By on January 24, 2018

Image: 1993 Jeep Grand WagoneerBack in December, Matthew Guy penned an interesting QOTD post soliciting your picks for the most outrageous new car introduction. In the case of the new-for-1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Bob Lutz drove Chrysler’s new (and important) SUV up a set of stairs at Cobo Hall and through a plate glass window. History revealed the hype to be justified: the Grand Cherokee became an instant success, finding its way into suburban middle-class driveways across America.

Sometimes, though, the new product doesn’t live up to the manufacturer’s hype before introduction. Let’s talk disappointment.

Hold on, that’s not the disappointing bit — it’s the thing that created the subsequent disappointment years later. As your heart rate settles back down, let me explain. Honda wanted to bring a new sporty car to the market for 2011.

The idea behind said new vehicle was very promising, and very simple. Honda wanted to resurrect the ever-desirable CR-X (1984-1991) into a brand new two-seat hatchback. The key characteristics from the original CR-X were on order for this new vehicle. Honda’s CEO himself said the new CR-Z was to be sporty, incredibly efficient, and inexpensive.

Image: Honda CR-Z ConceptqDisplayed all the way back in 2007 at the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda was keen to explain that CR-Z stood for “Compact Renaissance Zero.” The Renaissance part was capturing the spirit of the original CR-X. The concept looked promising.

What was delivered for the 2011 model year was not. A 1.5-liter inline-four engine and an electric motor powered the (hybrid only) CR-Z, making a combined 122 horsepower. Though it was small, the hatchback weighed 2,670 pounds with a manual transmission. For reference, the second generation CR-X Si weighed 2,103 pounds, and had a 1.6-liter VTEC engine producing 108 horsepower.

Paired with a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT, the CR-Z qualified as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV), managing a 31 mpg/37 mpg fuel economy rating when equipped with the manual. Marginal efficiency for a hybrid.

The inexpensive part was sort of forgotten, too. The CR-Z cost between $19,000 and around $24,000 in 2011, where the CR-X Si topped out at $11,000 in 1991 ($20,146 inflation adjusted).

And that most important quality, the “sporty?” Well, it wasn’t really there. Media outlets were generally unimpressed with how the CR-Z drove. Car and Driver reported the CR-Z was “…not terribly fun to drive,” and cited the Accord Hybrid’s superior fuel economy and much larger size.

Public opinion matched the car mags, and the CR-Z was short-lived — killed off after the 2016 model year to make room for the upcoming Clarity and Accord Hybrid models.

What’s your pick for a new car which just didn’t live up to the OEM hype?

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda]

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135 Comments on “QOTD: Which Cars Failed to Meet the OEM’s Hype?...”


  • avatar
    Clueless Economist

    All Nissan Maximas failed to live up to the hype.

    • 0 avatar
      DearS

      I would disagree with the 1989-1994 Maxima. Those cars had good HP and great steering feedback very few FWD cars can match in my experience.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      Have to disagree – the 1985 to 1994 Maximas were among the best near-upscale sedans of the time. They performed and handled well and could be had with manuals.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Came here to post this.

      Not disappointed.

      The new Maxima was launched as A “4 Door Sports Car” inspired by the 370z

      I of course then expected over 300 HP and a manual transmission.

      What we got was a lame sedan like every other sedan. The only inspiration from the 370z is the advertising hype.

      I feel like nissan lied to me.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Any manual transmission Maxima – I can get behind.

        The current one? No. It looks like a styling exercise photoshoped onto an Altima.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          I owned/leased 4 of the SE Maximas, all with manuals. The ‘89 was brilliant, a really great car, the ‘93 was still a great car. The ‘95 and ‘97 had the first VX engines (which were much better than the previous V6) but lost some of that high-quality feel of the previous cars. They began a steady decline that has lasted to this day. The death of the manual version killed any appeal.

          • 0 avatar
            cbrworm

            Yeah, I had a few Maxima SE manuals. The ’00 was the end of the run for me. The previous generations were better than I could’ve asked for.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Commercials lie.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Have to disagree. The newer Maximas, sure but the older ones were very good. Keep in mind 20-25 years ago, sports-sedans were few and far between. BMW was really just about the only game in town and were considerably more expensive. Maximas were affordable, drove well, and were high quality for their time.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            A VQ30 equipped maxima with a stick could embarrass some much more expensive and/or sporty metal away from a light, I believe it was 6.5 seconds 0-60 back in ’95. The automatics were slower but still quite quick for the class, could easily run with any six cylinder E39 Bimmer. Ride/handling balance was admittedly not quite at RWD German levels, but it wasn’t bad or incompetent either.

            Newer ones, yeah they sort of stagnated relative to the automotive field as a whole, dropping the stick shift and adopting CVTs was the nail in the coffin, that and the Altima V6 being right there performance wise.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        ‘89 saw the launch of both the new, non-boxy Maxima and the Taurus SHO, A car that I lusted after to replace my Mustang GT (‘89 saw the birth of my first child). After the local Ford dealer kind of jerked me around with ADM, I ended up at the Nissan dealer and discovered that the Maxima was a better car and $3K cheaper to boot.

        The SHO with its 24-valve 220 HP Yamaha engine didn’t feel all that much more powerful than the 180 in the Maxima.

        At the time 220 out of a V6 was a big deal. For 300HP in a
        Mustang, you had to wait a couple of years.

        So, in terms of disappointment I nominate the SHO Taurus.

        • 0 avatar
          cbrworm

          The first gen SHO was awesome for what it was, especially considering how much of departure it was from the base Taurus handling and power wise. As they aged, the SHO was revealed to very difficult to work on – unlike the almost anvil reliable Nissan. The Nissan had faults too, but they were easily fixed. The SHO would have you pulling your hair out before the intake manifold was off.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Pontiac Montana. “Maybe it’s not a minivan.” Yeah, it was a minivan, and not a very good one either.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Dodge Dart. Enough said about that one.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      Hype? FCA barely marketed it. It’s also one of the only cases I can recall where the OEM (Sergio, specifically) badmouthed it’s own product.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam Hall

        I was disappointed that they made the Dart instead of bringing over the Alfa Guilia. But that’s inside baseball. What mystifies me about the Dart, besides the lack of marketing, is the name. FCA had lots and lots of brand equity in the Neon name, and a car that looked entirely in line with previous Neon styling while having a modern interior and good performance and handling–and they changed the name. Why? With a little marketing budget behind it we’d all be talking about the amazing comeback of the Neon today, instead of the sad fizzling of the Dart.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          The way it was launched the car would have failed even with a name like “Guaranteed Casual Sex Coupe 2.0L RS”. Sergio and Co., p!ssed all over the Dart’s brand equity instead of the Neon’s.

          Besides, in some circles, the Neon didn’t have that great of a rep.

          • 0 avatar
            Sam Hall

            In the circles of people who bought it, it had a good rep. Some wackos even raced it ;)

            I agree that the way it was actually launched was terrible. I’d be tempted to put on my tinfoil hat and think it was deliberate, if not for the similar failure of the Chrysler 200 (for more understandable reasons)

            But as I said, I think if they called it Neon and put a decent marketing campaign behind it–connected to the old Neon campaign instead of the old Dart that nobody in the target demographic has much connection to–it could have been successful.

          • 0 avatar
            Mike G

            +1 for the fictitious name

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            @Sam Hall: Don’t get me wrong, I personally loved the original Neon. I used to travel a lot more for work in the 90’s, I’d get a Neon when I could.

            I really wanted to buy a Nitro Green R/T, but baby #2 needed a lot of attention.

        • 0 avatar
          Marko

          Ironically, the “Neon” currently sold in Mexico is a rebadged Fiat Egea.

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        Sergio paid Tom Brady to grace a commercial with his presence.

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      What have you been smoking? The Dodge Dart was one of the best and most successful of the American compacts. The combination of a Slant-Six or small-block V8 with Torqueflite tranny and torsion-bar front suspension in a compact body made for a great package. Chrysler should have just updated that design rather than coming out with the godawful Aspen/Volare as a replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      cbrworm

      The Dart and the 200 were not done properly. Marketing, model release timing, build quality – they were all out of whack. They may have both been decent cars, but we will never know.

  • avatar
    tp33

    -Volt
    -Titan XD
    -1999 SVT Cobra

    And the absolute worst, the 2004 GTO (remember those ominous “GTO is coming” commercials), because who wouldn’t want pontiac sunfire styling with an LS1?

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      I like the 2004 GTO precisely because of the unassuming (but handsome) coupe styling. It doesn’t attract too much unwanted attention. Has everyone forgotten that the original GTO was just a hotted-up everyday Pontiac Tempest?

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Yes everyone did forget the rather plain original GTO, instead everyone remembers the over the top Judge with lots of fake aero bits, and logo and stripes decals. They should have at least put the twin fake air scoops on the 2004, however, which would have been the perfect tribute to the 64.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          A true homage to the orginal GTO would have seen them dropping a V6 and slick shifting manual into the Sunfire or the G5 coupe.

          But then the purists would have howled.

      • 0 avatar
        hpycamper

        tonyola
        Everyday cars were more stylish then, than now. That era, cars were not designed to look like appliances. The last GTO looked dull.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I like the Marauder and Prowler, but they both needed to be faster.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Marauder was definitely a cool concept with not enough motor. It really needed supercharging or the big 6.2L slung out front. As it stood, 7.5 seconds 0-60? An automatic 1990s Maxima I mentioned above could run with it.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        It needed a stick too (as crazy as that sounds for me), instead you got the same 4-speed auto as the regular models iirc.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        A converter did wonders for those cars. Ford couldn’t easily fit anything larger than the 4.6 4v in the Marauder so the 5.4, 5.8 and 6.2 were a no go as the 6.2 was a tight fit even for the massive S-197 Mustang engine bay.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    The whole Alfa brand…

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Because nobody praises the Giulia for how it drives? For the power in the Quadrifoglio? For how it looks?

      If you’re talking about quality issues, that’s a subject for another day. No part of the “hype” about the car said that it would rival Lexus in quality and reliability. Its Italian, hiccups are expected.

  • avatar
    phlipski

    Plymouth Prowler – it needed a V8 to back up those looks.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ: Based on the hype at the time (including this very blog) you’d think it was the Second Coming.

    2nd Gen Honda Insight: Honestly, it looked like a Chinese copy of the Prius.

    Mazda6: A gorgeous car, now with turbo power. Crappy leases and low bargaining ability keep it on the bench, especially against the CamCord.

    Fiat 500 (2007): They had a clean slate (kinda) here in the states. This could have been an “everyman” kind of car; but the clueless marketing dept. decided to ape MINI’s marketing. Fail.

    Plug-in Prius: It appears Prius buyers don’t want to plug in their cars.

    Chrysler 200 (2015): They had such a good shot at this. A choice of two engines, FWD & AWD availability, decent styling, but a smallish back seat and a low roof. Then Sergio sh!ts all over it, as an excuse to exit the mid-sized market…

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      I’m amazed that the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S/Toyota 86 hasn’t been mentioned more often here.

      We’re talking years and years (and years!) of autoshow and industry press hype with very little real-world excitement to back it up.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Yeah- the BRZ was just the second coming of the Nissan 240SX. Good little low-powered RWD sport coupe with a cult following, but nothing that really blows your hair back

  • avatar
    DougD

    Oh, when I saw the CRX I thought you were heading for the del sol. Disappointing, quite a step from the CRX which everybody liked to a more “girly” car that nobody liked.

    Of course my bias includes my idiot neighbor having a non running del sol in his driveway which he pushed out to the curb the day he moved away. We were happy the idiot was gone but took multiple calls to the city to make the car go away..

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    A lot of cars have failed the hype test. Right now I’m thinking of the Nissan Cube…which sold so abysmally and so dissatisfied owners, it’s being junked in record youth numbers, given the long-life era we’re in.

    And of course, the Yugo – which promised cheap transportation. The cheap trsnsportation was by city bus – which the hapless buyers would have to take because their rebadged Fiat was mostly immobile and with their credit tied up, no other purchase would be possible.

    But the most-famous one in MY memory was…the PACER.

    The first Wide Small Car. Which was not really small at all. Which, after promising a rotary engine, instead had a 500-pound cast-iron in-line six (the Buick V-6 line still sitting unused in Toledo’s Jeep plant).

    It was neither small nor roomy nor an economy car, delivering 14 miles a gallon.

    And the only good thing to say about it, was that the Eagle development team, wisely (rare for AMC of that era) chose not to put four-wheel-drive under that turkey.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Let’s not forget that the rotary that never materialized was supposed to be built by GM and sold to AMC. Unfortunately that I6 fit in that engine bay as well as a sock fits on a duck’s nose.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        True…but what I’ll always wonder was why they didn’t explore other supplier options. Such as buying engines from Mazda. Or having VW/NSU crank out some….NSU had the tooling, even if the production line had been shut down.

        Sure, Mazda was partly owned by Ford; but were Hank and Lido THAT vindictive and Machavellian, to deny two-percent-marketshare AMC an engine Ford didn’t even WANT?

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          This is Hank II we’re talking about. Hank probably didn’t even take the cigar out of his mouth when he told Iaccoca to “Kiss his @$$.”

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Ford did not have a controlling interest in Mazda during the time that AMC was still AMC. That came much later.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            Ford had a significant stake, if not a majority. They’d been slowly buying up shares of Toyo Kogyo, which was what the company was called back then. Mazda supplied the Courier truck to Ford.

            And in those years, Lido was, in fact, still kissing Henry’s arse. It was a couple years later that he stoppeed, thinking he, Lido, was Too Big To Fail.

            Hank set him straight on that, fast.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            Ford didn’t have a majority until the late 80’s or early 90’s. I don’t think they were too happy with Gaijin owning a majority of the company, but look how well things have turned out since FoMoCo cut them loose!

            Mazda, division of Toyota Motors.

            We’ll see this in the near future.

          • 0 avatar
            Mike G

            Ford acquired 25% of Mazda in 1979. Increased to 33% in 1995.
            In 2008 when Ford were jettisoning everything not nailed down for cash, the stake was reduced to 13% and has since been whittled down to 2%.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          At the time, the Rotary, often, couldn’t go 25K miles without need tip seals.

          It wasn’t until the RX-7 ) (which arrived 5 years after the Pacer) that they, largely, solved that problem.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            I had a buddy back in the 80’s who had a RX-7 that he drove about 70 miles commuting daily. After two years (and whatever mileage that would have been), the rotary was shot. He traded it in on a Celica…

            I’m not too sure about it being solved. If you follow some of the blogs, people are STILL having issues with <100K rotary engines.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I think GM (correctly) realized that the Wankel Rotary was never going to meet future durability and emissions standards. It’s been 40+ years since then, and only one company occasionally produces them: Mazda.

        Two things come to mind on this subject. Why didn’t AMC sue GM for breach of contract or some other misdemeanor? I don’t know this part of the law concerning these agreements, but I would think that AMC would have had something there. They could have sued GM to get a supply of Buick V6 motors instead of the 258 straight six.

        Why does Mazda pursue the Wankel rotary? It’s gone through three companies, two of which that have had less than stellar records with them. You know it’s bad when the original company (NSU, now part of VWAG) gave up on the idea. American car makers get a lot of crap for sticking with pushrod engines, but Mazda chugs on with the Wankel.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          Why does Mazda slog on with the Wankel? For one thing, it’s their niche. Same reason VW slogged on so long with air-cooling, long after it was shown to be a dead end.

          Why didn’t AMC sue? Perhaps the contract had clauses limiting liability – they were negotiating to buy a product that didn’t yet exist and might not ever exist. Also, GM had half the auto market in the States – and AMC was a hundredth the size.

          The fairest justice money can buy.

          I suppose AMC could have asked for Buick engines; but already, AMC management was on-record as dismissing that engine – “Rough as a cob.” They were doubling down on bad decisions.

          Remember, this was not yet the AMC that Lido later bought. THAT AMC was to emerge with the improbably-enlightened French management, and key people yet-to-be promoted. Francoise Castaing and Jose Dedeurwaerder were still in Paris.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            Mazda needs to get another gig. Srsly. Even VW saw the light after realizing the 411 & 412 was a sales flop.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      The Cube is being junked because of defective CVTs, not because people are disappointed in it as a car. They might be disappointed that the CVT failed and will cost more than the car’s value to replace, but being disappointed in it about things like power, styling, quality, etc is a reason to trade it in or put it on craigslist, not send it to a junkyard. If that were the case, the junkyard would be overflowing with late model Nissans of all shapes and sizes.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      Was there really that much hype for the Yugo?

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        Maybe that it was a new brand and it was the cheapest thing you could possibly buy in 1986. Not sure what else there was to hype.
        I had one as my very first car and I used to play a fun game called “that car is better than mine”. I would drive around and look at just about anything moving under it’s own power and would say “that car is better than mine”. The challenge was to find something that wasn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        There was a fair amount. I remember one TV spot, which had a young female in fast-food costume, proclaiming “Now I can afford a BRAND-NEW CAR!!!”

        Consumer Reports, which shot itself in the foot a few years earlier with their Omnirison condemnation…dryly told its readers they’d be better off with a good used car. Sadly, much of their credibility was spent – because that advice was spot-on.

      • 0 avatar
        cbrworm

        The big hype was that it was the most inexpensive car for sale in the USA. I think MSRP for the base model was $3,999

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No AMC didn’t have the Buick V6 tooling setting around. By then they had sold it back to GM.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        Sold it back in 1974.

        By then, the Pacer was well-along in its route to market – in those days it took a five-year lead time for a new product; when rushed, it could maybe be condensed to about 36 months.

        It was also 1974 when GM quietly, without ever saying it, pulled the plug on the Wankel program. It could have been that AMC had the time to say, HOLD ON! when the GM trucks were backing up to Toledo Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      Forty2

      Imagine how horribly-slow the Pacer would have been with a low-torque rev-mad Wankel bolted to a terrible 70s 3-speed slushbox. The old six was heavy but at least it got the stupid car out of its own way. Fuel economy with a fat heavy car, fluid coupling, and a Wankel would have been in the single-digits.

      BTW!! Mazda sold a Holden in Japan fitted with a Wankel that probably performed as well as a Wankel’d Pacer might have. Slow and thirsty. They sold a handful before killing it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_Roadpacer_AP

      Yeah, the Pacer was pretty terrible even without the Wankel.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    GM’s had a few. The X-Body cars, the U-bodies (in every generation and including the Aztek), the Fiero, the final Impala SS. These days, GM’s cars seem to be profoundly middle-of-the-road, but what they do exert themselves on, they do very well (Camaro, Volt, Bolt, K2XX vehicles, Cadillac V series).

    I’m also reminded of the Hyundai Veloster. It made performance promises it couldn’t keep. But the new one, in N guise, looks to solve that.

    The Fisker Karma / Karma Revero is a huge one. The fuel economy is terrible, and so is build quality. Plus, it has the dishonorable honor of being the only large-dimensioned car to get classified as a subcompact by the EPA due to interior volume.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I saw a TV commercial for the Revero the other day. I thought, “You gotta be kidding me!”

      I still see the occasional Fisker Karma on the road, and there are usually 15-20 on eBay, selling for $35-$50k. What a spectacular flop.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      I would add the Olds 5.7 diesel to the GM too good to be true basket. For the time it seems magical. Get great MPG in a full size no compromises traditional American car. It sounds like an ice cream diet that makes you loose weight.

    • 0 avatar
      junkandfrunk

      Saw one at the mall the other day. Tiny inside! So much car, so little people space.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I’ll disagree on the Fiero. There wasn’t really any hype and it was a great little car.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      What about the whole J-car/Saturn fiasco ?

      GM was going to smash the Japanese with a completely new range of vehicles, electronic everything, massive robot controlled factories with coal and pig iron going in one end and finished cars out the other.

      So much money was wasted on this pipedream the J cars dribbled out 5 years late with an ancient pushrod engine. The EFI was faulty and the fancy pants LED dashboards would fail and start smoking. Then there was the Cimmarron…

  • avatar
    TW5

    Jeep Cherokee

    It went from the SJ to the XJ, which caused quite a stir, but eventually the XJ acquitted itself, and it sold well. Now the Cherokee has gone from XJ to KL. Cherokee is now a shopping cart in all trims but Trailhawk.

    It wouldn’t have been so awful if Jeep hadn’t hyped the name and then let speculation run rampant about a new updated WJ or a miniature WK. When the front-wheel-drive shopping cart with the alien face was leaked, Jeeple were aghast.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      When I see a FWD Jeep in traffic, I silently judge the owner. If you HAVE to HAVE 4×4, don’t have much to spend, and live 200 miles from a Subaru dealer (as is the case out here) fine – buy a cheap little 4×4 car based vehicle with a Jeep badge. Their 4×4 system is going to be better than the one on the Trax or Equinox at the dealer across the street.

      But if you are buy a CUV just to buy a CUV – you can do better than a FWD Cherokee or a Renegade.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Oh I’m sure all those XJ’s with road oriented tires did wonders off road. *rolls eyes*

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “Oh I’m sure all those XJ’s with road oriented tires did wonders off road.”

        Depending on what the surface was, they would have done just fine, ie better than modern crossovers. If it’s dry, it’s simply ground clearance and articulation a lot of the time. And articulation is something that is in very short supply on current crossovers. Sections that a SRA 4wd will just easily roll over, possibly just in 2wd even, can really cause a AWD crossover a fit as it gets crossed up almost instantly and then depends on a traction control setup to try and shuttle power to the wheels on the ground.
        Unless you’re implying that most XJs were never used offroad (not by their first owners anyhow) and that the modern CUV version serves peoples’ purposes better, in which case I’m begrudgingly inclined to agree.

  • avatar
    arach

    EVERY car. I always am SO excited when they pitch it, see it at the detroit auto show, and then when it comes out I’m like “huh?”

    I committed to buy a new Acura Accord- Manual transmission, good styling, nice features… then I found out you can’t get a fully loaded manual, so I backed out.

    the Maxima was supposed to be a sports sedan. there’s no sports about it.

    The mazda 6- I went to buy a manual GT. Won’t sell it in the US! Tried to import one from canada. Mazda won’t allow me to! (yes mazda- I talked to the US govt, spoke to dealers, spoke to tons of services- mazda itself is the holdup)

    Now all of a sudden “New cool sports mazda 6” great I’ll buy it… and it doesn’t even come with a manual transmission? sure I’d get that from a car that doesn’t HAVE a manual, but the manual transmission is 90% of the selling point of the mazda 6, and here we go, launching a “sport” version but you can’t get it with the sport options. total disappointment. Went from “winner” to “dud” in one line item.

    I’ve almost given up on excitement about new car releases because the cars are NEVER what they seem.

    I’m trying to think of the only cars that didn’t disappoint:
    new Honda Civic type R.
    2010 Camaro SS
    annndd thats about it.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I am going to nominate the Tucker 48. Tremendous hype, interesting design, but they only made 49 before being shut down.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    While I don’t disagree that the CRZ was underwhelming (mostly except for reliability, did it do anything better than a stripper Mini?), I’m not sure weight is something we can entirely hold against it. Weight inflation is a real thing, and the CRZ sat pretty comfortably in the Fit’s weight range, just as the CRX was in the same range as the Civic at the time.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Not Tesla? B&B….I’m impressed.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Two Hondas:

    -The Crosstour, which they hyped by spamming me a zillion times and then it looked like a dog taking a dump and barely sold

    -the (new) NSX which is supposedly a great car but really expensive and the intro took the better part of a decade and was then overshadowed by the Ford GT at the last instant.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    It pains me to say it but my vote would have to go to VW for the TDI lineup of cars, I owned one, it was a great station wagon that was fun to drive and got great mileage but as we all know it could not live up to the hype. My next for would be any Acura car in the last 10 years, they took a good car division and ruined it with weird styling.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The original Chrysler Pacifica (not the new minivan). It was indeed ahead of its time, anticipating today’s large CUV segment. But it was hyped as the vehicle to end all vehicles, and was a disappointment in execution, with a typical jail-grade DaimlerChrysler interior and the weak, not very reliable 3.5 engine. They later upgraded the engine but never the interior.

    The Acura RLX. We were promised that it would finally be a legit 5-Series competitor, with the Sport Hybrid as a key reason why. Instead the Sport Hybrid was vaporware, arriving two years late in vanishingly low numbers, and the FWD version turned out to be a straight-across Lexus ES competitor that was overpriced by $10k.

    The 1994 Mustang. Ford made it seem like the car would do what the 2015 Mustang actually ended up doing: looking BMWs straight in the eye. Instead it turned out to be a swoopy restyle of the Fox body car, with the same Flexi-Flyer structure, crap handling, and even worse interior quality. Then as the final insult the fancy new engine turned out to be a dog until they woke it up for the New Edge restyle.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Agree with all three. There was very little hype around the Pacifica, but it couldn’t even live up to that.

      • 0 avatar
        Forty2

        Someone at work is still flogging one of those Daimsler crapwagons. The front bumper is held on with zip-ties, the windshield is cracked, but the damned thing still seems to start up every day.

        The current Pacifica is pretty nice for a minivan. I’ve had them as rentals.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      As I recall, the Pacifica’s interior was well-regarded at the time. The vehicle was developed when DCX still had upmarket aspirations for the Chrysler brand, and before desperate cost-cutting resulted in the horrendous interiors later seen in Caliber, Compass/Patriot, Sebring/Avenger, et al. Indeed, I see little to fault here for a 2003 interior:

      http://st.motortrend.com/uploads/sites/5/2005/04/112_0501_free_paci_07z-2004_chrysler_pacifica-front_interior_view.jpg

      For comparison, the contemporary MDX and RX interiors:

      https://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/lexus/rx-330/2004/oem/2004_lexus_rx-330_4dr-suv_base_i_oem_1_500.jpg

      http://consumerguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/01801081990011.jpg

      As for the 3.5L V6 engine, power output was competitive at roughly 250 hp (it had been segment-leading when introduced in 1999), and I’m not aware of widespread reliability issues. That said, Pacifica’s hefty curb weight and outdated four-speed automatic resulted in middling acceleration.

      Chrysler got ahead of themselves with the upmarket push, and consumers balked at the $40K+ MSRP for the fully-loaded models offered at launch. The Celine Dion ad campaign probably didn’t help, either. Even as more modestly equipped trims filtered into inventory, sales never took off. At mid-cycle refresh, DCX significantly “de-contented” the Pacifica to create a base model in the mid-20s with cheaper interior trim, a second-row bench (in place of second- and third-row captain’s chairs), steel wheels, and the ancient 3.8L pushrod V6.

      As I see it, Pacifica was ahead of its time. Execution was solid, but the marketing was botched, the vehicle never recovered, and Chrysler simply gave up as it neared bankruptcy.

    • 0 avatar
      cbrworm

      You know, I still see multiple Pacificas on the road every day. I didn’t think that many were sold, but there still seem to be a bunch hauling kids around. Many with zip ties.

  • avatar
    Steverino

    Pontiac Fiero. How has this not been mentioned yet?

    Honorable mention to the 2001-2005 Ford Thunderbird (the retro one).

  • avatar
    carve

    Pontiac Aztek. The concept car was actually a pretty cool outdoor lifestyle vehicle. Then they tried to kludge the styling queues onto their minivan chassis. It was like a little kids cheap Halloween costume of their favorite sci-fi character.

  • avatar
    ciscokidinsf

    Suzuki Kizashi – The production model was light years away from the very handsome concept cars they had shown.

    Obligatory VW Phaeton mention (not only ‘cuz I have one) but because the rosy sales targets were never achieved in the US. The car is marvelous

    The new 200 was overhyped to death back when they launched it. Didn’t deserve all those ads for a regurgitated version of the awful Sebring.

  • avatar
    gtem

    All Scions.

    Some were better than others, but given how much they tried to push their cringey accessories and mix-CDs, to have them bought by practical older folks (xA, xB) and ultimately fold just more than a decade after inception does not speak well for the whole experiment. I will say the tC was a big hit, marketing hit the right (young) age group, even if the car’s performance/mechanicals weren’t anything special. 2nd gen with the hatch lost the swoopy smooth styling, and things seemed to just go downhill.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      Yeah, the tC was the only one to hit it’s intended target, the xA and xB became popular with Boomers and tragic hipsters. “My Grandma has one” isn’t what you want to hear when selling cars to kids.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      1st gen xB was a hit, and among younger people. I think like the PT Cruiser it ultimately got its rep tarnished by older people also jumping on that wagon. The 2nd gen xB totally lost the plot of the original though.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Any VW with a TDI badge.

    Too soon?

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Chevrolet SS

  • avatar
    scott25

    Agree with a lot of these mentioned so far, the CRZ, Sebring-200, Kizashi, Veloster, original Pacifica, Fisker Karma, Thunderbird, Prowler, 2nd gen Scion xB

    One that I’m surprised hasn’t been mentioned is the Delorean, futuristic looks, was supposed to be a sports car, saddled with feeble French engine and poorly assembled in Northern Ireland.

    Another one is Vector, AMERICAN supercars to go toe to toe with Lamborghini. Nope.

    A more Recent, personal example is the mid 2000s Mitsubishi Lancer, using the name thousands of kids grew up with in their video games on a garbage uncompetitive econobox (which, yes, it had always been internationally) when it should have been an affordable compact with Japanese build quality and some sportiness/Evo blood throughout the lineup to make it worth changing the name from Mirage or whatever Mitsu had been using on their compact until then. It also was responsible for bringing the Mitsubishi brand to Canada. I’d always loved their 80’s and 90’s vehicles that were only sold south of the border and now we had Mitsubishi dealers selling….that.

    Also pretty much any affordable sporty car like the Fiesta ST which costs almost 10 grand more than the car it’s based on and only comes with highly specific ridiculous options like Recaro seats. It shouldnt be so big of a jump and we should be able to decontent them.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    FT-86.

    Four years of Toyota hype, held up as the Jesus Messiah incarnate of vehicles. Didn’t achieve a single target. Price, performance, or content.

    Then suffered from non-Toyota quality issues, complaints about a wonky torque curve, and being underpowered. Toyota dug in their heels and said nothing doing, we aren’t making changes.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      The basic platform has promise. They were right on top of the winning formula but stopped short. No reason for it or the BR-Z to NOT offer turbos. And they could have really differentiated them by making the Sci-yota a dedicated rwd purists sportscar, and giving the Subaru the STI’s drivetrain.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    GTO/G8/SS–Again, no problem with the actual product, but rather how GM completely bungled the lineup here by barely marketing it and offering a contrived product line. The whole lineup–sedan, coupe, wagon, ute should have been brought over here with everything from V6 up to V8 powerplants, manual and automatic and even the AWD variants in the wagons/utes to get a piece of the CUV pie that no one is really aiming for. Look at what a runaway success the LX has been for Chrysler, and that lineup isn’t even as comprehensive.

    Aztec–as has been stated, great concept lame execution. Theyre more popular now as a cult classic than when they were available.

    3rd/4th Gen Eclipse–total downgrades from the 1 and 2 gen cars.

    Every hybrid or electric car. Prius sells on its treehugger image, Tesla sells on its status symbol position. Niether is a good value for the dollar or brings anything undisputedly superior to the table. Whether its performance or efficiency, theres a pure gas engined option that costs less to buy and is just as effective. Then there are the dozens of forgettable money losing also-rans with ROI similar to a foundry fired on $100 bills.

    The high end Tesla model S is the best example of overhyped. For $180K, yes you can beat a $60K Hellcat in the 1/4 mile…provided that you only need to do it twice at most, and the HC driver is a mediocre or worse driver. Once he learns to control that car and/or gets decent tires, the Tesla is toast. AND the HC can rinse and repeat over and over. 2 runs in the Tesla and youll be pushing it to a charger and youre still $120K in the red.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      I can’t understand how you’re seeing the Prius as something with unnecessary hype, or as something that isn’t good value. They’ve sold over 2 million of the things in the U.S. and it’s one of the most economical new vehicles a person can buy.

      I’m with you on Tesla in general, but not the Model S specifically. It’s an impressive vehicle and I think that perception has been maintained throughout its existence. It doesn’t do everything as well as ICE-engined vehicles and it’s easy to argue that any personal vehicle at its price point is poor value, but it is unmatched in certain areas of technological development.

      My impression is that the Model S lived up to its hype better than the Hellcat, and it’s showing in the numbers. Sales are still increasing now in the sixth year of Model S production, while Hellcat sales saw a massive decline in 2017; only its third year. They’re selling at least 12 Model S’ for every Hellcat/Demon sold.

      The number of people in the world who care whether it would lose the third of three consecutive 1/4-mile drag races to a Hellcat can probably be counted on one hand. On the street, where traction is always limited, no 2WD is going to be remotely competitive with it in a stoplight race.

    • 0 avatar
      cbrworm

      I think people would have bought the SS if they knew about them. Unless you read car magazines religiously, you probably never knew what it was.

  • avatar
    carve

    Chevy Volt is a good one. I’d almost forgotten how badass and gangster chop-top looking the concept car was

  • avatar
    parsons

    Chevy SSR

  • avatar
    Marko

    Saturn Astra – it’s as if GM wanted to kill the Saturn brand. The magazines were raving about GM finally sending an “exciting” European product over; meanwhile, there was essentially no advertising for the car, there was no sedan version, the powertrain was mediocre, the dash design was strange, and oh yeah, it ended up an orphan.

    Mercedes W220 S-Class (2000-2006) – this car actually got great reviews back in the day. I was just a kid when it was launched, but I remember several reviews calling it “the best car in the world”…and honestly, the S55 AMG was my dream car for a while! Unfortunately, poor reliability and rust caught up to it quickly.

    Ford Flex – they originally wanted to sell 100,000 of these per year; it never broke the 40K/year mark. Ford initially blamed the poor sales on a bad ad campaign, though it didn’t help that it was 2008. I personally didn’t know the Flex existed until well into 2009, so their ad campaign surely failed to catch my attention. Plus, the Flex only got about two years to itself as “the” Ford 3-row CUV until its sibling, the Explorer, came in and crushed sales expectations…and continues to do so. Why couldn’t have Ford launched both at the same time, Jeep Patriot/Compass style, and acknowledged that the Flex is pretty much a niche product?

    2012 Ford Focus – a billion times better than the thing it replaced in North America, but MyFordTouch problems plagued the first several model years, and the PowerShift hasn’t been fixed.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I’m not sure if it’s not living up to the hype or the lack of hype.

      The problem with the Astra was that GM listened to enthusiasts. It was exactly what they all said needed to be brought to this country. They were wrong. We had seven Saturn dealers at the time. The Astra was prominently displayed. It got a lot of looks. Very few buyers.

      The Flex lived up to everything it was supposed to be. It just wasn’t what the buying public was ready for. It’s too bad.

      Not sure I’d blame MFT for the Focus problems. Transmission, sure. MFT’s biggest problem was the overreaction to minor issues that were resolved.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        If you were to say that the Saturn Ion was meant to kill the brand, I would agree with that. I really think the introduction of the Astra served two purposes: One, to finally differentiate the Saturn brand from the other low priced GM brands and two, to use up extra Opel capacity.

        I’ve driven Ions (more so than Astras) and they are completely unmemorable. Except for the supercharged version (Red Line). That one was fun.

  • avatar
    Marko

    Oh, and who else wants to see a CR-Z turned into a dirt track car? Given the depreciation and the ability to fit a K-Series, it could work!

  • avatar
    brn

    Gyundai Genesis and Genesis Coupe. A TON of hype around both. Neither were anything special.

    Back off on the hype and the cars may have done better.

  • avatar
    Geordie Guenther

    Ford Contour – meant to be a Civic killer

    1999 and 2012 Focus – great expectations and hype, but let down by quality and drivetrain problems

    2002 Jeep Liberty – decent, but needed to be great. Hard to replace the Cherokee

    Saturn Vue – women everywhere loved it, until they noticed the interior, and heard about the drivetrain problems

    Citation.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Contour was another example of a manufacturer listening to enthusiasts. It was a great car (that people abused and mistreated, turning them into junk). The buying public wasn’t ready to pay mid-size prices for a smaller car, regardless of how good it was.

      Unfortunately, most examples on the road today are junk. Horribly maintained. My neighbor has a 2000 Mystique (Mercury version of Contour) that is well cared for. It’s a quality vehicle.

  • avatar
    Forty2

    GM X-body has to be the worst hyped in my memory. It wasn’t GM hyping them, it was the car rags like Car and Driver screaming ‘GM BLOWS EVERYONE INTO THE WEEDS WITH NEW FWD X-CARS!!11!1″ Wish I’d saved that issue so I could take it to their offices in Ann Arbor, soak it in gasoline and light it on fire before throwing it on Ed’s desk. My mom bought a loaded Citation X11 based on that review. It was GARBAGE and dangerous.

  • avatar
    Aron9000

    2000 Mercedes S-class(W220). Very hyped car at the time, it drove great, lots of new technology, mostly though the new swoopy styling was a revelation compared to the boxy looks like its stuck in the 1980’s W140 S-class that preceded this car.

    Of course after a year or two or three of ownership, everybody realized this car was all hype, all glitz, and absolutely no substance. Quality of these cars sucked, and it was compounded by the fact that they were WAY more complex than an equally well built 2000 Kia Rio. They spent a lot of time in the shop under warranty, smart owners ditched them when the warranty ran out, because who wants to be stuck with $7000 suspension repairs or random electrical problems that can’t be diagnosed/fixed that can leave you stranded.

    You rarely see this generation Benz S-class on the road now days, but yet you still see lots of Lexus products from that same era chugging along, LS, ES, GX, LX, GS, IS, all of them are great, reliable cars that don’t cost a fortune to fix when they do go wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “You rarely see this generation Benz S-class on the road now days”

      Oh I’d see them all the time. In the hood, squatting in the back, with somegod-awful chrome rims. They’re prolific rusters as well, starting with the bottoms of the doors.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I’m going to say the C-Max. It was supposed to be Ford’s “Prius Fighter”, but once people realized the 2013 C-Max didn’t get anywhere close to the 47/47 rating, Ford had to admit that they cheated on the fuel economy numbers and give owners of the original units compensation.

    The rest is history. Ford has relegated it to red headed step-child status and barely admits that they exist. But they still are in production for a little while longer. As a result, they’re dirt cheap used, along with the Volt.

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    Lincoln LS.


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