By on September 22, 2016

2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Image: i-MiEV

Right up there with I wish they’d make a manual diesel wagon in brown, it’s among the most played-out tropes on the Internet.

There just aren’t any bad cars anymore.

This is generally followed by some recollection of a Saturn of the early ’90s that had a faulty engine, or perhaps some Brezhnev-era Soviet masterpiece. Blah blah blah nostalgia blah blah A Christmas Story blah blah. Enough.

There are plenty of bad cars out there, but the majority of people haven’t driven enough of them to know it. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I have. And I’m here to break the bad news to you: some cars suck. Maybe even the one in your very driveway.

Regrettably, with the advent of the Internet came Usenet, which eventually evolved into what we now know as the “forum” (many of which are owned/operated by TTAC’s parent company, VerticalScope). Would you believe there’s a whole online community of Dodge Dart owners? How about the Journey? My God, there’s even a forum for Mitsubishi i-MiEV owners — both of them.

Now, you’d think these forums would exist for people who were foolish enough to purchase any of these cars to commiserate with each other over their poor decision-making abilities. But no! Most of the discussion on these and other forums like them revolves around how great and misunderstood their cars really are. This creates a disturbing amount of groupthink at best, and a disturbing amount of confirmation bias at worst. Nobody wants to think that they made a bad decision, especially about something as important as a car purchase, so owners seek information that confirms they made not only a good decision, but a great one.

Thanks to the gravy-train riding, ethics-free autowriters of the world, he’ll get it. The vast majority of auto reviews that can be found online are nothing more than desperate pleas to be invited to the next event, and even the “bad” reviews give the offending vehicles a 7/10 ranking and a favorable comparison to the outgoing model. No matter what car you’re considering buying or have already bought, you can find a review online from an “expert” that tells you that you made a good decision.

Then there’s the car buying process, itself. Since the average car purchaser only visits 1.6-1.8 dealerships before buying a car, the odds of a buyer testing something other what they bought are about 1 in 3. To all of you car buying experts here at TTAC, I know that sounds bizarre, but it’s the truth. Most people don’t care to shop for cars, so they do as little of it as they possibly can. And with the average age of cars on American roads creeping past 11 years and growing, of course any new car feels better than the decade-old claptrap the consumer has been driving to date.

Why, this Mirage is so much smoother than my 2003 Pontiac Sunfire!

Finally, there’s the matter of perspective. Just because all cars made in 2016 are better than most cars made in 1996, that doesn’t mean that they’re all “good.” Good should be a relative term that’s in comparison to the other cars that are available in the marketplace today. That’s like saying all computers are good, or all cell phones are good. Well, in comparison to the Motorola TeleTac I had in 1998, yes, all cell phones are good — the batteries last more than two hours, the calls are less than $1.50 a minute, and I don’t need an additional backpack to carry one. (Cue a commenter talking about how he’d rather have an analog phone than any of these newfangled touchscreen digital devils).

All cars today might be more reliable, faster, and more spacious than the first car you bought. That doesn’t make them good. It makes them modern. And those are two very, very different words. Good should be determined by current value, not historical comparison.

In other words? Sorry, bro, your Dart sucks.

[Image: Mitsubishi]

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192 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: Stop Saying There Aren’t Any Bad Cars...”


  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    My sister in law swears up and down that her Dodge Journey is the greatest car ever. “Smoothest riding car I have ever owned”.

    I don’t argue. Never argue with in laws.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Compared to what? Goes back to Bark’s point. If compared to a 2002 Chevy Cavalier, maybe the Journey IS the “smoothest riding car” she ever owned. It’s all relative. Compared to other new cars, the Journey is likely mid to bottom of the pack.

    • 0 avatar
      garuda

      My classmate described his 96 chevy blazer’s ride as “so smooth”. It is all relative i guess

    • 0 avatar
      christopherrmcg

      Ignorance is can be so blissful. Do note she has said “I have ever owned”

      I was forced into renting a 2015 Dodge Journey because I showed up late & Hertz had no other midsize SUV’s. No bluetooth(!!!!!!!!), loose steering, a safety cage reinforced with recycled spam cans, a suspension that is very crashy even with the largely sidewalled stripper steelies but thankfully not floaty, insanely poor build quality inside and out.. but the worst of it all: My expectations were met, It’s a Dodge…

      The only thing good about the Journey is the price. Makes it the cheapest, cramped 7 row option on the market. To top it off, even though the Journey is a long in the tooth parts bin galore, it’s still not very reliable!

      Any vehicle with its best redeeming qualities being the price and plentiful availability at your nearest rental lot is bad by today’s standards, point blank.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “a safety cage reinforced with recycled spam cans, ”

        Oh quit with the nonsense. Making up stupid s**t like this makes your whole point worth ignoring.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          JimZ – relax, it is called a metaphor.

          • 0 avatar
            kowalski

            Lou_BC – How did he learn anything about the strength of the safety cage from his brief driving experience?

            He didn’t.

            At best, he might be able to assume the safety cage was bad based on his perception of the vehicle’s NVH and general quality. That is not a very strong line of reasoning.

            IOW, he insulted the car for a drawback that he made up. And it was obvious. This undermines the valid points he made.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        “Do note she has said “I have ever owned””

        As I noted in a prior post, that would be an Aveo and a New Beetle.

        And contrary to Mr. Grumpy Pants, I had a small chuckle at the “spam can” quip.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      If I let just enough air out of the tires, she’d swear my F-150 has an amazingly smooth ride too! A lot comes down to tire size/profile.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The confirmation bias all over the internet is shocking to behold, and also makes me sad.

    The inverse of “There aren’t any bad cars anymore.” is present with “No new cars are any good.” at places like Facebook groups.

    “This new Continental sux an I don’t like it but let me show you a car which is better here it is with 10 photos I used to own it in 2002 then I sold it to my aunt it’s a 4.1 Deville that was a real car nothing like this here I paid $400 for it and this Continental cost more so it sux.”

    • 0 avatar
      Glenn Mercer

      I agree with your point about confirmation bias, because it supports what I have always believed.

      (grin)

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      In cases I see it wouldn’t be an old Caddy, it’d be a 1994 Toyota Camry thats soooo much better than a modern Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I know someone who might want to make a deal on such an example.

      • 0 avatar

        Except…this may be the exception.

        The early-mid 90s generations of Toyotas and Hondas are arguably both companies’ best-ever in terms of:

        -Build quality
        -Durability
        -Components
        -Value for money spent.

        A new one will be more refined; how can they not be, with two additional decades of R&D behind them. Plus factor in the wear and tear of twenty years of use and a new one will feel like a Lexus/Acura by comparison.

        But the only advantage a new Camry/Accord has over their mid-90’s ancestors…is that they’re NEW.

        Conversely, anyone thinking a ’96 ovoid Taurus is somehow superior to a new Fusion…needs help. LOL :)

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Yes the 96 Camcords were good cars, but a modern Camcord will out run, out mpg, out last, out turn, and out crash one.

          The only advantage of the old model is the cheaper entry price.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            At least with fit-and-finish, I will agree that there was more of a focus on that with 90s Toyotas and Lexuses (Lexii?) than the newer ones. IT used to be that when you bought a nice leather-equipped Camry, you were pretty much getting the same materials as in the flagship Lexus LS and SC.

            Now? Not so much. I get in a new Camry and I see plastic flash around the cutouts for the buttons on the dashboards, and hard door cards. And even some of the Lexus products (ES, NX, RX) don’t seem to use as nice materials as maybe a Lexus ought to.

            Contrast that to Ford, who most definitely was nowhere near its zenith and is building much higher-quality cars from a fit-and-finish perspective than it did in the 90s.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Kyree,
            Just to add to that: I just got from my mother-in-law a ’98 4Runner with 88K miles on it. After spending a day wiping off all the dust and grime, I am starting to appreciate the craftmanship. Literally no rust. Everything looks and works like it just rolled off the showroom floor.

            Now I get why resale values are so high.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            They weren’t cheaper at the time, they were relatively very expensive cars.

            But I don’t disagree that in every objective way, the new ones are better. Subjectively they are not as nice.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Having driven and ridden in a new-ish (2015?) Camry Hybrid, I can say without reservation that it has significant advantages over a mid-90s Camcord even when the latter was new.

        • 0 avatar
          yamahog

          I know it’s popular to say that Toyota hit a quality apogee in the early 90s but it’s just not true.

          Maybe Toyota’s quality lead was more apparent (I wouldn’t know, I got my driver’s licence a decade after).

          Maybe there’s a survivorship bias, heck, I’ve seen some Luminas and old Malibus put up some high odo readings.

          The early-90s LS400s developed watertightness issues / NVH issues and ECU capacitor issues after 8-12 years. The later 90s and early 2000s LS4* are holding up much better.

          The new Camrys are way more rust-proof than the 90s Camrys, they have more insulation, and they consume less fuel and go faster. And the amount of problems relative to the potential for problems has to be decreasing. A 1992 Camry didn’t have bluetooth, heated seats, active cruise control, or a million emissions sensors. You can reasonably expect one of these things to go awry on a new Camry on the journey to 200k miles. But if you accept a 1992 level of functionality – and just use the power door locks and windows and am/fm radio and leave it at that, it’s likely the current model will be just as good.

          In a lot of ways, I think modern cars are better – they tend to user higher safety factors for components and make more with less. Heck, the current Camry has more space than a Cressida and the hybrid definitely accelerates faster than the Cressida while returning about twice the milage. The hybrid Camry costs the same as a Cressida in constant dollars (25k) and the hybrid Camry maybe weighs 100 lbs more?

          It’s like BMW fans deciding that BMW was perfect to generations ago every time a new generation comes out.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At Yamahog:

            Well put, I’m just glad that we’ve evolved from 100k water pumps/timing belts.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yamahog, I think we need to better define what “quality” means. If it is reliability, then I’d say you’re right, current Toyotas are every bit as good (and probably better) than their predecessors.

            However, if we’re talking about quality of materials and assembly, the 1990s cars walk away with an easy win. It’s not even close. I’m lucky enough to now own not one, but two “fat” 1990s Toyota products: a ’96 4Runner Limited with 135k miles, and a ’96 Lexus ES300 with 203k. Both have fantastic materials and nice little touches inside that are long gone on my fiance’s ’12 Camry SE. Soft vinyl covered dash pads and door cards, very neat seams everywhere, nice feeling switches, high quality, plush carpet. The Lexus in particular knocks my socks off. The soft touch vinyl extends all the way down the center console and is present even where the hand brake is. Rear door cards get the full soft touch treatment as well, and the bottoms of the door cards aren’t hard scratchy mid-00s GM grade plastic you’ll find in the current ES, but covered in the same carpet as the floor, to prevent shoe scuffs.

            Even turning the key in the ignition or shifting the leather covered shifter in the Lexus feels refined, the 203k mile powertrain has butter smooth and secure shifts, the motor idles smooth as glass. You have to drive it to believe it.

            It doesn’t hurt that this is a fantastically reliable and durable vehicle as well. Aside from the noisy rear swaybar links (to be replaced shortly) the original 20 year old suspension is still very smooth and tight. A few coworkers that have ridden in the car wouldn’t believe me that a) it had 203k miles and b) that I bought it for $1600.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Fit and finish and materials, sure. My 93 Land Cruiser had cloth seats that showed no wear at 250,000 miles. No rattles, it was amazing BUT they had problems with the ECU, head gasket issues, front end issues (from a freaking solid axle no less), and managed 12 mpg and like 220 hp from a twin cam 4.5 liter motor that was contained several unobtanium parts and developed a nasty knock with accompanying metal in the oil pan at 250k. It would have been better in every way with a modern motor (or an old 3FE for that matter) and that 4.5 was all new for 93. The faithful will hate me, but I’d love an economist swapped one. Then again there are plenty of small block equipped 80 series out there.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            What sort of shape was the truck in when you bought it? By front end issues do you mean having to rebuild the birfields? Were they adequately lubed in the past?

            RE engine issues yes headgaskets were a problem for Toyota in the late 80s-early 90s on some cars (7mg on Cressida/Supra, 3vz on 4Runner, 1fz on land cruiser). Some went to 200-300k miles with no issues, others failed shortly after 100k it seems. Can’t say I’ve heard of the 1FZ randomly failing internally like that short of some kind of horrific abuse.

            Nonetheless it sounds like the truck made it to 250k before things hit the fan.

            I think for its displacement and era from which it’s from, the 1FZ is an excellent motor in terms of the amount of low end torque they extracted from 4.5L, and just how dang smooth it is. Yes 12mpg isn’t fun, all the drag from running fulltime 4wd and transmitting power through an overbuilt transmission shared with a freaking bus (look it up!) takes its toll. When you look at the size of the hardware and all the baked in durability, rebuildability, and redundancy under the hood you start the appreciate what the LC80 is all about. It’s my goal to at some point swap my 4Runner for one (with locking front and rear diffs please!).

          • 0 avatar
            kowalski

            Modern vehicles are safer than 1990s stuff. IMO that is about all they do for the consumer. They are very slightly cleaner-emitting in exchange for more complexity.

            All the features? In the big picture it is mainly just more complexity. Complexity costs money when it fails. The parts cost more to replace. It makes things harder to work on, which drives more repair/maintenance jobs out of the driveway and into the shop. That makes it more expensive to own.

            Many electrical sensors fail later in the car’s lifespan. They cost hundreds of dollars to replace. They must be replaced because the vehicles are not designed to go without them. Used ones are not a good option because they are a PITA to install and their condition cannot be judged. All this leads to whole cars being scrapped over failed parts the size of a spark plug. Etc.

      • 0 avatar
        ArialATOMV8

        “In cases I see it wouldn’t be an old Caddy, it’d be a 1994 Toyota Camry thats soooo much better than a modern Toyota.”

        What a coincidence today my friend was embarrassed to tell me he bought a 99 Camry. I told him the secret that I loved the earlier ones better due due to the newer ones being more ‘dull’.

        Now all we have to do is give him his Camry initiation mark on his rear bumper lol! :)

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Pff, “Camry initiation mark” those tiny dents may as well be initiation marks!

          Didnt ’99s have oil issues or something? I cant recall, my limited expertise only deals with the first 4 gens.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Ryoku there were some issues with oil sludge, a confluence of people neglecting oil changes (“It’s a Toyota!”) and/or lots of short trip use and Toyota increasing engine operational temperature as part of the shift to lower emissions and oil passages not being large enough. Change your oil on time (severe schedule if the driving is all short trips) and it was a non-issue. But that sort of required mindfulness was rather unlike the usual Toyota experience and became a big issue.

            I’m pretty sure my 203k mile ES’s 1MZFE is one of the supposed sludge motors, but I have zero concerns of having issues going off the previous maintenance regimen.

            FWIW when you say “first four gens” you’re covering the sludge era of Camries, it was 97-01 ish years.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            “a confluence of people neglecting oil changes (“It’s a Toyota!”)”

            Yeep, thats all too true, goes with many used Japanese cars where their crazy fanaticism blinds the owner to maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      garuda

      You have not seen confirmation bias online until you have been to survivalblog.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    It is telling how Soviet masterpieces such as the Tatra, GAZ Volga and…eh…Volvo 245 needed to be linked to via a James Bond clip. The most commercial, established, value-contempting, capitalist bully on the planet.

    /perspective

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      How crap is that movie, generally? I’ve never seen it – oldest Brosnan Bond I saw was The World Is Not Enough.

      First time I’ve ever seen a tank do powersliding, pretty impressive. The wall of that building was also very bendy before he hit it.

      And the car repaired itself in the tunnel after being smashed! Magic Volga!

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      This is why I come to TTAC. Until now, I had thought that James Bond was a fictional character in some entertaining books and movies. But now I see 007 for what he really is – the most commercial, established value-contempting capitalist bully on the planet.

      Spectre Lives Matter, dammit!

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The 31029 is solidly associated with the ‘wild 90s,’ not Brezhnev, although the car is basically the same Volga 24 body that originated in 1970. Horribly put together cars, the Soviet built variants were actually pretty solid cars as there was at least some QC in place at the plants, and production levels were significantly lower.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZpvkoE86i4

      Despite the ad’s attempts at making the Volga stand for the same things it used to (signs of authority), it was eclipsed with blazing speed by the slew of W124/W140 benzes, E32/E34 BMWs, and endless stream of Audi C4 100s. It became more of a B-body Chevy Impala, big comfy and cheap vehicle for the masses.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        In the chase there, it looks really soft and floppy in the suspension department.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Oh it is fantastically soft and floppy, nothing sold in the US today can even remotely compare. On the unpaved village “roads” in rural Siberia where used up variants of such Volgas are commonly found, said soft suspension is just the ticket. I say this from first hand experience in a early 2000s GAZ 3110 Volga last summer. Heck even a lowly Lada has a much softer and better absorbing suspension setup than anything new than I can think of in the US. Flip side is horrid handling of course, road testers here would be aghast.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Also worth noting, the ’92-97 Volgas still had 4 wheel drum brakes, carbureted engines, and kingpin(!!!) front suspensions with leaf sprung rear axles.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Didn’t Ladas have EFI at least at that point to pass emissions in the rest of Europe?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Ladas could be found carbureted right through the end of the 2000s. Fuel injection was a pretty desirable option, and was becoming more and more prevalent right up until the end of production in 2011 for the RWD cars. Even rural dwellers like my grandparents’ taxi driver neighbor retired his carb’d ’96 2105 when it finally rusted out about 7 years ago and bought a 2107 with fuel injection. For folks used to fiddling with carbs and roadside repairs I’m sure it takes just a bit of getting used to, but they very quickly appreciate the easier cold starts, better mixture control, etc.

            FWD Samara got a 1.5L fuel injected motor in the 21099 sedan model, it was quite the rage in the 1990s when it came out, think of it like the Russian Civic Si (with 8 inches of ground clearance and only 75hp) and you’re on the right track.

            Russia only implemented Euro II in 2006, and Euro III standards in ’08. The latter I think mandates catalytic converter use, but the regulations were followed very approximately, and Russian auto production has always been very haphazard in following consistent build specs. You could often go to a dealership and take your pic between cars with catalytic converters and without, at one point the phobia was that the hot cats made cars more prone to fires (if parked over grass).

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            So, Dieselgate didn’t occur in Russia?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Big Al, no idea.

            They’re supposedly up to the Euro 5 standards as of January 2014.

            There’s enough rich-running old Ladas, ZIL and GAZ trucks, clattery old KAMAZ, etc that whatever the emission norms are nominally, it’s almost irrelevant.

  • avatar

    THERE ARE NO MORE BAD CARS.

    Well maybe a few less then great.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Of course there are bad cars. Otherwise Tim’s website promotes a false dichotomy.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Is it possible something is lost in translation?

    When I hear there really aren’t any bad cars I translate that as the number of vehicles you can buy new today that will put you through ownership hell by living at the dealership and not in your driveway for the first 100K to 125K miles is pretty limited. Key word is limited, not that there are none.

    If we go back to 1996 the only models that you could expect 100K miles of relatively trouble free operation was BOF trucks, made in Japan, certain German marks, and a slim handful of US maker vehicles.

    Fast-forward 20 years and the list of vehicles you can expect 100K miles of relatively trouble free operation is…well…darn close to anything.

    Now once you get into everything else that makes a car/truck/SUV/CUV a car/truck/SUV/CUV yes, there are huge gaps.

    Can you buy a “bad” D-segment vehicle today? No not really – BUT – the going away Chrysler 200 is simply not class competitive with the other offerings in the segment (probably not the best example as the 9-speed is likely questionable making it a solid example of a bad car).

    The Mirage in the picture above will very likely soldier on to 100K+ miles with relative ease even with moderate neglect. Now would you want to drive 100K miles in that penalty box is a different issue.

    I feel we’re in a relative golden age in a number of automotive segments. The question of, “can I get 10 years out of this” is mostly moot – it really is more about the packaging, the content, and the price — with a few exceptions.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah this. Also the average cars is 11 years old. Chances are if your going from an 11 year old car to new, there are no bad cars.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        The average car may be 11 years old (not in Canada, but perhaps in the US), but that doesn’t mean the average owner keeps their car for 11 years.

        The average commenter on TTAC has owned more than 10 cars and kept each for a minimum of 20 years, but I would wager that most new car buyers trade-in much sooner than that.

        Also, cars less than a year old make up the biggest proportion of all cars. Think about it.

        • 0 avatar

          The average age of the US car is 11.4 years old. Average age a a new car trade in is 6.5 years.
          Average length of ownership for a new car is 6.5 years.
          Average length on used car ownership is 4.5 years.

          People keep their cars a long time. By the way in the late 90’s All those numbers were 2 years younger or more.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Does that include leases?

            I also sometimes wonder what the average age of cars is, weighted by miles driven.

            Depending where you live, it can be cheap to keep an old car around, if you don’t drive it much. These cars increase the average age of registered cars, but should they count for as much as primary cars?

            Most cars I see on my commute are current models, but I’m only seeing people who commute to day jobs by car. The proportion of convertibles and sports cars goes up immensely on Summer weekends…

            Mopar, do you know how these stats are calculated? I assume it’s not age/number (which means that a 1976 car is equivalent to 40 new cars), but there are other ways to make the results ambiguous.

          • 0 avatar

            Data seems to come from IHS. Some one should be able to dig in more. The 11.4 was an article on a number of blogs last year.

            http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/28/americans-holding-onto-their-cars-longer-than-ever.html

          • 0 avatar

            Also my daily driver is 15 years old but only 130k miles. But wifes daily is 16 years old 150k miles. My toy is 28 years old and 170k miles. I’m the guy driving those numbers. In my current parking lot at work (manf. company) the average age is right around the 12-13 year old mark. When I worked for an insurance company they were more likely to be 5-6 years old. If you pay close attention 10 year old cars in a commute are really common. I see hundreds of first gen CRV’s and late 90’s civics every week where I live.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            mopar4wd – your numbers make sense. The first guy owned it 6.5 years and the guy who bought it off him kept it 4.5.

            We do have those that rotate out of their vehicles every 3 years. A dealer sales manager told me that the average turn around for pickups was 38 months. He didn’t think it was funny when I told him I kept my last truck 15 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      ‘Twas not that long ago that my father sold every car we owned at 50,000 miles, because it was common knowledge that the end was nigh. Considering the performance of the various Oldsmobuicks we usually had (purchased new) he wasn’t wrong. The cycle terminated in 1985 with a three-year-old Century that ground its own motor to sand by being asked to go 51,000 miles. The knife in the back? A new Honda Accord LX, in blue.

      My first sales job in 1993 still consisted of waiting for new Dodge’s to come off the trailer and see if they started before any customer could touch them. Times have changed a LOT. I agree that the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are still relevant, just moved up the scale a ways (poor, poor Fiat).

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      Exactly. These whippersnappers have no idea.

      You would buy a car with a 1 year 12,000k warranty, finance it for 3 years and pray

      Financially catastrophic repairs on 2.5 year old cars were common. I can remember one of my professors in the late 1970s driving around with a new (less than 2 year old) full size Ford with a rust hole on the rear quarter panel the size of your outstretched hand. Not a rust spot, a hole. Darkness behind it. Obviously, it wasn’t being fixed under warranty.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    If grading on a curve to elevate the performance of students relative to absolute scores is suspect, then grading on a curve to create a quality gap between cars simply so you can be proud of having some p*ss and vinegar in your car review may not be the best way to go about it either.

    If you are not reviewing the car based on the needs and concerns of the likely buyer, but by your own views instead, you may have written something entertaining but largely useless.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t necessarily *disagree* with you here, but I do think there is some need to account for personal tastes.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Thank you. I adore the tall, windowy, cab-dominant goodness of that i-MiEV. If they come out with a 200-miler that’s cheaper than a Bolt I’ll visit them.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        I probably shouldn’t admit this, but once I had an electric i-Mev on my tail on a mountain road, and I just couldn’t shake the guy no matter how I tried. My car? A GTI. But he had something to prove, and I didn’t. I’m sure he had a great time with it all.

        But let’s all hope for more bad cars- they make car reviewing much more fun.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        i-MiEV – narrow cabin, mediocre crash-test ratings (only 2 stars rear collision) – 0 to 60 times of 14.5 seconds.

        OK for short hops, but avoid on-ramps to Interstates :-(

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Agreed, ajla. E.g., there probably are a few stalwarts out there in terms of comfort, sight-lines, and ergonomics, but a lot of it comes down to taste, shape of your body, negotiated price, dealership experience, and so forth.

      For a three-hour drive, I could do either a firm, Germanic seat or a cushy, old-school Detroit seat. For a 12-hour drive, I’d be more comfortable in the latter. Somebody else may well prefer the former, and quite legitimately so.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The statement is totally subjective, because the word “bad” is totally subjective.

    If (as would be totally reasonable for someone who owned cars before the mid-’80s to think) a “bad car” is one that rusts a year after manufacture and that is likely to have an engine or transmission blow before 75,000 miles, then there are no more bad cars.

    If (on the other hand) a “bad car” is one that doesn’t come up to current standards of refinement, or (at the other end of the market) that is likely to develop niggling electrical problems, then there are plenty of bad cars.

    This column is just an argument about what the word “bad” means.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      “Bad”, at least in my mind, refers to Chevy Citation bad, or Hyundai Excel bad, or Yugo bad.
      Poor build quality has almost entirely disappeared, poor design (except for ease of maintenance, egad), maybe not so much, the warming over of archaic, obsolete models… pretty much going away.
      The worst car now (New Beetle, Dart, Murano CrossCabriolet), if it were offered on the market twenty years ago, would have been regarded as a comparatively good vehicle.

      We have gotten away from the honest simplicity of cars like the original Civic, Beetle or Mustange, but that’s another topic for another time.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “Poor build quality has almost entirely disappeared… ”

        Ahem… Jeep Wrangler

        • 0 avatar

          Even the Wranglers not that bad I know a bunch with 200k miles on them. But boy do they rattle and creak when they get that old. Of course with the top down you can’t hear so it doesn’t matter much.

          • 0 avatar
            Zackman

            I was being facetious, because I really want one again, per my post the other day.

            Rattles and creaks are part of the fun of owning a Jeep – that and the crudity of them, but try comparing a new one with and old CJ5 and there’s no comparison. They were about as basic as you could get – a motorized version of a buckboard wagon!

            Regardless, all Jeeps are fun.

          • 0 avatar
            Pete Zaitcev

            My 2010 JK does not rattle or creak at 95k miles. At all.

            However, in the interests of full disclosure, it did creak when it was new. It was rather irritating. Eventually, I tracked the sound to a flange joint on the tub’s bottom rubbing against the fuel tank. After a couple tries I fabricated an isolator out of copper wire that resolved the issue. The biggest challenge was to hook it into the flange somehow that it stayed in place. So, yeah. But not a creak ever since.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “This column is just an argument about what the word “bad” means.”

      If only it were. That would be a useful (if dull) conversation. This column is more a declaration of sole and enlightened proprietorship over the word.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I am subjectivly telling you what is objectivly subjective in order to determine what is subjective in ny objective statement.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    If grading on a curve to elevate the performance of students relative to absolute scores is suspect, then grading on a curve to create a quality gap between cars simply so you can be proud of having some p*ss and vinegar in your car review may not be the best way to go about it either.

    If you are not reviewing the car based on the needs and concerns of the likely buyer, but by your own views instead, you may have written something entertaining but largely useless.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Heh – my Millennial co-worker leased a Dodge Dart with the 2.4L engine/auto. In his mind it was a sports car and drove it like an idiot (zipping in and out cars in heavy traffic). He even bragged about the “turbocharged” engine and looked surprised when I said “eh, there’s no turbocharger on the 2.4 Tigershark”. “And you’re a tick slower than my old BMW 325i”.

    This summer he ended his lease early and bought *drum roll* a brand new white Chrysler 200C. At least he opted to get the V6 and the AWD. And once again he bragged how fast it is. Yeah 6.0s to 60 is pretty good, I just hope it doesn’t go to his head, or he ends up in a high speed race with a Mustang or something. With any luck he doesn’t get too much depreciation if he ever has to trade it in – maybe the V6/AWD will help after the car is dropped from production.

    And my brother-in-law has a Dodge Journey – totally not a car guy but it does what he needs it to do.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      He’ll get jumbo depreciation on a new 200 in the typical 3 year time span..unless he somehow bought at 20% below invoice….but the guy buying it may wind up with a pretty solid deal. Only time will tell on the reliability of these.

  • avatar

    For the price and 3 rows a Journey is hard to beat.

    My Dad owns a Dart. I have rented the competition. Honestly I would take a Cruze over the Dart but other then that I like the Dart better, the Corolla is noisy and outdated feeling in comparison (but a good long term buy). I haven’t tried the civic. The focus is louder on the highway and less refined feeling also awful transmission. The Elentra not bad but really handles and rides worse then the Dart. The Mazda 3 handles better but is louder on the highway and well doesn’t fit my 6’3″ 300lbs ass very well.

    As to the Imiev for what it sells for an what it’s designed for I think it’s OK transport when I test drove one back in 2012.

    The previous gen Smart was pretty bad thou.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Thank you for illustrating Bark’s point about making poor choices and then justifying them to make yourself feel better.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t own them, I have an XC70, A first gen Durnago and a Ramcharger. But I rent a fair amount of cars and have driven the Dart and it’s competitors several thousand miles. Really the Dart is slightly above average in it’s class (not in reliability unfortunately) it’s really not a bad car. I have no vested interest in the Journey at all, but I have driven one. It’s like driving a 3 row equinox. It’s just a really Vanilla boring car , not really anything wrong with it.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        what an incredibly arrogant, self-absorbed viewpoint.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Meh – I’ve rented a Dart. Thought it was entirely adequate, and far from “bad”. I’d take one over a Corolla or a Civic in a heartbeat, but I’d much rather have a Jetta. Ditto the Journey and the 200. They are entirely adequate *cheap* cars, not some sort of heirloom. Use them up and toss them away. Bark’s not liking them does not make them bad.

        BAD cars were things like Vegas, Yugos, and most of what GM made in the late 70s early 80s. Cars that were unreliable, rusting, and falling apart on the showroom floor. There is nothing like that on the market today. Nothing. It’s Lake Woebegon, everybody is above average.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve yet to drive this “Elentra” of which you speak.

      • 0 avatar

        I kind of knew it was mispelled, but I was too lazy to check. Also my brain couldn’t come up with the spelling despite my neighbor having one in their drive way for the past 8 years or so. I kind of like the car had one as a rental, it’s ride and handling were really kind of meh the rest of the car was pretty good.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      The wife and I were out car shopping for her two months ago, and she chanced on a ’15 Dart GT that she loved. She bought it. Initial thoughts are that its a damned good car for her. She loves it. I’ve driven it, not my style (in the first place its an automatic), but if this is what an internet-smart-ass-deems-its-to-be-pilloried automobile is like, then there are no bad cars. Internet pundits be damned.

      All I know is Maggie is happy as hell with her purchase, its being reliable, and she’ll be keeping it long enough that at trade-in time it’ll be a commodity, so depreciation isn’t going to matter.

      Sorry guys, I haven’t driven what I’d call a bad car since my ’79 Monza Kammback. And the bad car there was in the reliability, not the performance and handling. Of course I’m picky about what I drive. One Corolla LE fifteen years ago was enough.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    There are 3 kinds of cars:

    1. Great cars – these are the best in class, and the really good ones transcend their class. The usual Top 10 lists the carmags and websites keep are a good starting place to find these.

    2. Appropriate cars – they aren’t best in class, but they are good cars, and they may be the best choice for you, depending on your needs. You may love the Mazda3 or Civic, but your mom would probably be a lot happier with a Corolla.

    3. Lousy cars – they aren’t terrible like 30 years ago, but as Bark says, they’re lousy in today’s market. I would call out a few of them, but it will only prompt their fanboys to respond, and I really don’t want to have to explain to people why a Dodge Journey isn’t the greatest vehicle of all time.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      really the axiom “there are no bad cars anymore” means “you’re very unlikely to have a new/near new car which fails to start on multiple occasions, strands you on the highway, or pukes its coolant on a moderately warm day.” the same couldn’t be said back in the ’70s. An “unreliable” modern car means its check engine light came on once or twice, or the infotainment system froze, and so on.

      if a car is more to you than just a means to get somewhere, then you can make the case for why a particular car is “bad.” But for someone who just wants $_CROSSOVER then a Journey is just fine.

      • 0 avatar

        My brain

        Good car — Anything that will got to a $150,000 miles without exceeding it’s resale in repairs.

        Bad car — 1979 Dodge Aspen

        I think Dahl has it right depends on your definition of bad is. Really thou the internet I think feels the way I do Bad is a car that’s rotted and on it’s 2nd engine or transmission and only has 75k miles.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Yes.

          Back in my parent’s day, buying a car was a real gamble. You didn’t know if it would be (just) OK, or if you would be on the hook for major repairs as soon as your 12 month warranty ran out.

          A bad car could be a financial disaster for a working class family.

          No comparison with a Journey that has a 5 year warranty, low price, decent fuel economy, lots of space, but that isn’t as sophisticated as a more expensive crossover would be.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      There’s a great big space between an enthusiast reviewer saying “This Journey sucks!” and a rabid owner yelling “You idiots will never understand why the Journey is awesome”, and it’s the space where most car buyers live.

      If you thought you were getting the equivalent of a Honda Pilot, you’re out of your mind, but if you got it cheap and your priorities are cost, three rows, full warranty, and cost, you probably found a decent vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Powerlurker

      One of my mom’s professor’s in law school would regularly use the expression “competitive, but not compelling” to describe certain things. In this day and age, pretty much every car on the market is “competitive”, but many of them are not particularly compelling. In a world with the Camry and Accord, why would it even cross your mind to buy an Altima unless you either get a screaming deal or the Nissan dealer is the only one who will finance you?

  • avatar

    The same idiots who say “you can’t buy any bad cars today” are the same people who say “they don’t build cars like they used to, why can’t BMW make something like an E30 again?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    For some of us, the best car is the one that’s paid for, and doesn’t bankrupt us with repairs and maintenance.

  • avatar

    There’s a difference between saying that pretty much every car currently on the market meets a minimum standard of decency (has good enough power/handling/brakes to drive safely, won’t have a catastrophic failure early in it’s life) and that some cars are better than others. I think the first is what most people mean when they say “there are no bad cars”, but the author seems to mean the latter.

    And price and needs are always going to play a role. The Journey may not be great, but it’s also cheap. A Porsche is faster and handles better than an F-150, but it’s useless if you need to make a dump run or haul a load of mulch.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I take exception that all new cars are better than what was available in 1996. And the only thing I feel I need to point out is that they were still building LS400s in 1996.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      If you’d like to read it again, it says “better than /most/ cars made in 1996.”

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I also think TTAC tends to conflate 1970s reliability and 1980s reliability. With one exception (and grain of salt, because it both got rear-ended while sitting at a red light and got sold to family friends for use by their less-than-responsible teenage sons), every car my family has bought since 1988 has made it past 100,000 miles with only basic oil changes and so forth. I hate to use the term “game changer,” but electronic ignition and EFI were game changers. Reliability came around a good few years before the 21st century.

      My guess is that a significant chunk of the B&B either swapped out their ’80s and ’90s cars early for whatever reasons, or they absolutely beat the hell out them.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        At Feather:
        When it comes to older cars this is how the internet works:

        America: My 20 year old Cutlass leaked oil and blew a headgasket! After that I never brought American again!

        Japan: Uber Allies Honda! Uber Allies Toyota! “My Honda leaks coolant can you help…” BURN THE HERETIC!

        Europe: My 1993 VW Golf was an electric nightmare. I’ve sworn off European cars for life!

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Engines got better in the ’80s with the advent of engine control computers.

        Other systems took a bit longer.

        My ’87 and ’89 Ford Tauruses had way more problems than you would expect from even a black-circle car today. Both engines ran fine during my ownership (although the Vulcan in the ’87 was starting to show issues at 150,000 miles) but practically everything else went wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          Fair point, dal, and a grain of salt to add to my own comment. My father tends to get bored with a car around 110,000 miles. If you’re pushing things toward 250,000 miles, you probably run a greater risk of “multiple organ failure” issues. A friend traded in his ’02 300M last year. The engine and transmission still seemed fine, but at about 12 years and 150,000 miles things started to go: driver’s seat heater and right-rear window electrics in particular. At 177,000 miles, it required front-end suspension work, which would have been expensive labor-wise (tough access, perhaps, with FWD and a large V6?).

          • 0 avatar
            56BelAire

            @featherston,

            I tend to get bored with my rides around 5 years or 100,000 miles which ever comes first. Over the last 2 decades have only bought used cars execpt one, my wifey’s ’08 Forester which we just sold at 98,000 miles. BTW, got $9,800.00 for it. I’m getting ready to sell my ’09 DTS at 48,000 miles. I bought it used in 2011. My daily is an ’04 F150, with 105,000 miles. I bought in 2009, will sell in the spring. Just yesterday bought a ’15 Chrysler 300, AWD with 9,000 miles, absolutely showroom new for $20K, MSRP $38,500.

            I do believe the cars today are far and away better overall than those of 20, 30 40 years ago. Engine, trans, fit and finish, paint, standard equipment etc. After driving the Caddy for 5 years(zero issues or repairs) I felt it was the best car I ever owned. Now after owning the 300 for a day and 200 miles, I’m in love and thinking this is the best car I have ever owned……..time will tell. It could just be my latest flame.

            Also have my collectors, ’67 Pontiac Cpe and ’91 Mustang GT Convert. My 5 year/100,000 mile “sell by” doesn’t apply to those.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “at about 12 years and 150,000 miles things started to go: driver’s seat heater and right-rear window electrics in particular. At 177,000 miles, it required front-end suspension work, which would have been expensive labor-wise (tough access, perhaps, with FWD and a large V6?).”

            Heck that sounds like a pretty darn reliable car to me! The only surprising thing is that it didn’t need front end work at half that mileage. Nothing difficult or to expensive about an LH front end, in fact I just looked it up and control arms are cheap as chips (just $21 for a Moog lower control arm with balljoint?!)

          • 0 avatar

            As long as you avoid the 2.7 later LH cars live fairly long lives. One advantage to Chryslers they tend to have cheap parts like GM’s.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            My fiance’s grandfather had an ’04 Concorde with 52k miles inherited from another old relative that gave up driving. Some worrying noises at start up makes me think it was a 2.7L motor. That and the A/C had crapped out (could just be a low charge). But I agree, assuming you avoid the sludge-fest 2.7L, they are very comfy, very roomy cars that can be bought for a song. The #1 issue is more so finding one that hasn’t gone through the ringer with the BHPH crowd.

            Edit I guess even the 3.5s are pretty prone to sludge issues if the 7.5k oil change interval is followed:
            http://www.underhoodservice.com/problems-that-plague-chrysler-s-3-5l-engine-create-rebuild-opportunities/

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I see you’re chatting about unreliable Chryslers, so have a look at this rare and low miles Monaco!

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dodge-Monaco-ES-/131932764158

            Lace alloys!

          • 0 avatar

            I looked at a bunch of LH in 2014 when I bought my XC70. And I agree I found tons of beat ones. A few clean one owners with high miles and clean ones with 2.7. I found one good LHS one owner 105k miles. But the guy selling it was a pain to deal with so I gave up.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        EFI didn’t really become widely used until the very late 80’s, so I think it’s fair to lump the 80s iron in with the 70’s, if not completely accurate. And even then, as I recall most of Detroit’s offerings at the time were using throttle-body injection, which was less than awesome.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Cue a commenter talking about how he’d rather have an analog phone than any of these newfangled touchscreen digital devils).”

    Cute how you conflate desire for analog vs digital with touchscreen vs buttons/flip.

  • avatar
    slap

    “Since the average car purchaser only visits 1.6-1.8 dealerships before buying a car, the odds of a buyer testing something other what they bought are about 1 in 3.”

    Some people don’t shop for cars until their car dies. And then they need one ASAP.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I don’t get the hate on the 200. I’ve had a few as rental cars and they’ve been fine. Way better than an Altima about the same as a Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      “It makes a fine rental car” is kind of damning it with faint praise, no?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m one of the few that would have a 200 V6 over a comparable Camry, Altima, Fusion or pretty much anything else in the class.

      Actually, just before I moved to Ontario and was still within spitting distance of Tim, we had a big conversation about the 200 vs. the Accord. He’d have the Accord … because it’s an Accord and does all the Accord things an Accord does. I’d have a 200 for the very same reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        Acd

        From the time the current body 200 hit the rental car lanes it was my rental car of choice most weeks. The seats are comfortable, it rides well, has a solid body structure and handles reasonably well. The biggest downside was fuel economy: I never broke 30 even with a lot of highway driving.

        I chose the 200 over Camrys, Altimas and Sonatas most weeks. The last Camry I drove felt like a really huge 1991 Corolla. Altimas are just miserable partly because of the CVT transmission and partly because rental grade Altimas have a feeling of cheapness unmatched in a mid-sized sedan today. The 2015 Sonata felt like a step backwards from the 2014 with a more generic interior and a mushier suspension, although they usually gave me 33 mpg+.

        Becoming an orphan prematurely is going to make the 200 a great used car for the right buyer.

    • 0 avatar
      arun

      It’s the B&B. They collectively think that every Hyundai is a POS, Every VW is a reliability nightmare and every Dodge is a an embarrassment to USA.

      Someday I will write an owner review of myVW CC. I will say this – I am sure glad I didn’t ask the B&B for their advice before I bought my VW.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Never driven a V6 model, but in my opinion the suspension on the base models justifies the hate. Wet noodle driving characteristics.

      I prefer the Accord for both ride/handling and build quality reasons.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Ill give the Dart boys this, at least they have a sticky thread about engine fires in their “brilliant misunderstood balls of fire”. Though Ive seen enough Darts and Cherokees on the side of the road to know how reliable they are.

    If you ask me I could say modern Toyotas are bad, dated ugly and still sold with Takatas. By no means terrible cars, just dated and styled like junk.

    Id give Mazda flak but at least they’re issuing recalls on some of their rust issues.

    I will say and will always say the Fiat 500x is bad, it and the Juke.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I live in the Detroit area, which probably has the highest concentration of FCA products on the road, and I’ve yet to see a Cherokee or Dart “on the side of the road.”

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Same here in Canada, where FCA is the number 1 group overall. Maybe he meant “parked legally on the side of the road.”

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Yes lets assume they legally parked beside a highway in traffic, and in one case lets assume a brand new Cherokee parked on top of a flatbed. Dont think I’m bias’d, I’ve seen new-ish Honda CRVs “legally parked” beside the freeway too.

          Lets just assume they “park” from flat tires, as modern rims dont like Midwest roads.

  • avatar
    tsoden

    So if I am understanding Bark correctly… Everything that is NOT A TESLA is a bad car…. right???

    Wait… wut??

  • avatar
    Fred

    My Elan is a terrbile car. No cup holders, no stereo, no safety, poor ergonomics, unreliable the list goes on and on. Thing is it only does one thing right, it’s fun to drive.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The i-MIEV isn’t a bad car. The problem is that a 3-year-old Nissan Leaf sells for $9k.

  • avatar

    There was a Ford Tempo enthusiast group out there at one point.

    The Ford. Tempo.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      PEP 141A was a better value than PEP 128B, though it cost $87.56 more.

      Discuss.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        In the snowy Midwest there were many men of the cloth who proudly owned 4wd Tempos because damn the weather the services must go on!

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 4WD Tempo in real life.

          I’m guessing that’s due to rust and people misusing the 4WD system on dry pavement.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            How rural of an area did you ever live in?

            Many rural priests have to cover 2 or 3 parishes.

            My favorite had to be father “Father Bob” who was a thin snow white haired priest with a very dry sense of humor who had to cover two parishes and had a 4wd Tempo with whitewall tires.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I was never that rural, and I only know one preacher anyway, lol.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            We had not 1, not 2 but 3 4wd Tempazes and there is still one sitting on the side of the garage. They are unstopable in the snow until it gets too deep that the car gets high centered. They had one thing that none of the other AWD/4WD cars of the time had, and few do today and that is a limited slip rear diff and it was standard. 100hp has a hard time spinning 3 wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      At one point? Did something happen to them?

      In all seriousness, I think all unloved cars in their time should/will develop a fan following at some point later in life. And why not the Tempo? It sold well for the time, it had unique features like the AWD model, and its aero styling actually predated the first-gen Taurus.

    • 0 avatar
      Click REPLY to reload page

      It likely wasn’t so much an enthusiast’s group, more of a support group, akin to AA.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I actually liked my mom’s Tempo, until the tranny grenaded. It soldiered on a few more years then set itself on fire one day. But I kind of miss it.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @MazdaThreeve There was a Ford Tempo enthusiast group out there at one point.

      https://www.facebook.com/yugoownersclub/

  • avatar
    SteveRenwick

    >> Would you believe there’s a whole online community of Dodge Dart owners? <<

    Even worse, it's for the newfangled imitation Dart, not the real one with the slant six and Torqueflite.

    Now get off my lawn.

  • avatar
    Chan

    I define a car as “bad” when it fails at its intended primary functions: Getting its passengers from Point A to Point B in relative comfort.

    By the early- to mid-1990s, EFI and modern ECUs had pretty much fully taken over the new car market in developed countries, and truly “bad” cars were already on their way out. Sure, the Koreans had not yet eclipsed the reliability of the American Big 3, but that would change by the late 90s.

    Functionally, cars have changed very little since the advent of EFI and modern engine management software that saves people from having to tinker “under the hood” every few days.

    Sure, I had a B5 Volkswagen Passat that was a maintenance nightmare, but even that is a minor blip in the greater context of modern automobile reliability.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    It has come up before in places of facebook discussion like Science Babe or Snopes, but it applies here as well…

    People don’t search the internet to find more about what they want to know, they search until they find someone who agrees with them. They don’t want to be enlightened, they want to be right.

    I suppose that either make me a curmudgeon or a misanthrope. I’m sure it’s not that hard to find someone to agree with that.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    The public has been brainwashed into believing that there are no bad cars any longer and now they’re trying to convince them that CVT’s are actually good for everyone.

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    “Most of the discussion on these and other forums like them revolves around how great and misunderstood their cars really are. This creates a disturbing amount of groupthink at best, and a disturbing amount of confirmation bias at worst.”

    I think that this has less to do with people wanting to feel like they made a great decision and much more to do with the fact that the overwhelming majority of people who post on forums for a particular product tend to be the most enthusiastic users of that product.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Agreed. Plus, the people who actually buy a given product tend to include the people whose needs the product genuinely fits the best. Of course they like it — if they had had different priorities they would have bought something else.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I”ve been driving a Buick Encore loaner this week while my G8 is in for some warranty work. I have yet to find a redeeming feature in the Encore. It is just tall enough to feel tipsy, underpowered to the point that I didn’t think a modern car would feel dangerous. Cramped enough that I can’t have my seat where I want it with a rear-facing car seat behind me. I don’t know how they sell them.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I haven’t driven a good car yet.

    But I guarantee any new car that isn’t punishingly small and agonizingly slow would be good coming from my car history.

  • avatar
    Avid Fan

    There is no possible determination of current value without historical comparison.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    The Ford Fiesta is the worst car you can currently buy new in the US. I was just in my second in a row that was missing its interior driver’s door handle with less than 40K miles. Throw in the worst transmission, worst quality, awful packaging compared to other subcompacts, mysterious obesity relative to the similar Mazda 2, and available three-cylinder engine; and you’ve got the worst car money can buy.

  • avatar

    Anything with a CVT.

    I got a Honda CR-Z as a loaner once. Uncomfortable, and with super noisy engine and CVT. I was amazed HONDA signed off on this. Horrid.

    Most people view a car as a source of unexpected bills, know where gas goes and the key goes, and that pretty much covers it.

    How many times have you seen a nice car with chinese tires ? I’ve seen a bunch of third owner 3 series with LingLong tires….really ?

    I once asked a boat mechanic how he got into the business. He told me that “Boaters don’t ask for a payment plan AFTER you have fixed their boat”. Conversations with my local shops confirm this constant issue.

    A great dose of reality is the Reddit “just rolled into the shop”. Funny as an observer, not so much as an owner or having to fix it.

  • avatar
    AKADriver

    This actually makes me think of the article from earlier about Nassim Taleb’s book. The “no bad cars” perception is driven by the fact that for the average buyer, new cars have gotten far better than their expectations. The minority of car buyers who research their purchases are the ones that push progress.

    I drive one of those “bad” cars. I have a Mazda 2, which I bought precisely because it’s a ’90s relic – lightweight and spartan. I love it, but it has limited appeal.

  • avatar
    stuki

    There really are no bad cars out there today. Trust me! I wish there were, since I, like AKADriver above, kind of like them that way. Like women and bad boys, so goes car guys and bad cars….

    Beyond a certain point of refinement, a product class really does become commodified. Watches being the most common example. There is still differentiation, but bad is no longer an accurate description of almost any model on offer.

    As for bad cars, the “baddest” (as in freakishly charming) one I can come up with as of current, now that AKAs 2 is gone, is the Ram 2500 with the Cummins and manual. I’m sure it’s really, really good for those that need a 3/4 ton, but as a daily driver, it really is a throwback to some Soviet’ish era, where men were strong from operating heavy machinery that growled heavily, via heavy controls. Absolutely, bar none, the most charming vehicle (at sane road speeds and for those too big to fit in a Miata) on offer today. Up there with air cooled Porsches and Golden Era Vtech Hondas on tall skinny tires.

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  • SoCalMikester: not everyone likes the honda boy-racer look
  • SoCalMikester: and start all your payments over again, of course.
  • RHD: I’m on board with this… If the Cougar has a manual transmission, it might be a decent drive. (I know...
  • dal20402: Nope. I’d rather have the ones in the compact class rather than these. All of the mass-market entries...
  • How_Embarrassing_4You: Crazy, know at least 5 people who have owned(and then bought newer years) first year Ecoboost...

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