A lot of production models that either come from a good idea, or start their design phase as a Good Car, end up falling short of their promise. Even if cars start with a clear answer to a problem, the follow-through can falter. What car do you think was actually a good idea, but was executed poorly?
Do you think it was something radical like the Chevy SSR, which had cool and unique design but sort of just vanished? Or do you think it was something less bizarre that should have worked but was mishandled by a carmaker?
These are cars like the Dodge Dart (or Chrysler 200) which should have taken the goodwill drivers felt for the Neon and channeled it into a succesful compact car. I mean, the Dodge Neon was ubiquitous! It was the de facto car of high school juniors everywhere, and I say that as endearingly as I can! The Dodge Neon was a staple not just for young people, but for young drivers everywhere.
It’s the only other American car of my generation I can think of that rivaled the Nissan Sentra or Ford Focus as an “entry level” car that people bought if they were after a solid compact commuter car. It was a friendly face; it was approachable, and inexpensive. I don’t know what was lost in the midst of Dodge’s transition from the Neon to the Dart, but the Dart just didn’t click like its spiritual predecessor.
I’m unsure if it was the heritage of the Dart badge that did it in, but the poor Dart lasted only three years on the market. I would say that maybe it was the pretense of being a “sporty” small car, which the Dart hardly lived up to. But the thing is, no one held Dodge’s stab at sportiness against the Neon. If anything, the SR-T 4 is a car with plenty of fans. It just seems like Dodge had a good idea, but failed to execute it properly. As a result, it bungled its attempt at maintaining a role in the small car segment. But what do you think? What car was a good idea that was executed poorly?