Car Designs that didn’t Catch On

Sad Car

Cars are much like any product – they are fads that come and go. Some are hits while others simply miss the mark. Although their main purpose is to transport people and things from point A to point B, a great percentage of potential buyers are particularly influenced by the aesthetic value of certain vehicles over more practical elements like safety features and performance. On the other hand, there are those who base their criteria solely on the practical aspects while placing little importance to the vehicle’s look.

With this notion in mind, we here at Robert AIMPC have made two lists: the first about inferior models that didn’t sell well and the second about quality cars that didn’t do well on the market either.

Subaru Tribeca

If Looks Could Kill

  • Subaru Tribeca (2006 – 2014)

This year marks the end of production of the mid-size SUV for the Japanese brand. While Subaru has gained momentum during the aforementioned years, the Tribeca didn’t get any share of the limelight. When it entered the market in its first year, the sporty driving was standout, but other features didn’t do so well. It wasn’t visually pleasing with its generic styling and the front grille resembled the WRX STi of the same year, which didn’t help either. The dashboard surrounded the passengers in a not-so-engaging manner and the third row was cramped to the point that even anorexics wouldn’t even comfortable with it.

Overall, the Tribeca didn’t do as well compared to its competitors and other Subaru models. Of course, its driving experience is a huge advantage, but it doesn’t really make up for the lackluster features.

  • Honda Civic Si (2002 – 2005)

Four years of production is pretty short and an example of that would be the hatchback version of the very popular Civic Si circa 2002 to 2005. Similar to the Odyssey minivan, the Civic Si had the most powerful Honda engine at that time, but it didn’t possess the same hi-revving traits that their power plants were known for.

To be fair, significant elements of the car weren’t compromised; however, what threw it off was its generic style that turned off enthusiasts that was previously attracted to its predecessors like the EK9 and the EG6.

  • Lexus HS250h (2009 – 2011)

With an even shorter production of three years, the HS250h from Lexus was received with very little praise. The tight interior and the small trunk, along with engine noise that seeps in the cabin unnecessarily, are just a few of the design mishaps that made the model an unpopular one.

Furthermore, the Lexus HS250h was way heavier than Toyota’s Prius, and we know that weight is the big enemy of fuel economy. And besides, the poor design couldn’t even pass for a sedan version of the Prius anyway.

What furthered its quick downfall was that it wasn’t very much like Lexus in terms of passenger comfort and style, which is a hallmark for Toyota’s luxury arm. Despite all this, Lexus was able to learn from its mistakes and released a more appealing successor.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Diamonds Still in the Rough

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t this the car that has been around for almost three decades now? The one that continues to reward buyers with its simple, back-to-basics and, most of all, fun driving experience?” Yes it is, and this affordable coupe is built with the finest bolts, gears, and steel tubes for a performance worthy of a 12-hour road trip, and more.

The Miata has proved to be so popular that little has changed to its winning formula – lightweight, nimble and fast.

However, the weekend warrior in us has been overtaken by other adult responsibilities and the chances in enjoying this car to its fullest are being diminished. That’s why, here in the Philippines and the rest of the world, sales of this magnificent automobile has declined and it’s now considered to be more of luxury than a necessity.

  • Porsche Cayman

The Cayman is one of the little siblings of the venerable 911 that’s been around for more than half a century. Now the Cayman is a very good sports car, combining a powerful flat-six engine with a light weight chassis that Porsche has just updated. Another characteristic of this balanced coupe is the availability of a manual gearbox, which connotes to a raw experience that is very fulfilling when executed right. The suspension is plenty firm, although the ride is best described as neutral.

While it is a very fabulous automobile, it is largely overshadowed by the heritage of the 911 honed primarily by the racing efforts of Porsche throughout its existence. In buying a Porsche, you’d want the pride of a 911, all brought by its different variants in the range. Anything other than a badge with these three famous numbers just won’t cut it, and I bet you can count by your fingers how many Cayman models your salesman neighbor has sold.

  • VOLVO S60

The S60 is a sporty sedan by the folks from Sweden, and it is a remarkable vehicle. The dashboard is well laid out and doesn’t bombard you with a ton of weirdly placed switches. The power delivery of the turbocharged four-cylinder engine is smooth and there is a lot of oomph to pull you out of the worst driving conditions. The ride is firm yet comfortable enough and the steering is responsive and direct. Since its Swedish, you get technologies that actually aid you to make the trip less of a hassle.

All-wheel drive or front wheel drive are the only available options, and customers looking at this segment would prefer rear-wheel drive or the former. It’s quite expensive too, having a price that’s almost twice its competitors. And since it’s a Volvo, the brand has been associated for dull drivers and doesn’t have the swagger or finesse of say a Mercedes-Benz or Lexus. The S60 is a refined vehicle that doesn’t leave a lot to be desired, but Volvo needs to work harder in persuading people that their product can rub elbows with the rest of the market.

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