By on April 5, 2017

1989 Chrysler Fifth Avenue

On Monday, I asked you to tell me about vehicles that improved greatly compared to the prior generation; new models which were instantly and vastly superior to their predecessor.

Today, we’re going to flip it and talk about generational failures. Which vehicles were downgrades compared to the previous generation?

The failure may have been in the sales charts, where a new generation entered into a market that had moved on to other competitors, or a different type of vehicle altogether. Maybe quality fell off a cliff, or powertrain options were not as robust or as plentiful. Or perhaps the styling was so bad as to be off-putting to the consumer.

I thought long and hard about the example I’m about to give you. Here’s the last of the good Chrysler Fifth Avenues.

1987 Chrysler Fifth Avenue

In 1989, you could purchase the last model year of the rear-drive M-body version of the Fifth Avenue/Diplomat/Gran Fury. The brown beauty pictured here is an ’87, because I can’t find great pictures of an ’89 model. Just as well, as the landau top grew for 1988-1989 and looked ill-fitting. Check out the interior.

1987 Chrysler Fifth Avenue

Luxury, solidity and comfort abound, and the ancient Torqueflite automatic will get you there and back. The reliable Slant Six (until 1983) or 5.9-liter V8 powering these big beasts might suck down fuel through a carburetor (as late as 1989!), but don’t worry about that. You’ll be comfortable in the rich, plush environment. An environment which indeed was still available in Boudoir Rouge Velvet or Corinthian Cow or whatever. It even had an airbag (1989 only, not pictured)!

1987 Chrysler Fifth Avenue

Then the calendar flipped to 1990, and the M-body was past its sell-by date because it was not a K-Car variant. Here’s what you ended up with that year:

1990-chrysler-new-yorker-fifth-avenue-1

Look at it — it’s awful. The trim looked like it was falling off straight from the factory. This Fifth Avenue was joined only by the Chrysler Imperial sedan on the large Y platform (the Imperial died in coupe form back in 1983). The Y was, of course, a very stretched K-Car underneath all the wood panel and landau. Let’s look at what you lost between 1989 and 1990.

  • A full eight inches of length
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Reliable Torqueflight
  • Build quality
  • V8 option
  • Dignity

1990-chrysler-new-yorker-fifth-avenue-13

And, to add insult to poverty, the price increased by over $2,000. At least a red (lower quality) velour interior was still available. Happily, the Y platform luxury vehicles died after 1993, when they were replaced by the much-improved LH Platform New Yorker and LHS.

I’ll stop myself now, so you can give your own examples of vehicles that failed between generations.

[Images: eBay; Classic Cars Mark]

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262 Comments on “QOTD: Which Vehicles Sucked Compared to the Previous Generation?...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I saw a lady driving one of those K-Car-based Fifth Avenues the other day (in champagne gold), and it actually looked good. Clean, straight, and well-maintained.

    • 0 avatar
      Jean-Pierre Sarti

      i don’t care for how they looked but damn those pillow topped seats were comfortable!

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Have you driven a K-Car? Even by 80’s standards, they were bad. Nice inside, but it felt like there was tinfoil between you and the road. Definitely felt cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        They felt thin and flimsy; but handling and mileage were way above the M bodies they replaced, and they could also seat three across thanks to the thin doors. They also seemed better screwed together, and details like the interior and exterior trim lined up better.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    But, “pop up headlights”.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Not technically pop-up, as they’re fixed. They are just hidden headlamps.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      True story: in the early ’90s, while I was in grad school, I worked for a retail store. The owner had one of those K-car Imperials. The guy tipped in around 350 pounds. He keeled over of a heart attack, in the Imperial, while driving home from work.

      If I knew my last ride would be in something as lame as one of those early-’90s Imperials, I’d do a Thelma and Louise and launch myself into the Grand Canyon in something cool instead.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        The Imperial was even worse than the Fifth Avenue, with it’s *additional* trim and overworked looks. I think both cars got a troublesome rear air suspension (no longer available for purchase) and something about the ABS also went wrong.

        The Imperial was also as expensive as a Lexus ES300.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Corey takes the analytical approach, when “it was dogs**t on wheels” would have sufficed…

          (I will say this, though…the thing had the Mark Cross leather seats, which were super-nice.)

          In any case, my boss drove it because his brother owned a Chrysler dealership. After he died, his brother took over, and then he died of a heart attack a few years later. I don’t think either one of them made it to 50. I guess the upscale luggage / Chrysler business in St. Louis was a real killer in the early ’90s.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I did typically like when they did a Mark Cross interior on any Imperial.

            You know, there was also a rare (and dangerous) visor-mount car phone option.

            http://www.turbo-mopar.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=6025&d=1191745574

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Chrysler Visor Phone.”

            It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            Didn’t Audi also offer visor-mounted phones for a while? I seem to remember those.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    The Mercury Cougar went off the rails in 1974. Before that it was a distinctively-styled “lux performance” sister to the Mustang. 1974 comes around and they turned it into a tarted-up Torino, then a tarted-up LTD II, then completely ruined it in 1980 by making it a tarted-up Fairmont.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      The Malaise Era cars were so bad, citing them almost feels like cheating.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      True, but I don’t know if it went off the rails as much as the ’99 Cougar did. Ford would have been better off just calling it the Mercury Probe.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I thought it was a thunderbird variant in the early 90s as well for its second-to-last iteration.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I disagree somewhat. Given the context of the time, there wasn’t really a way to make a vehicle as large as the ’71-73 model a competent pony car, so it had to be a personal lux coupe if Mercury wanted to keep it around. Any complaints about the Cougar being a tarted-up Ford whatever would be better applied to the Mercury brand as a whole.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        Correct. The 1971-73 Cougar was a ponycar only by past reputation. It was really a Ford version of Monte Carlo or Grand Prix at that point.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          The Mustang of the day really wasn’t much better at the time; you can’t forget that it was fully as large as the Torino/Gran Torino since it rode the same chassis. The difference between the two came down to one going luxury while the other tried to remain sporty. What you got instead was a “personal luxury car” or an oversized dragster.

        • 0 avatar
          Johnster

          For the ’71 model year you could still get a Cougar with a 429 CJ and Ram Air Induction, but I suppose that would make it more of a “muscle car” than a “pony car.”

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    The Scion xB after the toaster was replaced with something that missed the point completely.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      That’s a good example of a popular car’s momentum being thrown away in a redesign.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        I don’t know what the hell Toyota was thinking with that second-gen xB. I’ve seen suggestions that the airy views of Gen 1 had no chance of surviving newly toughened rollover regulations. But I suspect it was more the Japanese tendency to focus-group everything to death: “You say you like the existing model except you wish it had more room and more power? Got it.”

        • 0 avatar
          Jean-Pierre Sarti

          my understanding was different. i thought the first gen was basically a JDM car with left hand drive, the 2nd gen was designed in their california offices for americans.

          in either case the 2nd gen was a big oops.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      I had a brief spell with a second gen Scion XB (it got totaled after 6 weeks).

      Mileage was abysmal – with an automatic I would routinely get 17mpg, about 80% city. And this was with some fairly light pedal since the 2.4L engine didn’t make any more power at full throttle than half-throttle. That engine just felt rough compared to the 2.5L I6 I came from. The handling was a bit tipsy too, but having my wife’s Mini for daily comparison didn’t help.

      It was a very noisy car on the highway. And the front seating for my 6’2″ frame was awful after a few miles of driving. It felt like I was perched on a church pew.

      But still – it did a good job hauling small cargo (the big reason I bought it) and my family around. But the SUV-like mileage was a real downer.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        17 mpg in that little box? That’s sad.

      • 0 avatar
        Erikstrawn

        My wife’s gets over 30mpg, and the manual transmission makes it feel peppier than it is. The handling feels tippy, and although it sticks fairly well I wouldn’t autocross it. The rear sway bar from a Toyota Echo or Corolla is a bolt-on if you’re in the mood to fix that flaw. The car has a nice stereo, but over 25mph you can’t hear it. As far as comfort, I’m 6’0″ and it’s perfectly comfortable for a three-hour drive.

        Great cars, but I have no desire for a second gen.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Lots of Japanese cars regressed after their early ’90s peak; the second-gen Insight had none of the charms of the first; most of GM’s FWD downsizing of the ’80s (Cavalier was the only exception here); Mercedes went on a steady decline after 1990 and bottomed out around 2005.

  • avatar

    Hmmmmm…… just a few off the top of my head;

    The 1997 Toyota Camry- it lost the ’92-96 Camry’s handsome and sophisticated styling, and became terribly bland. Quality also seemed to not be up with the previous generation’s mini-Lexus approach.

    2001 Honda Civic- Tuners were disappointed by the deletion of an easily modifiable suspension, while the car itself devolved into a generic bland design. Workmanship also seemed to take a hit, as this gen always appears pretty worn compared to earlier Civics: many now with sagging headliners, discolored headlights, creaky clutches, and faded paint

    1998 Ford Falcon AU- After the E Series Falcons, the new one just looked weird. Interior materials were also subpar and were just cheap.

    2004 Chevy Malibu- After my parents owned a 2000 Malibu, I was excited to see the next gen. Sure, our Malibu was bland and could’ve had utility company logos on it, but it was a well thought out piece with Chevy trying to out Camry the Camry. Gone were the soft touch materials, clever details (pillar mounted air vents, left cupholder, the shifters intended placement as a wrist rest) and it was now a cheap, nasty interior with brittle pieces and strange styling, with a massive Chevy crossbar on the grill

    2008 Ford Focus- After initially winning award after award across the globe in 2000, we waited eight years for this?! Basically a warmed over, more Americanized Focus redone on the cheap. Gone was the creative styling, the ergonomic dash was now replaced by a sea of buttons that Ford was insistent on, a dowdy almost Escort-like coupe replaced the slick and practical hatches, and some of Euro road manners that made the first gen so special disappeared as well

    2012 Nissan Versa- The new Versa retained the old one’s big car in a small body philosophy, and cheap price. But unlike the old one, the new Versa never lets you forget that cheap price. Styling is third world, and while the old one’s interior could’ve been a Sentra or Altima’s if you squinted, the current one is full of cold, drab hard plastics and is just dreary

    2015 Honda Fit- It still keeps any prior Fit’s clever packaging and efficiency, but the six speed manual’s short gear ratios take the fun out of driving it. Quality was taken a nosedive too, initially after production was shifted away from Japan

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Mary Walton’s terrific book Car, about the development of the disastrous ovoid Taurus, specifically dwells on the cheapout at the heart of the ’97 Camry. Ford benchmarked the tremendous quality baked into the ’92-96 model, only to find that buyers didn’t notice the subsequent Camry’s cheapout and that their better-detailed new entry, bristling with previous-Camry features like triple-sealed doors, was working at an impossible cost disadvantage. The Taurus brand never really recovered.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        That book is on my list of things to read. I keep forgetting it. Need to buy it so it stares at me until I read it.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          There’s always Alibris or Barnes & Noble used books for cheap (I try not encourage the monopolistic behavior of that other book site whose river name shall not be used). A very entertaining read if, like me, you’re old enough to remember that era of cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I just like historical accounts really. But I haven’t been to a book store in years – not when I can have a vast selection at different quality and price points, and have it delivered to my door without hassle!

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          The Amazon wishlist is your friend. Just added Car to mine.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Ha, it’s been on there for 2+ years I think. I never look at it when I’m ordering vitamins or whatever else.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            My family uses my wish list to buy me Christmas and bday gifts. Works great. And I use it to get new Kindle books when I finish the last one.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Good points, but I think the failure of that model was primarily due to its’ styling.

        Plus, there’s this: at the time that car came out, I had just moved to Denver, and I worked a temp job for a company that did high-altitude testing for manufacturers. We primarily tested Chrysler products, but we had a couple of Saturns, and that new-for-’96 Taurus, which was completely loaded up (24-valve V-6, leather, sunroof, upgraded sound, etc). The Taurus never ran right. Most days, it sat on the lot.

        • 0 avatar
          jhefner

          I think that was more likely an issue with that particular car than the entire model line. The engines basically carried over from the previous generation.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Very possible, jhefner – the Taurus we had was an early production model.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “The engines basically carried over from the previous generation.”

            The 24V V6 FreedMike speaks of was the new for then Duratec 3.0L V6. By all accounts a reliable motor, if somewhat less exciting than the specs might suggest. A VQ30 Maxima rated at 10 less HP would absolutely bury it.

          • 0 avatar
            SPPPP

            Actually, Jhefner, the Duratec 3.0L quad-cam V6 was new to the Taurus for 1996. The Duratec replaced the pushrod Essex 3.8 from the 2nd generation Taurus. (A 2.5L version of the Duratec came out in 1994 for the Mondeo / Contour and other cars. But the engine family was still pretty new in 1996, so I can see some teething troubles being realistic.)

            The Vulcan 3.0L did carry over from the 2nd generation as the base engine. (The 4-cylinder had gone away after the 1st gen)

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          It was both the styling and the price. The car benchmarked the Camry on price as well as refinement, which was a mistake — domestic dealers are good at “pile it high, sell it cheap,” and not so good at convincing everyone the product is best in class.

      • 0 avatar

        She wrote that they tried to match 1992 but could not at pricepoint. Toyotas back then were over-engineered. I owned Toyota back then so I know. Besides base engine Vulcan 3.0L is the worst engine I ever experiences in my life except 2.0 I4 Ford installed in European Scorpios. It was unbelievable that super power as America was not capable to develope decent engines for domestic market. Duratec was better of course but still no match to Toyota, Honda or Nissan V6.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      The RSX also suffered the same fate as the 01+ civic. Losing the double wishbones up front for Macstruts made the car better out of the box, but the suspension had a definite ceiling due to the new geometry, meaning the RSX never got the same auto-x/track following that the 90s civic and integra did.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    2012 Civic is a recent infamous example.

    Also last generation Sebring/Avenger, where Cerberus phoned it in.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    2009 Ford Taurus to 2010 Ford Taurus. The addition of the SHO was nice, but the interior became compact sized. The 2008-09 Taurus had the 3.5L V6 and 6-speed transmission upgrade over the previous Five Hundred as well.

  • avatar
    low_compression

    I always wonder what would have happened if Ford had stuck with the 2 seater Thunderbird. Not a huge fan of the 50’s styling, but the gen1 Vette isn’t really my speed either. However, I think a Ford sports car in the 60’s power era is an intriguing possibility.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      If they stuck with the two seater Thunderbird, it probably would not have lasted as long as it did. Despite the enthusiasts’ gripping about going to four seats, sales took off in 1958 with the four seat arrangement.

      The fact that 2002 reboot of the original two seat arrangement only lasted three years would seem to confirm that. I think the Corvette was the only model that managed to succeed year after year with a two seat layout; which probably says alot for the car itself.

      • 0 avatar
        low_compression

        I agree that it sold better as a PLC. But, the Corvette didn’t sell all that well at first either. im not even sure it would have worked as the more luxurious option to the Vette.

        But! Wrap your mind around a 2 seat Ford with a 427 or 428, bombing down the road and eating up miles with class. It could have been the second finger in Ferrari’s eye, beating them in the GT class as well as at Le Mans with the GT40. I like to imagine an American competitor to the Ferrari 250 GT, Aston DB5, and Jag E-Type. No one doesn’t want that. If the many worlds theory of quantum mechanics is true, THAT is the alternative universe I want to live in.

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    Third Generation (1988–1996, W body) Buick Regal compared to Second Generation 1981–1987 G body. For that matter every single GM W body coupe compared to its previous generation G body, but the Regal (esp. the T-type and its GN & GNX derivatives) was the epitome of a G body…

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Agreed.

      • 0 avatar
        la834

        ’88 Regal was the first one I thought of. A nice enough replacement for lower-end ’87s but the absence of a successor for the GN/GNX which had become hugely popular was glaring.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s my gripe. I owned a 1980 A-body Regal, and later owned a 1990. I really missed the V8 in the ’80, and it was a strangled 305! You could cruise the ’80 at freeway speed all day in comfort, but the ’90 was just too flimsy-feeling with the 3.1. Basically, the W body was a step back from all the A and G bodies for a “luxury” car. The worst thing about the A-bodies was how easy they were to steal (mine was).

  • avatar
    tonycd

    2013 Malibu, with its backseatectomy.

    Beakified 2009 TL.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      2008 Malibu = good
      2013 Malibu = bad
      2016 Malibu = good

      • 0 avatar
        caltemus

        2001 malibu = good
        2004 malibu = bad

        I’d go farther back but I’m not old enough to have firsthand experience

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Well after 1983 and prior to the 1997 Malibu, the Chevy vehicles roughly the Malibu’s size were the following:

          1981 – 1990: Celebrity
          1987 – 1996: Corsica
          1989 – 2001: Lumina

          I don’t know what to do with any of those. All trash? They are not my N or W bodies of choice.

    • 0 avatar
      chrishs2000

      2009 TL – exterior wise, yes, obviously. But the 4th gen TL was leaps and bounds above the 3rd gen TL in every other aspect. Interior, quality, infotainment, and especially the performance with SH-AWD.

      The current TLX is a huge nosedive compared to the 4th gen TL. It compares fine to the 2nd gen TSX which it also ‘replaced’, but it’s significantly more downmarket than the 4th gen TL was. And the ILX is just garbage.

      • 0 avatar
        a5ehren

        Eh. I think the ’08 TL Type-S is *maybe* Acura’s best non-NSX car that they’ve ever made.

        The 09+ versions lost something with the new body style.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I don’t necessarily agree with everyone’s evaluation of each Malibu year, but I do agree it’s gone on one heck of a roller coaster ride.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    None sucked harder than the Mustang II…which, of course, was meaningless because the thing sold.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      The Mustang II was an awesome car. It had a good combination of economy, sportiness, looks, and fun. If they’d called it something else, it would have gotten more respect.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Maybe if they’d called it the Paint (as compared to the Pinto) it would have succeeded. I did enjoy that particular body style.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        LOL, it’d have gotten even more respect if the thing wasn’t underpowered and built like s**t.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          I wouldn’t call the Mustang II “underpowered”, the (1975+) 4.9L “5.O” had 140 hp!!!!!!

          I don’t know how badly it was put together, but if it’s what you liked, vs a well put together (no V8) Celica, Mazda rotary, 240Z, etc, what’s the big deal? You take an afternoon to align all the panels and chase rattles.

          But get the manual trans, upgrade the diff (to limited-slip, 3.50+ gears) and you were rockin’. It’s a Pinto platform for frick’s sake.

          You wouldn’t know it, except the era’s V8s made decent torque, but the factory (rear end) gearing sucked hard. Strictly “freeway flyers” that killed performance, thanks to fears of another fuel embargo/crisis.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Yeah, they stuck that rear-end ratio as close to down in the 2s as they could get and still offer any acceleration from that 3-speed automatic. Even the 4-speed stick had trouble when it was a 6 under the hood. But stick a 4 under the hood with lower gearing and it could be a pretty lively machine. Just no top end.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I put 4.10s in mine, plus locker. Great fun, unleashed an animal, but eventually I had to put in freeway friendly 3.45s limited-slip. Stock was 2.42s, and it was a ’79 Fox Mustang 5.0 (4.9L). Same exact 302 though.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Why… Thank you, DM. We finally agree on something.

  • avatar

    ’74 Mustang II is an obvious choice–although it is smaller and lighter than the ’71-73, which was a bit bloated IMO.

    I always thought the ’88 Regal/Lumnina/Cutlass/Grand Prix sucked compared to the ’87s. The move from the RWD B-body to the FWD W-body was a bad move. I’d much rather have a Regal (even a non Grand National) or a V6 Cutlass over the W-body replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      The 71-73 Mustang really sucked compared to the previous ones – larger but not roomier, terrible build quality, slower but not more economical, ugly. Then the Mustang II was even worse on most dimensions except the doors sounded better when shut.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      I had both versions of the Grand Prix – a used ’86 and a new ’88. The move to fwd and the 2.8l V6 in ’88 was a definite plus compared to the electronic quadrajunk 305 in the ’86. The change from G-body to the W-body was better in my estimation for this car.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      the pathetic thing is that the Mustang II, despite being descended from the Pinto, still packed on weight to the point it was almost as heavy as the Maverick.

      even worse is the Maverick was a Falcon derivative, just like the ’64-’73 Mustang.

      IMO the Maverick should have been made into the ’74 Mustang.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    2009 Acura TL, 2004 Grand Prix, and 2004 Maxima, for the same reason. Not much changed mechanically, but the style, yuck.

    2007 Wrangler (swapping the 4.0 straight six for the minivan 3.8 while gaining bloat).

    Honorable mention to the 2004 BMW 5-series (E60), which is somehow growing on me nearly 15 years after being introduced. It’s still no E39.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    1984 B/C body cars which became first gen H bodys.

    Oldsmobile 88 & 98, Buick Lesabre and Park Avenue.

    Huge let down and took until the 2nd gen H body to become anything I would want to own. 1st gen H bodys are like glorified A bodys.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    1992 Prelude (Olds look-a-like dashboard/speedometer, heavier, uglier, less roomy)

    2004 Pontiac Grand Prix (took one of GM’s few decent AND attractive cars and endowed it with ugly interior AND tacky instrument panel. They wonder why sales dropped…)

    Saturn (Abort)Ion

    2013 Malibu (already mentioned)
    1998 Camry (already mentioned)

    1980 Ford Thunderbird (ugly joke)
    1979 or 1980 Datsun 280ZX (the X signified Americanization/crap)
    Datsun B210 (replaced attractive 1200)
    1993 VW Golf (Mk III)

    I could go on an on….

  • avatar
    tonycd

    At a personal level, I’ll also throw in the ’95 Maxima. They took my beloved 4DSC and cheaped it out from bumper to bumper; not even IRS made the cut. I know the ’95 and newer Maxes have their devotees because of the VQ, but even that was vastly coarser than the (admittedly less than durable) iron-block twin-cam in the ’92-94. Gawd, what a sweet car in every way.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    The ’88-94 Jaguar XJ6 had none of the styling charm or charisma of the previous generation and all of the electronic gremlins.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The Plymouth Sundance was a shortened, simplified version of the previous generation LeBaron GTS. The weight saving for the sundance was minimal, but the shortening screwed up the aerodynamics so that the Sundance, with same engine, had worse performance and much worse fuel economy than the LeBaron GTS. That went along with less room and a worse interior.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy

      Ahhh. My first car after getting my license… my parents 1986 Chrysler LeBaron GTS Turbo. Of course, by then it was 10 years old but damn if it didn’t say TURBO on the side in chrome letters. Blue over beige. It was a fun (dangerous) car for a 16 year old with speed on the brain.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    2013 Malibu – The 2008 through 2012 Malibu was a marked improvement over the terribly bad 2004-2007 models (my wife and I had a 2006 that was an utter failure all around). But the 2013 Malibu was a bit of a let down both in person and in sales. Cramped rear seat space was a killer for it, too, since that’s kind of important in a family sedan.

    1996 Taurus – The ovals. So, so many ovals. Not to mention the dying transmissions. The 1992-1995 Taurus was an evolution of the original, rather than a total redesign, and that was good – since the original itself was so good. This 1996 circle-shaped blob masquerading as a Taurus? Not good.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Ford was criticized for not making the 1992-1995 model different enough from the previous model, so they tried to go radically different with unfortunate results.

      Actually, by 1995, Ford had ironed out most of the problems with the AXON transmission that plagued the first generation and much of the second generation Taurus. The Duratec engine was problematic, the Vulcan was not, though not as powerful.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    3rd gen Eclipse.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I am EXTREMELY triggered by the H, C, and W body hate so far.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I’ll take a 2012 and up W-Impala (3.6 VVT 6-speed por favor) and a 1992 and up H-body but the 1st gen H-body was as terrible as the shrunken 4.1 ltr Cadillacs and the W body was uncompetitive crap from day one that sucked up billions in development money at GM.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “but the 1st gen H-body was as terrible”

        I respectfully disagree with every ounce of my existence.

        media.americantorque.com/photos/2011/12/15/IMG_2215_1.jpg

        You don’t like that even a little bit? Plus, wheezing quadrajunk 307 versus the mighty, mighty LN3 3800?

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          http://zombdrive.com/images/1990-oldsmobile-cutlass-calais-9.jpg

          One of my favorite pics. RAWRWRWRRR

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Cutlass Calais is an N-body Son.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            You are ruining my fun moment.
            (But I didn’t know that.)

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Isn’t it scary how much that Calais looks like a Toronado from that angle? GM and their freaking badge engineered cannibalization!

            I’d actually take Calais Quad 442 (manual trans) with hindsight of all the things that can be done to keep the Quad 4 from self destructing.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          The LN3 didn’t come into its own until 1988. Should have spent money to do TBI on the 307.

          The biggest sin to me was that every Lesabre looked like every Park Avenue and every 88 looked like every 98 from 1986 – 1991.

          Lincoln even took out commercials to make fun of that fact. How many Buick/Olds buyers defected into the willing arms of Lincoln and Mercury?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I’ll see your T-type coupe and raise you one Olds 98 Touring Sedan:

          http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/new/010211/1987%20Oldsmobile%20Touring%20Sedan%20Foldout/1987%20Oldsmobile%20Touring%20Sedan%20Foldout-06-07.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          Agreed, ajla. Generally speaking, those late ’80s H and C-bodies would drive rings around their predecessors from 5, 10, or 15 years earlier.

          A real turning point was the introduction of the LN3 (in ’88) and the 4.5 (’88 or ’89). The history of the Buick V6 is well documented, of course. How the hated 4100 transformed into the fundamentally decent 4.5 and 4.9, though, is something of a mystery to me. At some point the engineers somehow must’ve gotten the better of the accountants.

          Guilty pleasure I’d love to have: an ’88-’90 Ninety-Eight Touring Sedan.

          • 0 avatar
            SPPPP

            Featherston, are you sure you want the ’88 98, and not the ’98 88?

            You know, you could actually buy one of each. Though it might get a little confusing when someone hollers up the stairs, “I’m taking the !”

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Nothing wrong with a C-Body and 4.9 or 3800. Nothing!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The E65 7-Series was terrible versus the E38. However, it did define the blueprint not only for BMW, but for car interiors as a whole, especially in regard to iDrive.

    The 2008 North-American Focus was technically a heavily-reworked version of the earlier Focus, and it sucked. The styling was disjointed and blocky, and it hasn’t aged well. However, I think they knew full well that it was a stopgap.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    2011 Jetta. Decontented without a reduction in MSRP, and cheaply furnished compared to the baby-Benz MKV

    2016 Tacoma. Didn’t really address the prior Tacoma’s shortcomings but added a whole new one with the poorly-sorted 3.5V6

    2008 Corolla

    2007 Camry

    2012 Yaris

    2013 RAV4

    2012 Civic

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Agreed 100% on Tacoma. I hate the schnoz they tacked on to the old hard points, just kind of sticks out to high and too far. Like they wanted to make it “truckier/tougher” by just grafting that crap on there. Post refresh 2nd gen Tacomas are my favorite, that and the earliest gen 1s (without flush fitting headlights).

      Even going gen 1 to gen 2, my brother’s general opinion in terms of component quality (wheel bearings for example) is that gen 2 got worse. If you can keep the frame well undercoated on a gen 1 Tacoma (or away from salt to begin with), they are just stupendously long lived trucks in every way possible. The single thing you’d really need to watch out for is catching the balljoints in time. They stay quiet and can fail suddenly (usually well past 150 or even 200k), due to being under a pulling sort of tension rather than compression.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        That reminds me to do the balljoints and tie rods on the T100. Just under 200k on what are most likely the originals.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Here’s how you can check them:

          stick a hydraulic jack under the lower control arm and lift until the tire is up in the air an inch or two. Then take a pry bar and lever up and down underneath the tire. Watch closely for any movement in the balljoint. Basically if you see any vertical motion at all, replace them (allowable slop is miniscule). Mine were still perfectly tight at 135k, but I insisted on replacing them with OEM units anyhow (against my bro’s recommendation). I just really wanted the peace of mind. Well we ended up ruining a perfectly good OE tierod end getting the balljoint off and had to replace it with a generic Advance auto part in a pinch (weren’t planning on replacing tie rod ends). I’d say if you’re doing LBJs, do the OTRs as well. If you find that the LBJs are still tight, and there is no reason to believe the OTRs have play, just leave it all alone, it will be fine. The issue is way overblown on forums to be honest.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            I’m trying to track down a steering wheel vibration at 60 mph, moving through the possible culprits one at a time. I swapped the rims and moved the tires around, which helped a little but not much. The steering tracks straight even when it’s vibrating, so I think the alignment is okay. Ball joints and tie rods are next.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Have you run a balance on the wheels/tires themselves? Maybe a spin balance while they’re on the hubs? The fact that it’s a speed-related issue says that moving parts are more likely the culprit than fixed ones and the fact that swapping wheels/tires around affects it suggests again that it’s more likely the wheels themselves, though brake rotors and bearings may also be involved. Since it’s in the steering wheel, you might also look for a bent or out of balance front axle before you go for the rest of the suspension.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            bumpy I dealt with all sorts of minor vibes in the 4Runner from when I bought it, right up until very recently.

            It was a combination of a source of the vibrations, and some loose/worn components that allowed said vibration to grow and be more noticeable. Mine would just sort of come and go around 67-72mph.

            What ultimately helped the most was a) a proper balancing of the OE wheels by a competent Toyota dealership with a Haweka adapter b) replacing steering rack bushings c) front alignment. I had some toe out on the driver’s front wheel, which totally can induce that sort of jittery instability at higher speeds even with perfectly balanced wheels. And I cannot emphasize enough how finicky Toyota truck wheels can be to properly balance.

            Doing the balljoints and lower control arm bushings, steering rack tensioning bearing was me chasing things, but I don’t think made much of a difference.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Meanwhile, while VW was cost-cutting the sh*t out of its bread-and-butter compact, anticipating further economic woes, Chevy had the solid and mature-feeling Cruze, Ford introduced the tech-laden and well-handling 2012 Focus, and Hyundai had the artfully-designed and extremely roomy 2011 Elantra. I’m sure all three of those cars took a big bite out of VW’s Jetta sales.

      VW slowly added all of the content back into the Mk.6 Jetta and finally put the 2.slow to bed a couple of model years ago, so even the automaker realizes it made a mistake.

      To some extent, Honda made the same mistake with the 2012 Civic, but it was unceremoniously and successfully rectified for 2013.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    2016 Camaro and 2015 Mustang – Most people will only agree on the Camaro, but I’m not happy with either of them. Smaller interiors, trunks, rougher rides, light weight and sharp handling. Eh, no thanks.

    While the Mustang II was not perfect by any means it was closer to the Mustang vision than the big Thunderbird like Mustangs from 71-73, and I can appreciate either on the road.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Mustang II and second gen scion xB (as have already been noted). Just. No.

    I also think in some ways that the Toyota Echo was a disappointment after years of the Tercel.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yes. On all 3.

      I really liked the Tercel.
      I went and sat in an Echo when they first came out. I almost threw up. The interior looked like someone already had.

      I also liked the first xB. If Toyota was smart, they’d given us the *actual* second gen that Japan got, and the bloated ugly thing we got as the second gen could’ve been a different model.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Yeah, the interior styling is weird (even apart from the center instruments) as is the high-hat external shape. Mechanically, the Echo is a step forward with the timing chain and mileage bump.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Isuzu Impulse –from first to second generation.

  • avatar
    djsyndrome

    Toyota takes the cake here, having spit out a string of bad follow-ups for nearly 30 years

    Matrix
    Scion xB
    Scion xD vs xA (name change but same base car – the ist – underneath)
    SW20 MR2 to MR2 Spyder
    Celica (steady downhill descent after ST185 All-Trac)
    Lexus IS300 > IS250/IS350
    AE86 > AE101
    Tercel > Vitz/Platz/Yaris/Echo (noted above)
    RAV 4 Gen 3 > Gen 4 (R.I.P. V6)

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      I don’t think RAV4.4 is any worse than RAV4.3. Nobody needed that crazy power figures, and everyone asked for a liftgate, and there it is. Sales figures confirm the view. The 2.5L phased in at a mid-cycle for RAV4.3. They are probably going to drop the 2.0t in there.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Sentra SE-R. WTF nissan. I still have never forgiven you for what you did.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    3rd Generation Mitsubishi Eclipse (compared to the 1st and 2nd Generations)
    3rd Generation Mazda Miata (compared to 1st and 2nd generations)
    Any GM W-Body that was previously a G-Body
    3rd Generation Ford Taurus (compared to the 2nd generation)
    The Current Ford Explorer that went unibody
    The current Nissan Pathfinder that went unibody

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I think NC Miata gets a lot of undue hate. It has actual power (167hp), 5-lug wheels, and most of the performance goodies come standard. An early NC is a performance bargain, especially if you want to drop a grand on bilsteins and swaybars. IMO its the best Miata for boost too just because the supporting systems and chassis are better.

      The only downside to a NC is it’s not eligible for spec miata.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I like the NC as well. Plus, you can fit in an LS V8 without cutting the car apart.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        Agreed. Honestly the biggest letdown of a Miata I owned was my Mazdaspeed MX-5. You think you get the holy grail of a factory turbo and the Bilsteins underneath (Suspension wise they were pretty good), but then you have to ditch the heavy 17 inch rims if you want to get serious. Then the Transmission is not at all matched to the motor it feels like as you always had to shift in the meat of the boost it seemed…and it was notchy compared to the 5 speed. The Tuning sucked. It is like the marketing folks developed it rather than the engineers. While this was a recurring theme on the NB, I think the Mazdaspeed was the worst example of this.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          Interesting that you bring up the Mazdaspeed Miata. I’ve been looking at and driving a few NB Miatas recently, when a low-mileage Mazdaspeed version showed up. Maybe 1-2 grand more than a regular NB that’s a few years older. Something about it just doesn’t sit right with me, but I can’t stop looking at it.

          https://easternshore.craigslist.org/cto/6029012363.html

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            -Looks like it might have had a rear impact at some point, the passenger side view of the rear bumper looks wrong.

            -The interior is awfully worn for 60k miles.

            -Careful not to include a shot of license plate.

            -No contact phone number.

            -Price too low.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I don’t like the unibody Explorer, but it is an unquestioned sales success and it took some major reliability concerns away (the rear diff on the IRS models, the timing chain nightmare 4.0L SOHC).

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        It did. And really, the FWD unibody platform suits the customer base a lot better than the old BOF version. The Land Rover-esque styling help, too. I actually like the refreshed-for-2016 iteration, where the front-fascia was cleaned up quite a bit, but I’d never buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      Miata ND RF. Not as good as the NC PHRT.

      While the RF may look better, it suffers from restricted visibility when open compared to the NC/PHRT, and more wind buffeting compared NC/PHRT.

      The ND RF may be the better coupe, but the NC PHRT is the better convertible.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Porsche 996, 2017 Acura NSX

  • avatar
    TMA1

    The ’91-’02 RX-7 is one of the best sports cars of all time (when it works). The RX-8 that followed it seemed like a downgrade in every aspect except for the usable back seat.

    It’s kind of an odd selection, because there was a cooling off period for the rotary engine in the US. After years of not being able to buy one, US buyers had something to look forward to with the RX-8. I wonder if things were different for the Japanese, who still had the option of buying a new RX-7 in the 21st century.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    The latter half of the 70s saw both Ford and GM cripple their cars in performance, with engine horsepower dropping by at least a third for their most popular models and even worse for their so-called ‘economy’ models. V8 engines were reduced to V6 and some V6 dropped to I-4. Problem is, they made the major mistake of stretching the gearing of their transmissions to improve economy while forgetting that those crippled engines–especially the V6–simply didn’t have the torque to move the cars. Two very obvious examples were the Mustang and the Camaro, where the I-4 with lower gearing could out-accelerate their V6 siblings 0-60. We didn’t see much recovery until the early 80s as the Mustang moved into the Fox body and the Camaro/Firebird also received new bodies. The weight reduction along with more aerodynamic design helped the weaker engines while engine design itself started to improve and recover some of what it lost with the downsizing.

    Chrysler didn’t do quite as badly at first, with even their late-70s models still carrying decent power but their economy wasn’t as good with their lower models especially. The 318c.i.d. V8 I had under the hood of a ’79 Aspen achieved 25mpg on a 2000-mile cross-country drive but averaged about 19mpg on shorter highway runs; better than pickups then and somewhat better than full-sized pickups today. Of course, that was before their first bankruptcy. With the advent of the K-cars, Chrysler lost almost all of what they had retained by going to such boxy shapes while also dropping to even smaller engines. The gains made by the smaller engines were wasted by the relatively-poor aerodynamics. (The aerodynamics were better than would seem by their boxy appearance but the edginess still increased drag where more rounded edges in the 90s models showed a notable improvement.)

    So for me, the Malaise era is where we saw the real sucky vehicles, to which I doubt many people would disagree. But there’s more…

    Some brands have put themselves into a rut. While the 80s GM started to pull itself back up, in the late 90s they started trying to cut costs which honestly hurt them more than they realize. By roughly ’05 GM, at least for me, committed hara-kiri. One brand that had an incredibly-loyal following lost its individuality by having all of its models replaced by a GM import, simply badge-engineered to that brand. The things that had made that brand great were lost in their attempt to save that import brand. Less than four years later, Saturn, Pontiac and Oldsmobile were shut down–all despite formerly-loyal customers simply because badge-engineering was failing and those three brands had lost almost all of their individuality and identity.

    Ford, too, made mistakes that nearly cost them their logo itself as they struggled to create identity out of mediocrity. Some of those mistakes cost lives and property while others just added to their reputation for poor reliability (except, for some reason, their trucks.) With the aid of a massive loan, they re-designed their entire product lineup while also divesting themselves of some costly acquisitions. The only reason they didn’t receive that government bailout is that they indebted themselves heavily earlier and put that money to good use. Not that their products are any better than before, mind you, but they really improved sales with a new look and somewhat shared bodies between US and EU models.

    But Chrysler, too, made a mistake in their “merger between equals” with Daimler. That merger cost Chrysler in many ways, most critical of which was the sale of their electronics division to Bosch. Daimler also drove a lot of cost-cutting efforts that affected the reliability of their vehicles, including their trucks, even though the new design of the Wrangler was a surprising success. Daimler bailed before they could be dragged down into Chrysler’s bankruptcy.

    Today? Ford still not so great. GM is worse than Ford in many ways, though they remain the top US company (outside of Tesla for market captialization) but FCA seems to be showing the strongest recovery despite all the negativity surrounding it.

    • 0 avatar
      ArialATOMV8

      your post reminds me of something my uncle told me when I was little. He said any muscle car made in or after the model year 1970? is held back by regulations which decreased the fun. True Muscles cars are unrestricted in power, emmissions, and style.

      Back in the day, this same uncle had a 68 Firebird Formula 400 that started out with 335 hp and he upgraded it himself all the way up to somewhere over 800. Eventually, he made it so powerful, the back bumper came off and at that point, he had ruined the car to the point where it was no longer fun for him.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      So, Ford sucks, GM sucks, FCA rules. You could have just said that without making up “facts” and writing a novel about it.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      What pray tell does Chrysler build that is a leader in its class? Wrangler? Well nobody else really plays there.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Grand Cherokee. We know, you hate it, but it is fantastic in its class.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Because its “class” is a two row SUV that can go off road. So, its pretty much a class of two, the 4Runner being the only other I can think of.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Oh oh, I know another!

            G-Wagon

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Its class is “midsize 2 row crossovers”. Car and Driver compares it to the Durango, Edge, Murano, Sorento, Sante Fe Sport, Touareg, 4Runner, and Journey.

            I’d argue you would also compare it to premium 2-row crossovers as well, like whatever they call the MB ML these days, the Lexus RX, maybe the Infiniti FX thingy, etc, and it compares really well there, too.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I agree that the Grand Cherokee is a sales-success. It routinely gets compared with FWD crossovers that lack low-range 4WD gearing, but it also gets compared with cars that are a lot more expensive than it is. A while back, we talked about cars that transcend class barriers, and I think the Grand Cherokee is one of them. It’s driven by millionaires and plebeians alike. Certainly it does better than its Dodge-badged sister (although I’m starting to see more of those as well).

            *However*, the Jeep and RAM brands are the only ones that do particularly well. Let us not forget that FCA basically gave up on the compact and mid-sized sedan segments, where most other manufacturers are still able to make it, despite the ongoing march toward crossovers. Let us also not forget that no other automaker—not even Volkswagen—is begging for a merger publicly the way that FCA is. And then there’s the fact that both of FCA’s namesake brands, Fiat and Chrysler, have relatively few cars in their respective lineups.

            I would say that Vulpine’s assessment of FCA’s success is a bit…disingenuous at best. FCA certainly is—and traditionally always has been—willing to give us interesting products that other manufacturers don’t or can’t make, from the niche Wrangler all the way to the ridiculous Hellcat and Demon models…but as a company, it’s in a distant third versus Ford and GM.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      “The gains made by the smaller engines were wasted by the relatively-poor aerodynamics. (The aerodynamics were better than would seem by their boxy appearance but the edginess still increased drag where more rounded edges in the 90s models showed a notable improvement.)”

      You could not be more wrong on this one. The Aspen/Volare, the larger Grand Fury and their counterparts could not have had worst drag coefficents if they tried. Trim, mirrors, and door hands that button hooked the wind, flat faced front ends with headlights that were far from flush, crease-and-tuck edges and large fender flares, a long square tail. I think they had a Cd of about 0.50.

      I can’t find the graphic now, but Chrysler made lots of minor aerodynamic tweeks with the K-Cars, as did Ford with the 1980 square T-Bird. Details like rounded corners and edges without the crease-and-tuck styling, faired in mirrors, open ended rain gutters, minimal fender flares, and smooth faces around the windshield edges and A pillar. The improvements were not huge compared to the aero generations that followed, but I think it gave the K-Cars a Cd of 0.40; 25% better than the cars that proceeded it.

      We owned a ’74 Fury II and two Volaries, followed by three Reliant wagons. While the Reliants felt lightweight and flimsy compared to the mid-70s Chryslers, that was more than made up by excellent fuel economy, good handling (all of the old Chryslers handled like battleships), and the ability to carry the same number of passengers in the same relative comfort, just less trunk space. The difference was like night and day; the ’90 Dodge Spirit returned some of the solidness that was missing in the K cars along with even better aerodynamics; it was a very good car that I hung onto past 200K until 2005; when I sold it; needing lots of deffered maintenance, but still running.

      It may have been a literal stretch when they replaced the M-Body cars with the stretched K Cars. But you heap too much praise on the M-Bodies; solid they were, but they drove like battleships, had lousy fuel economy, and for all of their solidness, they had terrible build quality and were no Mercedes. The K-Cars felt much better put together, though lighter and and more flimsy, and gave up little in the way of interior space.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        The aerodynamic tweaks I mentioned above are obvious if you compare the two pictures.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “You could not be more wrong on this one. The Aspen/Volare, the larger Grand Fury and their coounterparts could not have had worst drag coefficents if they tried. Trim mirrors, and door hands that button hooked the wind, flat faced front ends with headlights that were far from flush, a long square tail. I think they had a Cd of about 0.50.”

        — I didn’t argue that point; I clearly stated that the gains made by going to smaller engines were hurt by the poor but improved shapes of the K-cars (of which almost every Chrysler product except the largest and the smallest shared platforms.) The Omni was actually pretty good but even it wasn’t as squared off as the Ks and the bigger ones.

        “I can’t find the graphic now, but Chrysler made lots of minor aerodynamic tweeks with the K-Cars, as did Ford with the 1980 square T-Bird. Details like rounded corners and edges without the crease-and-tuck styling, faired in mirrors, open ended rain gutters, minimal fender flares, and smooth faces around the windshield edges and A pillar. The improvements were not huge compared to the aero generations that followed, but I think it gave the K-Cars a Cd of 0.40; far better than the cars that proceeded it.”
        — Agreed, which is why I stated, “The aerodynamics were better than they would seem…” I’ve seen that graphic too. But you also have to note that the slab sides and sharp edges down those sides contributed a lot of drag that the later, more rounded bodies eliminated.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      And what helped Detroit get back the horsepower they lost in the 1970s and early 1980s was fuel injection, followed by OBDI and ODBII. Until the widespread use of fuel injection and computerized engine management, Detroit had wrung everything they were going to get out of carburetors.

      The 2.2L in the K Cars wasn’t a great engine until it gained TBFI.

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    There are many models that made a shame of its previous generation. From recycling names to making a model so good, no modern one can surpass its excelence (Cherokee XJ and Toyota Land Cruiser 80 series)

    First up is the obvious from me: 80 series vs Mallcrawler 200 (US Spec)
    then I think of the…

    then a few other ones are…

    Mistusbisi Eclipse –> 2017 Mitsubishi Eclipse Crossover
    1964 Chevy Impala SS -> any modern Impala model
    4th Gen Chevy Camaro –> 5th generation (2000s)
    68 Firebird to its last incarnation (rebadged 5th gen Camaro)
    Jeep Cherokee XJ –> KJ (Liberty), KK [07 – 12], and the new KL [2014- today].

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      The 80 series was criticized when it came out but it has aquitted itself well as a true offroad vehicle and IMHO represents the pinnacle of the brand in that you still had The solid axle, lockers, and the inline six. Also got the full float rear on the 93 and up. It was a worthy successor to the 60 and better in most ways especially outside of North America where more utilitarian examples were still available.

      The 100 was where the compromise set in. Corporate V8, IFS that needed to be upgraded for serious wheeling. The 200 completed the transition to being to the Sequoia what the H2 was to the Tahoe.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I don’t really see where the 200 gives up a whole lot to the 100,

        “The 200 completed the transition to being to the Sequoia what the H2 was to the Tahoe.”

        I don’t follow the logic of what you’re trying to say here at all.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The 200 and Sequoia have nothing to do with each other mechanically, except for sharing an engine.

      • 0 avatar
        ArialATOMV8

        I agree with your point.

        My faimly had a pre-facelift base model 100 growing up and I feel that compromise paid off. It was slightly refined but, at the same time unrestricted in many ways. The ride quality was ballenced and, thanks to the solid rear axle, it drove like a tank in the rain and snow. It’s 4.7L V8 put a smile on my face and, unlike its rivials, its pickup was instant.

        Once, we filled up the trunk with trashcan stuffed to the brim with gravel. The 13 year old, 300,000 mile car handle it like a champ!

        With the 200, when I test drove a US spec one, the ride quality felt too eloquent and the car itself felt too refined. I was extremely disappointed.

        I test drove a old 80 up for sale once and, it was beautiful. It’s one of those cars that you fall in love with and,, want to cherish for ages. If I havin’t looked underneath and discovered the disintegrating undercarrage, I would have bought it.

        Overall, the 100 had it quirks but, it lived up to the Land Cruiser name. The 200 is capacities but too refined for me. The 80 is the pinnicle.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          So your complaint boils down to “It rides too well and is too comfortable.” It takes all kinds, I guess.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I think he’s like 17 years old, which is why there’s such a thing as “eloquent” ride quality.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Nah, I get him. Having a vehicle with some grittiness can be fun. I bet he’d enjoy one of the Toyota TRD Pro offerings. Too bad you can’t get a V8 in the 4Runner any longer.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            I think what he means by “it rides too well” is a nod to how it gives up some capability in the rocks to achieve that street ride. The 60 series was the opposite and the 80 is better in the rough stuff than both and better on the street than the 60.

            And I believe the Tundra and Sequoia chassis is derived from the 200 chassis

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “how it gives up some capability in the rocks to achieve that street ride.”

            *Citation needed

            A LC200 with KDSS outflexed(!!) a Wrangler on Edmunds’ ramp test. That’s not to say it had more wheel travel in front, but more so that it has insane travel in the rear axle that allow it to make it farther up a ramp that tests articulation.

            I totally get what you all are saying in terms of it getting too plush and soft riding, but don’t forget that it also got notable driveline and suspension improvements over the 100 in terms of improved durability.

            There is certainly some commonality in components between the US big trucks and the LC200, engines, huge 10.5 inch rear axle ring gear, maybe transfer cases with the Sequoia. And maybe there are some commonalities in sections of the frame, who knows. I’d more so see that as a bragging point for Tundra and Sequoia owners rather than a demerit to Land Cruiser owners.

          • 0 avatar
            ArialATOMV8

            Yeah i’m pretty young. I’m 19 year old college student currently working on majoring in computers.

            Even though I prefer traditional cars, after spending 2 hours re-reviewing the specs, I’ve come up with a new conclusion: things over time evolve. The Land Cruiser is one of those things.

            It started off as a rugged offroad vehicle. Now, its grown up but, still has many cards up its sleeves. Look at its features. You have a cooler in the center console, Its Entune App suite intigrates with your phone for a connected experience, ventelated and heated seats and heated rear seats, heated steering wheel the list goes on and on.

            However, because of its Multi-Terrain monitor, Kinetic Dynamic Suspension system, Limited slip Diff, Multi terrain settings (5 in total) and Crawl Control, this new incarnation still has offroad practically use in mind.

            The 80 series still has a sedimentary value in my heart and, at the end of the day, its younger brother (the J200) still gets the job done but, in a more unique way.

  • avatar
    Yaemish

    The 2005 Cadillac STS that replaced the Seville STS/SLS. Say what you want about the Northstar and the 4-speed transmission of the 98-04 Seville, it was a stately car. The 2005 saw the introduction of that ugly body design and horrible plastic interior.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Sixth-gen VW Passat. It wasn’t a terrible car, but certainly it was not A4-with a VW badge on it that the 5th gen was.

    • 0 avatar
      never_follow

      Came here to say just that. The B5 was, dollar for dollar, the best buy in the midsize segment for a good five year stretch.

      Yes, they had proper German car maintenance requirements, but they handled properly at supralegal speeds, were efficient, and could be had with real quattro and a 5 speed.

      After that, the B6 was a total let down.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Even the B6 Passat was okay. True, it wasn’t on the longitude-FWD setup that the Audis have traditionally used, but it was still a proper VW. I think the real letdown was the low-rent 2012-later model…which only recently became alluring when VW facelifted it for 2016, lowered the MSRPs, and gave it class-competitive features.

        • 0 avatar
          never_follow

          Yes, that’s true. The dumbed down B7 where it diverged from first world VW to being shared with China was the beginning of the end. You could say the same for the Jetta, which has also managed to get better and more VWlike as the years have gone on. In fact, I’d say the Jetta is actually a pretty good value nowadays.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I agree with that last statement wholeheartedly!

            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/01/ended-arms-base-model-volkswagen-jetta/

  • avatar
    eCurmudgeon

    Infiniti Q50.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    GM Intermediates from 72 to the 73 Model. This can be applied to pretty much any model changeover during that 72-74 timeframe however when cars went from cool to malaise.

    My inner 4×4 would toss out the 97-98 Land Cruiser (80 series to 100 series. Death of the straight six and solid front axle.

    94-95 Camry comes to mind as well, and the Original Taurus to the Oval one.

  • avatar

    4th & 5th generation Dodge Charger–basically a cheap Chrysler Cordoba and a 2 door Omni.

    The 80’s Shelby Charger gets a pass.

  • avatar
    denster2u

    I would say the 2011+ MK6 VW Jetta is a perfect example of a vehicle that sucked (badly), compared to the previous generation MK5 Jetta. While the 2006-2010 MK5 Jetta was a finely engineered and built vehicle, VW decided to chase market share back in 2011, and took the cost cutting axe to the Jetta, shedding it’s German pedigree to compete on price with every other econo-box in the segment, and switching to a cheaper-to-build U.S.specific platform. The result was an utter disaster, and a slap in the face to traditional VW buyers. While the 2.5L 5-cylinder was not an epitome of refinement, it was replaced as the base engine, by an anemic 110HP 2.0L 4-cylinder. The IRS was swapped out for a solid beam rear axle, and the soft touch interior dash and trim was replaced by acres of hard plastic. VW basically reverse-engineered a Chevy Cobalt. Even after years of refinement and backpedaling from VW, to restore the Jetta to it’s former glory, there is still a night and day difference between this platform, and the benchmark VW Golf. VW can’t get the Jetta on it’s new MQB platform soon enough.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Acura kept doing this with its top-line sedans, which is why they pretty much don’t sell any of them anymore.

    The first RL kept (actually, improved) the impeccable build quality of the second-gen Legend, but took out all of the the sportiness and prettiness.

    The second RL added some of the sportiness back (thanks to SH-AWD and the J37), but lost some of the build quality and all of the interior room.

    The RLX lost all remaining build quality advantage over its Accord-platform siblings and lost all sportiness again (except for the vaporware Sport Hybrid). Today, it’s nothing more than a Lexus ES competitor that they are trying to sell for $10k+ more than a similarly equipped ES.

  • avatar
    Messerschmitten

    I’ll go super retro: The second-gen Cadillac Eldorado was an ugly, amorphous blob compared to its amazing predecessor.

    Yes, the second-gen continued on with the fine drivetrain and added the convertible option. But I can’t imagine the bankers, lawyers, and doctors (who had lined up to purchase the first-gen editions) had been clamoring for more bloat and simulated “jet” intakes.

    Although the first-gen Toronado was a landmark design as well, at least Olds was wise enough – come Planned Obsolescence Day – to say to Cadillac, “Hey. If you aren’t gonna use that Eldo design anymore, can we copy it for the next eight years?”

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      Well, since you broke the ice… how about the 1958 Continental? A lumpy, dumpy highway cruiser which followed a legendary example of the pinnacle of American design and engineering.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Fourth Gen Accords:

    Mechanically many things were improved, more hp, better automatics,but the interior wasnt quite as nice, the trunk way too short and stubby, and things like the IAC and FITV were VERY annoying to get to vs the previous model.

    Volvo S/V90:

    Basically a by then ancient Volvo 960, but with all the crap from an 850 tacked into it while still having flakey electronics and cheapo interiors. Plus, the front end always looked like an 80’s Mercury to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      Are you sure 4th gen Accord? I’ve owned 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gen and the 4G interior was by far the best of the three.

      Do you mean the 5G (1994-1997)? It had a stubby trunk, but I thought the interior was nicer than the 4G.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I meant the 5th gen yes, the interior was a bit “flakier” than my fourth gen model with little clips and junk broken off. 5Th gen has much nicer cup holders.

        The 6th gen was a step in the right direction, take the 5th gen and improve it while going back to having a real trunk and make the timing belt not a pita to change.

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      4th generation brought standard fuel injection. That feature alone has kept thousands of these buzzing around on the road with over 300,000 miles. The only shortcoming I can relate to with the interior is probably the door fabric falling off the doors, and the automatic seatbelts on the 1990 model. Other minor issues would be the main relay or distributor. Rust is probably the worst in the northern states.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      If anything, the 1990-1993 Accord was the pinnacle of classic Honda, a slightly-more-refined and larger version of the much-loved 3rd-generation.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I think Ryoku got generations mixed up and was referring to the 94-97 cars as 4th gens.

        I’m a bit conflicted. I guess at the end of the day I prefer the exterior/interior design of the 4th gen, I always thought that some Americanization crept in for the 5th gen. But the 5th gen gained some width, and NVH and ride improvements. I wouldn’t turn down a clean used 5spd example of either one!

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I did yah.

          I think the 6th gen combines the best attributes of both generations, even if I’m not too keen on the Americanised front grille.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “both generations, even if I’m not too keen on the Americanised front grille.”

            I’ll have to disagree strongly there. Gen 6 was when they went whole hog with the Americanization and Camry-fication IMO, and also started to see the auto transmission issues show up in earnest. Still good cars, but an accelerated loss of classic Honda “flavor.”

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Even the 6th-gen was alright. I feel like they lost the plot with the bubbly 7th-gen (2003-2007), and really don’t like the 8th-gen at all (2008-2012). However, I do like the current one.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Agreed Kyree, all had their strengths, with an emphasis on more comfort, power, NVH control. The 7th gen was a particularly strong step up IMO in that the 4cyl motor jumped up to a torquey chain driven K24. Having driven/ridden in a few 7th gens recently, I’m impressed with how responsive and refined that powertrain is, even with the automatic. Does not feel at all outdated even 14 years after being introduced (unsurprisingly then Honda still uses a modernized K24 as a mainstream motor).

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            “Gen 6 was when they went whole hog with the Americanization and Camry-fication”

            How so? Beyond the size and mediocre front end styling.

            I know the 6th gen got a smoother automatic if less reliable as you said. I’ll give the fifth gen a point there for having the best auto (I actually liked the firm shifts).

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    My two major regresses would be the 1986 E-body Eldorado, the Riviera and the Toronado which went from elegant decent quality pieces from 1979-85 (HT4100’s and diesels not withstanding) to these comical shrunken parodies of there former selves with overall length and styling that similar to the 10K cheaper N-bodies.

    The other would be the Pinto based 1974 Mustang II which lacked a V8, offered a sluggish 2.3 and a rubbish 2.8 german V6 and offered poor handling, braking and steering for the time.

    Two runners up would be the 1976 Volare/Aspen from the far better Valiant/Dart which were utterly horrible in there early years with fenders that rotted away the moment you started driving them
    to cantankerous lean burn carburetors to shoddy workmanship to electrical gremlins to just about everything save the still good Slant six and 318 engine themselves.

    The other two cars are also Chrysler products. The lousy 2005 Avenger/Sebring. The interiors were some of the worst seen by this company, the driving dynamics were poor, neither the sluggish 2.4 or the problematic 2.7 were worth a crap and the old 3.5 tied to a 6 speed was the only mill that provided anything resembling power. I don’t remember one good review of these turds. There immediate predecessors were better cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yeah, GM ruined those models. Basically, the company forecast higher fuel prices and a flock to smaller cars, when in reality, the opposite happened. It pretty much killed the Toronado then and there. GM sort of made amends with the expressive 8th-gen Riviera—although build quality suffered—but that still couldn’t save the nameplate. And the Eldorado soldiered on unceremoniously until 2002 or so, as the ETC.

      True, the “affordable personal-luxury-coupe” market was in freefall, but I think GM could have eked a few more good years out of its PLCs if it hadn’t been for those dreadful late-eighties models.

      • 0 avatar
        la834

        The ’86 GM E bodies (Toro/Riv/Eldo/Seville) were the first example I thought of. The old ones were body-on-frame with the longitudinal V8 base Utitized Powerplant Package (tranny neatly tucked into engine) or on tome Buicks a turbo V6 instead. Very luxurious, roomy interiors with completely flat floors. The ’86 models looked like the half-their-price N body (Calais, Somerset, Grand Am) and had similar engineering to boot (transverse V6, unibody, sizible lumps mid-floor, etc.). Tiny, uncomfortable back seats, larger but still uncomfortable front seats with cheaper-looking surroundings. Sales *plummeted* on for all three brands despite heavy promotion, with ’86 sales being about 1/3 of ’85 sales.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          From what I can tell, the E-body cars were significantly more substantial than their N-body counterparts, and no one who drove the two would have thought they were the same. But it didn’t matter. The styling didn’t reflect that.

          I’ve heard other people also tell me the ’79-’85 E-Bodies were body-on-frame, but I’ve never seen any evidence of that. Based on my research, they could have just as easily been partial or full unibody cars.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Yeah, GM ruined those models.”

        Literally.
        Shaking.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      ’86 Toronado. Absolutely loved mine; it had the transverse rear spring supposedly similar to the Corvette. That is, I loved it ’til the day the nylon timing gear shredded… long, LONG before the engine reached 100K miles. Engine only got about 30 more miles after repair before trading for a ’96 Camaro. Used car lot just swapped engines in it rather than performing a full valve job.

  • avatar
    jhefner

    “The failure may have been in the sales charts, where a new generation entered into a market that had moved on to other competitors, or a different type of vehicle altogether. Maybe quality fell off a cliff, or powertrain options were not as robust or as plentiful. Or perhaps the styling was so bad as to be off-putting to the consumer.”

    Can’t argue with any of the above picks, but I will also throw out the second generation (1994–1998) Ford Scorpio. The tax break that came with Executive cars in the UK was taken away, so the market for executive cars dried up as well. But the situation was made worst by styling that could make the catfish Ford Taurus look good; it has made worst car lists based on it’s styling alone, which come compared to a frog. While Ford claimed it still met their sales expectations, they also never disclosed who came up with the styling for it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Scorpio

    It is one of the few Ford cars of that era that I cannot find a small scale diecast or paper model of it; though several larger scale examples are still languishing on e-bay. Ford replaced the Scorpio with Jaguar models when they acquired Jaguar in 1989.

  • avatar
    la3541

    BMW e90 2011 vs f30 2012

  • avatar
    Mn12Fanatic

    As bad as the last gen Grand Am was, the G6 was much worse. It is the embodiment of all of the reasons GM went out of business. Cold, plasticy interior coupled with all the other cheap bits.

    Also, the 2nd gen stratus/sebring (cloud cars) were awful. Not only did chrysler and mitsubishi ruin the eclipse together, but they spread that awfulness across the whole badge engineered mess. Except, the coupe and the 4 door were entirely different cars. They threw out the Mitsu derived v6 in the 4 doors and brought in the awful 2.7 sludge death prone v6. Now, the 6g73 wasn’t anything to write home about but it ran pretty decently in my Cirrus; shotty chrysler electronics/wiring not withstanding. As far as I can tell the 6g72 in the coupes was ok as long as you changed out the timing belt before the interference engine ate itself. Lastly, they plastified the interior and got rid of all the nice padded stuff in the 1st gen cloud. The third gen cloud (at this point avenger/sebring) was even more of a turd…

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I’d say the G6 was better than the Grand Am. It just wasn’t enough of an improvement.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        The G6 was one of the intermediate stages of the perpetual revisions that turned the 2003 Malibu into the 2008 Malibu.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          My colleague at work loved her 2008 G6 sedan with the 2.4. She kept that car up until late last year and traded for a Jeep Compass which has been in the shop a total of 5 times already. She wishes she held on to the Pontiac longer.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    The Thunderbird to consider was the 1983 edition. It was a handsome car and drove pretty well. For some reason Ford was reluctant to continue concentrating on it as a desirable car. They’d offer a turbo 4 option but wouldn’t go whole hog and put in a strong V8. Instead they tacked on a weird grills, and in 1989 brought out a whole new remodel with ungainly tall windows that did not fit the rest of the body. I have no idea who this was supposed to appeal to.

    Similarly, when the Taurus was launched in ’85 it was startling pretty, but then started on a long campaign of getting homely.

    Was it the loss of then-CEO Phillip Caldwell? After he left (in ”85) Ford design once again veered toward claptrap. And two cars that should’ve been Ford standard-bearers were brushed aside.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      “They’d offer a turbo 4 option but wouldn’t go whole hog and put in a strong V8.”

      Step up to a Lincoln.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Edsel&Corey: Say hello to my 1984 FILA edition T-Bird with a 5.0 L V8. Came with a FILA gym bag and some FILA branded clothing and a custom interior.

        And Corey regarding the ‘pop up’ headlights comment I made, you missed that it is a Richard Hammond quote.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          You have to use more of the quote if you want me to know it’s a Top Gear!
          And I’ve seen the ad for the FILA Thunderbird, and it was oh-so-cool.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            To paraphrase ‘pop up headlights and stripes make any car better’.

            The FILA was a ‘special order’, quite rare and we considered it something of a ‘rocket’ at the time. Our last domestic PLC and it nearly erased some of the bad memories of the ’78 T-Bird that tried to kill me on numerous occasions.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I call that 1989–1997 Thunderbird the “trailer-park edition.” It was actually a rather advanced car under the sheetmetal—partially because Ford spent way too much money on the MN12 platform that underpinned it—but it marked the transition from when the Thunderbird went from a desirable, genuinely cool car to something best parked on the lawn.

      So, yeah, trailer-park edition. And if you were fancy and had yourself a double-wide, you got the sister-platform Cougar, with its weird and unwelcome formal roofline.

      I do, however, like the Mark VIII that’s on an extended-wheelbase version of that platform.

      • 0 avatar
        427Cobra

        I had both… I bought a ’96 Thunderbird LX Sport (moonlight blue/grey leather)new, back in the day… nice car… had the SuperCoupe wheels & some suspension goodies. I bought it because I could not afford the extra $10k to get a ’96 Impala SS in black cherry. In 2001, I bought a ’98 Mark VIII LSC Spring Feature Edition… 1 of 117. Amazing road car… fast… comfortable… quiet… and economical. But all the electronic doo-dads on that car were expensive as hell. The xenon headlights… the electrochromic mirrors… the neon taillamp… yada yada yada. I still have a yen for a ’95 Thunderbird SuperCoupe… provided it has the rarer manual trans. That blown 3.8L has a neat little cult following, and they can be made QUITE fast.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        It wasn’t a trailer park car in the ’90s. My 7th grade English teacher had one. They may have fallen down the economic ladder in the ’00s, but mostly they just disappeared.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Edsel, don’t knock it until you have seen out of it. The visibility in the MN12 cars is very good.

      My personal opinion is that the MN12 Thunderbird and Cougar were less “mullety” than the Fox platform ones, if anything.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      I remember the 1989 introduction of the new T-Bird. Was disappointed it lacked a V8 option and that it gained weight making the base 3.8 rather sluggish. The Super Coupe was pretty neat though even if it’s engine suffered from some issues.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Know what’s dumb? An article asking readers to submit their candidates for “vehicles that sucked compared to the previous generation” on a website comment system that does not allow photos.

    The author can show before and after photos, make his point both visually and in his copy. But we, the commentariat, cannot. And because of this, it blows as an article topic and group conversation.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I thought for a moment this would be a knock on the M body. Thankfully no. I had an 87 Diplomat that was absolutely unkillable and wore like iron. Loved that car. The Y platform cars had good points though. They rode very nicely, were roomy and had the 3.3/3.8 liter which was a good motor.

  • avatar
    Zeitgeist

    Mercedes W201 -> W202
    Mercedes W124 -> W210

  • avatar

    The C3 (1968-1982) Corvettes deserve special mention for getting worse year by year within the production run.

    Coming off of the gorgeous C2 (and keeping its chassis), the 1968 at least had some pretty hot engines to go with its debatable body refresh. From there, it was largely downhill.

    Power kept dropping until the low point was reached in 1975, when the base Corvette had 165 hp. Then the un-hits kept coming: awkward new bumpers and other odd restyling; tape-and-paint special editions; 1980 saw the manual only available with the base motor (don’t even ask about the “Callifornia special” drivetrain); 1982 finished off the series nicely by being automatic-only.

    For better or for worse, as all these indignities were heaped upon the ‘Vette, it got more popular. They sold nearly 54,000 cars in 1979.

    The 1984 C4 couldn’t come soon enough.

    (It’s amazing in retrospect that Chevrolet introduced a chassis in 1963 and saw fit to keep it around, minimally changed, for 20 years! On their dedicated high-performance model!)

  • avatar
    la834

    Nobody’s yet mentioned the Datsun 510 (’68-’73) being replaced by the 710 (and to an extent the 610 as well). The 510 was a cut-rate BMW 2002. The 710 was a repugnant-looking, mechanically-cheaped-out thing that lacked everything that made the 510 alluring (and classic).

  • avatar
    la834

    Also, the 1956 Packard Caribbean and Patrician were replaced with, what?!?

  • avatar
    CGHill

    1998 Mazda 626. Same old engines, but a somewhat bloated look and a suspension softened to twenty-year-old Buick levels. And the oscillating front air vents were dumbed down.

    The suspension issues, at least, were fixed for 2000.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      I found the 626 that debuted circa 1993 inferior to the 1988 iteration. The ’88 was mostly an improvement on the ’83-’87 generation, but there was some cheapening out equipment-wise.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    I had a late 1st generation Isuzu Impulse that I loved! It looked fantastic, had a cool interior design and layout, was rear wheel drive, and, had its dirty bits massaged by Lotus.

    The 2nd generation , though it was available in turbo-charged/AWD form, just never appealed to me. The styling and design was all wrong, and, FWD in most forms.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Super Beetle New Beetle couldn’t touch You Know What Practice Makes in sales.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    M-body faux luxury vs K-car faux luxury?

    This is sick sick stuff.

    More please.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      I think the FWD Fifth Avenue was way better. The old RWD version looked antiquated even when it was new; it just couldn’t hide its obvious Volare roots. The FWD model may have been based on the original K cars but nothing you could see or feel looked like a 1981 Reliant. Drivetrains also a big upgrade from the early K cars, at least until the Ultradrive broke.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Hey, the M-body had real, solid luxury in it.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Chrysler 2nd gen LH’s. Worse engines, worse interiors, uglier styling, and the Ultradrive fiasco still in full swing.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Yes the LH’s were quality control nightmares at times, the 2.7 was rubbish, the 3.5 was hard to service and required a pricey timing belt replacement in that tight engine bay and the Ultra-drive transmission was still problematic.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “the 3.5 was hard to service and required a pricey timing belt replacement in that tight engine bay ”

        I was under the impression that the longitudinal layout made the 3.5L t-belt change not too bad of a job.

        http://www.underhoodservice.com/servicing-the-chrysler-3-5l-engine/

        “Replacing a timing belt on a 3.5L V6 is typically a two- to three-hour job, so the cost of preventive maintenance is relatively cheap compared to what a broken timing belt could cost the vehicle owner.”

  • avatar
    MoparDave

    Both of these were foisted upon us during the Damlier-Benz occupation of Chrysler…
    *Gen 2 Dodge Durango—they took a really good looking and versatile vehicle (Gen. 1) and hit it with the ugly stick. The styling reminded me of the old tin toy blimps from the 30’s/40’s (complete with the wheels suffering from a comically narrow track).The plasticy hell-hole of an interior didn’t help things much, either.
    *Gen 3 Dakota–let’s take a really good-looking, popular vehicle, bloat up the outside, cheapen the interior, jack up the price beyond the Ram 1500, and watch sales drop like a rock.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Spot on.

      A always admire a clean gen 1 Durango or gen 2 Dakota quad cab 4wd when I see one. I wince at Gen 3 Dakotas and awkwardly proportioned gen 2 Durangos.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Or the rebadged Dakota that was the Mitsubishi Raider…remember that one? At least it wore a better front-fascia (IMO) than the Dodge version.

        Or there was Suzuki, who got its briefs in a bind because people weren’t transporting their Suzuki power-toys with Suzuki trucks, so they quickly rebadged Frontiers.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      They sure did. And then they chromed it out and made a Chrysler version, and tried to say it was basically an Escalade or Navigator for substantially less money.

      Yeah, you get what you pay for, because it was substantially less car than either of those…


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