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Hooniverse Asks- So Far, What’s The Worst Car or Truck of the 21st Century?

Robert Emslie December 17, 2012 Hooniverse Asks 151 Comments

We’re about to close the books on the 12th year of the 21st Century, an era that in dog years that can mean the better part of a lifetime. In the automotive world that often times means an intro and refresh, or even two full product cycles. That’s a lot of new metal that has hit the road the past 12 years, even with the stumble that was the global economic downturn a few back delaying or killing a number of introductions, and along the way there must have been some turkeys.

With out a doubt, the cars of today are far and away the best vehicles ever offered to a buying public. They are immensely safer, more efficient, and far more feature rich than even those which were available at the close of the last century. But while the bar has been set far higher, that still means that there are a number of makes and models that fall below. Statistically, there simply has to be.

Today we want to consider the 21st Century so far and first lament that we don’t have the hover cars or moon bases that were the promise of this era. We then need to evaluate the automotive landscape and take stock of what cars these days don’t seem to meet our modern expectations. Sure the crappiest cars and trucks may be better than the best ones of 30 years ago, but by today’s standards they’re still crappy. Which ones do you put in that category? So far, what’s the worst car or truck of the 21st Century?

Image: [vroomgirls]

  • http://www.proofnpudding.com muthalovin
    • JayP2112

      The later models came with a real LS engine and could be had with a manual transmission.
      Still a long way from me owning one.

      • CABEZAGRANDE

        I always viewed SSRs as only valuable as a ready source of used LS2s and triple cone synchro T56s. Great place to get an awesome drivetrain for a car that actually deserves it.

    • Scandinavian Flick

      5000 pounds, 2 seats, 350hp, impractical as a car, and completely worthless as a truck… Yeah, I'd say this qualifies.

      • http://www.proofnpudding.com muthalovin

        Once upon a time, my roommate and I were out driving and caught a light with a yellow SSR. It was our first time to see one in person, and I snapped a picture. The lady driver (blond, big knockers) rolls down the window and her yappy dog goes nuts. She tells us it looks great with the top down. Heh. She then proceeds to race us from the light. It was cute, because she probably thought we were just cruising some shitty ricebox. The Evo smoked her. 'Twas awesome.

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        it does qualify, I look for a good deal on a used one online every now and then.

  • $kaycog

    The Pontiac Aztek surpasses all in ugliness IMO.

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/01_Pontiac_Aztek.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    Image: Wikipedia

    • Vavon
      • $kaycog

        You win!

      • Scandinavian Flick

        Looks like an egg-laying beaver duck.

        <img src="http://i.imgur.com/bVxV8.jpg&quot; width="500">

        Except these guys are cute…

      • Vairship

        And I STILL want one! Just because there'll never be another car like it, because it has 2 rows of 3 abreast seating in a compact vehicle, and because I think it'd make an awesome dog hauler/pope mobile combo.

      • Dacket84

        Looks like the scientist on Nightmare Before Christmas…

    • Scandinavian Flick

      Ah the Asstek… A handful of pretty neat ideas in one feck ugly package…

      <img src="http://i.imgur.com/y14DJ.jpg"&gt;

      I have to say though… by comparison to some of the crap that has come out since, it actually doesn't offend me nearly as much as it did at the time.

      • $kaycog

        I agree. I don't laugh nearly as hard now as I used to when I saw one.

        • PotbellyJoe

          But how much do you laugh when you see its upscale brother?
          <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a5/02-03_Buick_Rendezvous.jpg&quot; width=500>
          And remember, this is for posterity so be honest.

          • $kaycog

            For posterity? Maybe just a snicker. ;D

            • Vavon

              Just a snicker? Why not a bit more…
              <img src="http://www.chrisglass.com/journal/images/snickers.jpg"&gt;

              • $kaycog

                OMG! I love Snickers……..my favorite candy bar! I recently tried a Snickers with almonds, and it is unbelievably delicious.

                • Scandinavian Flick

                  There's a crucial omission from that picture though…

                  <img src="http://i.imgur.com/KRuXY.jpg&quot; width="400">

                  • $kaycog
                    • Vavon

                      Please tell me that's fake!

                    • $kaycog

                      Okay. That's fake.

                    • Vavon

                      Hahaha!!! But on a serious note, does the Bacon-Snickers really exist?

                    • $kaycog

                      Not to my knowledge. Bacon and chocolate together are delicious, but I don't know about in a Snickers. I once had dinner at a very nice restaurant, and for dessert, we shared a chocolate cake that had chocolate sauce over it and whipped cream. On the side of the plate was a small pile of chopped crispy bacon. It was fantastic, and I'll never forget it.

                    • Vavon

                      It sounds like I will have to try bacon with chocolate one day…

                    • Scandinavian Flick

                      I tried chocolate covered bacon once from a specialty candy shop in Santa Cruz. It was not cheep, but it's one of those things you simply have to try. I had both the dark and milk chocolate covered ones.
                      Verdict: If you like salty chocolate, you'll probably like it. Personally, I don't. I barely noticed the bacon flavor, and it seemed like just chewy salty chocolate. It's one of those things you really do have to try once, but don't buy a large amount, and temper your expectations.

                    • Vavon

                      Salty chocolate??? I've had salty caramel and that was surprisingly good!

                    • pj134

                      Like chocolate covered pretzels or chips (crisps?). Any salty snack with chocolate on it works in my book.

                    • Scandinavian Flick

                      I was referring to regular salted chocolate. Is it a cultural thing? I personally have no idea, since for me it ruins the chocolate. Some people love this stuff though…

                      <img src="http://i.imgur.com/3i5PG.jpg"&gt;

                    • pj134

                      … Yeah, that may be regional. We just pour chocolate on other snack foods round here. Sea salt seems like it would be too chunky to be really enjoyable.

                    • Scandinavian Flick
  • lilpoindexter

    Chrysler 200, or whatever its called.

    • http://www.hooniverse.com LTDScott

      My wife has an irrational but understandable hate of Chrysler Sebrings. Apparently she rented one a few years back and it broke down, plus someone who she used to know but now hates owned one, so she just hates them.

      On our honeymoon in Maui back in March, we rented a convertible. Got to the rental car lot and all they had were a few left over Sebrings and a bunch of 200s. My wife saw the Sebrings and immediately picked a 200 instead. I told her that in reality the 200 is just a warmed over Sebring, and she was clearly not happy. We were about to leave when she saw a Mustang convertible being returned, so she jumped out and made a bee-line to the return area to see if we could get the Stang instead. We had to wait about 30 mins while it was being cleaned/gassed up, but both of us were happy to wait. I was so damn proud of her haha.

      • colorblinded

        My friend and I were discussing the Sebring (and thus the 200 because as far as I'm aware it's basically a Sebring) and I described them as acceptably terrible or something to that effect. They're awful cars, undesirable, unlovable and you wouldn't really want one but they're not necessarily completely worthless. I reserve that judgement for the current bland and awful North American VW Jetta. Good lord what have they done?

        • Rubix50

          I don't get the jetta hate. Still more interesting then a new civic or Chevy impala

    • Maymar

      I'd be willing to accept the Sebring, but as much as the 200 is a tarted up Sebring, they tarted the hell out of it. Between the Pentastar, and the new exterior and interior, it's at least passable until they can come up with an all new car.

      Don't get me wrong, the last time I rented a car, the moment I saw the Chrysler key (not the nub key of the 300), I started asking about the Mustang they had on the lot.

  • http://karakullake.blogspot.com Maxichamp

    Chevy Aveo.

    • Devin

      It was like a worn out car from the '80s, except new on the lot.

      • quattrovalvole
        • Irishzombieman

          Mon Dieu! It's like a tiny Aztek!

        • fodder650

          Has anyone raced a LeMans at LeMon's yet? I would think it would some kind of irony award.

          • Devin

            In yellow it kinda looks like a lemon too.

      • Scandinavian Flick

        I don't think I've ever heard a more apt description. I will have to steal that.

        I "tested" one for shits and giggles at a GM Auto Show in Motion once. I pulled up to the line at the cone course, and I'll never forget what the GM rep standing there said: "Dawg, that ain't gansta' dude! I mean, Aveo!? What the fuck is an Aveo, man?"

        The same guy also said, as I approached the new Impala: "It ain't like the old school!"

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      I rather liked the early ones, neighbor had one served her well enough, was a stick and had a power passenger window, manual driver's side. It was a no nonsense type of car but not soulless if that makes sense. Edit: I think that the driver's seat went up and down as well and when she got it, AC came at no cost extra.

  • jtk2

    I'll nominate the early 2000s Kia Spectra/Sephia. I rented one once while my car was being repaired. I returned it early and walked instead. It was seriously awful.

  • Joe Dunlap

    PT Cruiser, Any Hummer, so many choices, so many choices….

    • JayP2112

      The Cruiser and Hummers were not the best vehicles, but definitely not the worst by any stretch.

  • erikgrad
    • Stuckinsnow

      There is much worse out there.

    • erikgrad

      This car can only squeak out the same highly fuel economy as the much larger Ford Focus, requires the use of premium fuel to manage that, and has a transmission from hell.

      Worldwide, it may have more to offer (diesel)… however, with regard to the USA, it deserves consideration as a 'worst car'.

      • Scandinavian Flick

        I got your back on this one. These things seriously suck. When I first sat in one, I couldn't believe it cost as much as it did, and is produced by Mercedes. The interior felt like some clapped together concept car. Also, as you say, the transmission licks, and the fuel economy is inexcusable for what it is. In the US, this is probably up there with the biggest wastes of money available.

      • Maymar

        Everyone talks about how the Smart "only gets the same fuel economy as x compact," when it's a total distortion of the truth. Find me a North American Focus that gets 34 city mpg.

        No, until Toyota brought along the iQ, there wasn't a gas-powered car that got better city or combined fuel economy. And given the smart's very singular mission as a city car, that's not so bad. It's absolutely flawed – rough riding, narrow inside, and the aforementioned transmission from hell (it's better if you keep it out of automatic so you can at least anticipate the shifts). But it's also surprisingly roomy, has plenty of cargo space for two, has great visibility, it's incredibly easy to slot into small gaps in traffic or minuscule parking spots, and most importantly, it has character. It's this light, nimble, over-eager little thing, it hasn't been stuffed with needless refinement, or built to emulate 17 identical cars. It's so willfully different, I'm glad it exists.

    • bhtooefr

      Agreed, my dad had one.

      It had awfully overboosted-yet-no-feel power steering (I'd actually have liked to have tried a base model, with manual steering) that was extremely fatiguing to drive, the suspension was extremely harsh on Ohio roads (and I like firmish suspension!), the fuel economy wasn't that good (you could get high 30s from most of the econobox hatchbacks at the time), the transmission was atrocious, and maintenance costs were comparable to any other Mercedes product.

  • PotbellyJoe

    I'm going to go with the 2004-08 Nissan Maxima.

    "But that engine.." you'll say. Well, it was available in the Altima, so no worries. The car was terrible for what a Maxima was supposed to be. It was too long in the wheel base, the interior was crap warmed over and the longitudinal glass pane was just weird. This car had a turning radius that would rival a crew-cab, long-bed dually. The exterior was entirely uninspired and they had to put ridiculous paint on it just to grab attention. I look at the 2003-2008 Nissan design as the weakest of years for Nissan.

    This was the model that took the Maxima out of the mainstream conversation of worthy 4-doors.

    <img src="http://media.caranddriver.com/images/03q1/267344/2004-nissan-maxima-35se-photo-5921-s-429×262.jpg"&gt;

    • Spring-heeled jack

      And yet, I see a modern, art-deco masterpiece.

    • BobWellington

      Looks a lot better than the new melted butter ones…

  • Irishzombieman

    The 2002-2005 Ford Thunderbird POS.

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ec/2002-2005_Ford_Thunderbird.jpg&quot; width=500>

    • http://www.hooniverse.com Mad_Science

      Aside from not being what people wanted them to be, were they really that bad?

      Decent power, modern chassis, but questionable styling.

      • Irishzombieman

        I take issue with your use of the word "questionable" and answer your initial query with an unqualified affirmative for styling alone.

        /wink

      • PotbellyJoe

        The ride and drive was great for a day-trip roadster for two. However, the best part of driving the T-bird was that you didn't have to look at it while you behind the wheel…

        • Irishzombieman

          Exactly! A car's goodness or even greatness is severely diminished when walking up to the car bothers me as much as this would.

          Pastels? Who thought that was a good idea?

    • JayP2112

      Spotted one on the road yesterday. A good looking car.

      But I'll submit the entire DEW98 platform.
      S-Type was a nightmare. Been there, got the shirt.
      The LS wasn't much better.

      It says volumes when you see a 'premium' car running with trash bags over the busted windows and bungee cords holding down the trunk lid.

      • CABEZAGRANDE

        I've really enjoyed all the DEW98 cars I've driven so far. The S-Type R I've driven was very fun, and has been a champ of a car for my friend, with no major issues in 2 years of ownership. My friend in college had an old LS-V8, and besides some minor electrical issues was a great car. And the XF is based of the 98 platform as well, and it's a TON of fun. They all handle very well, are very safe, nice and roomy, and if you cherry pick the models in each line that didn't have electrical issues (STR, LS-V6 manual), they were all decent lines. I very much disagree with the DEW98 hate.

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      Dang there are a lot of people recommending cars I like! I liked the interior on these, colorful. The price was wrong was the biggest trouble for me.

      Also I thumbed you back up, I just assume someone missed before, not that there are militant t-bird readers here.

      • Irishzombieman

        Gracias, hombre. Surprising bit of dislike for me today, as a couple of these comments have zeroed out at one point or another. P'rhaps I'm coming off as more vitriolic than I mean to be. If that's the case, I'm genuinely sorry, folks.

        But I still don't like this car.

  • quattrovalvole
    • quattrovalvole
    • JayP2112

      Except for the G8, all the Pontiacs were pretty harsh. Even the Solstice.
      The G3, G4, G5, G6, Torrent- all an exercise in badge engineering gone wrong.
      Pontiac didn't even advertise these cars and used social media to get the word out.

    • Spring-heeled Jack

      A bad car, but a car that will run forever. They had amazingly good headlights and heater systems in their day and for the price.

    • Maymar

      Is it really a car of the 21st century, or just a rerun from the 80s?

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat
  • http://www.hooniverse.com BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ

    Tata Nano, with supercar feature on not so supercar specs.
    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2010/03/tatananoflamesmumbaifire-630op-1269366236.jpg&quot; width="600">

    • Irishzombieman

      I love that the colors of the flower necklace on the front of the car match the flames
      .
      It's almost like they knew.

    • Rover1

      But look, it has it's own funeral wreath!

  • Devin

    <img src="http://images.thecarconnection.com/sml/2010-dodge-caliber-4-door-hb-mainstreet-angular-front-exterior-view_100309946_s.jpg"&gt;
    Slow, badly put together out of cheap and unpleasant parts, uncomfortable, hard to see out of, and with a transmission that felt like it was completely broken.

    • Irishzombieman

      Sorry–you talking the Caliber? or Dodge in general?

      • Devin

        Caliber, just because my self-preservation instincts kicked in before I found my way behind the wheel of any other Dodge products.

      • POLAЯ

        I laughed so hard my winky got vapor lock.

    • http://www.hooniverse.com LTDScott

      Hey, they had a refrigerated box in the dashboard, so at least it has that going for it.

    • BobWellington

      This is the one car that whenever I see it it instantly lets me know the driver isn't too intelligent.

  • POLAЯ
    • KevinKiley

      Everyone is so quick to point out that the tbird isnot actually that bad, the smart fortwo isnt actually that bad…then I must defend the Prius, a car superior to both I previously mentioned.

      • POLAЯ

        Oh, I don't have anything against the Prius, I just don't like their breeding techniques.

        • Scandinavian Flick

          Actually, if you think about it, it's truly brilliant from a business sense. The Prius nameplate already had great market recognition. What could possibly make it even better? Offer a smaller (more efficient) and a bigger one! When it comes to cars, one size does not fit all…

          I actually suggested a Prius V to my parents for their needs…

      • jeepjeff

        I've got to say that the original second gen cars are terrible. The horrible, mushy handling, numb lack of feedback and moped like acceleration of the second generation Prius (particularly before they slightly stiffened up the suspension at all with the 'touring' package) are so bad that the fact that the car will never fall apart or give any trouble (aside from possibly the battery) is actually a negative. If your significant other likes it, it will never give you an excuse to sell it.

        As far as things like 'comfort' and 'interior quality' or 'fit and finish': those things seem to be the only real, indisputable positives of the Prius. Frankly, I really don't care about those things. I really don't. I like the crappy hard-plastic interior of my Jeep about as much as the very well finished and comfortable interior of my wife's Civic.

        So I guess the only positive of the car that I'll actually count for it is interior space and cargo room. You can haul a decent amount of stuff with it. But you can't haul ass.

  • Van_Sarockin

    I've gotta go with any four door car that calls itself a coupe. You think that combover is fooling anyone?

    • TurboBrick

      Renault started that bs in the 90's with the Megane Scenic coupe and people just ate them up. They should have just stuck to building 2dr luxury minivans.

  • http://hooniverse.com/ Tanshanomi

    Sure, there are some homely and unimpressive modern cars, but they don't compare to some of the truly horrible cars from before dynamic modeling software and Finite Element Analysis.

    <img src="http://www.legendendertechnik.de/Autos/Renault/RenaultDauphine/RenaultDauphine.JPG"&gt;

    • http://www.washington.edu/news/archive/52703 mdharrell

      True, although I don't see what that delightful photo has to do with your comment.

    • Van_Sarockin

      People have thought the same about every era of cars. Design, technology and materials continue to advance, rendering yesterday's state of the art mundane. Sadly few modern cars can be hand cranked to start, however.

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      You mess with the little girl here, be careful that PV in the back is watching you, watching you when you sleep, and he punches above his weight.

  • http://www.hooniverse.com Mad_Science

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b3/Jeep-Compass.jpg&quot; width=500>

    Ugly
    Lousy mechanical bits
    Brand dilution

    It's one thing to be a bad car, it's another to be a bad car wearing a Jeep skin suit.

    • jeepjeff

      I still refuse to call that thing a Jeep. This is definitely worse than the Prius. And I hate the Prius.

      • FuzzyPlushroom

        The Prius has redeeming qualities. The Compass does not.

  • http://www.proofnpudding.com muthalovin

    As a hoon, I can defend just about any "worst car." I see a lot of cars here that were either panned by critics or generally disliked by the public, but us hoons can find some value in bad cars, right?

    • MVEilenstein

      Precisely.

    • erikgrad

      I agree… and interestingly, it appears another automotive blog has asked the question of what is the best "worst car" today?

    • Devin

      I think the bad cars of the 21st century are still too new to be fun bad cars. I can see generating great joy from an Aveo, for example, but only if it was $500 and I could do stupid things to it.

      • http://www.proofnpudding.com muthalovin
        • danleym

          There's an Aveo owners forum? I mean, I know there's pretty much a forum for everything, but that still managed to surprise me a little.

          • Devin

            If it exists, a small group of people have a forum dedicated to it.

            It's the PG-13 version of Rule 34.

          • jeepjeff

            There is a forum for everything. There are Dodge Caliber forums out there. I even dug up some posts on one gushing about how it's the greatest car ever made.

            • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

              It seems some of those forum members also dipped into the aged LSD…

    • jeepjeff

      Normally. You can find posts where I've started to defend the Aztek around here. I've started to come around on that vehicle. However, Tim's post directly above yours highlights something so offensive, I may never defend its existence to the end of my days. A Jeep that would get stuck in a gently sloping field.

  • Vavon
    • http://o2richenvironment.blogspot.com/ engineerd

      I know they get a lot of hate, and I wouldn't buy one, but these things fascinate me. Almost to the point of liking them. I mean, what mad genius though of dropping the top on a crossover?

      • http://hooniverse.com/ Tanshanomi

        I agree. The chopped off C-pillars need some work, but other than that, it's kinda…um…understandable?

      • http://www.proofnpudding.com muthalovin

        I almost wrecked my truck commuting home on Friday because of one of these. I could not look away. Also, all 4 seats were occupied by bodacious blonds.

      • jeepjeff

        I think this is high on the list of "we're going to love this car in 20 years". It's awful looking, and there are much better looking convertible SUVs, but seriously? This is one of the great automotive weirdos of our day, and we're going to be sad that more people didn't buy them new in a couple decades. Nissan has a couple of those on its books these days (like the Juke).

    • http://www.Hooniverse.com Jeff_Glucker

      A probably candidate for HCOTY 2063 when someone races one at LeMons: The World's Greatest Motor Race

  • wisc47

    I don't think I've ever hated a car more than this. It's ugly, not as practical as any other crossover, and had no off-roading ability whatsoever so basically it was useless as an SUV.
    <img src="http://www.chevrolet.com/content/dam/Chevrolet/northamerica/usa/nscwebsite/en/Home/Tools/Discontinued%20Vehicles/HHR/01_images/2012-chevrolet-discontinued-vehicles-hhr-482×260.jpg"&gt;

    • PotbellyJoe

      Not surprisingly designed by the same guy that did the PT Cruiser, Brian Nesbitt.

      To be fair, it got decent gas mileage (32 mpg hwy) and had some of the most storage in its class. And the SS was a monster.

      But yeah, a copy of something already on its way out was a bad place to start…

      • JayP2112

        But Chevy sold a ton of them.
        The press laughed when Lutz said the HHR would sell like mad.

        • PotbellyJoe

          They were great for fleet and small businesses. Markets the press don't care about, generally.

    • Senior Frog

      I don't think it was ever marketed as an SUV, or made any claims of off-road capability.

    • FuzzyPlushroom

      I'd have an SS panel-van variant, but only just.

      We got one as a rental once. The seats were made of old tarps and the lump in the ceiling (rollover protection? airbag?) made this already-tall vehicle cramped for headroom… and I'm 6'.

    • RegalRegalia

      Remember that the Honda Odyssey started out as an "MPV" and then became a minivan. This is like that but a devolution of sorts.

  • http://www.sub5zero.com/ Tomsk

    <img src="http://www.thetorquereport.com/2009_pontiac_g3.jpg&quot; width="500" />

    "Hells yeah we're serious about breathing new life into Pontiac! Just look at the Solstice and the G8…what? You're wondering how the G3 fits into this plan? Ummmm…LOOK OVER THERE! Is that Ford phoning it in with another new Mercury?"

    • http://hooniverse.com/ Tanshanomi

      I have a perverse fascination with the G3. The B-P-GMC dealer near my house had a bunch of them on the lot when Pontiac got axed and advertised them for $12,250 and 0.9%. I almost could have gone for that deal just to have such a weird-Alice badge derivative. But than I realized that I'd be stuck having to drive the confounded thing for the next five years.

  • Mr. Smee

    Badge-engineering, how you know a huge corporation that wants lots of your money also has utter contempt for you.

    • Doug Higgs

      I think that defines the meaning of the word "corporation', doesn't it?

  • http://o2richenvironment.blogspot.com/ engineerd

    <img width=500 src="http://pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/jpg/201009/topspeed-s-15-worst–6w.jpg"&gt;

    When I want to crush the souls of the working class, I want to look like I'm in something more than a stretched S-klasse.

    • Marto

      I didn't know Hyundai made a car that big…
      oh.

    • Rover1

      How to get so wrong what Bentley and( particularly ) Rolls Royce get so right .So bad that the car that launches the brand kills it.

    • Maymar

      On the other hand, I can't fault Benz for wanting to amortize the hell out of the development costs for the W140 (plus, it kept a better S-Klasse than the W220 in production).

  • http://www.Hooniverse.com Jeff_Glucker

    Nissan.Versa.

    Those fuckers will get you fired…

    • http://o2richenvironment.blogspot.com/ engineerd

      Hahaha…I LOLed and stopped just short of ROFLing.

    • TurboBrick

      LOL… Winner!

    • http://www.geekforce.com VolvoNut

      Every time I find myself at a rental counter, I always ask for "Anything but a Versa."
      Usually makes the staff at least giggle, and sometimes leads to a free upgrade.

      • http://o2richenvironment.blogspot.com/ engineerd

        My Hertz Gold profile actually tells them "No Toyotas".

  • http://roadworkuk.com Rust-MyEnemy

    Are we talking Worst, Most Hated or Least Favourite?

    Either way; my choice ticks at least two of the above boxes, maybe three. It's this:

    <img src="http://www.bmwdrives.com/gallery/BMWcars/e83/e83_1.jpg&quot; width="450/">

    The first generation (E83) BMW X3 defined, for me, the moment that BMW jumped the shark. We had already witnessed the first X5 which had syphoned a load of splendid technology from Zee Chermans rape 'n pillage session with Land Rover but which retained enough BMWness to be let off the hook. It even looked like an over-inflated E39 if you squinted.

    The X3 had none of that appeal. It was supposed to be related to the 3-Series and share a lot of that car's zeal and excitement and, to be fair to it the handling was very good indeed. But that was literally the only thing that about it that bore scrutiny. The X3 was rattly, felt cheap, was expensive and rode badly. There was nothing Bangle-Contraversial about the styling mainly because there was no styling. It was just generic compact SUV with a double kidney nailed to the nose. Then they foisted it with the previous generation 3er turbodiesel 2.0 litre engine and the car forever reminded me of an old Leyland Freight-Rover.

    This came at a time when I was selling BMWs for a living. The X3 did more to stretch my faith in the brand than any other product I've ever had any involvement with. I felt used. I feel like I should apologise to everyone I sold one to.

    I genuinely hate that car.

    • Jay

      Plus they never did manage to get the tailgate to line up properly with the taillights, it was always like 5 inches off, like it came off some other car or somethin.'

      Prolly just a shoddy assembly issue ::sigh::

    • Rover1

      And it arrived long enough after the 4 cyl Z4s that we thought they had learnt that in order to have a strong enough brand identity for people to want your cars,the cars themselves must be desirable.

  • Felis_Concolor

    The high levels of owner love for the Aztek have already dq'ed it from worst status.

    Having said that, and seeing the multiplicity of offerings already displayed on this site, I'm not certain there truly is a "worst of the 21st century" available in the US. Styling is a purely subjective call, so that's out, and as the polarizing Pontiac has demonstrated, many vehicles are much better looking once you're in the driver's seat. It's going to take some serious qualifications in order to properly separate wheat from chaff this time.

    However, I do support the nomination of the abysmally executed Maybach project, which so completely failed to exude any air of luxury even Paris Hilton threw a fit when someone made the mistake of sending one to pick her up. Even my own interest in Maybach's promotions was limited to saying, "hey, that's a Skycrane!" when one was transported from a luxury yacht to shore using the venerable heavy lifter. Its last gasp was viewed by millions during a brief cameo in a Transformers movie, where the occupant hit his marks and said his lines with robotic precision. Really, Mercedes? That was the best you could do? No wonder you're desperate to kill off the brand.

    The Tata Nano got off to a rocky start, and sales have tanked this year, but the jury is still out as the promised diesel version is on the horizon and Tata hopes it has a better long game with its low buck offering.We'll know in a year or 2 if the Nano has what it takes to survive in the market where its entry price will net you a decent scooter – or if it reached too far and offered too little.

    Pontiac's GTO/G8 has become a textbook example of how to kill your sales via internal bickering and fiefdom disputes; had it launched 2-3 years earlier when the initial buzz was fresh, Pontiac might have had a hit on its hands. Instead, it ended up as a footnote in the automaker's history when the plug was pulled.

    My own nomination is for a vehicle that was announced with lots of hype from the blogosphere while delivering nothing more than bad feelings so far. Mahindra's Pik-Up was supposed to be the compact truck fanatic's grail; comparable in size to the minitrucks which dominated the 80s, fitted with an efficient yet powerful diesel engine and sporting both 2 and 4 seat cab versions, the vehicle had already sold itself to legions of adoring fans. But a distributorship deal which turned sour in a very noisy, nasty and public way, coupled with released fuel economy ratings which forced many people to adjust their scales downward (from abysmal to abyssal, perhaps?), and now Mahindra has established a poor reputation in its target market even before it had a product to sell.

    • scott

      The GTO's biggest problem was the sudden currency shift that increased the Aussie dollar by 50 percent against the US dollar.

    • bhtooefr

      And the Mahindra pickup was a shoddily built piece of crap, in addition to being inefficient, from what I've heard from people that actually saw it. (And it was ugly.)

  • Maymar

    <img src="http://wot.motortrend.com/files/2012/10/2012-Toyota-Corolla-front-three-quarter-view.jpg&quot; width=500 /img>
    I know it's really low hanging fruit, but the Toyota Corolla's a pretty abysmal car. I know, it's economical and reliable and all that, but so's a Honda Civic, and as lambasted as the 9th gen car is, it's still streets ahead of the depression-inducing Corolla.

  • RegalRegalia

    The days before Versa:
    "MOM!!! Drive me to the internet!"

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    Anything made by Geeley.

    Alternatively, the Suzuki Grand Vitara. I had the body-on-frame version of this trucklet, first and only brand-new car, in 1999, and it soured me, permanently.

    • bhtooefr

      The BOF Suzuki compact SUVs were actually quite good for offroading, though.

      As far as Geely, though, that does include every current Volvo product. :P But, I'll specifically nominate the Geely Hifun Hybrid.

      A few of us TDI fans went to the Detroit Auto Show in 2008… and saw it. A couple 300 pound guys sitting in it broke the seat, the hood latch was busted before, the entire pedal cluster moved when depressing the clutch pedal, the hybrid system was a bunch of lead acid batteries in the trunk, looked like the whole setup came from Harbor Freight… what a horrible car.

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