Here Are The Cars You Think Have The Least Convincing Performance Branded Versions

Here Are The Cars You Think Have The Least Convincing Performance Branded Versions

Trim pieces, a nice color, and some cool wheels will only go so far.

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2021 Toyota Corolla Apex
2021 Toyota Corolla Apex
Image: Toyota

For some, cars that are all show and no go are OK. I guess that’s why automakers keep giving them to us over the years. Trim, nice wheels, and a cool name win people over.

We asked readers what cars they thought have the least convincing performance branded versions. These were their answers.

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Chevy’s NASCAR Editions

Chevy’s NASCAR Editions

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Image: Chevrolet

The early 00s “NASCAR” branded Chevy Monte Carlos that were nothing more than “SS” version with some stickers and driver signatures scattered around.

While Chevy did give later versions of the Monte Carlo/Impala a proper V8, late 90's and early 00's versions were much less exciting with the NASCAR editions even less so. Powered by GM’s supercharged 3800 V6, Chevy made Jeff Gordon editions, Dale Jr. editions, and pace cars.

Suggested by: Noah Jacob (Facebook)

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Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road

Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road

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Image: Toyota

Black 18 inch wheels, black trim, and black badging does not make it an “off road” vehicle.

Sure it has “TRD Tuned MacPherson struts” with “red painted shock absorbers”.

It’s all corporate lingo for an appearance package with softer shocks.

The furthest the majority of TRD Off Road RAV4s will ever go off road is when the kids soccer competition has overflow parking on the grass.

The RAV4 TRD Off Road recently placed last in a comparison test at Motor Trend that pitted it against the Subaru Outback Wilderness, Jeep Wrangler Sport, and Ford Bronco Sport with MT saying, “The TRD (Toyota Racing Development) badge might mean something on the 4Runner or Tacoma, but it’s wasted on this RAV4.”

Suggested by: JamesRL

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Chevy Sonic RS

Chevy Sonic RS

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Image: Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Sonic RS. What was everyone’s big gripe about the Sonic? Lack of power. What didn’t GM add to the “performance” version? More power. Instead it got some badging, some subtle bodywork changes, rear disc brakes and a regeared transmission that didn’t make it accelerate noticeably faster but chewed a few miles off the MPG.

While the Sonic RS could be had with a turbo, it didn’t do much for speed. The 1.4-liter turbo I4 only put out 138 horsepower. It did handle well, though, with Chevy enlisting Corvette engineers to tune the suspension.

Suggested by: Nick Dixon (Facebook)

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Brabus Smart

Brabus Smart

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Image: Barbus

2009 Brabus Smart car. Big wheels and a body kit with a screaming 70hp. I worked for Hertz Car Rental when these were new. One day a truckload of them rolled in brand new ready for the rental fleet, a purchasing guy must have scored a great deal on the whole lot. I was incredulous that such a car existed. They were all fully destroyed after about 6 months of rental abuse.

This one needs no further elaboration.

Suggested by:Bakert474

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Infiniti IPL G37

Infiniti IPL G37

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Image: Infiniti

They created an entirely new trim level and only kept it for one car, this trim level added no performance, just bumpers, wheels, different exhaust tips and a red seat option.

The IPL G did add 18 extra horses to the 3.7-liter V6. But for reasons that are still unknown, IPL never went farther than the G coupe and convertible. The trim was supposed to eventually include and IPL M and FX.

Suggested by:Viperfan1

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Nissan 200SX

Nissan 200SX

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Image: Wikicommons IFCAR (Fair Use)

For the era, there are almost too many to choose from, but I’ll go with the Nissan 200SX SE-R. Just an incredibly bland econobox that was supposed to be “sporty.” A towering automaker like Nissan (in that era) could have, and should have, done so much better.

Suggested by: rockympls

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Dodge’s R/T Trim

Dodge’s R/T Trim

2012 Dodge Avenger R/T
2012 Dodge Avenger R/T
Image: Dodge

Dodge is terrible about slapping the R/T and other performance tags on everything, so my vote is either the early 2000s Durango R/T or the current Grand Caravan GT.

R/T meant something to Dodge once upon a time. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, it was a performance package for the Charger called Road/Track. But starting in the mid-’90s and on through the ’00s, it nearly became a top-of-the-line trim on everything from Grand Caravans to Calibers to Intrepids.

Suggested by: Matt (And a few others)

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Malaise Era Muscle Cars

Malaise Era Muscle Cars

1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II
1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II
Image: Ford

Any American “muscle” from the malaise era.

I think the prize goes to the Mustang II Cobra. The Cobra “package” was an available option for any Mustang II, including the 4-cylinder.

Suggested by: BobWillsisKing

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Toyota Avalon TRD

Toyota Avalon TRD

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Image: Toyota

First, there’s no reason to have a TRD version of the Avalon, but if you’re going to do it, maybe it should be a bit more than just an appearance package.

The Avalon TRD has no extra power and doesn’t have larger brakes. It merely just have a lowered suspension, some red paint on the calipers, bigger wheels, and a cheesy body kit. Oh, and red seatbelts.

The only thing the TRD version is successful at is to be less comfortable, and comfort is kind of the main reason you get an Avalon.

Suggested by: Margin Of Error

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1978 To 1980 Oldsmobile 442

1978 To 1980 Oldsmobile 442

1980 Oldsmobile 442
1980 Oldsmobile 442
Image: HotRod Polk Wikicommons

Back in 1978-80, Olds slapped the storied 4-4-2 badge on the down-sized Cutlass 2-door fastback sedan.

Not the Cutlass Supreme Coupe - the SEDAN fer christsakes!!!! (although they would switch to the coupe in ‘85.)

Standard engine was a 3.8L V-6.

Suggested by: Earthbound Misfit I

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