Last weekend, I got some really interesting responses when I asked you what cars you thought were completely overrated. I say it's interesting because a lot of you have no love for some cars that are typically held in pretty high regard here on Jalopnik, like the E30 3-series, the Miata and even the NSX. To each his own, I guess.
But now I want to shift gears a bit and ask you what cars don't get the respect they deserve. What do you consider to be the most underrated car ever made?
I can think of a few unloved and ignored gems right off the bat, like the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16, the Mitsubishi Starion, or the Volkswagen Phaeton. But my favorite underrated car has to be this guy: the 2004-2006 Pontiac GTO.
In theory, who wouldn't want this car? Let's look at the specs: a choice of LS V8 engines with either 350 or 400 horsepower, a six-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive, and an independent rear suspension. Sounds like a great recipe for hoonage to me.
But the GTO never sold well, in part because of its name and its face. Nostalgia appeal is a huge reason why the contemporary set of muscle cars sell so well, especially among the dad demographic: the Mustang, Challenger and Camaro all look like the cars these guys used to drag race in the 60s and 70s.
The GTO… um, doesn't. It's unapologetically a rebadged Holden Monaro from Australia, and with its Pontiac nose job, it looks like a Grand Am or something. When a Camry Solara is more interesting to look at, you've got a real problem on your hands.
Pontiac unceremoniously killed the GTO after only three years, and the brand itself would be dead by 2010. (They left behind another fantastic but unloved machine, the G8, which also deserves a spot on a list of underrated cars.)
I believe the way a car looks is irrelevant compared to how it drives and how it makes you feel. That's why I always smile when I see people driving around in these GTOs. If you can get past the boring looks, you have a fantastic performance bargain on your hands. It may not the greatest car ever made or anything, but this Goat deserves some respect.
What say you, ladies and gentlemen? What car do you consider underrated?
Photo credit jasonb42882