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 ....

  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Cory. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.