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Quintessential Mid 90's Loser Cars

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    I try to give everybody the benefit of the doubt. My girlfriend wife had this guy who's now a lawyer who still had a crush on her from high school driving around our house and neighborhood in a brand-new black Mercedes E-Class. She saw him once in 20 years at her high school reunion and he cried when she told him she had a boyfriend (me). After the reunion, he drove around our house looking for her for the next five years and only spotted my ugly mug instead! Finally, the guy gave up and married this big nasty girl who probably kicks his butt every night. Speaking of loser cars, didn't your cow-irker have an Olds Silhouette minivan?
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    Olds Silhouette minivan

    The "Cadillac of Minivans" lol

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    I had a Corsica, while not the most exciting car it certainly wasn't a loser car. It had decent acceleration and gas mileage ran pretty much trouble free for me until about 140K miles when I sold it and the buyer (a friend) drove it close to another 100K with little trouble.

    I can vouch for that. Had one for a rental back in the day and managed a speeding ticket in it.

    Cadillac of minivans - almost cost me a keyboard.

    The Yugo is its own little category. Didn't they only go to 1992? Not quite mid-nineties. One of the best arguments against Reaganomics was the fact that it produced Yugos in the marketplace.... Fiats without the world famous Italian quality control....
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    They made the Astro and Safari vans up to 2005.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I'd definitely vote for the Metro and Aspire. The name 'Aspire' always cracked me up...like, "Next time I'll aspire to move up to an Escort"!

    The GM dustbuster minivans...at least they were original and had dent-resistant body panels. The 'softening up' of the front end near the end of the model run, was an improvement IMHO.

    I'd better watch it..my Edmunds 'handle' was put out there some time back when I couldn't think of anything else. I'm sure my wife's Uplander will be on a similar list for the decade after the '90's!

    Bill
  • extech2extech2 Posts: 120
    I can't believe that no one mentions the Honda del Sol (or was it del Stol) can't remember
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I'm amazed at how many cars on this 'list', I've owned or had close contact with.

    I bought a brand-new bright red '89 Beretta GT, which I enjoyed (before they started putting large graphics to differentiate the GT model); I also bought a new '90 Corsica 4-cyl. 5-speed which was reliable and still good-looking after 108K miles (in fact I think Corsicas looked good for a four-door; better than the Beretta), and I bought a new '93 Caprice Classic with F41 suspension. I was 35 and my wife 28 when we bought that car; I'm sure we were Chevy's youngest Caprice customers that year!

    My mother-in-law had a bright blue Honda delSol bought by her gentleman friend because he thought she looked 'cute' in it. Yes, I had a Caprice when my mother-in-law had a Del Sol!

    Bill
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,411
    i just found this discussion.
    wow, you guys are rough...

    i've owned two of the vehicles on the list, and i liked both of them... an 89 LeMans that my wife drove for 2-3 years, and a 92 aerostar that, mile for mile, was probably the most expensive car i've owned... it leaked something different every 3 months, it seemed. so yeah it was a piece all right.

    for all that, i really liked the aerostar for hauling, traveling, and canoeing. a very pleasant vehicle for a family with a small child.

    And the LeMans was cool because (i) it was a carbon copy of the mid-80s Opel Kadett (E); (ii) i got it for $1,500 bucks, and (iii) it was dirt-cheap to run, easy to fix, and fairly reliable. of course, ours had no p/s no a/c no cruise no nuthin.. there wasn't much left to break.

    i'm gonna also have to disagree with the suzuki sidekick someone mentioned; those are considered excellent off-roaders. not that i'd want one myself.

    most of the others, esp. the corsica/beretta/skylark/... are just foul.
    cheers -mathias
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,129
    wow, you guys are rough...

    Notice that there's little, if any, consensus. :)

    My neighbor has an Aerostar and it is a good hauler, 4x4 to boot. His drives like a sick pig however.

    OT - I haven't thought about an Opel Kadett for years. Wasn't there a Miata-like one that had flip up headlights?

    Moderator
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  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    I agree with you about the LeMans. I was too young to apprecaite the original, and having just moved here from Europe, it reminded me of the Opel Kadett, which was a decent hot hatch back then. So here as a teen I actually wanted to get a LeMans.

    I wonder if the car would have more success under a different name. Maybe the fact that GM took a legendary name and slapped it onto a Korean subcompact ticked off and turned off people from trying it that otherwise would have bought it if it were named something else.

    And steine, don't worry if you had these before. The whole discussions is whether anyone drives these cars now, and how they're perceived by others for doing so.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • otto8otto8 Posts: 116
    Those Lemans were just rebadged kias!
    And a POS to boot...........You must of been lucky!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,567
    I have to believe the Opel built cars were better than the Daewoos. There were tuner versions of that car in Europe, as you mention - none ever came to NA!
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    I must have been lucky? Why cause I never owned one? I never got around to buying one..

    I guess the Kadetts for the Euro market were built in Germany and were of much better quality.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,411
    I guess the Kadetts for the Euro market were built in Germany and were of much better quality.

    except the one my uncle bought, which turned out to have been painted but not primed. really.

    i think that was his last opel... -mathias
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Those Lemans were just rebadged kias!
    And a POS to boot...........You must of been lucky!


    Half right. They were Daewoos, not Kias. Kia built the Ford Festiva, which was a heck of a lot more reliable, but not exactly a "winner car."

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    Not sure if I'd consider them total "loser cars" as I remember the reviews saying they handled very sporty (might even have a lotus designed suspension under there) but they were damn fugly.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,567
    I still see quite a few of those things around. I wonder if they had some Mazda input under them, as they seem better than later Kia products, and better than the Aspire which I believe shared many components.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,567
    If they had introduced it 10 years later, it probably would have been a hit. Well, save for those plastic fenders.
  • The vehicross is pretty good off-road just funky looking is all.

    I would drive one.
  • Kia built the Festiva and Aspire. And, even though Kia is perceived as a POS manufacturer, Kia is head and shoulders above Daewoo. Actually, I'd say modern Kia's are pretty good products.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,187
    I believe the Festiva was a rebadged Mazda 2, make by Kia. I understand they were good, durable cars, their appearance suggested otherwise. Although the Aspire is the next generation Festiva, for whatever reasons the quality took a dive.

    Neither the Festiva nor the Aspire were significant, but, then, much of what we talk about in these discusssions is trivial. Oh, well, it's harmless fun.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Those Festivas were tough, long-lasting cars. But even in the 90s when they were fairly new they were glaringly cheap and labelled their owners as such.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,187
    Yeah, you're right. I remember that they were considered "throw-aways."
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,411
    the festiva soldiered on in europe as the mazda 121, same body style and everything, into the aughties. it wasn't a bad city car, just old and plain, and surprisingly cheap.
    and pretty well built, too, by all accounts.
    -mathias
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,567
    You mean discussing bottom of the line cars introduced for model year 1988 is trivial? ;)

    Europe had that 121 for a long time as steine mentions - and they were never cursed with the Aspire, in the terrible period colors I remember. The car itself was bad enough, but it seems half of them around here were teal, purple, kind of a dark magenta, etc. I'd say the Aspire has to rank way up there for the subject of this thread - if not just for the stupid name, for the low quality, terrible image, and I bet the mileage isn't even that great.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    I remember in college, one of my classmates had a Festiva. I rode in it once or twice. It was surprisingly roomy up front...I had adequate room, at least. However, the doors seemed paper thin, and the whole car just seemed like it would fall apart in the slightest impact. And the seats themselves seemed kinda small.
  • I bought a Festiva the first year they started selling them in the U.S. I drove it for 300,000 miles to work and school and it was probably the most reliable death trap I've ever owned. It was a great second car and was still running when I had it hauled off for scrap (truly disposable cars) but the blow by from the engine had become unbearable inside. It was clown car roomy inside (I'm 6 feet 5) and surprisingly fun to drive. I advanced the distributor a few degrees so even though it took about 12 seconds to reach 60, it could climb hills better than expected. People didn't like being passed uphill by a Festiva so downhill payback was a forgone conclusion, especially from drivers of small pickups with oversized wheels.
    It may have been a loser car but it never attempted to be anything but a dirt cheap commuter car and it served my purposes at the time. I think it had about 60 hp, but weighed less than 1900 lbs, about 41 mpg highway. I still think the name was horrible though. It was imported by Ford from Korea, but had a Mazda engine control system and the distributor was made by Mitsubishi.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,567
    I liked the Festiva "L" - the "Festival". That was the model driven by a girl I knew in high school...the car a half dozen or so of us teenaged boys picked up and moved into the entrance of a double door school building as a prank.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    It may have been a loser car but it never attempted to be anything but a dirt cheap commuter car

    It's only a loser car if you drive one now. ;)

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • otto8otto8 Posts: 116
    DUH! My bad!

    daewoo or kia.................both were/are a POS!
    :P
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