Top 10 Cars That Look Fast But Aren’t

Top 10 Cars That Look Fast But Aren’t

They’re the complete opposite of sleepers: cars that look fast, but aren’t.

You can’t blame an automaker for wanting to design a car that looks fast, even if it doesn’t have what it takes under the hood. But some cars are so stylish and sporty-looking that it can be surprising to find out just how sluggish they are.

SEE ALSO: 10 Speedy Sleepers Under $20,000

So we decided to take a look around and pick out the top 10 cars that look fast, but you would just be surprisingly disappointed once you get behind the steering wheel. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments.

10. Porsche Cayenne


If you see a Porsche badge on a vehicle, it’s perfectly understandable that you would believe it packs plenty of performance under the hood. But that’s really not the case with the Porsche Cayenne, which looks fast for an SUV. But here’s the thing, the standard model goes zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds and has a top speed of 142 mph, making it slow by Porsche standards. The entry-level Cayenne is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, which might sound like enough, but it really isn’t if you consider how heavy it is. If you really want to go fast in a Cayenne, the Turbo or GTS will do the trick.

9. Hyundai Veloster


Hyundai once offered the Tiburon, another car that looked faster than it really was. But since the Tiburon was discontinued, now it’s the Veloster’s curvy and bold styling giving the impression of speed. But then you’re sorely disappointed when you hear the standard Veloster has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with just 132 hp and 120 lb-ft of torque. There is also a Turbo model with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mill churning 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, which is more respectable, but still isn’t fast enough to match its sporty style.

ALSO SEE: Top 5 Most Reliable German Cars

8. Mazda6


Mazda’s Kodo design language has resulted in some very attractive, sporty-looking cars and the Mazda6 is no exception. The popular sedan is easier on the eyes than a Toyota Camry, but its sleek styling makes it appear much faster than it is. Under the hood is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine providing 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque, and if you’re hauling an entire family, then it’s not going very fast anytime soon.

Rumor has it, however, that Mazda’s new 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine fits in the Mazda6’s engine bay, so the Japanese automaker could be looking at making the sedan as fast as it looks.

ALSO SEE: 2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring Review

7. Toyota Celica


It’s a real shame the Toyota Celica went out with a whimper instead of a bang. The last model looked like a legitimate sports car, but its performance was a massive disappointment. In the U.S., the Celica GT had a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with a meager 140 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque, and even the more powerful GT-S only had 180 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque. To put that into perspective, the Scion tC has 179 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque, and no one considers the tC to be a fast car at all.

6. Dodge Dart


Even its name alludes to speed, but the Dodge Dart is anything but fast. To further rub salt in the wound, the American automaker tags the Dart as a “fuel efficient compact car,” despite its styling. For the same brand that has the Dodge Viper and the insane Hellcat engine, it’s almost appalling that the Dart comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a laughable 160 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. There are other engine options, however, with a 1.4-liter turbocharged unit providing 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, while a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine has 184 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. Dodge tragically calls the 2.4-liter a “powerhouse,” but the automaker isn’t fooling anyone.

5. Mitsubishi Lancer GT


The biggest problem the Mitsubishi Lancer has is that it looks like an Evolution. What’s worse is that the Evolution model has been phased out, so now this mundane sedan carries a heritage of high-performance, turbocharged power but only has a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 148 hp. Even at the top of the range, the GT model sports a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 168 hp, a far cry from the Evolution’s 291-hp turbocharged engine.

4. Mazda MX-5 Miata


The latest iteration of the Mazda MX-5 Miata is one attractive looking roadster. And like the Mazda6 before on the list, the new Miata definitely looks the part of being fast in ways previous generation models didn’t. And it can be fast, but just not in a straight line — corners are where the Miata shines. With a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque, the MX-5 Miata isn’t going to blow the doors off any other cars on the road, but its advantage is when the roads get twisty. It would be difficult to find someone that argues the MX-5 Miata isn’t fun to drive. The MX-5 doesn’t need to be that fast because it is so light and engaging.

3. DeLorean DMC-12


The DeLorean DMC-12 may have been made famous because of Back to the Future, but there was nothing truly fast about the car itself, even though it looked the part with its gullwing doors. The original vehicle came equipped with a 2.8-liter V6 engine that made around 130 hp. But the good news is, it’s making a comeback with its original design and DMC is talking to a couple of suppliers so that it can install a modern V6 powerplant that will offer between 350 to 400 hp. Maybe then, the DeLorean will finally go as fast as it looks, even though its styling is terribly outdated for the modern era.

2. Honda CR-Z


When the Honda CR-Z was first announced, Honda enthusiasts were drooling at the possibility that the compact hatch would be a true successor to the CR-X. But alas, the CR-Z turned out to be a hybrid and even then, it didn’t do such a great job at getting amazing fuel economy, returning 39 mpg on the highway. And although it had a sporty, aggressive design, the CR-Z has a meager 130 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque with a six-speed manual transmission, and only 127 lb-ft of torque with the CVT. The paradoxical car was neither sporty or fuel efficient and is probably why it has been discontinued from the automaker’s lineup.

1. Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86


When it comes to modern sports cars, there are very few that look as fast as the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. The FR-S will soon be known as the Toyota 86, but that doesn’t change the fact that so many are disappointed in its straight-line performance. With a 2.0-liter Boxer engine under the hood, it produces 200 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque in the BRZ, while the 86 will get 205 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. Neither are terribly impressive and although it’s a fun car to drive and handles great, the fact that it just isn’t fast has left enthusiasts wondering what could have been.

  • smartacus

    good list.
    my sis-in-law had a Celica GT and it was terribly slow on the highway. it ran out of poop.

    that Honduh CR-Z is just a disaster. Fit makes same HP and the original Insight is superior.

    Toyobaru needs to be made in China or something because the price is not competitive with the Mustang Ecoboost which is faster, quicker, and knows how to grip.

  • Cody Beisel

    The ecoboosts also know how to detonate their motors top end at 20,000 miles ;P haha

  • kaffekup

    Not every car is going to be a speed demon. By all accounts, the Miata and Toyobaru twins are incredibly fun to drive. As the old saying goes, “It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.”

  • smartacus

    cool story, bro

  • Absolutely. The Miata MX-5 and Subaru BR-Z/Toyota (nee Scion) FR-S are the spiritual successors to the Austin-Healey, MGB, and even to some extent the Lotus Seven.

  • kaffekup

    The one I had was a 1967 Triumph TR4A.
    It was a pile of junk but terribly fun to drive.
    If I ever won the lottery, I’d probably buy one in great condition (or an XKE).

  • Allan Birmantas

    There is not a car made that can’t go fast enough to get a speeding ticket. I have outgrown the need for speed. It is nice if a car looks cool.

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  • Cody Beisel

    Is a true story too 😉 bruh motor trend did an article on it and there’s over a dozen forums of unhappy mustang owners who ended up receiving new engines, engines that have been de tuned to make less power and are “more reliable,” most ecoboost mustangs tested now hit 60 in the 6 second range which make them just as fast to 60 as the new brz and gt86. Now where is the Mustang on the list??? Auto guide is still late to the party when it comes to this kind of news. Even road and track confirmed this power loss and engine detonation with the ecoboost mustang. Gotta love ford reliability 😛 lol

  • smartacus

    i know the July 2016 article you are talking about.
    General Motors Trend ragazine had some pre-production Ecoboost and some other Ecoboost. One was a couple of tenths slower than the other.

    and Ecoboosts detonating their top ends at 20,000 miles is a cool story bro

  • HandelbarLecter

    You do know there is a difference between quick and fast. For the Record the MX5 and the Subieyota are both fast cars, just not super quick. Once again High speed Slalom = fast and 0-60 = quick.

  • Matthew Horak

    This is a list full of duh. Most of these are either cars made to handle great on a track, or are already well known dumps, Veloster is the best example of slow AND poor handling all around. Everyone on earth knows why the Miata, Cayenne, and Scibaru exist, because you don’t need to hit 175+ to have a blast on the track. Me thinks the list is skewed.

  • That is one ugly Honda.

  • 67 E. yep

  • Jimi Mack

    Which none of these do, either. Look “Cool” that is.

  • Jimi Mack

    I don’t know. I’ve seen every one of these cars on the road and never thought of them as “Fast”. Hell, most of them don’t even look “Good”. Some of them are sporty looking that appeals to people who are looking for “Sporty” looks, and I’m sure most get good gas mileage, which a lot of people look for in a car these days.

  • Allan Birmantas

    You think that they look sporty, but that is not cool? What in your opinion makes a car look cool? Anyway, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • BlueBomberTurbo

    Spoiler Alert!
    A lot more of them are ugly, too! 😮

  • Amoore

    Haha, priceless! What’s sad though is I remember a time when they weren’t…

  • FullyPully

    Biggest surprise of all… every generation thinks the cars of their youth look best and everything else is just mumbo-jumbo. That Accord you posted was pretty up to date at it’s time (i also remember that model – my neighbor had one when i was a little boy) but today? It looks like a brick.

  • Vtecmivecvvt

    Paste lots of stickers,make the exhaust loud, for sure it will go fast…lol

  • Vtecmivecvvt

    Lately Japanese cars lok nice for the first two years after that it’s look so outdated since there’s too many lines and robotic while American and European stick to simple but aggressive look that’s look relevant after more than ten years