QOTD: Your Least Favorite Front-drive Nineties Ride?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Last week, Steph penned a QOTD where he let commenters loose on front-drive American cars made between 1980 and 2010. The ask was to pick a favorite from the wide selection; one you’d buy today as new.

This week we’re going to take the opposite tack and talk about the front-drive car you like the least.



Today, the game will be more limited in scope. Instead of multiple decades, we’ll focus solely on the 1990s. Any car put forth today should be of a model year between 1990 and 1999. No limitation on country of manufacture — they’re all game. From a decade which produced many fine examples of front-drive cars, picking a loser might take a bit of pondering. For your author, the choice was obvious.

Here we are — the gigantic and terrible Chrysler Imperial of 1990. At the turn of the decade, Chrysler decided it needed a new flagship sedan in its lineup, and thus the Imperial nameplate rose from the ashes once again.

Riding on a super-extended K-car platform known as Y, the Imperial was the largest sedan ever sourced from the K. A full-size 203 inches long, the Imperial came stuffed with Mark Cross leather, digital almost everything, an optional car phone on the sun visor, and a hefty price tag. Chrysler intended to compete with other large, front-drive sedans like the Continental, DeVille, and Park Avenue. All those choices were better than the Imperial. The pontoon boat proportions and floaty suspension matched well with the 1978 levels of exterior gingerbread. A relative flop, the Imperial lasted only through 1993. At that point, it was mercifully replaced by the quite superior LHS.

Let’s hear about your least favorite front-drive Nineties ride.

[Images: Murilee Martin/TTAC, Chrysler ]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

More by Corey Lewis

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 165 comments
  • HotPotato HotPotato on Apr 13, 2019

    The Toyota Tercel was my least favorite car at the time. Incredibly light and fragile bits assembled with incredible care and precision. I did't get it. Seemed to me like sculpting Michelangelo's David out of dog poop. Anything Daewoo. Anything Hyundai, at least in the early 1990s. Any early Quad 4 car. Base Cavalier. But they could redeem themselves in sport trim. I dug the early Z24(6?) with the V6, square-in-a-circle wheels, and Coke-bottle skirts. The later Cavalier Z24 with the 16-valve engine was more adult-looking and reasonably priced, but IIRC carelessly assembled and a bit floppy.

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Apr 17, 2019

    Definitely the stretched to the limit K/Y New Yorker and Imperial. They looked like something that GM might have rejected 5-6 years earlier and were looking by this point quite outdated with their boxy square vinyl roof encrusted opera lamp shapes. The interiors were lavish but these cars were too narrow. Then there was the horrid Ultra Drive trans axles that were being replaced at a feverish pace across every Chrysler dealership in the nation. The one sort of bright spot was the 3.3 and 3.8 Chrysler designed V6's. But by this point Cadillac had there much improved and more powerful 200 Hp 4.9 V8 out and Ford of course had the 4.6 Mod motor. Honorable mentions going to the Hyundai Excel/ Kia Sephia and the any of the crap Daewoo products being sold. My folks, who were retired by this point went to work part time for Enterprise rental and said these were the worst cars in their fleets and were always having to go to the dealer for repair work. Mom also mentioned how the carpeting or flooring felt like someone glued hair fibers on a piece of cardboard and was really difficult to clean on some of the Mitsubishi's and Kias at the time. True cheap crap.

  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.
  • GregLocock Car companies can only really sell cars that people who are new car buyers will pay a profitable price for. As it turns out fewer and fewer new car buyers want sedans. Large sedans can be nice to drive, certainly, but the number of new car buyers (the only ones that matter in this discussion) are prepared to sacrifice steering and handling for more obvious things like passenger and cargo space, or even some attempt at off roading. We know US new car buyers don't really care about handling because they fell for FWD in large cars.
  • Slavuta Why is everybody sweating? Like sedans? - go buy one. Better - 2. Let CRV/RAV rust on the dealer lot. I have 3 sedans on the driveway. My neighbor - 2. Neighbors on each of our other side - 8 SUVs.
  • Theflyersfan With sedans, especially, I wonder how many of those sales are to rental fleets. With the exception of the Civic and Accord, there are still rows of sedans mixed in with the RAV4s at every airport rental lot. I doubt the breakdown in sales is publicly published, so who knows... GM isn't out of the sedan business - Cadillac exists and I can't believe I'm typing this but they are actually decent - and I think they are making a huge mistake, especially if there's an extended oil price hike (cough...Iran...cough) and people want smaller and hybrids. But if one is only tied to the quarterly shareholder reports and not trends and the big picture, bad decisions like this get made.
Next