Sometimes, it seems like autojournos are having such a blast driving all these new cars that they completely forget what makes a good one. These are ten cars that were supposedly awesome. In reality they blew chunks.
The press generally praised the 2010 Prius for being better in every way than the previous generation, but the reality was that despite all that fuel economy, the third Prius still came with a cheap interior and offered no driving experience whatsoever.
This. Car. Is. Terrible. Really good at good gas mileage. Horrible throttle response, feels bigger than it is, not very good visibility, feels cheap. I get that it's not supposed to be a sportscar but surely we can get efficiency in a better product.
Suggested By: 472CID
While journalists got charmed by the retro design and that arched roof, this car wasn't so hot on the road. Maybe they forgot that the MK4 Golf it was based on was a bad car to begin with.
The "New Beetle" was pretty awful. It was a Golf with worse handling, less practical, and a higher price tag. But people loved it (Myself included. I was young and stupid.) Because Beetle.
Suggested By: Sky Blue
Car and Driver put the Contour on its Ten Best list for 1995, 1996 and 1997. In 2009, they formally apologized for it. Now, I drove the European Ford Mondeo and it was rubbish. I can't imagine the American version being any better.
Daniel MacCabe disagrees:
I worked at Ford during the Contour's run. I thought it was the best car Ford was making at the time. The V6 was butter smooth, the shifter on the available 5sp manual was Miata precise, the seats were well bolstered, supportive, and extremely comfortable. The entire interior design didn't have the typical American feel, it seemed more like it was aspiring to be an Audi or VW - it perfectly reflected the European market that it was designed for.
The ZTEC 4 was pretty loud and thrashy, and the slushbox was a huge letdown, but in V6 manual configuration it was sublime. (for an American car.)
You tell me.
Suggested By: Grand Moff Talkin'
Motor Trend's Car of the Year 1995. What a year that must have been!
I remember wanting my parents to get a Cirrus because I was too young to know better and all my car knowledge was from magazines.
Suggested By: Spaceman Spiff
You have to look at the Mustang II through goggles filled with some Oil Crisis history (the car sold pretty well), and then it's fair enough. Still, Car of the Year from Motor Trend?
The sudden and inexplicable hipster-esque love for the "Mustang II" aside, this was a miserable piece of shit by any measure. Anemic as hell and worse performance than it's contemporary stablemate the Pinto, it somehow got the COTY nod from Motor Trend back in 1974. They have yet to formally apologize for that.
Suggested By: Brian, The Life of
Don't listen to the press when a car is clearly worse than the one it replaces. Progress works the other way around.
This lumping piece of a bastard Americanized shit. The old one was better. This one is just terrible. It should have it's own place hell. Somewhere where the designers and bean counters that spawned this hateful thing would get their testicles flayed and run over. Somehow got MotorTrend SUV of the Year.
Suggested By: JonathonW8
Once again, Motor Trend shined through and gave the Thunderbird the COTY title for 2002. That decision has not aged well.
This was Motor Trend's 2002 Car of the Year and it was a massive disappointment for everyone involved in it. It let Ford down in sales and it's unfortunate owners with terrible quality. For the pleasure of owning this turd, dealers made sure to slap an additional $10-15K over sticker on the damn things.
The cost of nostalgia was quite dear back in the early oughts.
Suggested By: Brian, The Life of:
Make it retro, they said. It'll be fun, they said. It wasn't.
I remember people going nuts over it when it came out. I was in high school and classmates thought it was amazing. To me it was Chryslers fault. They let it die by doing nothing to keep it fresh. Let it just become dated and cheap feeling.
Suggested By: Automatch Tom
Welcome to COTY 1980. A revolution. The Chemical-X of the compact segment. Having a laugh already?
My grandfather bought one of those new in 1980, trading in his Dodge Aspen, the car went down the road crooked from new, I swear the wheels were not square with each other.
Suggested By: Braking Bad
You know, the one that was supposed to save AMC! European styling and all that crap. It was rubbish on both sides of the water.
Motor Trend COTY 1983. And a C/D 10 Best that year. And European COTY for 1982. With a 20 year-old 1.4L 4cyl that made all of 55hp, with no bigger option until 2 years later. When you could get a 78hp 1.7L.
Suggested By: N2Skylark
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Top Photo Credit: Motor Trend