Yesterday we asked for cars that you thought were good ideas at the time but ultimately proved to be failures. Surprisingly, many of the cars that were bad ideas at the time were ultimately good ideas.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our Jalopnik summer feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
10.) Jeep Compass
Suggested By: mkbruin
Why It Seemed Like A Good Idea: Want evidence that focus groups shouldn't design cars? Those horrible creations are to blame for the Compass. It's a Jeep for those who don't go off-road designed to look like the Jeep everyone takes off-roading. For the first three model years of its life, it didn't even have Jeep's standard "Trail Rated" honors. Now they've smartly remodeled the Compass to look like the Jeep no one takes off-roading.
Suggested By: stephdumas
Why It Seemed Like A Good Idea: The problem with the Edsel wasn't necessarily its atrocious nose (though it certainly didn't help). No, the Edsel's downfall came at the hands of its corporate overlords, the Ford Motor Company. Originally created to slot in the lineup of brands between Ford and Mercury, Edsel wound up competing directly with Mercury for the same customers. Also, there was a recession setting in in 1957, right when Edsels came on the market. All in all, good idea Ford, but ultimately a huge mistake.
Photo credit: Stationwagon.com
8.) Nissan Pulsar NX
Suggested By: Jeb_Hoge
Why It Seemed Like A Good Idea: Touted as "the car of the future" with its removable rear panels and T-top roof, the Pulsar NX was just too much advanced thinking at once. Its removable rear panel could be used to convert the car from a sporty-looking coupe to a strange-looking (and not much roomier) wagon. Additionally, it looked like an even more awkward TR7, and nobody wants that.
Photo credit: Hugo90, Flickr
7.) Ford Thunderbird
Suggested By: underachieva
Why It Seemed Like A Good Idea: The New Thunderbird was brought back to cash in on the "retro" craze that had whipped GM, Chrysler, Volkswagen and Mini up into a frenzy. It just didn't do it very well. On a whole, the car looked alright. It just didn't sell in nearly the numbers Ford had hoped. It lasted for three years, from 2002 - 2005, and then faded off into the sunset.
6.) Dodge Caliber
Suggested By: geistkoenig
Why It Seemed Like A Good Idea: The Caliber would have been a great compact if it had launched just a few years earlier — and not just because of its ancient global motor. Designed at the height of the SUV craze it was designed to look like a fuel-guzzling truck. Sadly, it launched just as fuel prices peaked.
5.) Subaru Baja
Suggested By: Potbelly Joe
Why It Seemed Like A Good Idea: Subaru Baja? Ha, ha, ha. As an idea, it's a good one. Bring back the pickup truck/car hybrid! Just don't do it with half of an Outback making it neither useful as a car or a truck. For something that should have been a huge success, it's still a shock to see one of these out on the road, and that's a shame.
4.) Cadillac XLR
Suggested By: dal20402
Why It Seemed Like A Good Idea: The XLR was pretty disappointing. In base trim it was both slower and more expensive than it should have been. In XLR-V trim things got better, but the interior was still not a great place to be. It became a thing that folks with above-Corvette money but below-Corvette performance needs would buy. Even at its height in 2005, there were less than 3,750 people in the country who wrote a check. But GM was onto something and the CTS coupe eventually proved people would buy a two-door Caddy.
3.) Lotus Elan
Suggested By: SennaMP4
Why It Seemed Like A Good Idea: It should have been a recipe for success. The New Elan, meant to hang out and whoop on its Miata competitor, had an Isuzu engine and gearbox, was designed with help from General Motors, and got a $55 million dollar development budget. As was typical with Lotus products its roof leaked, it was known to be visited by the ghost of Mr. Lucas once in a while, and unlike other Lotus vehicles it looked kind of boring. The rights to manufacture it eventually went to Kia, where it lived out the rest of its days as a strangely capable FWD cars.
2.) AMC Eagle
Suggested By: Goggles_Pisano
Why It Seemed Like A Good Idea: The original crossover, the Eagle was a car with loads of ground clearance and four wheel drive. It could go off-road. It looked pretty sweet. And it sold a fair number of cars. But it was regarded as an odd duck, with its brilliant concept from 1980 not really fully catching on until just a few years ago. Now, we can't get away from damn crossovers, none of which are as cool as the Eagle.
1.) GM EV1
Suggested By: BtheD19
Why It Seemed Like A Good Idea: There are a whole host of reasons why the EV1 was ahead of its time. Full electric drivetrain? Check. Aerodynamic, cool looking body? Check. Killed off by its own parents after shady dealings came into play? Check. It can be held responsible for spearheading the headfirst dive into alternative-energy-powered cars we find ourselves engulfed in today.
Photo credit: Wired