Ford's mercy killing of the entire Mercury brand was merely the latest victim of automotive death by platform prostitution. There's been worse. Much worse. Here's your choices for the ten worst badge-engineered cars ever.
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10.) Mercury Mountaineer
Suggested By: phor11
Why It's Horrible: The Ford Explorer was never exciting or fun to drive. The Mountaineer continued that trend. It was just another in a long line of cars that slowly sucked the soul out of Mercury, and sent it to its grave last week.
9.) Geo Tracker
Suggested By: Greg Miller
Why It's Horrible: Also known as the Chevrolet Tracker and Suzuki Sidekick, the small SUV would neither track nor assist in fighting crime if it was shiny side down, as Consumer Reports reported it often was in 1988. The truck was ranked as having an "unacceptable" amount of roll when avoiding obstacles. After a lawsuit from GM in 1996, the claims by Consumer Reports were dropped, but the trucks had already been consigned to a lifetime of embarrassment.
8.) Vanden Plas 1500/1700
Suggested By: Shep_Shepherd
Why It's Horrible: Bad British engineering covered in leather and wood inlay and given a weird-looking grill don't make a better car. Originally produced as the Austin Allegro, these cars weren't prone to the same level of rust as many of their British Leyland counterparts, but managed to somehow develop the same reputation for oxidation. Famously, they were noted as being more aerodynamic traveling backwards than forwards. Thank you, British Leyland.
Photo credit: © Andrew, flickr
7.) Oldsmobile Cutlass
Suggested By: b_h
Why It's Horrible: The Cutlass we're talking about here is the sixth generation of the car, built from 1997 to 1999. It's also the one that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Chevy Malibu of the same era. This Cutlass was meant to keep the name alive, at least until the Alero was ready for production. Instead, it was literally the exact same car as the downmarket Malibu. Differentiating features included all-red taillights, unique chromed wheels, and split folding rear seats. Woo hoo.
6.) Oldsmobile Silhouette
Suggested By: wheatieboy
Why It's Horrible: Though the Oldsmobile Silhouette, Pontiac Montana and Chevy venture offered a number of advanced features for their day, such as onboard DVD players (in later models) and 8 passenger seating, reliability and safety concerns dogged the models their entire lives. While we're at it, who in their right mind at GM gave another Oldsmobile minivan the green light for production?
5.) Isuzu i-Series
Suggested By: maximum_sarge
Why It's Horrible: Designed by Isuzu and General Motors, and seen in the United States mostly as the Chevy Colorado, the Isuzu i-Series trucks aren't really that bad as midsize pickups. They do, however, appear to be wearing braces. Isuzu, trucks don't have teeth. There is no reason to put braces on the front end of your truck. It just looks ugly.
4.) Pontiac Vibe
Suggested By: TK421
Why It's Horrible: The Vibe, like it's Japanese sibling Toyota Matrix, is nothing more than an ostensibly sporty-looking wagon that delivers uninspiring performance. The upside is that one of my friends used to own one, and it was a piece of cake to get my entire drum kit in the back. So if you're a drummer in a band and need to get your drums to the gig... Wait. No, don't get a Vibe. Drums fit just as well into my Civic Si, and get to the show a heck of a lot quicker.
3.) Saab 9-7x
Suggested By: vdiddy210
Why It's Horrible: While there is no excusing the existence of the 9-7x, we don't mean to single it out. Pretty much every truck built on GM's GMT360 architecture was unnecessary. That didn't stop The General from using it as the underpinnings for six- count them- six SUVs between 2002 and 2009. They include the GMC Envoy, Chevy Trailblazer, Buick Ranier, Oldsmobile Bravada, and Isuzu Ascender, in addition to the Saab.
2.) Kia Elan
Suggested By: jark
Why It's Horrible: Ok, try to stay with me here. GM bought Lotus in 1988, which gave Lotus the cash to get a new sports car out the door. Enter the M100 Elan, which began production in 1989. 4,655 examples were produced in the span of six years. When Lotus production ended in 1995, Kia purchased the licensing and all the tooling needed, and made their own rebadged version from 1996 to 1999, available only in Korea. While the quality of the car may not have suffered too much under the Kia badge, the idea of a Kia-badged Elan is something I, for one, am not ok with.
1.) Pontiac G3
Suggested By: JonZeke
Why It's Horrible: The G3 was originally a Chevrolet Aveo. The Aveo was originally a Daewoo Kalos. The Kalos was originally an uninspiring little econobox, so why slap a dual-nostril grill and Pontiac logo on the front? "Driving excitement," that's why.