MSN: Ten Most Underrated Top Ten Lists. I Mean, Cars for Sale. Allegedly.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Yoga teacher and ForbesAutos refugee Matthew De Paula has brought his zen insights and love of top ten lists to MSN Autos. Given the popularity of the genre (which we now usurp in the name of truth, justice and the American way), Bill Gates’ Boyz must be happy enough with the result—although Matt makes a few choices that will surely give pistonheads pause. We report, you deride. Well, we do too, but I’m sure you catch my drift.

1. Ford Fusion — I’m not saying De Paula is a Detroit apologist, but if ever a qualifier seemed po-faced, well, here it is: “The Ford Fusion doesn’t just hold its own against competitors, it beats them in some ways: The least expensive 4-cylinder Fusion is as fuel efficient on the highway (34 mpg) as the pricier Toyota Camry hybrid.” And that’s it: the only way mentioned. Oh wait. “The updated 2010 Fusion uses higher-quality materials, has better fit and finish, and a quieter ride than the model it replaces.” Don’t you just love it when relative excellence means relative to itself? Me neither.

2. Hyundai Azera — “When people talk about cars with friends and family, Hyundai usually doesn’t get the respect it deserves for its appealing and affordable vehicles.” Citation? And while you’re at it, please let us know (below) if this description is meant ironically, in a post-modern sort of way: “If it had a personality, it would be mild-mannered, soft-spoken and quick to please.”

3. Kia Rondo — “Kia gets even less respect than Hyundai, but its vehicles have improved dramatically in recent years. One in particular that stands out as underrated is the Rondo.” Stands out as underrated? My irony meter is pegged. Anyway, the Rio’s inclusion indicates delusion.

4. Mazda Mazda5 — “Popular opinion suggests that few things bruise an ego like driving a minivan. Maybe that’s why the excellent Mazda5, which is smaller and sleeker than a typical minivan but has sliding rear doors like one, is largely overlooked.” I dunno about that. Minivan drivers tend to be OK with driving a minivan. In fact, they like them so much they buy them, instead of something like, say, a Mazda Mazda5. It’s a nice hatch, but I reckon Matt’s made a great landing at the wrong airport here.

5. Mitsubishi Outlander — “It has a lot to offer, including sharp looks, available 3-row seating (albeit only with the less fuel-efficient V6 engine) and better-than-average reliability, according to Consumer Reports.” Woo-hoo! “The base 4-cylinder engine gets decent gas mileage (20 mpg city/25 mpg highway), but it’s paired with a continuously variable transmission, which auto enthusiasts love to hate.” Bastards!

6. Nissan Versa — Another rift, this time between the previously lauded CR and MSN. “Consumer Reports pans the Nissan Versa as not particularly agile or fuel efficient for its size. But after driving several versions, our editors found the car extremely appealing, particularly in hatchback form. . . The Versa embodies what this list is all about: no-nonsense performance and comfort at a good price.” So that’s what this list is all about.

7. Pontiac G8 — (Of course.) Underrated how? By whom? I’ve read nothing but good things about the Thunder from Down Under; you know, aside from [easily dismissed by some] fact that the entire brand has just hit the dustbin of history. Oh, and a heads-up from Michael Karesh at TrueDelta that there may be a few quality issues here and there. And there, and there.

8. Scion tC — “The cultlike following it once enjoyed has waned as the finicky young drivers that Scion targets have shifted their short attention spans elsewhere.” Stupid kids! “It’s their loss, because the tC is still a smashing value with its spunky 4-cylinder engine, surprisingly roomy interior and high-end features like a dual-pane sliding glass roof.” Spunky? Someone’s been reading too much Lieberman.

9. Volvo C30 — “With the MINI Cooper enjoying consistent success, the Volvo C30’s tepid sales remain a mystery . . . Perhaps its relative anonymity comes from Volvo’s reputation as a staid builder of safe family cars, or its relatively unimpressive fuel economy (19 mpg city/28 mpg highway).” Or its price. Or something else, as well. In fact, like many of the vehicles on this list, maybe it’s not so much underrated as unappealing.

10. Volkswagen Rabbit — Pay no attention to five-cylinder engine’s efficiency, ’cause “it sure has lots of torque, which means it will put a smile on your face every time you punch the accelerator at a green light.” Just make sure you don’t punch the service rep down at your VW dealer.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • AlexD AlexD on Jul 29, 2009

    Mazda 5 is very popular in Canada (so is the Benz B200). Being tall, I really like the form factor. I can easily sit behind the front seat after adjusting it to my size. You can get them in manual. You see a lot of younger folks in them - no stigma really, not really comparable to a mini-van in any case. The downside: exterior detailing is dying for a refresh - a lot of gaps between panels, and it really needs a Speed Edition to make the engine interesting. And really, was the Hitler line even relevant or necessary?

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Jul 30, 2009

    Perhaps the Mazda 5 (Oops, the "Mazda Mazda5") would sell better in America if they were to advertise it as they do in France, with a series of cartoons running in the daily papers, like this one. Get a load of those sound effects: Iiiiiiiiii! Gnnnn! Gloup! Dong!

  • Carson D I hadn't seen a second-generation Courier with a Mazda engine before. I've seen a few with Ford engines. There was one at the Cox Driving Range that they used to collect golf balls. Golf would definitely be more entertaining to watch if they used moving targets.
  • Tassos ooops, Tim, you missed this one. Would make a lovely "Tim's used car of the day". It satisfies all the prerequisites except the wildly overpriced bit.
  • Tassos ASTON AND BOND BY A MILE. While Aston Martin sells a TINY FRACTION of what even the rarified Ferrari and Lambo sell, it is unbelievably well known. Credit the idiotic, but hugely successful and sometimes entertaining James Bond Movies.
  • Tassos 1988? Too young for me. It's all yours, Tim... BAHAHAHAHA!
  • Gray Awesome. Love these. But, if I had the money for a Fox-body, there is a clean '84 GT 350 here for little more than half the price.