Sometimes we pin our hopes and dreams to a car and it doesn’t quite match the idea we had in our head. It’s human. It happens. Earlier today we asked you for the cars you expected more from that disappointed you, and you answered. These were the most interesting responses. Fair warning: Many sacred cows are about to meet their unexpected demise.
Nobody Is Safe, Not Even The GTI
It is not a performance/sports car. It is just a very well caffeinated normal commuter box. It isn’t a bad car -far from it, done a lot of versatile things well, but when looking for a performance daily-driver, meh. Good, sure, but going from an MR2 into the GTI you realize how much of a normal car it is and a LOT less focused than other “sportscars”. Considering how much praise it gets, it lead me to the realization that it is a gateway enthusiast car for someone transitioning from a rental sedan type and NOT for someone that has had the dedicated performance/sport platform vehicle.
This one certainly generated healthy discussion in the comments, and it’s not hard to imagine why. I definitely didn’t expect to see somebody call out the original hot hatch as a result of this prompt! Especially with a picture of the most trackable one yet.
Suggested by: FutureDoc
Oh, Lincoln — What Happened?
The Lincoln Continental reboot. They priced it up there where it belonged, giving consumers the ability to option is up to almost $90k. It could have been the rebirth of Lincoln as the top dog in Luxury. It was an opportunity to get Presidents, dictators, movie stars, and Mad Men driving Lincoln again! Instead, it was an altered FWD Fusion platform that didn’t ride all that well, and lightly decorated switchgear from much cheaper cars. The big stuff was there: fine leather, infinitely adjustable and massaging seats, gorgeous looks, acres of rear seat space, a great stereo with nice speaker grilles. But it lacked the materials and engineering to be worth the extra coin and to compete with the 7 Series.
I distinctly recall being at the New York Auto Show, whatever year it was, when they revealed the Continental concept. It looked so much sleeker than the eventual production car. A real missed opportunity.
Suggested by: NEBcruiser
I Didn’t Know You Were Allowed To Criticize The E46
The E46 M3. Always thought these were handsome and when values started to take off, found one for sale to test drive and see what all the fuss was about.
The gearbox was mush. Didn’t feel all that fast by contemporary standards.
The engine did have a beautiful, sonorous note, but overall I’m not sure why this is considered the “pinnacle” of the M3. I found a more recent M2 to be a more satisfying drive, but overall I guess I don’t get the Roundel experience (Give me my Mk7 GTI in the background)
How does the saying go? Never meet your heroes? I’m going to remember this in the event I ever get behind the wheel of an E46 M3.
Suggested by: gokstate
The Volvo S60 Polestar In That Blue
Volvo S60 Polestar. These things were supposedly limited-production M3 competitors, and they looked awesome. I got my hands on a press car once when they were new, and man was I disappointed. I wanted to love it, but it just felt kind of...dull. It didn’t feel nearly as exciting as the blue paint and slick wheels let on.
Oh, but they looked so good in that robin’s egg shade, didn’t they?
Suggested by: Moe Khan
The New Sequoia That Feels Old
They had 15 years to redsign this thing and get it right. It will be used by 99.9999% of buyers out there for family duty. And the best they could come up with is a mandatory Hybrid system where the batteries and live rear axle eats into the floor effectively making the 3rd row useless for anyone but kids. With the competition having figured this out with a proper suspension geometry optimized for 99.9999% of buyers out there and a flat floor with increased leg room in the 3rd row, I feel Toyota botched this thing and shot themselves in the foot from day one.
Unless you’re super MPG conscious (which I question how many people buying a fullsize 70k SUV really care), I can’t see a reason to buy this thing over a Tahoe/Yukon.
And that’s a shame, because I really really really wanted to like it. Its easily the best looking in the class. But I can’t ignore how crappy this rear packaging is if I’m between a Denali and a Capstone for close to $80k.
Seems like the proper SUV companion for the new Tundra, then.
Suggested by: OtizzyStarBai
Hyundai’s First “Hot” Elantra
I bought a low mileage CPO 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport DCT in early 2019. I read a lot of reviews, and watched a ton of YouTube videos about it, and determined that it was a good car for the money. Turns out that I like the car generally, but overall it just isn’t as great as I expected.
The DCT will randomly jerk and almost stall, like a teenager driving a stick for the first time. It will occasionally slip the clutch from 1st to 2nd, and 2nd to 3rd, which I never understood. It also uses way more fuel than I expected. I get around 25 MPG when it’s cold, and up to 32 MPG on a road trip. I blame the gearing for running it too high RPM on the freeway which keeps the turbo spooled. I also needed aftermarket tires to make it even halfway decent in the rain (Hyundai changed tires when they started calling it a N-Line).
For all the reviewers that say that the Koreans are as good as the Germans now, I say: not quite.
This is particularly interesting to me because after my Dart, I considered an Elantra Sport. For everything said about the later N-series cars, at the time Hyundai was pitching the Sport hard as a baby GTI/GLI competitor. It seems like they’ve finally made it there, but the first attempt was more wishful thinking.
Suggested by: bigmodernmess
Second Time Was The Charm For The 86/BRZ
The Toyobaru was by FAR the most underwhelming car I have ever test driven. So disappointing. Great chassis, OK interior, and engine that simply did not have any interest at all in playing along at all. It just wanted to be bolted to a CVT in a commuter-mobile.
Maybe they fixed it in the latest one, but I can’t be bothered to find out.
I can understand this. And yes — they did.
Suggested by: krhodes1
The Mythical Mazda 6 Diesel
I know that the whole diesel thing got lost in the shuffle between diesel-gate (VW) and the emergence of EVs, but I was super stoked when Mazda announced that they were going to bring their diesels to the US, and without DEF being needed (even the newer VWs needed DEF). I was waiting on the Mazda 6 with a SkyactivD motor. I had a New Beetle TDI that was pushing 300K miles. That was like 10 years ago.
It never came. I purchased a Passat TDI and put 90K miles on it. The 6 never came. I sold the Passat back to VW because of diesel-gate. The 6 never came. Purchased a 535D3 years ago. Still drive it. Now has 95K miles.
Now I’m glad the 6 never showed up. It ended up with too many technical issues, from needing to shoehorn a DEF system to the motor, to oil dilution problems, incorrectly designed dipstick tubes to needing oil changes every 1500 miles to keep the motor from killing itself. They eventually dropped it into an overpriced yet lackluster SUV and called it a day.
Diesels: What could have been.
Suggested by: gcodori
Sorry, We Need To Talk About The Dart Again
The Dart is the most prime example.
Part of what ruined it was this whole idea that a performance version was essentially supposed to be an American EVO/STI. The worst thing is that the Alfa the Dart was based on had the exact engine that was ALREADY EMISSIONS COMPLAINT for its own performance version: the “1.75" turbo 4 from the 4C. It wouldn’t even have been a hard swap, considering the transmissions used for the engine was the exact same as the 1.4's....
The 2.4 was never needed. Sure, acceleration would be something to be desired to some with the 160 horse 2 liter, but if they just let ZF do the 9 speed the way they wanted it (long standing rumor is that FCA kept trying to make the 9 speed cheaper and cheaper, which is more than likely why the 9 speeds had issues for years), I’m sure a 2 liter would’ve been fine, and it would’ve gotten that 40mpg goal the Dart was built to hit anyway.
One thing I neglected to bring up in my Dart example was the lack of any long-teased performance version. Or even just, slightly warm version. With all-wheel-drive it could have been a worthy adversary to Subaru, Mitsubishi and Ford. Now we only get one of those cars anymore, and it looks ugly as sin. Sigh.
Suggested by: T2400
The Last Pontiac GTO
The 5th Generation GTO in ‘03. Great performance, but the styling was essentially a rebadged Holden Monaro. Not a single element of the design paid homage to the original.
Interesting suggestion. Fans at the time derided the Aussie GTO for not being faithful enough to wear the badge, which I totally understand. But it also gave us a Monaro in the U.S., which was pretty sick. I feel like we’re kinder to it today for that reason.
Suggested by: Sector 7G-Wagen