10 Older Vehicles We're NOT in Love With
A few weeks ago we published a Top 10 list focusing on some of our favorite in-production vehicles that are getting on in years. In spite of their geriatric status these cars and trucks are aging gracefully, still capable of plastering a big ol’ grin across the lower portion of your face.
But enough holding hands and singing Kumbaya, now it’s time to take a drive on the darker side. What older vehicles have overstayed their welcome on the market? Which ones should be euthanized as soon as possible in order to spare the driving public from their abject terribleness? Click ahead if you dare. Hopefully you’re not parking one of these wrecks in your garage, or worse, making monthly payments on one.
The Chevrolet Express and its “professional grade” counterpart, the GMC Savana are about as old as vehicles get. These full-size vans are built on an architecture that dates back to at least the mid 1990s and probably even further than that. As hard-working schleppers go neither is very efficient, whether you’re talking about interior space or fuel consumption. Ford has finally phased out is long-obsolete E-Series vans and is replacing them with their much more modern Transit lineup; it’s time GM made the same move. The Express and Savana are repulsive.
Today’s Ford Taurus, which dates back to around 2009 is gigantic, heavy and terribly space inefficient. There’s shockingly little interior room in this sedan and its front foot wells are unacceptably cramped. The architecture it’s built on was pilfered from Volvo and dates back to the late 1990s. Would someone please call INTERPOL? This car is an international crime and Ford needs to be punished.
It’s the same story with Lincoln’s MKS, which is essentially a platinum-trimmed Taurus. It’s got all the same issues but they’re much more painful since the car is considerably more expensive.
The Dodge Journey is a constant reminder of Chrysler’s dark days and the Cerberus regime that drove this brand into the corporate ditch. Designed and engineered during one of the auto industry’s most trying periods, the Journey is at best a compromised product, at worst a complete embarrassment. Unbelievably you can still get a bargain-basement model with a four-speed automatic transmission! Despite a pretty significant refresh in 2011 the Journey is a vehicle that’s long “stopped believin’,” it’s “lights” out in our opinion (we agree, that’s enough song references for one story).
Ah, Mitsubishi. Aside from Saab and Suzuki is there a more troubled automaker? Gallows humor aside the brand’s dated Lancer compact car is long past its prime. This sedan (and five-door Sportback variant) was never particularly competitive, even when new; nearly a decade on the market hasn’t done it any favors. The latest crop of C-Segment offerings outclasses this gray-haired Mitsu. But if it’s got one saving grace it’s the high-performance Evolution version. It makes up for much of the base model’s failings with a dump truck-load of power. Regrettably this model is scheduled to drive off into the sunset after 2015.
First of all we really don’t care for convertibles, which means the Lexus IS C is handicapped right out of the parking space. Typically they’re wobbly and flaccid feeling compared to their more rigid coupe and sedan counterparts. But the issue we take with this particular drop-top is the fact that it’s a generation behind. If you opt for a four-door IS you’re getting a pretty competent sports sedan. It’s comfortable, decently efficient, drives well and looks sharp. The drop top isn’t quite as promising. This Lexus’ design is dated and the performance not as pointed as its reinvigorated counterpart. We suggest steering clear.
Another one of Ford’s fine vehicles is the Lincoln MKT. This hearse-like crossover wears unusual styling, with a grille that resembles the baleen of a filter-feeding whale; its bulbous backside is equally strange. Like the Taurus it’s also built on Ford’s safe-but-clunky D-architecture, which means it’s saddled with a host of compromises.
Arguably even less desirable than the Journey is Jeep’s compact Compass crossover. Clearly the company lost its way developing this car-based utility because the vehicle that resulted is pretty loathsome. Introduced in 2007 this pint-sized Jeep has gone forward mostly unchanged for the proceeding eight model years. Sure, it’s had a few tweaks here and there but not the changes it needs, namely a raze-it-to-the-ground redesign. The Jeep Patriot, which shares substantial components with the Compass is also really old, though somehow considerably less loathsome.
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a military-grade vehicle you can drive on the street. Is it capable? Certainly. Is it refined, affordable, efficient or subtle? NO! In fact you’re far more likely to see a movie star or big-name rapper cruising around in one than you are the folks it was originally designed for: soldiers. Adding insult to injury its underlying architecture goes back decades and its pricing starts at a stratospheric 116 grand.
The smart car, do we really have to write anything about this little abomination? On paper it’s an incredibly promising machine. It’s fuel efficient, designed for mega cities and can be parked in a shopping cart corral. But as soon you drive it around the block and the transmission shifts from first to second gear, you start thinking dark thoughts and wishing for death. The car has been around since about 2007 and we’ve despised it ever since its debut. Hopefully the upcoming generation will fix this one’s faults.
It’s hard to believe, but Nissan’s Titan pickup truck dates back to 2003. Owning one is practically like having a pet dinosaur. Automakers are essentially required to update their products every few years so they remain competitive in this cut-throat business. Fortunately for its rivals the Titan hasn’t kept pace; this truck is older than the mythical giants of Greek mythology that it’s named after, though to the company’s credit an-all new model is on the way, complete with Cummins diesel power.
It’s the same story with the Nissan Armada, a full-size SUV variant of the Titan. This people-hauler brings to mind the sunken Spanish fleet that was dispatched to invade England late in the 16th century. It almost certainly deserves the same watery fate, as does its Infiniti twin, the QX80.
Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
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