By on October 24, 2019

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - Image: Chevrolet

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.

Image: Daimler

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.

Daimler

daimler

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]

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76 Comments on “QOTD: Has Your Hate Blossomed Into Love?...”


  • avatar
    jack4x

    When I was younger I fully bought into the “Toyotas are boring appliances and I won’t ever own a boring appliance” mindset.

    I still think they are appliances, but having been burned by more “exciting” vehicles I’ve got a lot more appreciation for something that just works right all the time.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      The issue I have with Toyotas where I live & drive is not the boring appliances that the cars are, it’s the lazy, inattentive snoozefest going on behind the wheel of every one of them. If there is a long line of vehicles being held back by someone at the front, it’s a Toyota. If there are two lanes of traffic, and one of them has a vehicle just sitting alongside another vehicle at the same speed for miles so that no one behind can get around, it’s a Toyota. If there is almost a crash on the freeway because someone BRAKES at the end of the on ramp when merging, it’s a Toyota. The more timid, cautious and inexperienced the driving style exhibited, the more likelihood that the car is a Toyota. The only other marque in which I witness even close to this degree of lacking assertiveness is Subaru (except for WRX and BRZ). I can only guess what is going through their minds when I go around them in a BMW performance sedan, probably (and unfortunately) propagating the myth that all BMW drivers are too aggressive.

      In fairness, I have to give most of these Toyota drivers credit for one thing: they generally use turn signals, which for some bizarre reason are NOT used by a scary percentage of the rest of the vehicles they share the road with. Maybe that’s one of the reasons they drive so cautiously?

      • 0 avatar
        spookiness

        If I need to cut into a line of traffic or change lanes I usually look for a Toyota because yes they tend to drive over cautiously and thus leave several car lengths in from of them.

      • 0 avatar
        GoNavy99

        This is a *great* comment. I wish there was an upvote button. Broad strokes to be sure, but certainly truth behind them.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          Also agree, regarding Toyotas. Like you said, “timid, cautious and inexperienced” – these are the exact personality traits that will lead someone to a Toyota.

          And speaking to Spooki’s point, I too look for Toyotas in traffic. For instance, if there’s only a Corolla sitting in its lane at a red light, and the other lane has 3 non-Toyotas? I will get in the longer lane, because all of those cars will pass the Corolla.

      • 0 avatar
        glwillia

        cognoscenti: couldn’t agree more, here in Seattle the worst drivers drive the boring Toyotas (Corolla, Camry, Prius, RAV4). I’ll say this doesn’t apply to the Tacoma/4Runner/Land Cruiser though, those tend to be driven by people who have more of a clue behind the wheel.

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          Nissan still seems to be the choice of clueless drivers, with the Altima, almost universally in some shade of silver/gray the choice of buffoons here in NW Ohio.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            I agree Altima drivers are almost as bad, but for different reasons. While Toyota drivers are extremely cautious to the point of being a hinderance, Altima drivers are dangerous because they’re oblivious to what’s going on around them.

            Expect frequent drifting between lanes, suddenly snapping into one lane or another, turning from two lanes over, etc. Altimas are the pinball on our roads.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    Toyota 4Runner and FJ (wish they still made the FJ).

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Big luxury coupes and convertibles from the 50s and 60s. What became of the land yacht dinosaurs that were so hated for their gas piggy ostentatiousness are now works of art worth 100s of 1000s of dollars

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I still can’t stand the looks of it, but I’m reluctantly contemplating the Civic Hatchback.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    PLCs from the late 70’s and square bodied GM pickups /SUV’s.

    I have no rational reason for the PLC fascination as I am sure many here can tell me how awful they were/are. From my vantage point, they seem like not a bad place to sit in traffic if one were to resto-mod one to modern powerplant and AC.

    Same with my desire for a Late 80’s K5 Blazer; basically a PLC with 4×4 and of course if you dropped a 86′ long bed Silverdo 4×4 with two tone paint in my driveway I would not be upset.

    • 0 avatar
      Thomas Kreutzer

      ’86 longbed Silverados aren’t “dropped” into driveways – they jump there.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        GMC Sierra’s jump there….but I get your point and I would be delighted with just about any form of delivery.

        • 0 avatar
          Thomas Kreutzer

          Especially in that two tone brown. God, so many cool four-wheel-drive burnouts…

          I actually looked at buying something like that before setting on the 91 Nissan Hardbody I eventually purchased. The problem is that people have “discovered” those old Chevrolets and GMCs an they are commanding bigger and bigger prices. One day, trucks like the one in The Fall Guy are going to be huge money as everyone tries to buy back their childhoods.

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            I watch the auction results, I would have to look, but either the last Barrett J or mecum had a mid 80’s square body go for close to 30k, obviously pristine. Hard to argue though if you really think about it. You could buy one for 25-30k drive it for 100k no different than if you bought a new one and probably sell it when you are done for more than a new one after 100k miles. You still get a truck, still get Napa parts for cheap, get about the same F.E, maybe a bit less, but have the cool factor; just rolling the dice on the safety features really, or lack their of.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Mine was the inverse to PLCs. I thought the Mustang-II was an abomination. But in hindsight, amongst all the noise was a special little variant that got little attention, that being the Rallye package which came with: 2.8 V6 (minimum), Traction-Lok differential, steel-belted RWL tires, extra-cooling package, competition suspension, and sport exhaust system.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Tesla Model 3.

    I was a Tesla skeptic for a long time, and while I still don’t love the amphibious styling and I wish they’d make a permanent 300mi higher-output RWD version, I really like the entry-level model they’ve built. Especially in a world spiraling into 4-cylinder ’63’-series AMGs.

    Most of my issue with owning a Tesla at this point are personal (don’t like Elon, don’t like the attitude of Tesla superfans, I’m worried the company can’t survive a recession).

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    When the refreshed 3rd gen Miata was unveiled (colloquially known as the NC2) for MY2009, I despised the big grinning grille. Ruined the car, I said.

    Then I test drove one a couple years later. Bought it on the spot. Didn’t even occur to me that it had the goofy grin. Probably because it matched the one on my face.

  • avatar
    TR4

    53-59 British Ford Popular 103E. I used to joke about them as a kid in the early ’60s. They were quite popular with young British men just out of school and who couldn’t afford anything else. I remember riding in one once. The driver was saying “come on old girl!” and patting the outside of the door in the hope he would not have to downshift to get up a hill. IIRC, he had to anyway. 30ish hp cars are like that.

    Now I think it would be neat to have one for my (non-freeway) commute.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Popular

  • avatar
    JMII

    I swore I would never own a GM product yet a C7 sits in my driveway now. I never hated Corvettes but couldn’t stand their interiors. I was once a Honda only guy, these days I wouldn’t take one if you gave it to me. Things change, people change.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I have a similar mindset, nothing beyond about MY10 except Corvette. I think it is an outlier because generally speaking they have not screwed it up at least through C7. Whether this is still true remains to be seen.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The SS sedan was a very good car. I like the 2G CTS a lot too although the 3.6 of that era isn’t built for the long haul.

        If they prove reliable, the final gen Lacrosse in its higher trims is a nice car too. I’d have to buy a stop/start defeat module for it though.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That’s true, hadn’t occurred to me. A friend has an avg MY08 G8 3.6 and a cherry MY09 Hummer H2 pickup that he’s done very well on in terms of valuation. Two weeks ago I did some research because his G8 is in the period where the 3.6 likes to stretch its timing chain. He’s never had a light for it and never had it serviced for that so apparently its not as widespread as I thought. Beautiful car his G8, wish it was the V8 though as he’s thinking of dumping it in the next two years. Valuations are not high for the 3.6 model, they are about in line with the Grand Prix of the same era (like 2,5, MMR says his with 100K is 3,1).

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I wouldn’t mind a V6 G8 at the prices they go as a very nice beater, but the transmissions are made of glass being a BMW/GM design and are ridiculously expensive to rebuild.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Does the V8 model use a different transmission?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Given that I can still buy a brand new Charger/Challenger/300 I don’t get the love that exists for used G8s.

            Unless I was going to be a Pontiac collector.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Yes the V8 uses the 6L80e iirc, or the TR6060 if GTP.

            Both much stronger and cheaper to rebuild.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “Given that I can still buy a brand new Charger/Challenger/300 I don’t get the love that exists for used G8s.“

            That ones easy, it’s a RWD GM V8, GM will screw over ever Joe, Sue, and Sally that decides to buy their FWD mess but one thing they can do right is RWD V8. And although I have Very few qualms about buying a FCA V8, the LS platform still has 20 years of technological updates and is still better than the FCA V8 platform. Not to mention aluminum block vs iron.

            As far as the car goes, the G8 is a more interesting design to me, and once you get rid of the nasty Pontiac bits and add the Holden hardware it transforms the car into an entirely new car. If you add the HSV gear then you essentially have a car more badass then anything under $100k made today. The Holden is a much better canyon carver than the Charger and is more closely compared to the M-series, just more affordable, better looking imo, more reliable, and much cheaper to keep running.

            As far as the V6 cars, they don’t share the great powertrain but it’s a damn good looking car that has Correct Wheel Drive and they aren’t overly expensive if you look past the trans they used on those cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Can the V6 iterations have their drivetrain switched out, or in addition to motor/trans/ECU you have to do the exhaust, front chassis, etc?

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Im not sure on that, usually by the time you figure the cost to swap in the V8 into a V6 drivetrain it just makes more sense to pay a couple thousand more for the V8 and already have it done.

            I’m sure it can be done, but personally I don’t think it would be worth the effort. I’d prefer to put that effort into bringing a Holden Ute, or the station wagon over and swapping fire walls to have either a 21st century El Camino on roid rage, or a honest to goodness V8 RWD station wagon like dads were intended to drive, put the Tremec 6-speed in either for additional fun.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            A V8 G8/SS is about 400 pounds lighter than a V8 LX car, and if anything that understates the difference in the way they feel from behind the wheel. Whenever I drive an LX car on curvy roads the overwhelming impression is one of mass and reluctance to change direction. By contrast the G8 loves to turn as much as any full-size car.

            What I don’t get (as a former G8 owner) is why people still seem to prefer the G8 over the SS. The SS is just a way better car. The interior is a quantum leap, you get modern infotainment and safety systems, and on later versions you get magnetic ride, all with almost no weight penalty.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            It isn’t a perfect comparison, but FWIW when C/D tested them, the Charger Pursuit (which still uses the 5A) was 6 seconds faster around VIR than the Caprice V8 PPV. And, around Grattan during the MSP tests they were always basically tied.

            So numbers-wise the Charger can put up a fight against the Zetas but I agree that the LX never really ‘feels’ like a sports sedan.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yeah, I’m sure the LX cars can bring the numbers (although the PPV is down 60 horsepower compared with an SS or G8 GXP). It’s a matter of feel.

  • avatar

    I didn’t know there was a new CLS, actually. Definitely haven’t seen one.

    My pick is the Porsche Macan. When it was announced I was annoyed that Porsche was stooping to small CUV. I didn’t like how it looked in photos. Then I got to looking at it and reading about it. It looks pretty good in person, and drives great by all accounts. Examined in person, it’s made very well. That’s all you can ask of a CUV, and most brands can’t manage it.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “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.”

    Two things:

    1. The front end looks really cheap and it should have been styled better to differentiate it from the cheap seats.

    2. “Turbocharged” + “mild hybrid” + “inline-six” … this more than anything I have ever seen spells the trifecta tune of doom made by hand with love out of 100% unobtainium. They might as well have thrown kryptonite in it and have it come with a free Dodo bird with purchase.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Should have stopped at inline 6 and left well enough alone.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Very much agreed, but MB these days seems to want to build rolling dumpster fires who go zero to junkyard in 60 months.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I’m of the mind if interest rates ever normalize, it’s going to put a real kibbosh on VW, BMW, and MB business models.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            They have nothing to worry about, the Bernank has their backs.

            “At least one guest left a New York restaurant with the impression Bernanke, 60, does not expect the federal funds rate, the Fed’s main benchmark interest rate, to rise back to its long-term average of around 4 percent in Bernanke’s lifetime, one source who had spoken to the guest said.

            Under his direction, the Fed took the fed funds rate, its key policy lever, to near zero in late 2008 as the financial crisis raged. The central bank has held it there ever since in a bid to stimulate a stronger rebound in the world’s largest economy.

            Another dinner guest was moved when Bernanke said the Fed aims to hit its 2 percent inflation target at all times, and that it is not necessarily a ceiling.”

            https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-bernanke-insight/at-big-ticket-dinners-a-blunt-bernanke-sounds-theme-of-low-rates-idUSBREA4F0OG20140516

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          No only does it encourage people to constantly purchase new models, but Mercedes hasn’t taken the image hit Cadillac and Lincoln have, building cars reliable enough to rust and fall to pieces in the ‘hood.

          They’ve decided to tarnish their image with tiny, entry level cars instead. We’ll see which is worse, but I think it’s more important not to have your older vehicles seen being driven by a bunch of deplorables.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Mercedes vehicles were never cheap in terms of TCO, even in they heyday. I don’t recall seeing too may of them in the hands of deplorables in my lifetime but I get your point.

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    I’ve had to spend a lot of time thinking about this. There are so many gross “old-people” cars from my childhood I would never have imagined liking that I think today I would probably really have enjoyed owning. Foremost among them, the 1972 Lincoln Mark IV.

    When my then girlfriend started college on the other side of the state and it became apparent that my Geo Metro wasn’t cut out for the 6 to 7 hour drives, I bought a 91 GMC K-series Jimmy. It was such a beautiful truck but the payments just killed me and driving myself that deeply into debt led to some of the worst times of my life.

    Right before I bought the truck, one of my neighbors put an old Mark IV out at the end of their driveway and I didn’t even give it a second look. Today I realize I could have had the thing for less than $1000 and it would have been the perfect vehicle for eating up the miles. I feel like I really missed out.

    Even today, the idea of a big personal luxury coupe appeals to me so much. I’d love a new Toronado or a Riveria built to be a true no-compromise luxury cruiser. Two door with a landau top, please.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Same point I was going with. At 44, the 70’s PLCs have never crossed my mind until the last several years. One finds himself sitting in traffic doing a solid 5 MPH and the idea of being able to stretch the right leg out all the way across and drive with the left foot is quite appealing. Plus, obviously, some red velour interior would be ok too!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’d love to see one redone with a more fuel efficient motor, not sure there is one that will bolt to that old of a transmission though. Esp the later Marks with the 400 vs 460.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I’d think you’d swap the whole powertrain. For a GM product, the right answer would be an LS-generation pickup powertrain. For a Ford product, it’s a little bit harder to get the character right. You could put in a Coyote Mustang powertrain and just never rev it, or you could do one of the 3V 5.4s from a pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @Thomas Kreutzer and @87Morgan. Congratulations on having your ‘taste’ mature. Soon we may also have you praising single malt Scotch, fine Cuban cigars (available widely in Canada) and tufted leather armchairs.

      A true PLC is a fine ‘grand touring automobile’. Quiet, comfortable, relaxing, yet still ‘powerful’. And meant for two.

      • 0 avatar
        Thomas Kreutzer

        For two? Me and 87? He seems nice enough but I think maybe we should meet in person before becoming a couple….

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @Thomas. Nice reply. Maybe it would make for a great road trip?

          But driving a PLC usually signaled that you were ‘on the prowl’. A single guy with some money, a divorced dad, or perhaps ‘cougar’.

          If you had a family and drove a PLC it meant that you subjected your kids to the torture of having to crawl into a back seat that had no real windows and no view out the windshield. So you were probably heading for a divorce.

          “I don’t always drive, but when I do I prefer a PLC (Mark IV)”. To paraphrase those Most Interesting Man in the World ads.

  • avatar
    statikboy

    Sure are a lot of pictures of the NSX floating around TTAC these days.

    But for serious, I hated the Toyota Echo when it came out, and I’ve been trying to find a good used Echo Hatchback for years.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    If I were in the market for a used pickup, I would seriously consider a Ram. This *never* would have occurred to me previously.

    (Similarly, would seriously think about a used Charger/Challenger.)

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Steph, proposed QOTD: It’s 2019. What has your favorite automaker (or country or politician) accomplished in the last 20 years (since 1999, turn of the century, two decades, yada yada)?

    [Example: ‘I ran for President and lost – twice.’]

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

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

    “Can’t wait to own” is strong. How about can appreciate can understand why people own them.

    (BTW every picture I see of the C8 is just making me miss the Fiero more.)

    I have come around on full size pickup trucks. I never had a knee jerk reaction or stereotyped the drivers – other than “Bro Dozer” types – but I can understand the appeal.

    Given that the only way to get a car the way they used to be now a days is to buy a Charger or a Challenger or a 300 I can get why we want crew cab V8s etc 4×4 and so on and so forth.

    I could have fun in a Ecoboost extended cab F150 4×4. XLT or STX trim would be just fine. Got to have a front bench though.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    I have always thought a black 1st gen CLS looked awesome. The newer ones, far less so with all the “edges”. No thanks.

    My “ended up loving” car is the new Charger. For years I was so angry they would stoop to call a 4 door a Charger, it made me hate the car as well. Then I drove a new Hemi Charger rental and loved pretty much everything about it, especially the sound, and ended up buying a new one. Call me converted :)

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I agree with both your points. I thought that first CLS looked like a whole lot of money. And it started the trend towards 4-door “coupe” styling, but was big and flashy enough to pull that off, whereas most people buying a mainstream mid-size are more focused on fitting people in the car. It wasn’t until years later that Hyundai copied the looks of the CLS onto the Sonata.

      I hated how fat the LX cars were when they first came out. 4-door Charger? No. And 300’s were instantly being converted into cheesy Rolls look-alikes.

      At this point though, the LX cars are the last of their breed, the only passenger cars that put customer preference in front of CAFE compliance. They’re the only new vehicle I would want to buy today (well, and a Miata). And at this point, 4-door Chargers have existed longer than 2-door Chargers.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I see too much ’90s design in it, re the fat-bodied GM and Ford full-sized models like the old Caprice and Crown Vic (among others.) Absolutely not appealing.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Honda Element. At the onset of fwd car based crossovers, I had one old school Dodge 4×4 under my belt and was a die hard repeat owner of Jeep CJs and Wranglers. My mantra was “It needs solid axles, dual range 4wd, be rubicon capable and have an I-6 or V8, anything less is SHIITE!!!!” I dismissed the rav-4, cr-v etc with barely a side glance and still feel the same towards family oriented CUVs. The element though. That thing just got under my skin, for its integration of some really useful features: clamshell doors, rubber floors, rear seats that fold up onto the walls, an actual TAILGATE instead if that stupid useless rear door like on every wrangler since’87….all absolutely brilliant. Everything a single GenX dude would want, except it’s based on a wussy fwd civic!

    While I still wish this exact body was developed as a Dodge or even a Jeep and used something more like the Liberty/Nitro driveline, it occurred to me that if you think of this more like a replacement for the first VW bus, it starts making a lot more sense. I’ve wanted one as a second rig for a while. Not for trail bashing or anything but as a dirty daily to compliment my Challenger an element would be a great choice. Camping, crap weather, hauling messy items, going clamming/crabbing/fishing…all things I’ve done carefully with my challenger but would just be more comfortable with doing in a rig actually MADE for them. Yup I’ll say I really love the Element these days, and will likely buy one in the near future. Manual transmission only of course.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This is how I feel about the car sitting on my curb right now — a Highlander Hybrid.

    When they first came out I thought they were ridiculous in every way. A porcine SUV? That’s not really an SUV but a Camry? That tries to apologize for its porcine-ness with a thin coat of greenwashing? That has the Dread CVT?

    Worth noting that at the time I didn’t have kids.

    A decade or so later… and the HiHy seems to me like the perfect family vehicle. It’s plenty big enough to carry two car seats and a couple adult relatives (although the older one recently grew out of his car seat into a backless booster). It fits everything we take on road trips. The third-gen car is surprisingly well made and refined, reminding me of “fat Toyotas.” Feature content (I have the top trim) is excellent, with the exception of the crappy infotainment.

    The hybrid powertrain doesn’t give it the economy of a Prius, but it will return 25 mpg in the city, which nothing else its size can do. At the same time, that powertrain is wonderful for non-sporty driving. The V6 is quiet and smooth, on/off is seamless, there are no lurchy shifts like you get with the Aisin 8-speed, and the revs stay low unless you punch it.

    I bought the car because it was one of only two hybrid entries in its segment, and the other (Acura MDX) was too expensive used. But I like it a lot more than I expected to.

    Unfortunately, they’ve ruined the car for the next generation (coming out early next year), by taking out the V6 and putting in a steroidal version of the Camry Hybrid’s four-cylinder powertrain. The claimed fuel economy is excellent, but it won’t have the relaxing and smooth quality that defines V6 hybrids.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Pick-up trucks. When I started driving they were loud, bouncy, tinny, tail happy and generally ‘cheap’.

    Their utility is still questionable. The ‘full sized’ ones have grown too large. They are now expensive.

    But now if you want to replicate the luxury ride, comfort and seating of a 1960’s or 1970’s domestic near luxury or luxury vehicle, they are perhaps your best choice.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    When I was growing up in the late 80s and early 90s I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a Bandit Trans Am. That’s what rednecks drove (along with anything with a Hemi) and I’m talking the reddest of the red necks.

    Now I wouldn’t have any problem driving one. Especially with 18″ gold mesh wheels.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    For me it’s funny because every car I originally hate ultimately becomes a car I love. And vice versa.
    One example is the Audi R8. When I first saw it I thought it was a strange, oddly proportioned vehicle. After years of seeing them it’s grown into one of my all time favorite designs (The original one moreso. Don’t care for the newer redesigns). I felt the same about the C8. Didn’t like it at all when it first was shown, but now that I’ve seen it from many angles and videos, I’m in love with it.
    I wonder if it’s like music. Sometimes you have to listen a few times to an album (They still call them that?) before you really appreciate the nuances of the music.
    And I think the CLS is badass, But I’m a Ray Donovan fan too, so…

  • avatar
    NeilM

    About that C8. I’ve never been a Corvette fan, but I do respect the C7 even though I have no desire for one.

    But the C8? I could learn to want that one, although maybe not until the second or third model year.

  • avatar
    glwillia

    The BMW E60 5-series really grew on it. Hated them when they came out (didn’t help that the E39 it replaced was so good..) but now I don’t mind them (especially since you can get the 535i wagon). Still think both the E39 and F10 look better though.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    1) Fox body Mustangs of the mid to late ’80s. I come of age in the ’90s and the ’80s Mustangs looked so OLD, CHEAP, and SQUARE. Now I appreciate them.

    2) New Silverado. Didn’t like in pics at first, have seen many new ones around here (Socal) already, and I actually do like how they look in person.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Volvo-I was always a fan of the 1800ES particularly the wagon but never thought much about the others. Now I wouldn’t mind a nice Amazon.
    Same with Saab. I dig a nice 900 hatch and of course the convertible, even the last GM Opel based model.
    SUV-I now have a soft spot for the first generation Nissan Xterra. Just a basic elemental mountain goat of a truck.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Xterra survival rates seem to be comparable to 4Runner and Wrangler survival rates from the same era.

      Usually can’t go more than a week without seeing an Xterra despite their low (compared to the competition) sales numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        My mechanic in the Bronx recently had a clean square light 180k one in gray for a mere $1800. Way less than a comparable Wrangler or 4 runner.
        It had the sunroof and roof rack plus the original Rockford Fosgate audio. If I had the room for a winter and beach truck I would have bought it.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    The car nameplate that I once hated, if not for its utter ubiquity but perhaps its general visual obesity, would be the 4 door large-car Charger. They’ve really keyed the styling in and I legitimately like it. It looks like it lost a few pounds and has been toning up. Also, I don’t see them all over the place so the case of familiarity breeding contempt is no longer an issue. If I do see them, they blend in enough that I don’t necessarily notice.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Several, actually. The first was the Yugo. When they first were sold in the States, I thought what a POS. But, several years later, I was at a financial low point and needed a cheap to buy and own car, the Yugo was my answer. I bought a lightly used one for less than $1K (in 1991) and drove that little turd for the next three years. I guess it would have run forever if it hadn’t been totaled in a traffic accident.

    Several years later, as our kids got bigger, we needed a bigger car. I tried to convince my wife we should do the logical thing and get a minivan. That’s when I found out she wouldn’t set foot in a minivan. She found a Pontiac Aztek at a local dealer and wanted to drive it. Since it was her money on this one, I told her to go for it. It wasn’t pretty, but it was pretty handy. I eventually grew fond of it. In the years that followed, we had three of them. If we lived somewhere where rust wasn’t an issue, I’d still have one.

    I needed to rent a car and ended up with a Chevy Malibu Maxx. I remember when I got into it thinking that what is this, a chopped off station wagon? But as I drove it for the next week, I grew to like the interior room and the ease of loading cargo in the hatchback area. I had a side gig as a working musician (drummer) back then and loading my rig into that car was a lot easier than the Cavalier.

    The Cavalier was something I bought strictly for commuting, but that car ended up being the singular most reliable car I ever owned. It wasn’t anything real special, it hardly ever cost me money, but it ran and ran and ran. I finally donated it after it got so rusty it was losing ground connections and the electrics were acting weird.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    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.

  • avatar
    buffaloboxster

    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.

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