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Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Dumbest Car Sold Today?

The Homer

You know, everybody makes mistakes now and again. Not just individuals, but whole companies on occasion poop the bed. And when it comes to car makers, there have been plenty of products that make you wonder, what were they thinking? Of course obvious examples from the past include Ford’s Edsel line, a marque in search of a market, and Pontiac’s Aztek, which. . .  well, let’s just leave it at Pontiac’s Aztek.

Today we see a number of companies that are making cars that for one reason or another, are just plain dumb. Maybe it’s a car that’s just too much like its competition – hello Honda Insight – or an automotive answer to a question nobody asked – I’m looking at you Mini Cooper Countryman.  Whatever the reason, somebody once thought it was a good idea, and in the time it took to get the metal to market, perhaps reality set in.

With so many cars and trucks available world-wide these days, there have to be a few turds floating in the global punchbowl. Considering positioning, competition, and effectiveness for its role, what do you think is the dumbest new car currently being sold?

Image source: Dave Moore Photo via Thehomercar.com

Currently there are "101 comments" on this Article:

    • Pete_Gaines says:

      Correction: the CrossCabriolet is AWESOME. More automakers should be commended for taking risks and doing weird things, even when the risks result in….whatever that is, the answer to a question nobody ever asked (which incidentally is a line I remember reading in the reviews of the late, great Outback sedan).

      Pointless-but-zany cars have been nearly focus-grouped to death. The fact that one made it through the R&D process in this day and age should be applauded, not panned (even when the result is, um, this). Compared to a pointless car like, say, the Honda Insight as noted above, this is a masterpiece of pointless weirdness. The Insight is just a bad, slapdash Soviet knockoff last-gen Prius that has no business existing with the (relatively) vastly better Civic Hybrid. THAT kind of spineless hackery is what should be ripped here, not the head-scratchingly-weird CrossCabriolet.

      • skitter says:

        And if a convertible top had been applied to that established fashion icon, the Evoque, instead of the already fringe-y Murano, the styling would not be an issue and they would sell like kobe beef. And we would complain about them while lamenting the original Bronco and Scout.

      • LEROOOY says:

        Excellent point. We're nearing an era where brands barely have any identity anymore, so if you want to be distinctive, you're SOL. I'd handily take a Juke over a…umm…. what's another car in the Juke's segment?

        • HTWHLS says:

          There's a reason why focus groups largely work….so when they fail, we get something like this monstrosity, which is starting to make the Aztek look not-so-terrible.

    • Tanshanomi says:

      Hi, my name is Tanshanomi, and I love the CrossCabri. I not only admit it, I say it loud and proud. I would buy one in a heartbeat if I had that kind of ching to spend on my commuter car.

    • Devin says:

      I actually saw one on the road for the first time a few weekends ago. Not only did someone buy one, but since they're not actually sold in Canada, they actually went through the effort of importing it from the US.

      The license plate read "oddball". Seems about right.

      • MVEilenstein says:

        I saw one on Sunday. I had to rub my eyes to make sure I was actually seeing what I thought I was.

    • rennsport964 says:

      Jeez, that was the first thing I was thinking about before clicked on the link.

      I saw one of these things just last weekend. It was towing a boat, so there's that. It's good for something, apparently.

    • salguod says:

      Add me to the list of folks who love the CrossCabriolet. Yes, it doesn't make much sense, but it's in a niche of it's own and is a halo car of sorts. This is the kind of car I wish more manufacturers would make – risky, unique and fun.

    • Maymar says:

      If we're honest, the Murano CrossCabriolet is a pretty natural extension of the personal luxury coupe, given that crossovers in that price range attract similar buyers.

      And yes, love the weird. The aggressively weird.

  1. P161911 says:

    I'm still convinced the Nissan Murano convertible (Moron) is an April Fool's prank that got out of hand.
    <img src="http://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/nissan/murano-crosscabriolet/2012/oem/2012_nissan_murano-crosscabriolet_convertible-suv_base_fq_oem_2_500.jpg&quot; width="500/">

    I should have refreshed first.

  2. nate99 says:

    Can't really argue against the Murano 'vert.

    A dark horse contender might be the Range Rover. All of the gaudy excess of an Escalade with virtually zero reliability. Unless you are a particularly patriotic British pimp, I can't imagine why you would buy one.

  3. Hopman says:

    I was going to go with the Range Rover Evoq coupe. . The thing scream "trophy wife."

  4. LSB Scott V says:

    BMW 5 series GT. It gets a facelift for 2014, but why? It sits on dealer lots on average 38 days at a time, and they have 0 profit in the car when they sell it.
    I personally love the interior in the car, and I think all of its extra amenities should trickle down to the 5 series in general…but that exterior, my oh my.

    • quattrovalvole says:

      Indeed. I'd much rather have this

      <img src="http://www.bmwblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011_bmw_5-series_touring-11.jpg&quot; width=640" />

    • Jay_Ramey says:

      Months go by without me seeing one, and I'm in a major metro area on the east coast. I saw more Peugeots in traffic during this past week than 5GTs.

      So where are they selling all of these?

      • Manic_King says:

        Truly difficult to understand why they try to sell this ugly thing at all and why 3-series sized ugly GT is also now newly available. Their micro niche actually exists in Europe but those cars are just miles off the mark look-wise.

        • LSB Scott V says:

          Both the 5 series and 3 series GT have totally different platforms from their sedan counterparts. It's unfortunate, but they're here to stay.
          As far as who's buying them, I have no idea…the ones we have at the dealership sit and sit and sit. Then they sell like I said, for substantially below invoice because they're quite literally tree stumps.

  5. muthalovin says:

    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2011/07/2012-scion-iq-fd.jpg"&gt;

    The Scion iQ is dumb. Yes, despite the name. It was a total toss up between the Smart and the iQ.

  6. FuzzyPlushroom says:

    The Mini Countryman isn't that impractical, and it sells well enough up here where AWD is useful. I think it's an absolute tragedy that it isn't sold as the 'Maxi', but oh well.

    (Incidentally, I feel roughly the same way about the X1. Small? Yes. Awkward? Yes. Pointless to own, aside from its AWD? Yes. Does it make money? Sadly, yes. Ergo, not dumb.)

    What's the shortened one called, with only two doors? The Count-man? No, that's not it. Paceman, that's it. That one's pointless and awkward-looking, so it's a contender. I mean, it looks like a regular Mini Cooper that's been tortured, and you still can't get any adults into the back.

    The taillights are the worst part.

    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2012/09/07minipacemanoff-opt.jpg&quot; width="600/">
    <img src="http://carpassion.ca/images/generation/ext_photo2/217/Enclave_Ext3.jpg&quot; width="600/">

    I just realised that the hatch opens around the Count-man's taillights, making it the only compact crossover with a less useful opening than the Nissan Rogue's.

    <img src="http://file.kelleybluebookimages.com/kbb//vehicleimage/evoxseo/xxl/8837/2013-mini-paceman-hatch-open_8837_115_640x480.jpg&quot; width="600/">

    Really? What're you gonna put in there?

  7. OA5599 says:

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e5/Barack_Obama_drives_Chevy_Volt.jpg&quot; width=500>

    I kind of wonder if the Volt would still be around if the project weren't so high-profile. Even with government incentives, the price is still way above where demand says it should be. Meanwhile, I now see about as many Teslas on the road as Volts, even though the Tesla is a more expensive car and has not been out on the market for nearly as long.

    • FuzzyPlushroom says:

      Meanwhile, there's a diesel Cruze now. Frankly, I'd consider that if I was in the market. A Volt? Well, maybe if I had a forty-mile commute and lived somewhere with awful neighbours, but realistically, no.

    • salguod says:

      I don't know this is GM today being the GM we love from the 60's – pushing new technologies and ideas. The Volt system is a more practical type of electric vehicle for the realities of today – no way to take a road trip because of the combination of limited range and long recharge times. It sounds like Tesla has some good ideas here, but the infrastructure isn't there yet. The Volt is a novel electric car solution for our gasoline focused reality.

      • Devin says:

        In an ideal situation, the Volt is a beta test for a much more interesting and effective second generation design.

        • Vairship says:

          But why didn't they roll it out on more platforms? Surely developing the technology is the expensive bit, after that you want to roll out the Volt CUV (Equinox/Traverse), Volt pickup truck (Silverado), Volt coupe (Camaro), Volt compact (Cruze), Volt SUV (Suburban), etcetera to spread the cost and maximize the returns.

          • Devin says:

            Well as I said, beta test. Minimize the number of variables, so only put it on one platform without too much variation in the model. As issues are worked out, the project can be expanded, though it seems like step two is a Cadillac coupe, at least from what I've read.

  8. bhtooefr says:

    The Murano CrossCabriolet is hard to beat, but I'll go for the Smart ForTwo (and not the iQ – the iQ is better in every way than the ForTwo, even if it's nearly as bad).

    Where do I begin…

    Fuel economy worse than many larger cars
    Premium when the larger cars run on regular
    That horrible transmission
    Horribly stiff suspension
    Mercedes maintenance costs
    Mercedes parts costs
    Difficult to service yourself
    Only two passengers
    Fatiguing to drive
    No steering feel, but artificial heaviness in the steering (the manual steering ones might be better)

    It has two things that it does well – it has a lot of interior room for the two passengers it does carry, and it's easy to park. In 99% of the US, parking isn't a problem, so it only has one thing it does well in the US.

    • salguod says:

      You nailed exactly what I was going to say. The ForTwo is the car for folks who want to look green but not with the obvious choice of buying a Prius (or actually being that green). A Honda Fit is cheaper, more reliable, drives & rides better, can carry 5 and bring your new big screen home from Best Buy.

      • topdeadcentre says:

        An architect friend of mine who works for a "green architecture" firm bought a ForTwo for *exactly* this reason. She then found out what it's like trying to transport her first baby (plus all the baby-stuff) in it.

    • Scandinavian Flick ★ says:

      "Difficult to service yourself "
      With that cramped interior, I also find it hard to service myself inside the….

      Wait… did you mean… Well, this is awkward…

      Seriously though, this was the first car that came to mind for me, and you listed all the reasons I can think of, and that's more than enough. Being 6'4", I disagree on the "lot of interior room" portion though…

      • bhtooefr says:

        Torso height is the key, I think – I've heard from other people with unusually tall torsos that they found they were out of headroom. Everywhere else it's got plenty of room…

    • Jay_Ramey says:

      For a car designed for urban areas, seemingly very few in big cities are buying them. Instead, city centers are full of humungous SUVs and sedans that clog up the streets.

      The parking issue is moot cause you either have a parking spot or you dont. There is no such thing as half a spot that you could use, cause they're all divided with painted line. If you create your own parking spot even while being unobtrusive you'll get a ticket. So, very little advantage there.

      I'm not even gonna go into suspension and ground clearance. I'm thinking of getting high profile tires for my midsize AWD sedan, which bottomed out on a manhole cover about 2 weeks ago. I'd rather not imagine what inner city roads would do to a Smart, or my spine.

      • Vairship says:

        Actually, for street parking (parallel) in residential areas you often don't have marked stalls. And in front of our house, the space between driveways is about 2.5 cars, meaning a Smart could help if parking got any worse.

      • ghettopeople says:

        Whole lot of Smarts over by Venice Beach. People who live over there enjoy it for working around the beach visitors who take up the space most often.

  9. Tanshanomi says:

    The X6M is super dumb. Powerful, imposing, perhaps even glorious, but still somewhere around mint taco bubble gum on the ridiculous meter.

    <img src="http://i2.cnfolimg.com/uploads/cars/images/201101/15/1295055001658375.jpg"&gt;
    Yes, it's powerful and uses truly impressive technology to make it handle as well as it does. But no matter how well it handles, it's not as good as a simpler, smaller version of itself could be due to the effort it takes to control its substantial mass and high center of gravity. Despite its size and heft, its shape provides no real utility. Even with only four passengers, two of them will be in luxury and two of them will have to fold themselves in half. And they'll all have to leave that second suitcase at home. Sure, you can tow a third of a ton, but good luck backing up that trailer, thanks to the absurd lack of rearward visibility. And with an MSRP tickling 100 grand, it's also absurdly expensive.

    …I SOOOO want one.

    • Devin says:

      The X6M is the car equivalent of Fast Five. It's stupid, it doesn't make any sense, it was made with a flagrant disregard for the basic laws of physics, but it's so over the top that it manages to be really fun in spite of all that.

    • ghettopeople says:

      I really hate that manufacturers put that much effort in these stupid crossovers and SUVs when they could make much better (and more memorable) coupes and wagons.

  10. salguod says:

    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2009/09/crosstour_lead.jpg&quot; width=600>

    The idea of a mid sized 5 door is great, but instead of giving us an actual Accord hatch or wagon (which would have been great), with the tiptoe stance Honda hinted at a Subaru Outback without actually any of the capability, gave it odd styling and then priced it as a premium offering.

    • FuzzyPlushroom says:

      In short, if you want a Crosstour, slap yourself across the face – hard – and go sign the paperwork for a Toyota Venza.

      Or better yet, don't. Don't get the Venza, I mean. Slap yourself all you want.

      • vroomsocko says:

        I like brown Venzas. <<<Blocks own hand from slapping myself>>>

        • FuzzyPlushroom says:

          They're brown, and they're more practical than Crosstours. It's understandable.

      • ghettopeople says:

        While I have sworn off of Japanese cars, the Venza (unlike the Crosstour) is quite beautiful.

        • FuzzyPlushroom says:

          I'm not sure I'd go that far, personally, but I do like the Venza's design (aside from the awkward grille). It seems German, but a bit less pretentious. I can't speak for the interior, though.

    • vroomsocko says:

      The Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback actually delivers on that mid sized 5 door idea. I had no idea they existed until a couple of weeks ago when I saw one during my commute. I pass a Misubishi dealer every day on my commute and i have never seen one on the lot, so way to promote Mitsubishi. I dig it, I'd dig it more if they made an EVO version..
      <img src="http://cloud8.canadianblackbook.com/photos/250999081/400/300/0b3d934614183980ea85edeb6aedd85a.jpg&quot; width="600">

      • salguod says:

        Is it really in Accord size territory? I was thinking it was closer to the Civic.

        At any rate, I kind of like it. Something about the slope of the back end says they gave up early. "Just draw a line from the back of the roof to the back of the trunk. Done." Mazda3 is better looking and likely more fun and there's the Speed3. (Full disclosure: I own an '05 Mazda3 hatch.) Then again, the new 3 has similar rear styling. Then there's the Focus hatch, also better looking and again available in ST trim.

        I think they're all much smaller than the Crosstour.

  11. Devin says:

    <img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8309/8031124581_80a0139cfb.jpg&quot; width="500" height="333" alt="IMG_1932">

    Bare minimum, stripped out model is something like $13,000 Canadian. With essentials like air conditioning – and god damn that's essential today – you're brushing up against $15k. You could buy a car for that much.

    • fodder650 says:

      Really down there you are faced with some pretty odd choices of motivation. The Sonic, Versa, and Rio sedan really. All have warranties and will get you from point A to point B but none are what you would call interesting.

      • Devin says:

        Still, the Versa has room, which the Spark doesn't. The Rio has some style, which the Spark doesn't. The Sonic is actually borderline interesting, though probably not with the base engine, but I can't imagine someone driving a Sonic and saying "whoa, this is MASSIVE! I need something much smaller to drive."

        Besides, the mileage on the Spark isn't great and it has no power. I just can't imagine a situation where buying a Spark makes sense, especially given the price.

        • fodder650 says:

          Well I'd own one just so I could have my own living version of the twins from Transformers.

        • JBaustian says:

          I've had a negative opinion of the Versa from the first time I saw one, at a major auto show. Too many trim pieces falling off, while the Fit and Yaris had just as many people crawling over them and all their pieces were still attached.

    • FuzzyPlushroom says:

      Agreed. Besides, it's a pink Korean-built subcompact.

    • LSB Scott V says:

      I drove one of these for a week to review it. Let me tell you, around where I live (Albany NY) it is as useless as Ishmael trying to catch Moby Dick with a dinner fork.

  12. Steve Scarpato says:


    • fodder650 says:

      Do you know how much power you used typing that in all caps? A Nissan Leaf could have gone twenty miles on those keystrokes alone.

    • LEROOOY says:

      Wow, somebody's…. parents… were… killed? by an electric car? I don't know how else to justify that sort of randomly targeted vitriol.

  13. Maymar says:

    I was going to go all satirically ranting about how no one needs a diesel dually when most 1500s tow plenty these days, or what's the point in buying an Ariel Atom when a Corvette is a fully usable car you could hustle around a track in a similar pace. You see, I can't stand hearing about how terrible the Smart Fortwo supposedly is*

    Then I remembered this;
    <img src="http://www.roadandtrack.com/cm/roadandtrack/images/Sm/2011-morgan-3-wheeler.jpg&quot; width="500" img="">
    It's twice the price of a Miata over here, doesn't have a top, or a trunk, or space, or much dealer network to speak of. I can't find much in the way of performance short of Morgan's quoted 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds, but Autocar only got 8 seconds out of it (I suspect with that skinny single rear wheel, setting consistent times can be difficult). And yet, I love it. It's utterly stupid, but just the kind of stupid we need.

    *I'm the exact person they made the Fortwo for. Married, no kids, fairly little highway driving, and I live in a building with all of two spots for 12 units, which were already claimed (we live in it because my wife hates parquet floors, and isn't exceptionally fond of highrises, and it's really not worth getting her pissed off). So I park on the street. And, because Toronto, for the most park, doesn't designate spaces, but just blocks of space to squeeze cars into, and many of my neighbours seem to not think about ensuring that there's space for as many people as possible, there's pretty frequently wasted spots that little outside of a motorcycle or a Fortwo could squeeze into. As it is though, I drive a beater '04 Accent, and use Car2Go (Daimler's car-sharing service comprised solely of smarts) as a taxi alternative. I'm averaging 25mpg or so out of the Accent, while the Smart should be getting at least its rated 33mpg city (and short of diesels or hybrids, what surpasses that?). The smart's ride isn't fantastic, although I've never found it to be a problem (again, we're using a decade-old Hyundai as a point of comparison, to be fair). Plenty of space for my wife and I, and 95% of the time, we're never hauling anything we couldn't fit in its trunk. Really, its only full, actual, legitimate flaw is that stupid transmission, but it's a little better when you learn to work with it. It's not to say I'm going to rush out and buy one, as if I had that kind of cash to throw at something, I'd probably end up with something a little more hoontastic, or I'd plan ahead, spend the few extra grand, and get a Fit or something else with a back seat for when we eventually have kids, but I'm in a place where a Fortwo makes sense for me, and I know I'm not the only one. Not that there's huge swaths of people who should drive nothing else, but there's just enough of us in urban areas who could use a really, really tiny car, for it to make sense for it to keep coming over. Plus, it's the cheapest convertible on the market, so there's that. /rant

    • HTWHLS says:

      Every time I look at this Morgan, I think that dude who built his own Gallardo/Countach is a god. This thing looks like a couple of junior high kids were bored after running out of stolen beer. (Apologies to Morgan lovers out there, but I suspect you may be used to it.)

    • Vairship says:

      Maymar speaketh the truth! Hear hear!

  14. mallthus says:

    People who think this is a good idea ought to consider public transport.

    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2013/01/2013-toyota-camry-hybrid-review.jpg&quot; width=600>

    • FuzzyPlushroom says:

      Hey now, Jack Baruth was surprised by the SE's competence. (The LE, meanwhile, is less than a grand cheaper to buy but inferior in many small and niggling ways.)

      Would I have a Hybrid? No, that's foolish; if I wanted something soul-crushing I'd get an older Prius, and if I didn't, I'd get an Accord or a Mazda6. Or a Fusion. Or even a Malibu, or an ex-rental Pentastar 200 or Avenger that I could Sawzall the roof off of in a few years. I see why people buy the Camry, even if that reason is that they didn't test-drive anything else aside from the Accord, and the Honda dealer brushed 'em off, but damned if they shouldn't all be SE models with plain ol' fours and sixes.

  15. Bsphillips says:


    The later models of both the Malibu and Impala are disturbingly awful, regardless of the "good press" they have received. My work have these as fleet vehicles and let me say… I would rather walk or bike or take the freakin bus than have to drive these P.O.S.s!

    Cheap plastic interiors rattle and squeak, body panels don't line up, more road noise than my 1970 Pontiac (with long-ago disintegrated weatherstripping), power of a three legged goat, and quite disappointing fuel economy for a "new" car. (I put new in quotes 'cuz they are really just re-hashed previous generations of European GM products)

    I drove a 2006 Impala, with less than 3k on it, from Santa Barbara to Menlo Park in late 2005. it was such a piece of crap that Ihad to stuff paper towels in the gap between the dash and A pillar to stop me from going crazy. This same car had a left rear door that only opened if the left front was open too. The leading edge of the rear door hung up on the trailing edge of the front door. Later models have proven, to me, that there has been little improvement.

    On long trips I listen to music on my IPhone. Earbuds do a fairly good job of masking the horrible wind and road noise that the radio in the car cannot.

    On rare occasion I get to drive a Ford Fusion… Other than size, there is no comparison. The Ford is a far superior product… And I am a lifelong GM fan. At least I was before they killed off Pontiac…

    • ghettopeople says:

      My mother owns an '07 Impala LTZ. It's actually quite an enjoyable and surprisingly fast vehicle. But by right now standards with fancier dash designs and touch screen GPS, it clearly can't compete. Don't like its replacement as I feel Chevy should have marketed the new Caprice to civilians instead of just police fleets.

  16. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat says:

    I know the request is for them being sold, today, and while these aren't sold new, there are still enough around to be sold. Unfortunately, very few.

    I'm still amazed the company which had the forethought to bring the FWD minivan…IMO, the minvan was around back in the 60's with the Dodge A-100/108, the Econoline, and the Chebby, all mid-engined…decided this was a good idea:

    <img src="http://cars4photo.com/img/Chrysler-Pacifica-Touring1.jpg&quot; width="400">

    Then again, this right here was damned embarrassing:

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8e/Chrysler_Imperial_1992.JPG/800px-Chrysler_Imperial_1992.JPG&quot; width="400">

    For today, however…I see ones I'd have picked already have been so I'll go with this. Makes me want to facepalm when I see one, which in Texas, is rather often.

    <img src="http://www.cadillac.com/content/dam/Cadillac/Global/master/nscwebsite/en/home/Vehicles/2013_Vehicles/2013_Escalade_EXT/Model_Overview/01_images/2013-esc-ext-footer-feature-image-611×277.jpg"&gt;

    MSRP is $63K-$74K. I didn't realize idiots could manage to come up with money like this…

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