QOTD: Has Your Hate Blossomed Into Love?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The heart is a strange animal. One day, it despises something, but give it time and you’ll one day find yourself enjoying something you once turned up your nose at. It happens in the kitchen, the voting booth, and hell, maybe even the bedroom.

As human beings, our individual tastes, preferences, and ideologies evolve slowly over the span of many years, just as the societal trappings around us cast off old clothes for a new wardrobe. Architecture, music, and automotive styling, to name a few examples. Sometimes it doesn’t take long to correct past styling mistakes and light a fire in a person’s heart; other times, it takes many generations of vehicle before an automaker bakes a cake you’d actually want to eat.

What’s one car model you once hated, but now can’t wait to own?

For sure, sometimes the journey isn’t a long one. Picture a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx sitting next to a 2008 Malibu LTZ. You’d have to be some sort of anti-GM cultist (or twenty-something journalist) to not feel stirrings for the latter model after laying eyes on what came before. Then again, while the evolution may have been an improvement, it probably still wasn’t something you lusted after.

I’ll offer up an example, and it’s not the Corvette C8 you see pictured above. A week or so ago, a friend was busy car shopping for a future day when he could actually afford the vehicle he felt suited him. Naturally, he was surfing the Mercedes-Benz consumer site. While buddy’s eye was on a low-end model, perhaps a C-Class coupe, my attention was captured by a model I once loathed. A vehicle that almost certainly signalled the presence of an asshole sitting behind the wheel.

I’m talking about the CLS.

Bringing to mind the early-1980s Cadillac Seville when it appeared early last decade, the CLS was often seen wearing garish yellow clothes, just begging to be noticed. It was too much, and the severely sloping roofline gave lanky fellows like myself palpitations at the thought of riding in the back. Its gently curving accent line reminded me of a Kia Spectra, and the view from the rear was straight out of derpville. And that front end? Undersized in height and mass for a vehicle not of the Wedge Era.

Back in 2004, truly an era of design doldrums, the CLS, at least to my eye, lacked taste. Its styling didn’t back up its price tag. Let Nelly own one, I said, not knowing that things wouldn’t improve for quite some time. Exhibit B:

Fast-forward 15 years and the CLS remains in M-B’s lineup, now surrounded by crossover coupes that would have seemed head-scratchingly odd way back in the first term of the Bush administration. Its philosophy remains the same; the four-door coupe recipe hasn’t changed, just the styling. And while the view from the rear still isn’t ideal, the car’s silhouette has improved greatly. Its flanks no longer bear the overwrought creases of the second-gen model, the trunk is more pronounced, and the forward-facing prow flips the bird to the ever-sloping front ends carried over into the 21st century from the 1990s.

The current CLS, in my opinion, is a vehicle whose looks warrant the lofty price tag. There’s a dignity there that didn’t exist before. A visual refinement. And it just so happens that M-B’s new turbocharged straight-six/mild hybrid powerplant makes a home beneath the hood, boosting the model’s overall elegance. Nothing’s classier than an inline-six.

Take a shot, B&B. What model did you start out hating but end up loving?

[Images: General Motors, Daimler AG]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
2 of 76 comments
  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Oct 25, 2019

    I don't change much with loving/hating cars, but I did change my mind on the original 2006 or whatever year it came out Charger's looks. I bought one in late 2007 and just hated the looks of it. I went to what I had wanted when I bought it, a Challenger, just about 3 years to the day after I bought it. I don't love the look of them now, but I don't hate it anymore, and I don't hate the older ones, either. If I HAD to have a 4 door car, the Charger would be #1 on my list, with the 300 right behind. At this point in time, I'm doing a lot of hating on the looks of vehicles, with the C8 being the latest GM turd after the Camaro, the Silverado, and the Blazer. Honestly, there are very few cars, especially ones I can afford, that I don't hate the looks of.

  • Buffaloboxster Buffaloboxster on Oct 25, 2019

    1. Porsches. When I was a teenager, I was a spec sheet guy. Why would someone pay more for a car that was slower 0-60 with a lower skidpad number? Why would I want a Boxster over a 350Z? Then I drove one. I've owned a Boxster for 15 years now. 2. The Lotus Esprit. 4 cylinders? Forreal? The 88+ Esprits still look as exotic today as they ever did, handle fantastically, and were plenty quick enough in their day. Every time I see one I drool and think back to the model I built when I was 13.

  • SCE to AUX "Relevant metrics include how often you interact with your phone, how frequently you speed, how many times you have to stop quickly, how often you drive at night, and even the average distance you drive. Location data has also been rumored to play a role. For example, vehicles that frequently traverse high-crime areas may be subjected to higher rates."Those are very relevant metrics.I don't use these apps, I don't speed, I don't own expensive-to-insure cars, and my rates have not gone up. I've also been an Erie policy holder for 35 years, so I don't shop around every few months looking to save $100.
  • 2ACL Too much, but at least it can get out of its own way. One adjustment I don't think I'll ever make to the modern automobile is sub-160 hp beyond $25k.
  • MaintenanceCosts The black wheel arches and rocker trim are ghastly. Looks like to get them in body color you have to downgrade to the N Line. And you can't get a 360-degree camera on the N Line. Oh well, I'm not a compact CUV customer anyway.
  • Gray Where is Subaru on the list? They build them in Indiana. NASCAR should field the Legacy sedan to go up against Toyota.
  • Redapple2 H-K Styling. May not be my cup of tea but they re trying. Gripe. This would be a deal breaker. Door cut out - seat postion - 'B' pillar. I m over 6'. So the driver's seat is towards full back position. Rental Equinox last week. 1100 miles. The seat bottom to seat back point was 8 inches behind and around the 'B' pillar. I had to be contortionist to get in and out of the car. Brutal POS. Wife's Forester? Nearly equal/flush. I ve never seen 1 car review where they complain about this.