Recently by Eric Peters: Newtie
The poor ol Pontiac Aztek is old news and also, its been beaten so badly I think it deserves some mercy. Or at least, it deserves to be left alone to pick its teeth up off the floor and wipe up the blood .
How about some new targets?
But first, lets define our terms. It is hard to find a genuinely bad car in the old sense. You know, an actual mechanical stinker. Something that wont start or run properly.That kind of bad is increasingly uncommon. Almost every late-model car, no matter the badge or brand, runs well enough, is reliable gets you from a to b and all that. But while there may not be many bad cars around, there are definitely stupid cars around. Bad ideas. Four-wheeled-never-shoulda-beens.
Ill begin with the obvious:
It is expensive (almost $13k to start and they only give you half a car), next-to-useless (a two-seater with no cargo room that is too top-heavy, short-wheelbased and underpowered to dare venturing out onto a highway) and the piece d resistance it doesnt even get particularly fabulous gas mileage. 33 city and 41 highway is about what youd get in something like a new Fiat 500, which only costs about $2k more but for that you get a whole car with four seats and a trunk. And you can drive it out of your subdivision without worrying about being knocked into a ditch by a semis slipstream. Or run over by the semi coming up behind you. Hell, my 1983 Honda Silverwing motorcycle which I bought for $2,000 can carry just as many people as the Smart car, carries more cargo (no kidding, really) and gets 20 MPG better mileage. So, there you go. The Smart cars about as dumb as it gets and I havent even mentioned how it looks.
This ones not ugly, just pointless. The ZDXis a high-riding, low-rooflined crossover sport wagon thats slow, doesnt corner too well and cant be used for very much. Its also really expensive pushing $50k with a few options on board. You tell me. It has 300 hp but needs almost 7.5 seconds to reach 60 MPH. A V-6 Camaro or Mustang will stomp it and a new Ford Fiesta or Mazda3 will keep up with it. And get twice the ZDXs horrible 16 MPG. Did I mention it cant pull more than 1,500 pounds, either? So, what do you do with a ZDX? You write a really big check $46k, less options tags and taxes. No surprisingly, few are lining up to do so.
It has a silly name, for openers. Embarrassing, actually. Because theres nothing remotely explosive about the Nitros performance. It needs a Prius-like 9.6 seconds to heave its two-ton self to 60 MPH, being both overweight and underpowered. Luckily, you can upgrade to a Detonator or Shock Nitro and cut that time down to a merely slow 7.7 seconds. Neck and neck with a base Camry four-cylinder. Now that is shocking. Nitros also come shod with ridiculous ghettowagon 20inch wheels, rendering the 4WD system useless deadweight and also reproducing the ride quality of a really tired 69 F100. Gnomesayin?
There is something demented about a six-figure electric car. Its like spending a ton of money to build the ultimate motorcycle but it ends up having four wheels. Isnt the whole point to get around high gas costs? But if the car costs two or three times what the equivalent gas-burner costs, then does it really matter whether it doesnt burn any gas? Youre still burning money right? So, yeah, the Tesla looks cool and its quick and fast and doesnt use any gas. But you can buy the Lotus on which its based for half as much, get similar performance and put the $50k you just saved toward fuel for, oh, the next 30 years . I feel green all right. Wheres the nearest bathroom, please?
Not the old New Beetle. The new (and just) Beetle. Its no longer cute. It isnt inexpensive ($19k to start) and it gets startlingly godawful gas mileage: 22 city. This car has nothing in common with its Beetle ancestors other than its name. VW coulda-shoulda made it lighter, cheaper and much more fuel efficient. A 40 MPG $16k Beetle would have been a slam-dunk hit. But a macho Beetle that gets 22 MPG and isnt even very quick (7.5 seconds to 60) has all the makings of an epic belly flop.
Time will tell!