Some cars just look like they can’t be good. Other cars have zero hype and thus you assume, incorrectly, that someone would have already told you if they were worth renting or buying. Here are five cars I like that I don’t think get the respect they deserve.
(Ed Note: In rolling out our new Buyers Guides we’ll be rounding up some posts for the purposes of directing your eyeballs there. This is one of those posts.)
The problem with magazine comparison tests is that they always insist on a “winner,” when in reality the decisions that go into making a person actually buy a car are far more complex. Maybe someone finds a color they like, gets a good deal, or their astrologist tells them “You must buy a Kia when Venus and Mars are aligned or risk getting shingles when you’re older.”
In any reasonably fair comparison it’s probably true that a Mercedes S Class would win out over a similarly spec’d Audi A8. The S Class is newer and offers more tech and has always had more prestige than Audi for people who value that sort of thing.
I don’t care about any of that. The Audi A8 is supremely comfortable, usually offers a nice diesel engine that gives you enough range to drive across Nebraska, and is attractive in a very German sort of way.
Also, it’s not an S-Class or a 7 Series, and in some neighborhoods that’s enough.
When New GM becomes Old New GM and New New GM goes on an apology tour for the bad things Old New GM did, this generation of Chevy Impala is not going to be on the list of things they feel bad about.
At one point, Travis drove the Impala and came back, like, actually happy. Few things that aren’t hilarious to drive made Travis happy so I asked for one for a weekend trip. Damn if it wasn’t a pleasurable experience, complete with back seats people would want to sit in and performance that was actually measurable without a mass spectrometer!
How Chevy could make an Impala that was good and a Malibu (the old one) that wasn’t is kind of amazing to me, but that’s how it happened.
It would be great to be able to buy a TVR, but few of them are available for import last I checked and we’re more likely to get a Talking Heads reunion tour than a new model.
Therefore, you should buy a new Dodge Viper while you still can. Dodge has made them Dodges again (instead of SRTs) and slashed the price, giving you a V10-powered, front-engined car for under $100,000. That’s a good deal.
Is a $90,000 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 better than a Viper? Absolutely. It’s also conventional and relatively easy to drive so long as its motor doesn’t explode on you. In 30 years when you’re at a Cars & Coffee you’ll walk right past the Z06 for the 2015 Viper.
All of the cars in this class are mostly indistinct from one another with the exception of carrying some sort of visual brand language. Few are fast and all offer a reasonable mix of space, economy, and value.
The Tucson, largely by virtue of just being the newest, manages to distinguish itself as one of the better ones. It offers a wide range of engine choices, is near the middle of the pack in terms of affordability, and is larger inside than you’d imagine (I used one to move a larger dresser without issue).
I also think it’s one of the handsomer crossovers and I think many people overlook it because the outgoing model felt cheap and had the visual appeal of a Playmobil car blown up to human size.
Cars get better with age, but platforms rarely do.
The latest Chrysler 300 is the best Chrysler 300, offering a stout V8 engine, not terrible fuel economy, and a Bentley-esque face. Yes, it’s still built on Chrysler’s older LX platform and thus isn’t up to the standard of the Hyundai Genesis or Cadillac CTS.
Who cares? There are deals to be had and it’s a RWD American sedan with a big V8 that’ll light up the tires and still get you the prime spot in front of the bingo. Try doing that with a Buick.
Contact the author at email@example.com. Photo: FCA via Newspress.