Commute, Toy or Destroy – Cimarron vs. Pinto vs. Reliant

Commute, Toy or Destroy – Cimarron vs. Pinto vs. Reliant

We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature ‘Commute, Toy or Destroy’.

Once again, we present to you, our faithful readers, a choice of three vehicles. We are asking you to decide which one you would make your daily driver, which one would be restored for weekend use, and which one always was a lost cause, and should remain so.

Remember, that commuter car you must live with every day, all year round. The toy would only be available to you for the odd drive, and the final car should be put to rest 10-feet underground.

Last week we presented three modern vehicles that have had a rough go in acquiring sales and supporters. This week, we select three vehicles from the past that have gone down in history with a notoriety rivaling that of Bernie Madoff. From the 1970s we have the Ford Pinto, that still to this day, has an explosive reputation. The next two vehicles come from the 1980s; the overly dull Plymouth Reliant and the complete letdown that was the Cadillac Cimarron. So, what are going to be your choices in this lesser-of-three-evils showdown?

Cadillac Cimarron


When is a Cadillac not a Cadillac? When it is a Chevrolet Cavalier. To cash in on the trend of downsized vehicles during the 1980s, someone at Cadillac thought it would be a good idea to fancy-up a J-body Cavalier and sell it as a Cadillac. In an example of badge engineering to fullest, and worst extent, The Cimarron would last just one generation before being put to pasture. The public was not fooled by this ‘Cadillac’ and sales never materialize to GM’s expectations.

Ford Pinto


This is the little car with the explosive reputation for, well, exploding. Although much controversy surrounds the Pinto and whether it really was as unsafe as the legend would have us believe, or whether it was any more unsafe than equivalent vehicles of the time period, is moot. The Pinto lives on to this day as the vehicle that exploded every time it was involved in a rear-end collision. Oh, and it was an ugly little thing.

Plymouth Reliant


Introduced in 1981, the Reliant and its twin the Aries were burdened with the small task of saving the entire Chrysler Corporation. Although these cars were immensely popular and did succeed in keeping the beleaguered company afloat, the cars have since become the butt of many jokes. Thanks to frumpy, square styling and excitement-free engine choices, these coupe, sedan and wagons were the epitome of basic transportation – think of them as the Toyota Corolla of the 1980s.



  • CA_Refugee

    Not easy, and my first inclination is to just destroy all 3 and walk or ride a bike instead. BUT, I will give it an attempt…

    Commute = Pinto (Should I be in a crash, who would want to survive that?? Especially since one is driving, a Pinto.)
    Toy = Cimarron
    Destroy = Reliant