QOTD: Found Yourself Surprisingly Disappointed?

qotd found yourself surprisingly disappointed

In last week’s QOTD, we asked you to share the vehicles that pleasantly surprised you after spending some time behind the wheel. Whether your expectations were high or low to start, it’s always nice to recall transportation that impressed.

Today we turn in the opposite direction, and talk about cars that left you feeling disappointed.

Most of the time, the knowledgeable consumer in all of us creates an expectation of a vehicle. Something you’d heard or read — perhaps a rave review or the rantings of a rabidly biased fanperson — can lift those expectations. In today’s example, I walked away from a rather expensive automobile thinking, “They couldn’t manage to make a car better than that?”

And here it is — the leather-lined pontoon boat featuring all-wheel drive, a hybrid powerplant producing 377 horsepower, and lots of technology. The premium logo on the grille should say something of the materials used in its construction, not to mention the integrity with which it was engineered and built.

Yet somehow it all falls down. The styling doesn’t really work. What used to be a Honda Legend made into an Acura for the U.S. became an Acura which wears Honda badges elsewhere. Updated for the 2018 model year with new styling language, the car underneath has remained largely the same since 2013. The interior is a mess of various angles, textures, and buttons. The one I drove featured bleached-effect faux wood trim, which really washed out the light parchment interior even further. Then I drove it.

Wallowy and soft, the RLX went down the road with zero enjoyment, asking for little input from the driver. Best to slow down a bit in corners, as the two-ton sedan lists to and fro while you saw at the wheel and hope for feedback. Braking is aggressive and regenerative, feeling excessively sensitive and overly boosted. A light touch to the brakes felt more like a stab — most difficult to modulate.

I expected Honda could build a nice, comfortable luxury sedan with its years of know-how. After all, the RLX is direct successor to the RL, a car which used to represent the pinnacle of Acura’s offerings (a place occupied by the MDX presently). And the ask for the top-trim RLX I drove? $61,900. I really don’t think so. The RLX let me down in a big way.

Let’s hear about your big disappointments.

[Images: VW, Acura]

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  • CincyDavid CincyDavid on Feb 28, 2019

    19 VW Jetta S...my 17 Jetta SE is in for service and I got a 3000-mile Jetta loaner...interior door trim is softer/nicer in the new one, that's about all I can say positive about it. Start-Stop function is obnoxious, but at least it can be killed with a button on the console (which is still the hard plastic that scratches too easily). ECO button on the console seems to just KILL throttle response. Toggle switch for the parking brake seems to work OK, but why doesn't it release when the car is taken out of PARK and I wonder how well it will work at the car ages. The interior feels smaller/narrower but that may be a function of the all-black interior...my 17 has the cornsilk beige. The back window is smaller so I see a LOT of rear parcel shelf and rear headrests through the rearview mirror. It has a pseudo-Ford-Fusion look to it on the outside but overall I'm not impressed. And when did Falken tires become OE?

  • Bloodnok Bloodnok on Feb 28, 2019

    test drove an abarth 124 spider. wanted to like it but it is kinda ugly. its gearbox was awkward, which was the first surprise. the killer was its dead steering wheel. how fiat could take the lively mx-5 chassis and deaden it was a surprising disappointment. have to hope that mooted boatload of mazda roadsters heading to los angeles is true cuz my lease is almost up ....

  • Arthur Dailey For the Hornet less expensive interior materials/finishings, decontent just a little, build it in North America and sell it for less and everyone should be happy with both the Dodge and the Alfa.
  • Bunkie I so wanted to love this car back in the day. At the time I owned a GT6+ and I was looking for something more modern. But, as they say, this car had *issues*. The first of which was the very high price premium for the V8. It was a several thousand dollar premium over the TR-7. The second was the absolutely awful fuel economy. That put me off the car and I bought a new RX-7 which, despite the thirsty rotary, still got better mileage and didn’t require premium fuel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had this reaction because, two years later, I test-drove a leftover that had a $2,000 price cut. I don’t remember being impressed, the RX-7 had spoiled me with how easy it was to own. The TR-8 didn’t feel quick to me and it felt heavy. The first-gen RX was more in line with the idea of a light car that punched above its weight. I parted ways with both the GT6+ and the RX7 and, to this day, I miss them both.
  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts I like the styling of this car inside and out, but not any of the powertrains. Give it the 4xe powertrain - or, better yet, a version of that powertrain with the 6-cylinder Hurricane - and I'd be very interested.
  • Daniel J I believe anyone, at any level, should get paid as much as the market will bear. Why should CEOs have capped salaries or compensation but middle management shouldn't? If companies support poor CEOs and poor CEOs keep getting rewarded, it's up to the consumer and investors to force that company to either get a better CEO or to reduce the salary of that CEO. What I find hilarious is that consumers will continue to support companies where the pay for the CEOs is very high. And the same people complain. I stopped buying from Amazon during the pandemic. Everyone happily buys from them but the CEO makes bank. Same way with Walmart and many other retailers. Tim Cook got 100m in compensation last year yet people line up to buy Iphones. People who complain and still buy the products must not really care that much.