC home page.

By on October 18, 2006

toyota2222.jpgThank you for helping The Truth About Cars select the Ten Worst Automobiles Today: The TWAT Awards. We’ve been most gratified by your enthusiastic participation in this important exercise in automotive criticism. Although RF has been busy deleting over-zealous nominations and flame-broiled retaliations, the vast majority of you have made strong and eloquent arguments for a whole mess of incredibly weak products. The nomination process will continue for the remainder of this week. To help avoid carpel scroll syndrome, please continue to submit your nominations underneath this post. Meanwhile, a quick summary of the action so far…

As of last night, our gentle readers have nominated 115 separate vehicles for a TWAT. (Yes, anal retentive car hack that I am, I’m making a spreadsheet of all your nominations, including your main objections to each vehicle.) The early results have been a bit surprising, in the sense of a Hellfire missile streaking off a Predator out of the clear blue sky. While the selection process is not a one-man, one vote process (I refer you to the Rules of Engagement in yesterday’s post), check out fourth place in our top ten most nominated list.

Jeep Compass
Subaru B9 Tribeca
GM Minivans (joint)
Toyota Camry
Chevy Impala
Chevy Monte Carlo
Chrysler Sebring
Chevy Aveo
Chrysler Aspen
Hummer H2

Who’d a thunk it: a completely unrepresentative sample of pistonheads considers one of the most popular cars in America a TWAT. The most common complaints surround the Camry’s faux-Chris Bangle style and its utter lack of dynamic character. Clearly, our esteemed [unpaid] contributors haven’t pulled any punches in their assessments. Here are a few of the many comments made so far:

Jeep Compass:

This insult to a legendary brand’s image has got to be one of the dumbest and poorly executed vehicles out there, and will eventually prove to be Jeep’s biggest mistake. – Hutton

Saturn Ion:

I actually felt sorry for the earnest Saturn sales associate riding with me who had to sell this clunker against a Civic, Corolla or Focus – geeber

Chrysler Crossfire:

Looks like they took a 1967 AMC Marlin and put it in the hot-wash for too long, then into the dryer for too long, badge-engineered a Chrysler grill, slapped ‘er on there and shazam, y’all. Lookidad! Wow, UGLY. – Glenn

Monte Carlo:

That thing could handle like a lotus and wail like a ferrari and it still wouldn’t be able to get past its looks. Let’s not forget, though, that it in fact handles like a wheelbarrow and wails like my lawnmower. – Mitch Yelverton

Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky:

It’s like that beautiful supermodel who has to ruin it by opening her mouth, at which time you realize she has a less than room temperature IQ – nweaver

Saab 9-2x:

In a drunken stupor, Saab said “We need an entry-level model capable of attracting young buyers to Saab’s sporting nature, but we don’t want to actually develop anything.” That’s verbatim, or so I’ve heard. – JoeO

Toyota Camry:

In every form it has taken, it has progressively destroyed the soul of anyone who dares sit behind its rudder. – murphysamber

Cadillac Escalade:

Oversized for those with undersized original equipment – alanp

Jeep Compass:

Why do they need the Compass and the Patriot in the lineup? Wasn’t one road-bound Jeep vehicle enough of a disgrace? – gotsmart

GM Minivans:

It looks like the designers could not figure out if they wanted to design a minivan or a SUV. So they took the worst parts of both and stuck them together. – gcmustanglx

Ford Focus:

Once a proud contender for the most recalls on record award, now a forgotten out-of-date bargain basement sedan/hatch. – KurtB

Acura RL:

This vehicle has the uncanny ability to suck the soul right out of my body in the same way as a trip to Costco. – Austin Green

Ford Freestar:

One can see the lack of refinement just with one glance. The metal parts and whatnots underneath the car were jutting out at weird, oblique angles. And even though I’ve only witnessed the Ford Freestar as a passenger and not as a driver (thank you jesus) I can say with confidence that I’d rather ride in a ‘92 Toyota Camry. – Nam Duong

International MXT:

It’ll get you looked at! Just like if you stuffed a potato in your Speedo. – Ty Webb

Mitsubishi Raider:

Didn’t care for the new Dakota, so the Raider is like salt-dipped burning shards of glass in my eyes. Ugly. – lambo

Onward and downward! There are a lot of truly, madly, deeply horrendous cars out there just waiting for someone to recognize them, or add fuel to their pyre. Let us know what they are and why they deserve a TTAC TWAT. Remember: a nominee must have been offered for sale (if not actually sold) as a new car sometime between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2006.

Since this article was written, we've begun voting on the '06 TWAT awards.

Please click HERE to cast your vote on the final 10. You will be returned to the TTAC home page.

By on October 17, 2006

pontiac_aztek_2001_01_b22.jpgLast month, I wrote an editorial suggesting that Car Of The Year awards were little more than an advertiser-pleasing circle jerk. After sharing my dismay, several diligent readers pointed out that none of the buff books or fraternal orders of automotive junketeers dared name their “worst car of the year.” RF immediately decided to create TTAC’s first annual Ten Worst Automobiles Today (a.k.a. the TWAT awards). The TTAC team felt strongly that you, our esteemed visitors, should play an important role in this infamous endeavor. We’re asking you to nominate vehicles that deserve a TWAT. Please read the rules and instructions before posting your selection or selections.

 2006 TTAC Ten Worst Automobiles Today (TWAT) Award

Rules of Engagement

1.  A nominee must be a vehicle that was on sale as a new vehicle in the US market between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2006; regardless of price, builder, country of origin, production/sales numbers, domestic content or thinly-veiled threats from manufacturers.

2.  Nominations may be deleted without prior warning or explanation for any of the following reasons: insufficient justification, excessively verbose or boring prose, foul language, patent absurdity or flame throwing.

3.  NO PERSONAL ATTACKS ALLOWED Flaming or trolling is strictly verboten. Offending comments will be deleted. Persistent violators will be permanently banned from this site. No joke. 

4.  Poorly badge-engineered twins (or triplets) can be nominated for a joint TWAT if they all suck equally. If the twins or triplets qualify, they will enter the final selection and judging process as a single vehicle.

5.  TTAC staff will select 20 finalists from the nominees, taking into consideration the number of nominations received, how well the nominations were justified, our personal opinions of the vehicles in question and how much we’ve had to smoke or drink beforehand.

6.  Readers will vote (via an electronic survey) on the 20 final nominees to determine the top ten TWATs in America. Bribes and multiple votes are allowed and encouraged, as long as you don’t use a nominating software bot. (Anyone who crashes our server will be banned from the site for all time.) Although it’s highly unlikely, the selection committee reserves the right to throw out any winner and substitute another vehicle if we don’t like what you choose, or for reasons relating to personal payback.

7.  We will present the 20 finalists for e-voting as soon as we can find the appropriate software, and think the time is right. Less specifically, the "winners" will be announced on this site sometime before the annual deluge of awards bestowed on some decidedly mediocre machines by the usual suspects. Winning manufacturers will not be notified of their nomination or award, and we will not create a goofy looking statuette to dishonor the winning TWATs.

Although we have no doubt that our highly informed and deeply passionate readers are fully capable of identifying  automobiles that should have never seen the light of day, machines that often sit on dealer lots with ten foot pole marks littering their sides, here are some factors that may help your decision making process.

1.)  An aesthetic affront. It would certainly help if the nominated vehicle is at least slightly ugly.

2.)  An overall lack of quality in design and workmanship. Cheap materials, poor ergonomics and/or lousy fit and finish all increase a vehicle’s chances of victory.

3.)  Technological insufficiency. An underpowered, harsh and/or noisy engine, outdated transmission, inferior brakes or fear-of-God handling will add to the vehicle’s overall undesirability.

4.)  Despicable parentage. Your choice of automotive abomination could be the result of poorly executed badge engineering– slapping a new grille and a few body and trim modifications on an already mediocre vehicle and trying to pass it off as an exciting new model. Or it could be a vehicle that’s just a dumb idea, a market segment misfit or an answer to a question no one asked (or ever will).

Of course, an ideal TWAT would be a synergistic combination of all of these factors. Those are the miserable motors we’re looking for. If someone has already nominated your favorite, please don’t add a “me too” comment– unless you provide additonal reasons why the vehicle is a really good (bad?) candidate for a TWAT. 

OK, go on now: tell the truth about cars. Thank you, in advance, for helping TTAC launch its TWAT.

Since this article was written, we've begun voting on the '06 TWAT awards.

Please click HERE to cast your vote on the final 10. You will be returned to the TTAC home page.

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  • Contributing Writers

  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic

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