Here Are The Best Cars No One Bought

Here Are The Best Cars No One Bought

Enthusiasts begged for some of these cars, but never showed up at the dealer.

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2016 Chevy SS
2016 Chevy SS
Image: Chevrolet

The Chevy SS was so hyped leading up to release that General Motors projected sales of 15,000 to 20,000 per year. After reality set in, the company lowered that estimate to between 2,000 and 3,000. Hundreds were sold a month, and by the time the sedan was discontinued in 2017 — its best year — 4,055 rolled off lots with a total production run of just 12,860 across four model years. Some called it invisible and argued that Malibu-esque styling, plus a high price starting just under $49,000, turned buyers away.

We asked readers what they believed were the best cars nobody bought. These were their answers.

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Lincoln LS

Lincoln LS

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Image: IFCAR Wikicommons (Fair Use)

The Lincoln LS. That car had so much potential when launched. Unfortunately Lincoln never made any meaningful updates, making it more unappealing with geriatric touches by its end.

A poster child of Ford’s failed PAG (Premier Automotive Group), the LS was Lincoln’s attempt to go after European sport sedan buyers. It rode on the DEW98 platform that was shared with Ford and Jaguar; it even had Jaguar engines, including a base V6 and optional 3.9-liter AJ V8. It might not have sold as well as Ford had hoped but it sold well enough, and almost 263,000 reached buyers over seven years.

Suggested by: Brenden Saur (Facebook)

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Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia

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Image: Stellantis

I can’t believe that the Giulia doesn’t sell better. The “quality issues” that everyone talks about are bullshit since most of the people that like to talk about it have never even driven one. Q model aside, the base 4-cylinder with the ZF 8-speed automatic is fucking fabulous. I’d go as far as saying that its formula is perfect as a right-sized, right-powered, RWD sedan that’s stylish and fun as hell to drive.

When the first came out, I was annoyed that there was no in-between powertrain from the base to the Q and that the US was denied the manual transmission. Then I drove one. Not too long after I drove the Q. Both were seriously impressive and are now on the list of cars I need to own. I’m keeping my eye on used Q models and maybe picking one up in a few years as a car to possibly keep at my west coast pad.

Giulia sales were up 31 percent in Q1 of this year.

Suggested by: Autojunkie

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Lexus IS F And MK3 Ford Focus RS

Lexus IS F And MK3 Ford Focus RS

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Image: Lexus

For me, it has to be a tie between the Lexus ISF and the MK3 Focus RS. One was an under-the-radar skunkworks project that gained a cult following and the other was an STi alternative with concrete suspension killed off by greedy dealerships asking for 60% over sticker despite the demand not being nearly that high at release. It’s still on the list of nicer cars I’d buy in the near future but at a reasonable $28-$35k rather than $50K MSRP + $25k in “dealer fees” + taxes and registration.

The IS F could be called low production. From 2007 until the end of its run in 2014, just over 5,000 were made. The Focus RS was arguably in the same boat, at least in the U.S. Only 8,486 were made in 2016 and 2017, according to our own David Tracy.

Suggested by: Ryan King

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Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo 4C

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Image: Stellantis Media Archives

Stupid people should’ve bought tens of thousands of them so there could be many cheap, low mileage ones available for me ten years later.

To be fair, the 4C is probably one of the most attainable exotics you can find. Older examples can be found within the high-$40K to low-$50K range if you look hard enough. Even newer ones are going for around $64K. But there’s a reason why just handfuls of these things were sold every month: It’s probably one of the most impractical and uncomfortable cars you’ll ever drive.

Suggested by: reverberocket is nipping the apex..and gently blowing in it’s ear.

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Current Mazda3

Current Mazda3

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Image: Mazda

I remain shocked at the continued lack of market success for the 4th generation Mazda3. Earlier versions of the car were instrumental in keeping the company afloat, and the 3 retains some dedicated fans, but the overall market for small passenger vehicles has moved away from it.

If you want an actual car-shaped hatchback instead of a crossover or SUV, and you also want: awd, NA engine, 360 camera, power memory seats & mirrors, user interface with no touchscreens.

Then the Mazda3 is your only choice at any price point, new or used. It’s beautiful, efficient, fun to drive, has top-quality interior, arguably exceeds Honda and Toyota for build quality and reliability, and is even available with forged wheels from the factory.

Perfect for a commuter that you don’t have to hate driving, that’s luxurious without being totally numb.

But apparently, the normies just don’t want cars anymore?

Mazda moved just 3,232 3s in June of this year.

Suggested by: Syscrush

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GMC Sierra Denali Quadrasteer

GMC Sierra Denali Quadrasteer

Yes, they sold two gazillion GMT800 trucks. But this one here is a Sierra Denali Quadrasteer. True full-time AWD truck with Quadrasteer which makes it park like a car and not a truck.

Some say that the high added price of the Quadrasteer system killed it. When it debuted in 2002, it was a $5,600 option. With no takers, GM slashed it to $2,000. When that didn’t work, the company cut the cost again to just $1,000. Finally, with just 17 percent of customers choosing the option, GM discontinued the system in 2005.

Suggested by: icemilkcoffee

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Mercury Marauder

Mercury Marauder

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Image: Ford

Only sold 11K units over 2 years of production. Full gauges, limited slip, factory duals, DOHC 4.6, this was Peak Panther Platform.

The Marauder was a factory hot rod, in a sense. It came with beefed-up suspension and brakes lifted from the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. And it shared the 4.6-liter 302 horsepower V8 with the Mustang Mach 1. Mercury predicted 18,000 sales a year. But the Marauder was discontinued in 2004 after little more than 11,000 were sold in two years.

Suggested by: DRG84

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Chevy Camaro 1LE Turbo and V6

Chevy Camaro 1LE Turbo and V6

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Image: Chevrolet

Camaro V6 1LE. An almost universally praised enthusiast car overshadowed by the fact that it was as expensive as the base SS with the V8. I go to many track days and SS 1LEs are all over the place, but I have only ever seen one V6 1LE in the wild and it is mine.

A Camaro V6 3LT with the 1LE package and hardly any options is nearly $39,000. You could go cheap and get a base turbo-four Camaro 1LT with the 1LE package for about $31,195, but good luck finding that anywhere.

Suggested by: RidgeFish

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Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR

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Image: Cadillac

Cadillac ELR. Nobody bought it because it was LUDICROUSLY expensive for what it was (a tarted up Volt coupe), but the values have PLUMETTED, so it’s a great used buy for something stylish, comfortable, and efficient.

I know we use the phrase “no one buys” a certain car a lot. But in the case of the ELR, that phrase is almost true. Remember, the ELR shared its plug-in powertrain with the Chevy Volt. It had an MSRP of $75,995 when new. During its 2014-2017 run, only 2,891 were sold.

Suggested by: MrMcGeein3D

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Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice

Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice

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Image: GM

Only 35k ever made over a 4 year run. Partially because GM killed the brand (along with Pontiac), and partially because it filled a niche between the Corvette and Miata (and the base level competed directly with the Miata)...an answer to a question few really asked.

Fun fact: Daewoo sold a badge-engineered version of the Sky in Asia called the G2X.

Suggested by: Rockchops

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Nissan NX

Nissan NX

The Nissan NX. It was the successor to the Pulsar NX that is well-loved on Jalopnik. Based on the Sentra platform, it was available with the SR20DE engine from the SE-R plus all of the SE-R’s handling accouterments, in addition to having larger brakes than the SE-R offered. It also came with t-tops and a sporty looking interior.

It’s cool and quirky and very 90s and they really didn’t sell many of them. The NX2000 model with the SR20DE can be had for less money than the SE-R... if you can find one.

Suggested by: As Du Volant

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Second Gen Acura RL

Second Gen Acura RL

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Image: Acura

It was dismissed because of its bland styling and driving dynamics that couldn’t match the Germans. And it wasn’t particularly spacious inside for a flagship sedan.

But it was more refined than Infiniti’s and more engaging than most Lexus models. 300hp, advanced AWD, cutting edge tech came standard and could get over 30 mpg on the highway. Crucially, the RLs didn’t have the glass transmission that was in other Honda/Acura products at the time and were generally very reliable.

This generation of RL introduced Honda’s SH-AWD (Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive) system.

Suggested by: GrannyShifter (don’t judge my Hofmeister kink)

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