The Cars Everyone Loved To Hate On In 2011

In 2011, there were plenty of cars with a lot of hype behind them, only to end up doing poorly with consumers. Failing to meet high expectations could almost be worse than just being as terrible as everyone thought you would be. So let’s toast a few of the flops of the 2011 American car market, shall we?

CNNMoney runs through 12 notable disappointments on the market in the past year that had a lot of buzz built up, only to fizzle out once drivers got their hands on them.

Fiat 500: You might remember this one as the car Jennifer Lopez drives through her old neighborhood in an ad campaign that was much derided, as it was questioned whether she was actually in the Bronx or just back in L.A. What? J. Lo didn’t convince you to buy one? Dealers weren’t convinced either, even with lower gas prices. They’d predicted selling 50,000 cars, but only unloaded 17,444 as of November.

Jaguar XF: Four years after its launch and a strong luxury car market couldn’t stop the XF’s sales from dropping around 28%.

Honda Insight: The cheaper-than-before 2011 Insight was meant to boost sales, as the cheapest hybrid on the market. So far, so good! That is, until reviews of a jouncy ride and too much road noise came in. Sales dropped off sharply this year, and CNN says the Hyundai Sonata beat it this year so far as hybrids go.

BMW 550i GT: When the 550i came on the market a few years ago, BMW executives were so confident in it, that they didn’t send any more of their traditional 5-series sport wagons to the U.S. But combined with a $65,000 price tag and a super heavy body means lower sales for the 550i. proportions, the 550i remains a rare misstep for the Bavarian marketing machine.

Nissan Cube: Sure, a few people might want an over-stylized car that makes onlookers think, “What the heck is that thing?” but most buyers have been staying away from the design mess that is the Nissan Cube.

The 2012 Honda Civic: This car won the dubious honor of the most despised car of last year, calling it “the bland, cheezy, ninth-generation Civic. Reviewers panned it as clunky and dreadfully dull, while our expert big brothers at Consumer Reports pointed out weak brakes, excessive body lean and annoying road noise — and even dropped it off their Recommended list.

Check out the rest of the disappointments over at CNNMoney.


Edit Your Comment

  1. clippy2.0 says:

    Really, the Fiat? almost 20k new sales in the first year, for the first time on US soil? I don’t think thats a car people hate…

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      My 07 Focus was a loud, obnoxious can with four wheels and at the same cost and it had this inherent shift in which the car would ALWAYS pull to the right even with new tires and an alignment. My left hand would be sore for two days after driving long distance to and from home because I constantly fought to keep it in a lane. I hated that car.

      I bought a Fiat 500c Sport in September and it is the best car I have every purchased. Low road noise, great Bose system, everything is electronic and it had a rock solid suspension and handles great in the snow and on slick roads. For the money, it’s worth every penny and I rarely say that about any vehicle that I buy.

      I was getting 32/33 MPG for city/highway driving at first. After the engine hit 3k miles, it went to 34 in the city and it 35 on the highway. The city/highway is very close and consistent. If I set my cruise on 65, I can easily drive from Grand Rapids to Metro Detroit on little more than a quarter tank. By the time I get home to where I live, it’s down to a half a tank. This car is awesome.

      My dealer told me that he is getting customer comments on MPG being over 40+.

      The only down-side to my car is that J-Lo ain’t riding in it with me.

      • DrRonster says:

        And if the speed limit is 70, you are impeding traffic at 65. If you venture into the left lane at that speed you should be pulled over. Quit watching your mpg and keep up with the traffic.

        • bluline says:

          A speed limit is just that, a limit. It’s not mandatory that one drive at the maximum speed, even if conditions are optimal. That’s no excuse for blocking the left lane on an interstate highway, but if you’re cruising at 65 in the right lane, and the limit is 70, that’s very acceptable.

          • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

            Yeah, but in Michigan, the limit is 70 – everyone does 80.

            • Fumanchu says:

              in texas if the limit is 70 everyone does 90.

              There are some highways here with speedlimits of 80 that its not uncommon for traffic to be moving at 100.

            • DrRonster says:

              I beat a 90 in 70 due to the fact that there were a bunch of idiots tailgaiting trucks and we were heading into rain. State law states that we must be able to stop within a reasonable distance. My speed was a defensive manuever to get around those idiots. I do not tailgait and I like to remain isolated with no traffic 1/4 mile in front or back ie keeping up with traffic, lots of manuevering room. I cruse on highways around 75-85. At times up to 115. Necessity of speed. I do not violate lane markings and I always signal. I got a laser ticket but now with the escort redline and it’s 6 laser antennas and 13 mile K,Ka range I’m a much safer driver. 2000 SS Camaro Convertible 150,000 miles, mint condition, 23 mpg, Slightly modified by SLP, top speed 172 with predator tuning. Parked till mid March. Avoid Livingston County. Surface streets are treated lite NASCAR pits; rules and limits with penalties. I nail those to exact +1 or 2. Now have -3 points after beating that ticket. No pts since 1986. And Warranty Direct paid for a another transmission in October. Just read the fine print aand quit complaining about the extended warranties. Mines good till 2016 and 240,000 miles.

              • BurtReynolds says:

                What is relevance of the added information about your car and extended warranty? It reads like a shill post from a Chinese company.

                • DrRonster says:

                  Because I didnt want anyone claiming my vehicle couldn’t safely do the speed and that even with perfect maintainance, parts fail. Consumerists users are constantly “screwed” by extended warranties, but if you read the fine print , they are legally require to follow the contract. Took WD 14 days before they couldn’t deny my claim. Also took trans shop 3 tries before they got it right. First flatbed 25 miles. 2 weeks later, flatbedded 37 miles. 2nd trans returned 6 hrs later. 3 time was the charm. Wanted to eliminate extra posts saying I didn’t know what I was doing or GTH. PS cheaper to drive a 23mpg vehicle than to drive a new vehicle with payments (and a hellava lot more fun).

        • Dave B. says:

          You’re assuming an awful lot. Besides, with his cruise set at 65 he’ll be passing quite a few prii, which I see more often than not going under the speed limit.

          • Clyde Barrow says:

            @Dave B; I set my cruise because for a three hour drive, there is not point in hurrying. With the Bose sound sys, it’s an enjoyable drive.

          • DrRonster says:

            In Michigan, the slower of 2 vehicles must be in the right lane regardless of speed. I was one pulled over at 124pmh but the Silverado about 1 foot from my bumper in the left lane kept pushing me faster. Past 120, I gave up, just when the officer fired his radar. I got pulled over but he saw the Silverado shot out after I had transfered to the right lane. The speed was the Silverado’s fault, not mine. I was following state law and the slower of 2 cars did in fact move to the right lane. What drivers dont realize is that only Police can enforce speed limits, drivers cannot. If two cars are next to each other doing 70 on a 2 lane highway, the one in the left lane is guilty of impeding.

        • Clyde Barrow says:

          Thanks Armchair cop but you’re wrong. On this particular highway 70 is the max, not the minimum. 65 is legal and my prerogative. 45 is the minimum. This all the while being in the right lane, not the passing lane. It’s not impeding traffic.

        • blueman says:

          I missed the part where he said he was in the left lane.

          Oh, that’s right, it’s not there. So he was driving responsibly and legally. You’re really going out of your way to pick a fight here.

      • Mozz says:

        I have a 07 Focus and have no problems at all. Gets 37mpg. Remember, Vegas and Pinto were car of the year when they came out. Fiat? No thanks.

        • Clyde Barrow says:

          @mozz; I don’t believe that your 07 Focus gets, or got, 37 mpg. The Focus was not that efficient. The most that a Focus would probably get would be around 32. Mine got a max of 31 during a trip to the Smoky’s on a 12 hour trip and it had around 10k miles on it and it didn’t increase when it reached 30k miles.

          • Shadowfire says:

            Could be the difference between standard and automatic. We’re getting around 38-39 highway with ours (which helps since almost all of our driving is highway).

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      My sportscar-fan mom swears by the old joke that ‘Fiat’ stands for ‘Fix it again, Tony’.

      • Yomiko says:

        Ford = fix or repaid daily.

        FTR, I think there are good Fords out there. I just wanted to share my fake car name acronym.

    • The Slime Oozing Out From Your TV Set says:

      Ditto. 50k/yr should not be an easy number to hit, even if they had an ad company that wasn’t brain damaged (step 1 to making me *not* want to buy something: advertise it with a plastic-faced pop diva).

  2. pop top says:

    I’d love a Fiat Panda, or a Dacia Sandero. ;)

    And speaking of ugly Nissan cars… I saw one the other day that looks like an RC car, one of those ugly crossover-type things. So awful.

  3. rdm says:

    Every time I see the Fiat there’s some type of drama with the headlights – they are crooked, or one isn’t working (enough),… etc. Scary for a brand new car to already be having such trivial issues.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Reminds me of something some friends and I have noticed for years. Way too many new-ish VW/Audis have burned out lights.

      • hobochangbar says:

        The new Audi’s with the LED outline (around the headlights) often look like one is out. But it appears more than just the turn signal lights up when the signal is engaged. I finally saw the whole sequnce, when the turn signal comes on so does the LED wrap around. Both go out after the turn. This may be what you’re seeing. As for VW’s I’m always changing lights on my older Golf, they’re electrical woes are legendary.

  4. Firevine says:

    No Juke? I’ve seen more ugly ass Cubes than I have ugly ass Jukes. I really wonder wtf Nissan’s design team was on when they designed those things.

    • pop top says:

      The Juke! That’s it! I hate that thing.

      • philpm says:

        Those are some damn ugly vehicles, right up there in my mind with the Pontiac Aztek, which has to be the most horrid looking abomination ever put on the road.

        • Cat says:

          I recall seeing dealer’s lots full of those Azteks when the first came out. And the same ones were still sitting there a year later.

        • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

          I still like the look of the Aztec.

          • stranger than fiction says:

            Yeah, they’re not the sexiest things ever, but I don’t get all the hate. There’s something to be said for having a car that doesn’t look like every other car on the road.

            Some friends of ours owned one, and said it was the greatest vehicle they’d ever had for visibility (i.e., very few blind spots). They were pretty upset when it finally wore out.

        • hobochangbar says:

          The Aztek at least could argue that its form followed its function, which I have no problem with. The available tent ad-on and AWD made it more than an ordinary car. It’s a concept I could get behind. Unfortunatley I could not get myself behind the wheel of a Pontiac (At least not one newer than mid-70’s)

    • tbax929 says:

      I love the Juke! I didn’t buy one, but they had one at the dealership when I bought my Nissan in June. I thought it was adorable.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      That’s what I came here to complain about. It’s so hideous and malformed that when one came up behind me for the first time I though it was farming equipment.

      That thing makes me sad I didn’t break into automotive design for Nissan-maybe I could have prevented this abomination, but also happy I wasn’t a part of the company that produced this abomination. How far they’ve fallen.

      • greggorthechamp says:

        That is because the Juke is getting good reviews, and the people who own them love them. From what I have read, it is quirky, but very fun to drive. If I was i the market for a small SUV, it would be top of my list.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          What is because the Juke is getting good reviews? You’re answering a question no one asked.

        • Hohoemi says:

          I love my Juke. I think it’s cute and it IS fun to drive. It’s also small and easy to squeeze into small parking places. It seems to be a very polarizing design. Most reactions I read are either strong love or strong hate. I don’t quite understand why people think it looks so odd. I think it looks like most other cars these days. :)

    • dolemite says:

      I like the Juke.

  5. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    Oh man.. the Nissan Cube is sooo… ugly.

    What were they thinking?

    It’s on my list of “My Favorite Cars to Make Fun of”. Also on the list: The Mazda 3, because it is always making this face :D

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      I was in a Cube this past September and I thought it felt solid and it had a nice sound system and it seemed to have a nice suspension also. I was in it only for a short duration while in the city but that is my only experience. I was surprised.

    • Das G says:

      You must have never driven a Mazda 3, because you’d forgive the front styling and realize you’d be making the same face as your car.

  6. philpm says:

    Every time I see one of the Nissan Cube’s on the road, I wonder why anyone would want to drive around in an overshaped cardboard box.

  7. OthelloAndreus says:

    Strange that the Civic took such a dive. My wife has the four door 2008 model and it is a pleasure to drive.

    With regards to hybrids, why is it that every hybrid model has to look like a space ship? Why can’t manufacturer’s make it look like a regular car? I realize the batteries take up space, but so does an engine. Just make a hybrid that looks like a regular car and I would be inclined to buy one.

    • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

      The 2012 hybrid Camry looks like a sedan, feels like a sedan, and gets something like 42/44 mpg. (Caveat emptor: The 2011 gets a sadpants 32/34.) The only problem is that new Camrys are expensive, so we’re hoping to score one used in a couple of years.

      • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

        … and I know plenty of people who are delighted with their stealthy Civic hybrids, but you’ll want to stick with the eighth generation model, obvi.

      • OthelloAndreus says:

        You’re right…and I love the Camry. This has to be the exception.

    • MichaelRyanSD says:

      because hybrid owners are smug and love smelling their own farts….

      • crispyduck13 says:

        This. When the first Insight came out over 10 years ago everyone shit all over it because it looked “like a spaceship” and didn’t have a backseat. When the civic hybrid came out 5 years ago it looked exactly like a regular civic, except the different rims/hubcaps. But by then everyone and their mom was jumping on the Prius because it looked so…hybridy, all of a sudden people wanted hybrids to look like hybrids, so everyone around you can know how awesome you are. How the hell is the SmartCar so fucking popular but the orginal Insight was scrapped for being “too small”??

        Plus, you can’t be Green unless you bought a brand new hybrid, which had to travel all over the damn world to be made. No, you couldn’t possibly be environmentally aware if you’re driving an older used civic that gets 40+mpg and didn’t have to be made especially for you. It’s not hybridy enough.

        Sorry for the rant, I agree with you. This is just a sore subject for me personally.

        Swear to god I’m from

        • gman863 says:

          OH…MY…GOD…BECKY! Look at it’s butt! It’s just so…..GREEN!

        • Ablinkin says:

          Dang I drive one of those first “space ships”, though I and my alien wife prefer to call it a space pod.

        • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

          Uh, homey, we got a used Prius because it gets 10-15 more miles per gallon than the Civic for the same price. Not for its looks.

    • Chmeeee says:

      More hybrids look like regular cars than space ships.

      -Fusion Hybrid
      -Camry Hybrid
      -Sonata Hybrid
      -Altima Hybrid
      -Civic Hybrid
      -Malibu Hybrid
      -Silverado Hybrid
      -Escape Hybrid

      etc etc.

      The Prius, Volt, and Insight all kind of look similar because as it turns out, that’s pretty much the ultimate shape for aerodynamics with a reasonable passenger and cargo space.

    • LMA says:

      Because one of the keys to tremendous gas mileage is to design a car that is genuinely streamlined — less drag means better efficiency.

    • Gravitational Eddy says:

      I dunno ’bout no green hybrids….but I saw this red Coca Cola delivery truck that said “Hybrid”.
      It had just pulled up to the curb, the driver got out and I asked, “OK, so where are the batteries?”
      He rolled up a door, and pointed to the roof, where I could see a whole row of special design batteries. Stretching all the way back to the end of the truck. And three or four deep.
      Then I touched that big chrome exhaust pipe, which should have been at least a little warm, eh?
      Ambient temp. Cool to the touch.
      Come to think of it, never even heard that Peterbilt diesel when he drove up….

    • tooluser says:

      Get the Nissan Altima hybrid. Looks just like a regular Altima, but has half the trunk room.

      • philpm says:

        That’s if you can find one. I live in Missouri, the closest state that I can find one at a dealer is Michigan.

  8. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I had no idea the Civic had fallen from grace.

    That used to be of the top make/models that you bought to last forever. It seems Honda tried to tweak with perfection too much.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      It’s been out of grace with Honda fanboys since about 2001. The roofline went up, the wheelbase got shorter, and the whole thing got pretty ugly. The classic charm of the older Honda designs is pretty much gone. I’m surprised about the brakes and road noise issue though, up to this point I thought all the bitching was about appearance.

    • Gravitational Eddy says:

      It looks like a Corolla now. Kinda fat and chunky too…..

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Honda Motor Company has fallen from grace in my book. I think the Fit is the only “real” Honda left in the lineup. That includes Acura.

      Everything has been Americanized. The Accord is a bloated mess. The Civic is cheap looking and bloated. The TL is a disaster (when the 2008 TL is still a great looking car) and the RDX is a small SUV that gets 20 mpg.

      I’d still buy a Honda, but it would be a certified used model from 2008 or earlier.

  9. DJ Charlie says:

    I think I’ll stick with the Lady. 1994 Ford E250 ambulance (yes, I ride around in a decommissioned ambulance, and LOVE it!). Decent mileage, and the only engine problem so far is a small leak in the exhaust manifold. 188,000 miles, and still running strong!

    • frenchman says:

      I am nowhere near mature enough to drive around in an ambulance. I hope to god the sirens and lights are removed :)

  10. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    I have a Honda Insight. Yeah, it can be a bit jerky at times… but I don’t notice “road noise.”
    I bought it in May 2009 and I have had no problems.

    • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

      If you haven’t already, please get out on and speak up for your car. We bought recently, and the conventional wisdom on the Insight’s comfort and road noise was so negative that we didn’t even look at it. I would have liked to stick with Honda, too.

      • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

        Oh, I guess the only other problem i had was the the headrest being tilted too far forward for my liking. That’s not just Honda, though. I ended up turning it around.

    • balthisar says:

      But they’re talking about the newer, cheapened Insight. Not the antique models ;-)

  11. ShruggingGalt says:

    Where are the Kia Hamsters????

    • BigDragon says:

      Yes, and where are the Chevy HHRs? There is clearly something wrong with this list!

      • hobochangbar says:

        The Kia Soul looks pretty decent IMO, rather large for its class too.

        Had to check to see if they still made the HHR, they do. It has its fans too, though I’m not one of them.

  12. Anonymously says:

    The rear window on the Cube really helps with a blind spot, and I consider it a major safety boon.

    • Dave on bass says:

      Wait – what? the wraparound on the rear right side? On US-spec Cubes at least, it’s an illusion; there’s a regular ol’ D-pillar behind the tinted glass.

  13. MaytagRepairman says:

    Once a year (usually November) there is a big auto show in Seattle. Apparently even Nissan didn’t like it and wouldn’t bring the Cube to the show this year. Too bad. Two years ago it was there and despite it’s strange looks it felt more substantial than the offerings from Kia and Scion.

    The other love it or hate it car from Nissan is the Juke which my wife wanted until she took it for a test drive. She basically complained about the firm ride and the turbo lag. Ummm. That is what havig a sports car is about.

    Had a used Fiat Strada in the mid 80’s. I really learned my way around my dad’s cousin’s junk yard back then. Fiat has to sell to the younger generation to make it in this country again. They had a display at the car show but their cars still had that quirkly interior styling that reminded me more of former-communist eastern Europe than Italy.

  14. balthisar says:

    But the Fiesta did over 23,000 in 2010 (only six sales month that year). While not the first time on US soil, it’s the first time on US soil during the lifetime of most of its buyers.

  15. tbax929 says:

    The Nissan Cube, Honda Element, and whichever of the Scions is made like a box are the three cars that make me scratch my head when I see them on the road.

    I’m not a Honda or Toyota fan. I know the cars are highly rated, but I just find them really boring and the styling uninspired. Since I do like Japanese cars, I have owned 2 Mazdas, 3 Mitsubishis, and now a Nissan. That Kia Optima is a head-turner as well, but I”m still leary of that brand.

    • Powerlurker says:

      Hyundai has owned Kia for a number of years now. If you’d trust a Hyundai, there’s no reason you shouldn’t trust a Kia.

      • tbax929 says:

        I’ve never had a Hyundai. I don’t know if I trust them yet. I probably should, but I have no experience with them.

    • jacobs cows says:

      You arent a fan.You are a fool.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      Mr. Aroo and I love our Scion xB. I HATED the origional squared off boxy one, but now that they’ve sloped the roof and rounded the corners I think it’s quite cute and it is the very best car for moving large amounts of stuff around while still maintaining a small car size.

      We can fit so many things in it and still have room for people. The back seat has plenty of room for full sized people, which is not something I can say for other cars in the same price-range. I’m 4’6″ and even I feel cramped in the back of my brother’s Civic.

      It also comes with everything we wanted gadget-wise that Honda and Toyota wanted extra money for, like an iPod connection.

  16. Starfury says:

    I saw a Fiat parked in the mall for a display. It’s not bad looking but it was like $18000 for the base price. I’d rather buy something else in that price range.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      There are three models to choose from; POP, Sport, and the most expensive with the convertible. If that Fiat that you saw was priced at the ones near me, you saw the Sport.

  17. bananaboat says:

    Insight couldn’t be touched for less than the low 20’s due to dealer pride and would get the low 40’s on the highway. I bought a Mazda 2 stick for 14 and I’m getting 40mpg. I would love to own an hybrid but only if the ROI is justified. They’re all overpriced.

    Looked at the Civic too. Too much money for other comparable cars.

  18. Halfabee says:

    I drive a first generation Civic Hybrid at work and absolutely hate it. The 14″ wheels make the steering so stiff that changing lanes at highway speed can seem like a chore and there is no legroom to speak of. I wouldn’t drive one for anything more than brief local trips.

  19. LMA says:

    Funny, we saw the Cube all over Japan a few years ago and thought it was adorable! Of course, it was a reverse-image Cube because they drive on the right. But I’m surprised it hasn’t done well here.

  20. Kate says:

    My daughter has a Nissan Cube. We all love it. It’s different, it’s well made, it was incredibly inexpensive, good gas milage and handles well. Not much guts, but that was a good thing in a car for a teenager.

    It also has wonderful amounts of room in it and has great head space for tall people, good leg room too. I’m disgusted by so many cars lately that I can’t drive comfortably because they are too short in leg room, and that’s for a woman.

  21. blueman says:

    I missed the part where he said he was in the left lane.

    Oh, that’s right, it’s not there. So he was driving responsibly and legally. You’re really going out of your way to pick a fight here.

  22. blueman says:

    Exactly, a VERY old joke. The new Fiats are quite good, but it will take time to overcome that reputation.

  23. john says:

    Aside from the mechanical issues, the new Civic was the first one to ever get my attention when it was announced. It looks like a car that my grandma didn’t design unlike every single Civic in the past. The only Honda I would ever buy is the minivan.

  24. Apeweek says:

    Volt doesn’t belong on this list. It’s only a “hated” car by those who have never, and would never sit in one.

    Volt topped Consumer Reports buyer satisfaction survey this year – beating every other car they track.

    That’s something Consumerist should cover.

    • gman863 says:

      Was that before or after GM offered to buy them back from owners since they’ve been declared a fire hazard?

      • Apeweek says:

        No offer was made to buy back cars. This was a rumor only. GM sent an offer of loaners to any Volt driver who wanted one. I’m not aware there were any takers. In the letter GM sent, they pointed out the 5-star safety ratings given by NHTSA and IIHS.

        Neither agency considers the type of fire observed to present any real danger. Think about what really happened here. A very badly damaged battery ignited only after being left in storage for three weeks, upside down, with water dripping into the battery.

        THAT is what it takes to make an EV battery ignite. I am very proud of the engineering that made the Volt battery so safe. And shame on the press for not telling this story correctly.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      Not only does the Chevy Volt belong on the list, it should have been given the number one, two and three spots for good measure.

      A few of its “design features”:
      Premium gas only.
      30 miles on a charge (don’t touch that AC switch!).
      Gas engine assist on hills.
      Gas engine assist if traveling over 65 mph.
      $45,000 starting price.
      Fire danger.
      Rapid depreciation.
      Expensive battery replacement.

      What a joke!

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      BTW, it would seem there wouldn’t be enough surveys from Volt owners to get an accurate assessment, seing as they had only sold a couple of thousand by the time the data were compiled. Did CR have to waive their minimum sample pool requirement?

  25. thekevinmonster says:

    I’m surprised the Juke wasn’t on that list. It’s so ugly, I bought one. (I previously owned a Scion xB first generation, which was cheap, efficient, reliable, utilitarian as all get out, rode terribly and had no power whatsoever. It was so ugly that I laughed when I saw one the first time.)

    I’m not sure why people get so up in arms over ‘ugly’ cars, or cars that do something different.

  26. LoadStar says:

    For the life of me, I don’t get why the sudden hate on the looks of the latest Civic. I have an 8th Gen Civic, which was fairly well received. I’ve looked at the 9th Gen Civic, and frankly it looks virtually the same… not a radical enough departure to make it suddenly as despised as it seems to be online.

    I understand criticizing technical faults though… that’s fair enough.

  27. jacobs cows says:

    American car market?

  28. OnePumpChump says:

    The previous generation Cube was similar in the broad strokes, but with less swoopy elaboration. It had a lot more charm.

  29. Kuri says:

    I’m surprised the Kia Soul isn’t on there. Damned box.

  30. Draw2much says:

    Not sure why all the hate for the Nissan Cube. It’s not MY style, but I don’t think it’s ugly. People mention the Juke, which looks a bit odd, but not what I’d call ugly. I was actually surprised by how good it looked in person, very distinct and recognizable.

    And to the person who mentioned the Soul bein’ a box of ugly… WHA? The Soul is a FINE looking vehicle. If it’d been available when we’d been looking, we might have gotten it instead of the Honda Fit. (Which is also a great looking car.)

  31. Shampoo Lies says:

    I just bought a 2012 Insight EX and it’s the best car I’ve ever had. They addressed some of the “issues” apparently. I don’t notice any excessive noise even at 80 MPH, the rear visibility is better than the 11 model, the gas mileage is in the mid 40s, the interior is fantastic, and I got it for under dealer invoice at around 21K. Its far superior to the Prius considering every factor.

  32. rdldr1 says:

    I own a Honda Civic 2012. Its not bad. Though, its not spectacular either. I generally disagree with the assessments made by Consumer Reports regarding the 2012 Civic.
    I have been reading up on people’s opinions on this car, and I would be surprised if it did not make it on the most hated list.

  33. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Any reason you decided not to mention the Chevy Volt? Based on the media hype, its ridiculous price tag, and dismal sales figures, this is hands-down the biggest flop of the year… and it came out of the gate already despised by millions.

    • Apeweek says:

      Well, I argued in a previous post that a “pre-hated” car isn’t the same as a hated car. You have to experience a car to legitimately hate it. Pre-judgement is generally a disservice, as innovative products need to be given a fair shot.

      And unfortunately for the Volt haters, actual Volt drivers love the car. In fact, it aced the Consumer Reports buyer satisfaction survey, beating every other car CR tracks to take first place in the survey.

  34. Apeweek says:

    Well, first of all I do own a Volt, and I can absolutely guarantee that the gas engine does not turn on until the battery runs out. The WSJ link you provide is just bizarre in it’s wrongness. The other link doesn’t contradict me.

    The goofy price you have is not what I paid, or anyone I know. It’s $31,645 after rebate on Chevy’s page:

    My personal experience is 30 to 50 electric miles per charge (30 winter, 50 summer.) My gas mileage on the highway, on gas is 40mpg. I only use gas on long trips, so the highway mileage is what matters. There’s a realtime data page here where you can actually see the range of performance Volt owners get: The MPGcs on this chart is the gasoline mileage. You will notice it’s poor for those people who use very little gasoline – because the car will start up the engine to burn off stale gasoline if you don’t use gas often enough. Most people, like me, use gas about 30% of the time, and get pretty good mileage when we do.

    None of your links address your battery life claim. 5 years battery life is lead-acid, which is first generation technology. 2nd generation batteries, NIMHs, already last 10 years or better. GM tested their 3rd generation lithium manganese battery to retain at least 80% capacity after 10 years (150,000 miles), and they warranty the battery for 8 years. Since the Volt will still be perfectly usable even with under 60% battery capacity remaining, I doubt any Volt owner will ever bother to change the battery. See:

    None of the wild guesses on depreciation matter. We’ll just have to see. Nobody predicted the Toyota RAV4 EV, from 2002, would sell used for well over original list price. But it did, and even today retains over half its original value. See:

    As for subsidies, it’s hard to beat gasoline on this one – billions every years in corporate welfare for petroleum. At least the EV subsidies expire soon. Petroleum subsidies have run for decades.

    And the Volt does indeed save some people money. See spreadsheet:

    • Apeweek says:

      Apologies, this is a reply to one of the nested comments that somehow jumped out to the main comment page.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      Oh, now I understand. You live in a magical State where GM doesn’t add the $700 destination charge and there’s no sales tax (levied on the full purchase price before government handout)! Cool!

      And not only that, the chart you provided assumes that Volt owners drive their cars 40 miles on battery power every day, 365 days a year, for 8 years straight. It also assumes that the car will be worth $17,000 after 8 years. Pure horseshit!!

      It’s clear neither of us will change our mind, so let’s just agree to disagree. One thing that is indisputable, the Volt will save the average motorist less than a gallon of gas per day of use, and even less when compared to the most fuel efficient cars currently available. At its current price point, that makes the Volt nothing more than an expensive status symbol for rich greenies who seek a little guilt-free indulgence. And the fact that those who can most afford to pay the steep premium for a Volt – the wealthy – are given a $7500 taxpayer funded kickback, only adds to the sad irony. Whether the Volt is the harbinger of the electric vehicle revolution or a half-baked government-funded boondoggle wrapped in a green blanket, only time will tell. Based on what I’ve read and what I know I’d say the smart money is on the latter.

      BTW, this came out today.

      Enjoy your quarter million dollar electric Edsel. The least you could do is send the taxpayers a thank you note. After all, we paid for most of it.

      • Apeweek says:

        Sales tax varies by state, which is why it’s typically not discussed when comparing car prices. 10% of the states have no sales tax at all. So yes, there are indeed magical states where no sales tax is charged. I understand that you want to add every possible charge on to make the price look as ridiculous as possible, but its best to use popular conventions so that readers can make fair comparisons.

        The spreadsheet I provided has inputs so that various driving scenarios can be tested. The assumptions are starting points. It shows several scenarios where the Volt is either competitive or wins for overall costs of ownership. There is a downloadable document on that page which describes rationales for using various depreciation numbers, which you can change if you like. Very simple, not horse*&^%

        Your assessment of how much the Volt saves is off the mark, this is why I showed you the spreadsheet. I easily save $150/month in fueling cost, which makes up for the higher car payment very nicely. This is not my imagination, I can pull up numbers for gasoline and electricity in Quicken and see right in front of me how much I am saving compared to the previous year.

        And again with the tired subsidy argument. Look, I’m not happy with the $7500 subsidies either – it creates the illusion that EVs can’t compete. So if you give me back the decades of government welfare given to the petroleum companies, and tax breaks given to foreign auto plants, I’ll give my $7500 back.

        Like most big-government pseudo-conservatives, you are apparently just fine with government handouts, but only for the industries you favor. Instead, let’s kill ALL subsidies and see how well EVs compete with $10/gal gasoline.

        • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

          Well since destination charge and sales tax do come out of the buyer’s pocket, it is certainly reasonable to include them in the initial price, no? And the higher the car’s price, the higher the sales tax, right? BTW, I don’t need to add sales tax to the cost of a Volt to make the price look ridiculous. It does that all by itself.

          You want to talk about simple? Any comparison that uses 40 miles of electric miles per day, 365 days per year, for 8 years straight as its baseline assumption is horseshit, period. Why didn’t they use more realistic numbers? And where is that 40% battery capacity loss factored in? The answer to this question is also simple. It would have made the Volt’s numbers look really bad. And I notice you completely ignored the ridiculous estimated resale value used in this comparison (your silly comparison of a Toyota RAV 4’s resale value to that of GM Volt notwithstanding).

          The monthly note for a 100% financed Volt should be about $600 financed over 60 months. The monthly note for a comparable gas car is about $350. Please explain how a $150 a month fuel savings offsets paying $250 per month more for a comparable gas vehicle? What you call an offset I call $6000 less cash in my pocket, but I guess that’s not an issue if you’re rich. That number is likely much higher because Volt buyers don’t get the $7500 credit up front. Those who don’t pay cash have to finance the full cost and wait until the following year for the tax credit, so their monthly notes are more like $750.

          Subsidies for petroleum? Get rid of ’em! The sooner we end our foreign dependence on oil the sooner we will quit handing our money over to terrorist-supporting governments like Saudi Arabia. But let‚Äôs not forget that $10 gas will hit the poorest the hardest. Rich folks will continue to fill up their SUVs and drive. But let‚Äôs not stop there. Why not completely level the playing field? Let‚Äôs levy the same tax per energy unit on electricity that we levy on gas and diesel. We‚Äôll need to do that anyway in order to upgrade the electric grid to support millions of EVs, and to upgrade/build power plants to meet those pesky MACT restrictions the EPA just released. One thing is certain, electricity costs are headed up. Way up. And who will be hardest hit? You guessed it! That‚Äôs an inconvenient truth that limousine greenies like you fail to understand.

          Liberals love to dismiss significant and substantial conservative talking points by calling them “tired”. Admit it, when it comes to the subsidy argument you don’t have anything. You are tired of hearing it because you know I’m right. That tiredness you’re feeling goes by another name: cognitive dissonance.

          • Apeweek says:

            Regarding the spreadsheet, you do know that it takes user input, right? You would only max out the electric driving range in the way you describe if you also max out the short trips (

            And maxing out the

            There is also nothing like a 40% battery capacity loss over 8 years. GM estimates roughly a 20% capacity loss over 10 years, and this estimate is consistent with what we know about this battery chemistry.

            The main problem with your estimation of my equivalent monthly payment is that you don’t know what a comparable car is to the Volt. It’s a very nice car, the winner of CR’s buyer satisfaction survey. Even if I use your number of $600 per month, minus a $150 fuel savings, I get a number of $450/month. That’s not outrageously unaffordable for such a nice car. And of course my real monthly number is about $150 lower than this, since I had a decent trade in and down payment. I did take the $7500 credit from savings to add to the downpayment, but I don’t have to wait till the year ends to get it. I simply adjusted my tax withholding.

            There are already outrageous taxes and fees on electricity. It still doesn’t matter. Electricity is far cheaper than gasoline. And utilities won’t ever let electricity prices get high enough that more people people start considering home solar systems.

            $10/gal gasoline won’t hurt poor people (except temporarily) because it would spur the development of affordable mass market electric vehicles. Cars that use cheaper fuel are good for poor folk.

            We agree on subsidies. Get rid of them all. Did you notice that the prices of the Volt and Leaf were announced only after GWB signed the $7500 EV rebate into law? You’d better believe that GM and Nissan adjusted the prices of their cars to effectively take that money for themselves. The prices of these cars will mysteriously fall several thousand dollars when the tax credit expires.

          • Apeweek says:

            (here’s the part of my comment that got truncated.)

            You would only max out the electric driving range in the way you describe if you also max out the short trips (

            And maxing out the

          • Apeweek says:

            (Wow, third try. It doesn’t like this part of my comment. Here it is reworded.)

            Regarding the spreadsheet, you do know that it takes user input, right? You would only max out the electric driving range in the way you describe if you also max out the short trips (under 40 miles) entry. You can get results without maximum electricity use by reallocating driving miles to the medium and long trip entries.

            And maxing out the under 40 miles category does not necessarily mean that the battery is run to exhaustion every single day – it could also mean that the car is charged more than once per day. This is what I do. I charge at friends’ houses, and I charge when shopping/eating out at my local shopping center, which has a charge station. Often I can charge while at work, too.

            • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

              Maybe we’re talking about two different things. I’m referring to the cost comparison data you linked for the various vehicles (Volt, Leaf, Jetta, Civic, etc) Every one of their comparisons assumes about 15,000 miles of electric driving per year. That averages out to 40 miles per day, every day. I just don’t see how that is a realistic figure. Honestly, how many electric miles do you log per week? Is it anywhere near 280?

              • Apeweek says:

                Yes, that is actually a downloadable spreadsheet. The comparisons on that page are examples.

                I understand what you’re getting at, someone driving exactly 15,000 miles in a Volt would probably not be able to arrange for them all to be electric. Hopefully most of them would be. That’s one of the downfalls of trying to design a spreadsheet that encompasses all possible scenarios. The user could compensate by moving some of the miles from the short trip box into the medium trip box.

  35. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    The J-Lo ad tags the 500 as a chick car – and automatically reduced potential sales by 50%.

  36. flychinook says:

    The cube is indeed goofy looking… but it’s a perfect car for tall people. Very spacious inside, and the rear hatch opens to the side, not up where you’ll end up banging your head on it.

  37. Pigfish99 the randomly insane says:

    I always wondered what the hell the nissan cube was. Now I know. a car I shouldn’t buy.