By on June 29, 2015

QOTD-Uncoolest_Teenage_Car

I just took my chopped, Carson-top-equipped, heavily-customized 1969 Toyota Corona coupe to a local car show and won a trophy without even washing the thing. All but the most tradition-bound angry old coots think the Kustom Korona is pretty cool, but that got me thinking about the reason I’d spent so many years wanting a cool Corona: my very first car was a 1969 Toyota Corona sedan. A beige Corona sedan, which cost 50 bucks at the corner gas station and had a clattery pushrod four-banger at a time when my peers and I lusted after Detroit muscle cars with tunnel-rammed V8s with Centerline wheels. This was pretty much the uncoolest car possible for a 16-year-old to drive in the East Bay in 1982.

So what’s the 2015 equivalent to that hooptiefied, unidentifiable, squat little Japanese sedan?
82_Toyota_Corona

Naturally, such a car would have to be old enough to be sort of battered and depressing, yet not old enough to be interesting in a nostalgia-inspiring way. These days, I think that would be somewhere in the 1990-2005 range, although vehicles outside that range — say, a salvage-title ex-rental ’08 Chevy Aveo or a 600,000-mile white ’88 Sentra sedan — probably qualify. It can’t be anything with distinctive styling or the slightest hint of sportiness and/or luxury, so we can rule out Saabs, Quad-4-engined GM products, and anything made by any of the Japanese luxury marques. Ideally, it would be something that most teenagers can’t identify at a glance, so that the long-suffering owner must answer the sneering “What is this POS?” question over and over and over. And, of course, it must be a car that you can buy for next to nothing.

QOTD-Uncoolest_Teenage_Car2

My vote is for the joyless, generic Daewoo Lanos. Any teenager driving a Lanos now is going to be buried beneath a gigantic heap of Korean-GM uncoolness. What’s your choice?


This Korean-market Lanos ad just makes the car even more uncool, by reminding Lanos owners exactly how little their cars resemble a black panther stalking the streets of Seoul.

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189 Comments on “QOTD: What’s the Uncoolest Choice For a 2015 Teenager’s First Vehicle?...”


  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    Aztec
    Sebring
    older Taurus
    non-SRT Neon
    Any remaining Geos

    • 0 avatar
      Mschmal

      Agreed. Don’t forget any Saturn, any Olds.
      Or giving a boy a really girly car like an old CRV or RAV4.

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        Don’t forget the Sky, though. I totally would have been happy with one as a teen.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        There’s a minor subculture of people who slam old CRV’s, you know, just give them the full modded Honda treatment. It’s cooler than it sounds.

        I’ve also got a coworker, a younger guy, whose daily driver is an old CRV, when he’s not riding one of his three sportbikes. He doesn’t seem ashamed of it.

      • 0 avatar
        e30gator

        I would think a Sky or later model Aura or Astra would be a pretty nice ride for a high school kid. Definitely beats what I drove in high school: a primer-colored ’86 Mercury Cougar and ratty ’79 Pontiac Grand Prix with a boat anchor 301 V8.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        If I handed a teenager a 2003 Aurora with the L47 V8, I doubt they would complain (as long as the engine had been rebuilt in the ensuing 12 years). They’re competent large cars that are surprisingly aging gracefully especially in darker colors like the purple and black they came in. But maybe that’s just me graduating HS in 2002 liking them immensely…

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve met many people with Sebrings and Azteks and not a one hated their car.

      Teenagers are happy just not to be on the bus.

      • 0 avatar
        Acubra

        This!
        People are spoilt these days.
        In my time (and country I was born in) anything self-propelled with more than 3 wheels was luxury and immediate envy from peers.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Walter White has rescued the Aztek from the bottom of the uncoolness pit.

      • 0 avatar
        Conslaw

        The exterior of the Aztek was only really ugly when it had the cladding in the first year. After that, the interior was it’s worst feature – very cheap plastics on a not-cheap car. On the other hand, The Astek had interior room that other CUVs of its era would kill for, and it got better MPG than most. If GM would have freshened the interior and given it either the 3.5 “high feature” or the 3.5 “high value” V-6 plus the 6-speed transmission, they could have sold a lot more. I suspect that for Aztek-driving teens today, if you are cool, the car is cool; if you aren’t, the car isn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      I know some teens that would be just fine in a Neon ACR.

    • 0 avatar

      It was 1990 and my oldest got his license. I looked at a wide variety of cars and finally settled on a lightly-used ’86 Taurus MT-5. For the uninitiated, this was a pretty rare base model with a 2.3 L 4cyl and five-speed manual. It wasn’t flawless, but overall a decent car which lasted through two boys learning to drive and then flogging it to the best of their ability. I think it lived until ’97, when one of them blew it up.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert

      Kooky kids these days, with their “Night on Disco Mountain” and “Boogie Oogie Oogie” that the girls shake their buns to.

      And as a “cool dad” I ought to know.

      I’m starting the process of walking the second teenager (now 14) through the car universe. While none of your choices are on the desirables list, the things that really invoke hatred are clearly “mom mobiles”, overly droopy 90’s imports, most SUV’s (Explorer and Hummer in particular) and anything 1990’s GM related.

      He’d take a 1969 Corona, a CVCC a first gen Prelude, or an Element in a heart beat though.

    • 0 avatar
      Erikstrawn

      Anything with a drop-top is cool, so the Sky is out. Any Honda has a high reputation with most consumers, so CRVs are out, even if they’re girly. I thought about minivans, but anyone who can haul 10 friends in their vehicle is cool. Neon ACR = SRT in my mind, so I probably should have said “non-performance Neon”.

      Just to say, my son’s first car is a ’99 CVPI. He’s 6’7″, so not much else was going to cut it. It’s cool simply because of the Blues Brothers effect, even if kids nowadays don’t get the reference. Every part is $20 and every job takes half an hour. Panther love, baby!

  • avatar

    my experience has been to not involve teens in automotive choices. it can only lead to arguments and higher insurance premiums based on their preferences. best advice, buy them a car without their involvement, hand them keys, and they are happy enough with new found freedom.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I wonder if there is a way TTAC could convince Buickman to write a weekly parenting advice column.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      This is true. If it isn’t, make them mooch rides and take the bus until it is.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      So agree. It’s totally DeMuro to whine about your high school car.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      My parents did this with me, and I plan on doing the same. They didn’t get a third car until I was almost 18 as borrowing the minivan worked (mostly) during high school.

      Safety and reasonable insurance are overriding priorities by a mile. I plan on finding whatever the equivalent of a Fleet-only Taurus.

    • 0 avatar
      Kosher Polack

      +1! You know what’s cool? Making the best out of a bad situation. A 1992 GMC Jimmy (S-10) isn’t cool sitting still, but it is torquey and rear-wheel-drive :) Kid’s gotta learn how to make their own coolness in this world.

      For my real answer: a Nissan Versa with a CVT, incapable of delivering enough torque to the ground to get even the slightest squeak from its miniscule tires. It does, however, have a big back seat.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      This is not terrible advice, although I have yet to experience it. My oldest is 10 and when I was a teenager my parents afforded me a good degree of input before making the final decision for me. I wanted an American V8 RWD vehicle with visions of 25-year old Barracudas or slightly newer pony cars or maybe a sport truck. They took me to look at a brand-new 1994 or 95 Geo Metro 3cyl and only walked away when I was more interested in the 454 Suburban parked against the fence at the back of the lot. Wound up with a 1988 Ramcharger because it was big, in good repair with a full history, and made my mom feel safer. It ticked all the boxes and I still own it (need to re-register as an antique to press back into service though).

      My daughter will probably get my current daily. Assuming we’re still in Virginia and the laws don’t change it will 6+ years from now (have to be 16.5 or older to drive w/o chaperone) and my Elantra GT will be ~7 years old and should be in good enough shape for a teenager.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        It’s great advice if the kid isn’t paying for the car. I paid for my first car, so I had input. My daughter won’t be paying for her first car, so she’ll have no input.

        • 0 avatar
          Mattias

          Good advice… But paying for somebody else’s car teaches them bad work ethic

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Buying a kid that is doing things right in school and life doesn’t teach bad work ethic. It teaches them that there are rewards and benefits based on their own hard work and good behavior.

            I did not turn out better because I paid for my own car. My sister didn’t pay for her first car and she’ll be just as successful, or more successful, than I am. Hell, she’ll get her masters degree before me and she’s 9 years younger.

          • 0 avatar
            1998redwagon

            bball40dtw, i’m with you. if i wanted a car i had to buy it b/c we did not have the cash on hand. i also knew i would be footing the insurance and gas. i saved and when it came time to buy dad surpirsed me and put in half – which left me some cash for maintenance – a smart thing.

            a petulant, expectant child is both long before age 16. paying for a car, or part of a car, or not paying for a car does not change that.

            my oldest now drives the 98redwagon he came home from the hospital in over 16 years ago and he is happy with it. did not cost him a dime. but we had the resources and the timing was right to purchase new for me.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick 2012

            I agree bball. The college academic scholarships I earned far exceeded the small value of the third car my parents bought for my primary use. If I had to buy a car with my own money, I probably wouldn’t have and made do – the car primarily made their lives easier by not having to worry about my transportation. If I did get one and picked up extra jobs (I had one already) and did worse in school and earned fewer scholarships, the overall outcome would have been far worse.

            It was always understood the car was their asset and therefore subject to their rules and control at all times, providing a further incentive to not lose access to the thing. That wouldn’t have been the case with ‘my’ car.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Hopefully my kid doesn’t do what I did and join the Army instead of getting a bit more than half of school paid for through scholarships. Luckily, I have all my limbs and Uncle Sam paid for most of my education expenses.

            My other suggestion for her is never, ever, turn down an athletic scholarship to any school. It doesn’t matter where it is or how small the school. If you can play another 4 years of basketball in Bumblef*ck, ND, you better do it.

          • 0 avatar
            Robert

            There’s lots of different ways to parent and several approaches to this situation. It depends on the parents and the kid which one to apply. I understand and appreciate why someone would choose to not provide a car, or only let them borrow the parents car, or not pick one out. I understand making the kid pay for the car, or the insurance, or the gas money, or some combo of them all. Totally reasonable.

            But to disempower them from the selection process is to abandon the coachable moments they provide….at least for the kids that will get it. There are many where it isn’t worth it. There are some where it is. For me, and mine, it’s been bonding, it’s been educational, and it’s worked out fine that they’ve been involved.

            They have a job, it’s called school. They do good at that job, they get rewarded. They don’t, then they don’t. I’ve had son #1’s mustang sit in the driveway for three months once. Surprisingly it wasn’t until he then also lost his cell phone that things really turned around. Educational moment for me on incentives.

            My point is, there is no one path here and I totally dispute that paying for a car immediately means no work ethic.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          What was that car, was it your 5000?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It was! It was also a terrible plan and teachable moment. After that, I drove various American depreciationmobiles. Dodge Ram, Chrysler Concorde, Ford Ranger, Buick Century, Olds Acheiva.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Funny my 100 was relatively good to me, it was the 5.0 Panther variant depreciationmobile which became my teachable moment (well of the cars I had to buy with my own coin).

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      My uncle gave me one choice: you can pick the color.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        If I was getting my daughter a car today, I’d let my daughter pick the color of her leased, manual transmission Focus SE. But it’s limited to whatever the dealer has in stock. Right now, the dealer has two. So it’s either gray or black.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Any color as long as it’s black.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The gray one is more expensive. So, black.

            The two year Focus lease is so stupid cheap around here that I would have a hard time buying something used for a high schooler.

            Focus SE sedan:

            $140 due at signing
            $140/month
            24 months
            21000 miles

            DONE

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Your daughter needs to hurry up and grow.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’m kind of worried about what the world is going to be like in 13-14 years. Maybe the DoD will have good deals on MRAPs.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I share your concern and just yesterday had a lengthy conversation to that effect. The future is not bright based on some of the information I gathered.

  • avatar
    Jesse

    Suzuki Esteem wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      I've got a Jaaaaag

      Came here to make sure the Esteem was represented

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Bought one used several years ago as a work beater. I gave it to a friend of the family who still drives the thing (ironically, it some respects it is a more reliable car than my newer 2004 Lancer Sportback). We bought it from a doctor in Charleston. It had 40k on the odometer, box stock…5 speed, manual crank windows. Granted, I wasn’t a teen when I bought it (more like in my late 30s), but it was cheap to buy and stupid-reliable. But I could see it being a turn-off for a 16 year old…

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Gahd dahmeet you beat me to mine, and I was in a hurry so I posted before reading all the comments.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    Kia Sephia

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Daewoo anything, GM A-body, Chrysler M-body, Ford Panther, any Hyundai/Kia that is more than 5 years old.

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      You may want to revised that to more than 10 years – http://goo.gl/c55hj4

      That’s if the kid does his/her research and tries to be coy…

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      Hey! I drove a Panther platform car in high school and would have killed for a 360-powered M-Body. It didn’t help that a friend’s sheriff dad had one of the last Diplomats as his squad car.

      I had all sorts of fun playing by myself and not getting invited anywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No make the Panther a CVPI and it is cool, maybe not Mustang cool but much much cooler than the hand me down Toyota or Honda sedan, particularly when it still has the spot lights. Ask my Daughter, lots of guys think her’s is cool.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Panthers became popular at my school once I showed everyone that you could stand a keg up in the trunk and fill it with ice. Bonus points if it has self leveling suspension to dissuade any negative attention.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Cobalt

  • avatar

    In my neck of the woods, we have a train nearby to get to NYC, so most teens when they want to go out, only have to get as far as the station…and it is a small Village.

    Typical car is the oldest one in the family driveway, so you have beater-ish family cars, not “junior’s” car. In front of the school, there are a few old Jetta, Accord and such that might be the kids’ car, but again, it is the oldest family car….

    This of course reflects just this small part of the world. I’ve made sure my kid is safe by teaching her to drive a stick, knowing few if any of her friends can. I at least know who is driving, and in a safe car. Oh, and there has been the full skidpad clinic in snowy weather in big parking lots….

    Most teens don’t care, just so there is gas in the tank. Family joke is that dad gets 4 mpg….

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    And now, The Lame List – or, What’s Weak This Week. Brought to you by America’s heavy metal community.

    Smart Fortwo
    Pontiac Aztek
    1996 Ford Taurus
    Minivans
    Geo Metro

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I would be willing to bet the smart’s uncoolness is at least slightly contextual – there are probably a few urban areas where it’d be a bigger faux pas to roll up in a lifted Dodge with the so clever “Dodge the father, Ram the daughter” bumper sticker, and Calvin relieving his bladder on whatever draws the driver’s ire.

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      An “Almost Live” reference in 2015. Wow.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      A ’96 Taurus? Nah, I’d go for an Escort Wagon from the same time period. You get an embarrassing drivetrain, cheaper design and parts, and the same terrible Melted Oval styling from that era Taurus.

      Either that or a Saturn with the paint peeling off the plastic body panels.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Well, the car does need to *run*.

        And nobody I know has had decent luck with the old ‘scorts.

        But, yes, apart from that.

        • 0 avatar
          salguod

          I bought my daughter a 98 Escort sedan with a 5 speed in metallic baby blue. It’s been pretty reliable for about 3.5 years and 50K miles. I put new rear springs in the right away, which I knew going in, a bad coil took out the PCM and it currently needs a speed sensor. Nothing else has gone wrong with it.

          I had a 93 that I put 160K on from 96 to 2006 and it was just as reliable. These are great cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      +1 for the Almost Live! reference. However it is brought by you by Seattle’s Heavy Metal community.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    That Cutlass Ciera wagon in the lead photo is so close to my teenage car that it’s not even funny. Mine was the sedan in sky blue. Passed down generously from a grandparent, so I loved it and the new freedom it provided, but it was seriously uncool. The only thing resembling a compliment was when someone scanned the blue velour back seat and hollered “hey, this backseat is big enough, can I borrow it for my next date? HA HA HA!!”

    In honor of that car, I submit today’s equivalent:

    2005 Buick Century

    Honorable Mention:

    2003 Toyota Camry LE in Toyota’s horrible geriatric light blue.

    Bonus points for low-speed parking lot impact damage on the corners.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I would have killed for a Cutlass Ciera wagon vs the embarrassing and dangerous Shadow I was bequeathed (wink wink safety inspections among other things). I would drive that Ciera wagon (or Buick Century equivalent) today.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        It certainly had its charms. Rode on marshmallows and handled like a car twice its modest size. Wallow, roll, wallow, roll. Three speed auto, but no matter, the 3.3 V6 had plenty of torque to shove through the wide ratios. Buried the needle deep on the 105 mph speedometer on some vacant Great Basin two-lane and it was terrifying because it no longer felt like it was in contact with the pavement.

        And who couldn’t love GM’s old round key = door, square key = ignition?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “And who couldn’t love GM’s old round key = door, square key = ignition”

          Memories. Young me looking at the two keys: “Wtf why are there two?”

  • avatar
    John R

    Ford Aspire

    Thinking back to my high school days I think I would rather walk and bum rides from friends than push that mess.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Any orphan brand or near orphan brand such as Suzuki, Daewoo, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Plymouth, Mercury, and Mitsubishi. These brands have plummeted in value and can be bought at relatively cheap prices. Add a few aging Chrysler minivans. I have to agree with Buickman’s comments above don’t give the teenager a choice unless you have lots of money to spend on a vehicle and its insurance for your teen (if the teen has a trust fund). A teenager just needs safe and reliable transportation. It is better to give a teenager an older family vehicle that is still safe and reliable and buy yourself a newer vehicle. At least you know the history of an older well maintained family vehicle.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    A rusty short-wheelbase, single sliding door Chevy Venture/Pontiac Montana/Olds Silhouette or K-based ChryCo minivan.

    SWB minivans look horrible (especially the GM ones).

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      An old minivan would probably be the car that makes you unexpectedly cool in college.

      Lots of seats mean lots of friends can come along when you go somewhere fun!

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        My thoughts exactly. SWB for tight parking, big interior volume for constant moves, no anxiety over inevitable body damage. Maybe even mechanically sound enough to make trips home & back.

        What’s not to like?

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        In a clapped-out one that reeks of bottles, diapers, and baby powder, maybe not.

        What about a neglected Dodge Ram Cargo Van with a 3-speed, the 3.9L V6, and 2 seats? These are just wretched vehicles and you’ll look like you drove off the set of a Law and Order Special Victims Unit.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          I don’t think we ran with similar college crowds. Mine was not averse to using cleaning products to save a lot of money.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick 2012

            The question prompt was “uncool”, not what could be pressed into service. The college crowd I ran with would have gladly driven anything that occasionally moved under its own power.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I’ve always considered serviceable to be synonymous with cool. That’s why I’m not a car guy.

  • avatar

    2007 (B16) Sentra. I still get mad every time I see one. I needs to get 55 combined mpg to justify those looks.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Love that Ciera wagon! Miss ’80s greenhouses.

  • avatar
    Exfordtech

    Plymouth Reliant or Dodge Aries if any still exist. Perhaps in coupe version for the full penalty box rear seat.

  • avatar
    fatalexception04

    A 1990 mazda mpv perhaps? A family member offered theirs to me for free, but I thought it was too uncool to drive. Now many many years later I realize the value of a free car. But as a teen I wanted a Mustang. Even if it had a hole in the floor board.

    Also how about a mid to late 80s lebaron convertible

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      My brother drove an ’89 through highschool, college, grad school, and still has it. A base model with the rar 2.6L 4 cylinder/ As an avid mountain biker, it went to all the collegiate cycling meets and soon became a legend. Holds 5 people and 5 bikes, and is actually pretty at home on fire roads.

      Likewise I drove a ’98 MPV ‘Allsport 4×4’ through most of college and onto an internship. It was the go-to vehicle any time me and a bunch of other interns went anywhere, out to dinner, camping out at the Michigan dunes, etc. I know from personal experience that it can haul 5 people, 5 30 racks of beer, a canoe, and camping gear all at once. or 7 people and camping gear, if everyone really squeezes in.

      Contrary to the commonly held notion, minivans/vans are actually tremendously popular. Most non-car nerd highschoolers are more interested in going somewhere and doing something than drooling over cars. The more people can tag along for the ride, the better.

  • avatar
    Demon Something

    My suggestion, a 1988 Jaguar XJ6. It will have so few things functioning and get worse mileage than the Lanos, when you aren’t bumming rides from your friends and parents still after the latest electrical meltdown. Everyone will take so much pity on you.

    I nearly ended up with one from my grandmother, but thankfully dodged that bullet.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Ford Aerostar. Though it may end up being ironically cool.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Aerostars must be cool by now.

    • 0 avatar
      STS_Endeavour

      I’ve secretly wanted an Aerostar hippie-van for 20 years.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      An Aerostar could be a lot of fun, if the driver is competent and has decent tires. Load it up with friends and spend half the time sideways during winter driving. My buddy’s dad had one when we were in high school. He liked to drive it aggressively so it was always enjoyable to be a passenger.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The only Aerostar at my high school was a pink/silver with splooge graphic shorty that a buddy’s girlfriend drove. I recall the headlamp switch shorted out at a party causing the lights to stay on. I was pretty wasted so I just started yanking fuses til they went off. Most probably didn’t end up back in the right spots. Oh well.

        The cool minivans to have in high school were extended 1st gen Astros. If you jammed them into first gear, you could alternately punch the gas and brake to make them hop the front wheels pretty good. Plus, they were happy to do burnouts where Aerostars (and Windstars and Caravans) really needed a lot of coaxing with uhm, tire softening lubricants.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Windbags don’t do burnouts. Their subframes fall off instead.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Somewhere, I have pictures to prove otherwise. But yes, by now all the subframes have fallen out and rear beam axles snapped in half.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’ve seen a Villager (Nautica Edition) do a burnout, so I guess a Windstar could…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Pfft Villager Nautica got more power under there. Weren’t they all VQ-equipped?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Villager was VG powered. 151 HP in the first generation.

            After year one, you could get the Windstar with a 200 HP 3.8L V6. Powah!

            The Villager was a better product though.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m not as impressed with the figures on the VG. That old VG was OLD by the time they put it in the Villager.

            I think the revised Villager and Quest look current today, even though they’re at least 13 by now.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            How much power do you really want in your 90s minivan?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            At least what the VQ30 was producing at the time, which is 190hp.

            I mean REALLY I want 220 or 225.

  • avatar
    b787

    Lanos is totally awesome! It is dirt cheap (at least here in Europe) and more reliable than typical French or German hatch of the same vintage.
    It isn’t that bad to drive either – its suspension was engineered by Porsche! Also don’t forget it was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro.
    Asian reliability, German driving dynamics and Italian design, what is not to love?

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      “more reliable than typical French or German hatch of the same vintage.”

      Talk about damning with faint praise…

      Here in the US, Daewoos were sold (under their own brand) for such a short amount of time (tiny dealer network, all sorts of “Most Unreliable Car” “awards”) that parts availability is awful.

      Daewoos are still sold here (as various GM penalty-boxes), but GM did not pick up service or parts responsibility (nor did they choose to resell) the Lanos.

  • avatar

    Obligatory…
    ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD-308vaiUE )

  • avatar
    Luke42

    My dad had a 1980s Cutlas Cruiser like the one in the photo when I was a kid. It had the V6 with that distinctive exhaust note.

    I always thought it was a cool car. The rumble seat in the back was awesome, and I liked the wire wheels, which looked classy at the time.

    It was also the GM car that convinced him to buy a 1991 Honda Accord, and he never looked back!

    I wish there were a modern equivalent. My Sienna is the closest thing, and probably beats it by every possible objective measure. Plus, my Sienna has a really stiff anti-sway bar to make it feel all “sporty”, relatively speaking.

    I’ve been talking a lot about my father’s Oldsmobile lately. Was 1986 when they were running that campaign? LOL

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    It can’t be too old or it will be considered retro chic or vintage. The same with anything known to be terminally terrible, complicated or just plain maddening mechanically as this would just be visible boasting of your wrenching skills.

    It can’t be too obscure for the same reason.

    Or from a dead brand. Except for Pontiac, Olds, Mercury and Plymouth as there is little to discern them from their still existing corporate brethren.

    All of the above add some sort of cache.

    It can’t be an SUV/CUV or hatch.

    My vote is for a Mitsubishi Gallant.

  • avatar
    ixim

    My neighbor just supercheapleased a Leaf for his 18 year old who charges it at school. Too cool for school?

  • avatar

    To wit, the closest thing to Murilee’s suggestion I’ve sold this far to a kid for a first car was a traded-in 2002 Nubria SE w/61k miles, crank rear windows, and a stick. The horn pad and accompanying airbag fell off the steering wheel during the test drive (loose retaining nut), but we fixed it and he loves the damn thing.

    Uncool is a matter of opinion and expectations as well, thus making the ‘uncoolest’ car I’ve sold thus far a 2012 Ford Fiesta SE sedan to a 20 year-old snotball brat what wanted to impress his girlfriend with Infinitis, BMWs, and Merzes he couldn’t ever actually afford. Working part-time as a lifeguard with $0 down and already a handful of small charge-offs, I managed to get him approved at a local credit union on a first-time buyer/referral program for ~$240/mo for 75mo, well within his self-proclaimed budget.

    Keep in mind he had no vehicle at all and was bumming rides off his enabler mother, who also didn’t understand why if he qualified for an $11,000 why he couldn’t qualify for a $19,000 330 coupe.

    Car had EIGHT THOUSAND MILES, full factory warranty remaining, and he was the saddest kid getting a new car I’ve ever seen.

    You figure that one out.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Sometimes I just don’t understand people. Someone needs to give that kid a slap. Women don’t care about what you drive.

    • 0 avatar
      honda_lawn_art

      Damn, that kid’s got problems. And his car ain’t one.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      75 months damm , he will either learn to love it or begin his long long trip down the auto road of being underwater and negative equity , my bet would be on the latter.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        Yeah, you gotta love being “married” to a “starter” car like that kid with the Fiesta. At least he didn’t get it new, so he won’t be underwater quite as long as he would be if he had to take it in the shorts like the first owner of that car surely did. (I wonder what the story behind that is? A repo would be my guess for something so new and low miles showing up in inventory.)

        I submit that Mr. Nubria didn’t get an uncool car. Anybody that enthusiastic about a car will PROVIDE coolness through sheer enthusiasm.

    • 0 avatar

      I considered the Nubira, but the funny name makes it SLIGHTLY less uncool.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      True story: In early 2013 a car is posted on our company Sharepoint site, a 2002 Saturn SL2 with 20K for $3,000. Having a very beat MY98 I was looking to get rid of, I pounce on it to find out my email was three seconds later than a middle aged lady and the car fades from my memory. Last April I am approached by the original seller of the Saturn (Gretchen) because the lady who bought it for her daughter was looking to sell and Gretchen remembered my interest and volunteered to approach me. Suffice to say I made the 3K deal with the car now at 30692 otc. When I met the daughter to do the title I asked why would you sell a *free* car from your parents which was near *new*? She just *had to have* a Subaru Crosstrek and the Subbie dealer would not give them 3K on trade. Her in my mind: Sure I’m 23 with no real job but sign me up for 25K debt please on top of the 50K stolen from me by the education cartel please (have having dated enough of these girls in the past three years, I see a cross section of them making the same move). I worked the business I understand why this occurred but a new four cylinder 12yo car with 30K for 3,000 bennie bux -when gas was still much higher- is a fracking deal. You might not be able to profit on it in your lineup but its something you buy, use, and flip if need be. Oh and aside from AWD which I don’t want anyway, the SL2 is superior to the Crosstrek in several metrics.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        People are idiots, plain and simple. Nothing will change until the appalling state of financial literacy improves.

      • 0 avatar

        Polymer panels, baby! No rust!

        In a similar vein, I sometimes foreshadow more of a gross in the trade than the unit I’m taking it in on and base deals on that. Wise? I dunno. Works more often than not.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Polymer panels, junkyard abundance, cheaper tires (to buy), 25/35 on ethanol tainted gas, low tech interior with crank windows BUT power locks, working A/C, and traction control.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I have seen like one example of a loaded Saturn SL sedan. It had the alloys, sunroof, spoiler, and leather.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The gen 2 sold a higher trim SC2/SL2 which came with hose. This one has none of those options.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I was thinking it was a gen1, as it had the directional alloys on it. It was a pearl white.

            http://imganuncios.mitula.net/1995_saturn_sl_sedan_sl2_2530055421804033023.jpg

            Like this. I never bothered paying attention to the later ones with the roundy lamps.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I’m going to go with a poverty-spec beat-up J-Body. I remember getting a late-90’s Cavalier from a discount rent-a-car near the Seattle airport (was the only place not charging crazy-money to drivers under 25) and being amazed at the crap-tastic exterior styling and interior trim. (I just had to crack up at the “I Have No Money!” worn plastic bristles around the shifter instead of a boot or sliding trim.)

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    D-platform Sable/Montego.

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    I think now especially you can gain a little street cred for how little you spent on a car, so while a sub $1,000 Korean compact won’t raise it’s own coolness factor, it might raise your teen’s just that little bit. Plus the fact that they’re not the safest choice I think should make them a little cool.

    And while coolness is relative, you can probably embarrass the largest cross section of young people with a 1998 or so Lumina.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I agree . None of my nieces or nephews wanted to get a drivers license at 16,most metro teens have 0 interest in cars these days and they have no prejudices against beaters

  • avatar
    CowDriver

    Non-turbo Volvo wagon. It’s safe. It’s hard to hoon in it. When they go off to college, the wagon can haul all their stuff. They last forever.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    A 1995 Buick Skylark. ;)

    Though it did have one advantage over the T-Bird: it was a little better in snow…

  • avatar
    e30gator

    When I was a teenager, I was happy to have any car that ran. Beat the hell out of bumming rides and taking the cheese wagon (school bus). But if there has to be a “nerdy” car, I would say any CUV that isn’t a Land Rover or BMW. Escorts, Buick Certurys, old Cavaliers, and Neons probably qualify too. Oh, and Dodge Calibers–yuck!

    On a side note, it’s interesting how older cars that were once considered “uncool” like Pacers or Pintos are now conversation magnets. Case in point: my old Volvo 240. Though I always liked them, it was the antithesis of anything sporty when I was growing up. Now, in 2015 I get many looks and compliments at the gas station or fast food drive-throughs from kids who weren’t even born yet when the last of them rolled off the assembly line in 1993.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    At least around here, any non-luxury domestic, especially one that’s old enough to be a crapcan but not old enough to be ironic or a classic. Despite about 15 years of mostly better cars, the kids have just internalized further the ’90s wisdom that the only acceptable cars are imports.

    So probably the uncoolest possible choice would be an N-body Malibu.

  • avatar
    tomnardone206

    Nothing could be as uncool to a teenager as a Suzuki X90. It has very poor performance and it has no back seat. It cannot carry your friends. Boys would hate the feminine styling and girls will hat its ugly, droopy rear. So, if your child is doing poorly in school, don’t make them walk, buy them a Suzuki X90.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Gen 1 Honda Insight, 5MT, no A/C.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Um…maybe Hyundai Excel (assuming one is still on the road running), or Pontiac LeMans (of the Korean Kadett variety).

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    I’d want my kid to be safe….so any older Subaru would do…preferably in a wagon form and in the color green or gold.

  • avatar
    Mattias

    1) Toyota, especially the Prius is probably the uncoolest brand to any teen these days.

    2) Definitely the Koreans (my ex had a 2001 Accent when I was in high school and she hated it)

    3) Old Domestic (except Pony cars and most pickups/SUVS). Despite the fact that I remember Cavaliers/Pontiacs being the main car near high school around 03

    4) All minivans

    5) Anything beater that belongs in the ghetto despite its excellent reliability

    Disclaimer I had a 2000 Saab 9-3 in high schoo, wasn’t the most uncool car, somebody I knows 97 Lumina was the laughing stock

  • avatar
    otter

    A hooptie old minivan, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      My thoughts exactly. Even though as a middle-aged dad I love minivans, I can’t think of anything more uncool for a teenager. One of my teenage son’s friends drives a 2005 Odyssey very similar to mine, and even I cringe when I see him drive up. It just seems so wrong to see a 16 year old male piloting that thing. On the plus side, it’s probably the safest thing you could give a teenager to drive. It’s not like it’s going to encourage aggressive spirited driving on any level.

      • 0 avatar
        cartunez

        Teens aren’t like we were. My son loved our 2013 Caravan and said he wanted it when he got older. He said it could carry all his friends and their junk and they could watch TV and sleep in it if they wanted.

      • 0 avatar
        Balto

        Maybe not driving, but they certainly lend themselves to other aggressive, spirited activities. There’s a lot of human-sized space back there.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I’m 32 and did most of my high school driving behind the wheel of my mom’s Venture, which became legendary as “Red Leader” during various acts of idiocy, petty vandalism, and general hell-raising.

      I hated it at first but soon came to appreciate its charms.

      @Sloomis – anything with an engine encouraged aggressive driving. The safety aspect, however, was non-existent with the GM U-bodies. IIHS offset crash testing revealed that the crash structure consisted of cheetos, and the dummy’s STEEL leg snapped off.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    A minivan, but not just any one. A 2002-ish Dodge Grand Caravan fleet spec. White paint, grey cladding, cloth seats, fake alloys, no tint, crank windows, a 2.4L I4 and best of all a THREE SPEED AUTOMATIC.

    A buddy once had one as a work car. The thing topped out at 60 with 3 adults in it.

  • avatar
    Southern Perspective

    “So what’s the 2015 equivalent to that hooptiefied, unidentifiable, squat little Japanese sedan?”

    Nissan Versa.

  • avatar
    Balto

    Here’s My $.02:

    As a recent-ish high school grad (5 years or so), I somewhat remember what made a car cool or not in high school, and I would say after fast, sporty, etc, the biggest factor is ability to tote one’s friends around, because the only thing cooler than driving is driving with other people in the car. That being said, I would say something fairly unrecognizable, small, and 2-door: I present to you, the first-gen Ford Festiva, preferably riding on steelies with one broken hubcap and mismatched front fenders. It’s tiny size would be embarrassing as heck, and I distinctly remember people avoiding rides from the guy with the 2 door taurus at my school because it was a pain to squeeze into the back. Now multiply that by 5 discomforts, and you get the rear seat of a Festiva. Good luck getting your friends to ride with you, let alone a girl. Also, it may be a ford, but no teenager today will know what the heck it is, and it definitely isn’t nostalgic/ironic.

    To all those who suggest that Mini vans and station wagons are embarrassing: Consider the amount of reclining space created with no seats (perfect for driving into secluded star-lit fields with a ladyfriend). I know I loved the 2001 Honda Odessy I drove for a little while, I would have friends ask if they could borrow it for that very purpose. Not cool necessarily, but useful in many ways.

    A last aside, I desperately want a Century/Ciera wagon, so they must have rounded the corner from dumb to cool, or maybe I’m just weird. I’m currently making do with a ’95 taurus wagon but it’s just not the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      I had a Ciera wagon just like the one pictured. A ’96, purchased in ’99 with maybe 30,000 miles. Always liked big boxy dorky station wagons myself. I enjoyed owning it and it had it’s positives, but from a mechanical and build quality standpoint it was a pretty crappy car.

      • 0 avatar
        Balto

        Interesting, I heard that the 90-95 centuries were pretty cockroach grade appliances, and there are a surprising number of them left on the streets in Baltimore, albeit mostly beater status at this point. Might just be the sheer number of them made. I think I read somewhere that the back was designed so that a 4×8 sheet of plywood could lay flat in the back with the door shut, which sounds like a dream car to me.

  • avatar
    Wraith

    – Uninteresting all around: first-gen Aveo, Versa, or Yaris sedan

    – Better, but likely to be unappreciated by today’s high schoolers: Kia Rondo, previous-gen Elantra, second-gen Insight, Scion xA

    – Least interesting “new” SUV award: Rental special Chevrolet Captiva

  • avatar
    Pebble

    How about a Isuzu VehiCross?

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    Uncoolest choice:

    – something that is breakdown prone
    – something that required $20 a day to run because of its gas mileage
    – something that is not forgiving to a new driver and horrible to drive in rain, thus accident-prone

    pick your favorite SUV (1st gen Grand Cherokee or any Range Rover top my list) or RWD Detroit mobile (Corvette and old Firebirds top my list)

    Yeah, I’d rather have a teenage kid driving an uncool safe vehicle that being dead…

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I have no idea what kids are into these days, but I suppose it would still strongly depend on social class.

    I grew up in an apparently relatively poor neighborhood where the richest high school kid’s car was a new Civic DX hatchback, with a ski/snowboard roof rack for extra street cred. Having any car was cool, except maybe one that smelled bad. There was a baby blue beater Chevette and a baby blue beater Tempo among my classmates, and I’m sure most of the students would be content with such vehicles, especially those who didn’t have anything to drive.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Suzuki Esteem Wagon.

    It tries to bring goodness and praise to the owner right in the title, it is thus an abject fail and seriously uncool.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    My friend has done the same thing with all three of his kids. When they approach 16, they go on a trip out West and start looking for a clean 2WD, short bed F150, Chevy/GMC, or Ram truck. First one got a blue 2000 F150, which is still going strong at the neighbor’s house after the kid bought a 2009 Mustang. The second one was a 2004(?) Silverado, bad paint, but it had the 5.3 V8 and it was a very reliable truck until the kid fell asleep and whacked a tree with it. The tree won, but the kid walked away with only a sore face from the air bag. The last one was a 10k mile 2010 Ram bought in Las Vegas a month ago from the widow of an old man who was the original owner. It’s in almost new condition inside and out, and my friend’s daughter loves it. He got it for $14000, and it’s loaded up with all the toys.

  • avatar
    415s30

    PT Cruisers are terrible, I saw a gold one today and almost threw up


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