Oh, Honda. The CR-Z could have been great! It could’ve been so, so much more. As readers pointed out, the styling has indeed held up, and the idea that guided the so-called sporty hybrid through to production was good. But the hybrid car that eventually emerged from this idea was anecdotally a dud. Not even its manual transmission could save it.
A few more horses here, one or two more miles per gallon there and Honda would’ve had us. Sure, those two might be opposite goals, and possibly in conflict with each other, but think of what could have been if the CR-Z had lived up to the CR-X HFandSi. That’s what we hoped the CR-Z would be!
In the end, it was just a pretty face. We asked our readers what cars were a good idea executed poorly, and these were their answers:
2 / 16
It sounded good in concept, but failed at everything it was supposed to be.
Submitted by: SlickS30r, among many, many others
3 / 16
The 1984 Fiero, with the Iron Duke 4 cylinder. If the original team had had their way, it would have been amazing, but GM hobbled it and made them sell it as a kind of economy car.
Thankfully, they improved on all its faults by 1988, with proper brakes, an actual sports car suspension, and power in the GT, but it was too late. I still love all Fieros, but it could have been so much more.
Submitted by: curbwatching
4 / 16
The DeLorean DMC-12, primarily for the innovation in offering a production car with stainless steel body panels. Rust proof body panels would be attractive to so many, but the weight and production tools required to produce on a mass scale would not be feasible for most manufacturers.
Submitted by: Sector 7G-Wagen
5 / 16
The XLR could have and should have been so much more than a thinly-disguised C5 with middling fit/finish and a worse motor than the contemporary (and better) C6
Submitted by: Brian, The Life of
6 / 16
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s the Pontiac Aztek. If it launched today with cleaner lines, a prettier face and modern features, it would be a strong contender in the war of offroad capable CUV’s.
Submitted by: Yes I drive a 240...Sort of
7 / 16
Cadillac ATS. They just forgot that rear space, nice cluster gauges and most importantly an adequate dealership network matching the price is as important as the way it drives.
Submitted by: Fracan
8 / 16
The FIRST generation Isuzu Amigo. Tried to go for cute-points rather than an off-road vehicle. The second generation was an abomination.
Submitted by: xanthophyll
9 / 16
Plymouth Prowler. Could have been something closer to a front-engine Ariel Atom. Instead was underpowered and mediocre.
Submitted by: GIATA-GTI_is_always_the_answer
10 / 16
Land Rover (All Models)
Land Rover (All Models)
All of them
Submitted by: ncbrit
11 / 16
Dodge Caliber, a very shitty execution of what is now a common vehicle type.
Submitted by: CitronC
12 / 16
Chrysler Aspen, Dodge Durango
Chrysler Aspen, Dodge Durango
The Chrysler Aspen SUV. Making a high-profit Chrysler SUV was good. Allowing it to use the same body shell as its non-luxury Durango sister was even acceptable, as that was standard procedure for BOF SUVs with the Detroit 3 at the time, and even with Nissan and Toyota in some instances.
However...giving it essentially the same exact interior as the Durango, with the same cheap-ass materials, and then marketing it against SUVs like the Expedition and Navigator that had considerably more swagger...was a misstep. Especially because it straddled the line between mid- and full-size, and was based on the smaller Dakota.
Bonus points if you can find one of the short-lived Hybrid models.
I am even more shocked that, in the intervening decade-and-a-half, the Chrysler brand has not seen fit to field a single crossover or high-bodied vehicle, when that is where the market has gone. I mean, even Jaguar, Ferrari, the Mustang sub brand and Aston Martin are getting in on the act. It’s like they want to kill Chrysler.
2nd generation Dodge Durango. Yes it was one of the first to get the Hemi but that’s about it. The styling was gawd awful from every angle but the angle where the SUV was behind you. It was built when Mercedes owned Chrysler so the reliability was crap save for V8 engines. And the interior was made with the same materials one would find buying merchandise at Dollar General.
The vehicle it replaced using that thing called hindsight has lines that today are becoming classic. And those are starting to appreciate in value. Not like this misguided idea of a SUV.
And this wasn’t the only vehicle that Daimler Chrysler was blah upon release. With a slightly better exterior and some wood applique later they made it more “luxurious” and called it the Chrysler Aspen.
Submitted by: Kyree, TheSociopath@large, among others
13 / 16
Nissan Juke. Everything about it was so close to being great. It had an amazing AWD system, but you could only get it with a CVT. It had the appearance of a very utilitarian crossover, but the interior was cramped beyond belief. The AWD system also took up space where a larger gas tank should have been, so you were lucky to make it through the week without having to hit the pump.
Submitted by: rockympls
14 / 16
Jeep Commander XK.
Cool boxy Jeep-looking 3 row SUV...exactly what a lot of consumers are looking for right now.
Too bad they were crap.
Submitted by: CokeCherryZeroisthebest
15 / 16
This one easily goes to the 1769 Cugnot Steamer. Sure, lots of us dreamed of ditching horses and having our carriages propel themselves, we just hoped it wouldn’t be directly into a building.
A few rudimentary steering and visibility mods would have helped the Steamer be a bit more successful in a world about to be overcome by Oldsmobiles.