Ask The Best And Brightest: What Car Is Worse Than Its Predecessor?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
ask the best and brightest what car is worse than its predecessor

There’s an interesting (if troubling) perception out there that there is no longer such thing as “bad cars.” Certainly compared to what was available just ten years ago, the market has improved its offerings, making most new cars consistently better than the vehicles they replaced. But the corollary to this rule, that each new car is always better than the one that it replaced, does not actually hold up to scrutiny, at least according to Consumer Reports.

In fact, in its most recent auto issue, CR gave a number of vehicles worse scores than their predecessors earned, indicating that progress is not a given in the world of cars. And no wonder: automakers aren’t simply trying to wow consumers, but must constantly balance increased performance, content and features with lower costs. The VW Jetta is a poster child for the kind of decontenting that we’re beginning to see creep into the market, as Volkswagen is emphasizing the Jetta’s price in its marketing materials. But are there other, less intentional examples of automotive “value inflation”? What car is/was the biggest “step down” from its predecessor?

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  • Mark MacInnis Mark MacInnis on Mar 17, 2011

    The Mach 5 is now a tarted up poseur-mobile. I thought the Mach 4 was the shizzle, personally. Go, Speed Racer!

  • Acubra Acubra on Mar 17, 2011

    While one can argue infinitely about appearance et al, there are other things that prevent me from generally preferring newer generations of cars to previous ones. - New safety and emissions regulations. They give us inferior engine performance, worse reliablilty and less user-friendliness. Here come unswitchable chimes for belts, keys, TPMS, rain-sensors....., raised dashbords and hood lines, thicker A-pillars. - Ever-increasing complexity and proliferation of electronic systems, often appearing for nor better reason than have them mentioned in a sales brochure. - No real speccing choice - everything is stuffed in packages and to get something you really need/want, you have to pay extra for stuff you do not need / hate to have.

    • See 1 previous
    • JustPassinThru JustPassinThru on Mar 17, 2011

      +1, Acubra. I prefer the elegance of simplicity; the economy of light weight, over a rolling bordello that most cars have become. Sadly, safety standards and equipment don't allow for that sort of car anymore. One of my favorite cars of the past was a Jeep YJ example had the front clip off a CJ; no carpet; no backseat. Light; rugged, economical with a four. Now, I realize the market for that kind of vehicle is somewhat limited...but when I look at the current Wranglers, with all that plastic-fantastic trimming and padding...I just want to retch. How can anyone climb into such a rig with muddy jeans, glop on the boots? Today's cars are miles ahead in durability and drivability...for the most part. But in a concept-to-execution context, they lack. Someone pointed out how much less of a purpose rig was the Jeep Liberty over the Cherokee. Likewise the Honda Civic; and although I'd never buy one, the Taurus also. Technological excellence - to compliance with government edicts - is astounding. In terms of character and individual needs, and inspired design, not so much.

  • William Penney William Penney on Mar 17, 2011

    This may be an oldie but the VW Type 2 got worse as it went on, it got bigger, slower, thirstier, and it may've featured more kiten ware but it was still being pushed by a small engine. Shoot, the 80's VW vans were almost as inefficient as Hummers!

  • Ajla Ajla on Mar 17, 2011
    Not as good as the previous model: Cadillac SRX and Matrix/Corolla XRS _________________ Not the kind of car that fits what my preconceptions of (what) the nameplate/brand should be: Taurus SHO and Audi S4