The worst thing you can do in any business venture is overpromise and then also underperform. Jalopnik readers found ten cars that never had the engine they needed, or had an engine wasted on that platform.
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Well, we shouldn’t just restrict ourselves to cars that were writing checks in the looks department that their motors couldn’t cash. There are a few cars here that had fantastic engines, but were saddled with the wrong chassis. To us, that’s just as bad for the company responsible.
Are there any mismatched car/engine combos that we forgot? Let us know in Kinja below.
Photo Credit: Bit Boy
We loved the idea of Honda going back to a CRX-style small, zippy, fun to drive two-door hatchback, but then the CR-Z ended up with an engine seriously lacking in zippiness.
There is only one thing keeping the legendary SM from achieving Most Amazing Car In Modern History status and that’s its weak Maserati V6. Maserati built a prototype SM with a fabulous 4.0 liter V8, but it never made it into production.
In 1984, Lincoln felt it needed a diesel engine for its Continentals. They didn’t have a good one of their own, so they bought a bunch of M21 turbodiesels from BMW. The 2.4 liter engine never had more than 114 horsepower, and was so unpopular they dropped it after 1985.
Suggested By: Zekestone, Photo Credit: Lincoln
We have no idea how GM ended up approving their classic muscle/pony cars with this clunky 2.5-liter four. It's the Malaise Era, people made terrible decisions. These Camaros and Firebirds put out horsepower in the double digits.
Suggested By: SmalleyXB122, Photo Credit: Chevrolet
First-generation Dodge Rams were far behind the times back in 1981. They had a rough ride and were as crude as could be. Their Cummins diesel engines, however, absolutely ruled.
Brazil’s VW Gol looks like a modern car, with a cutting edge (for its 1980 debut) body. Under the hood, though, is a clattery air-cooled 1300 Beetle motor.
It’s not that the Acura RDX sucked because of its engine. It’s not even that the RDX sucked very much at all. It’s that Honda/Acura should have put its excellent 2.3 liter K23A1 turbocharged engine into a light sedan like a Civic Si, or at least the Acura TL.
Suggested By: Automatch , Photo Credit: Acura
Again, we’re not saying that the Evora is a shitty car. However, given Lotus’ moribund sales, we suspect that the buying public isn’t exactly thrilled by the prospect of a sports car with a Camry engine.
The fact that this thing has the V6 out of a minivan and not a hot rod V8 is absurd.
The DMC-12 looked like a genuine supercar back in its day, but it only had a PRV (that stands for Peugeot-Renault-Volvo) V6 to limp it along to a 10.5 second 0-60 time. It might be the greatest case of a car overpromising with its looks and underperforming with its engine.