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Cars That Could Have Been Great, But Missed

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Comments

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,776
    Sounds like a lovely car. For someone who likes to drive, I can see how it would be tempting. 10 years later, the rest of the highline buying public would wake up to the same thing.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,776
    I think he mentioned his dad wanted something softer, as he was getting older. Not many soft BMWs, other than a loaded 7er, and that can be costly.

    I know I would absolutely hate my E55 if I was 80 years old, ride is too harsh.

    For brand loyalty, some cars tend to feel the same over the years, and some people simply like a brand and its heritage. That's how it is for me anyway.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Brand loyalty is pretty much an outdated concept for 95% of american consumers. They shop price, rebates, style. We as a people aren't very loyal to other aspects of our lives (employer, town, even our mates sometimes) so brand loyalty for cars doesn't make much sense in a highly mobile society IMO.

    Besides, you could argue that cars are now much closer in style and reliability than they've ever been in history.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • berriberri Posts: 4,201
    I don't think the manufacturer's really show much loyalty to the buyer after purchase either. Same goes for most dealers. As for brands, there are some I'll avoid, but I agree it doesn't usually make sense to just stick with one or two.
  • oldbearcatoldbearcat Posts: 170
    It was a comfort issue. After Dad had his hips replaced, the BMW caused him discomfort when he drove it. That's why he switched over to the big Chryslers - he was comforable in them. The BMW sat in his garage mostly unused for a long time. Finally he decided to sell it outright - I think he got $3K for it.

    Regards:
    Oldbearcat
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    edited May 2011
    Yeah, personal needs change. Your dad's choice is understandable.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,598
    As a teenager I couldn't understand how the 50+ year old friend of my dad sold his 240Z to get a 'more comfortable' car. Now I do...
  • oldbearcatoldbearcat Posts: 170
    That's what happens when your favorite ride literally becomes a "pain in the butt" Those big Chryslers Dad started buying didn't appeal to me, but, the seats were like a big overstuffed couch.

    Regards:
    Oldbearcat
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    edited October 2011
    The Audi 5000 could arguably be the poster child for '80s cars that could have been great, but missed. It had the makings of a great car. Ground-breaking style and aerodynamics, and excellent driving dynamics made this a favorite for many, until the bogus unintended acceleration episode sunk this model, and almost ended sales of the entire brand in the U.S.

    Despite its strong attributes, though, the 5000 (and its refreshed and renamed successors, the 100 and 200), had significant counterbalacing negatives. Chief among these were that they were very high maintenance cars.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 1,968
    My boss at the time bought a 5000 around '85 and it is exactly as you say. It was a real maintenance nightmare although how much of that was the dealer I dunno. After that he bought a BMW 635, so he was a glutton for punishment.

    2011 Buick Regal Turbo, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,998
    My 1985 Consumer Guide tested an Audi 5000, and in general they liked it. They scored it 76 out of a possible 100 points. 20 different categories, each ranging from 1-5 points. It scored 76 overall, which was at the high end in that book. A Mercedes 300D scored 77, as did a Volvo GL sedan. Highest scorers were a Toyota Camry and Cressida, both at 78.

    FWIW, it would be impossible for a car to score a perfect 100, because the categories are so varying. For instance, for a car to score a 5 in acceleration, it would probably score a 1 or 2 in fuel economy.

    The Audi 5000 got mainly 4's and 5's, got rated 2 for drivability and fuel economy. It was hard to start in cold weather, and got fairly bad fuel economy. It was rated a 3 for heating/ventilation, and 3 for overall value.

    It got high marks for quality, scoring a 5 for body, 5 for interior, and 4 for paint/exterior. Alas, high initial quality doesn't always make for a good, reliable, long-lasting car.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,598
    Audi kept trying to cover their tracks, changing the 100 to the 5000 to the 100 to the A series. Only now do they seem to be on track to not need another name change in a few years...
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,776
    edited October 2011
    Funny thing is that by 1985, the 300D was a 9 year old design. MB could really get away with a lot then. Volvo was even older, but those existed in their own world.

    I think a lot of old Audi issues are related to dealers, both repair quality and parts stocks.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    ...the Honda Civic clearly stand out as a miss. Unlike the Detroit 3 of the '80s, '90s and '00s, though, Honda recently acknowldged what the critics have said about its bread and butter model, and have announced they will move up its mid-cycle refresh.

    With the soon-to-be-introduced next generation CRV and Accord, we'll see whether the Civic is an aberration, or if Honda is in a funk.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,201
    Honda listened to the fan mags too seriously. I expect a turnaround.
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  • 1. Yes, but I have seen ony one.
    2. Underpowered in the US, Fingerprints on the stainless steel, too expensive for the delivered product.
    3. Gull wing doors, distinctive design, 2 seats only
    4. Move power, needs an exclusivity factor and of course a flus capacitor and fusion drive.
    5. Over 100K which is still exclusive.
    6. On a personal basis. NO internet. At this price level personal contact is the only way.
    7. Unknown.
    8. Power and looks are required for an exotic car.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    Recent posts in "A Spotted An..." discussion mentioned the Austin America. This is a car that was very advanced in configuration and design for its day. It was, essentially, a senior Mini. Unfortunately, it was plagued by quality problems, so it never came close to reaching its sales potential in the U.S. market.
  • I have to concur with you on that one. I have to say I really miss my old civic. Great car that I would like to see Honda bring back to its original glory. I would have to say Honda for me has been in a funk. Not impressed by what there putting out.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    I've read that Honda will introduce a small sedan based on the Fit. That might be a spiritual successor to earlier Civics.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    For those of you who may not remember or know, the Strada was a hatchback that competed with the VW Rabbit, the Mopar Omni/Horizon twins, the Chevette, and the various subcompact Japanese offerings of that body style. The Strada was arguably Fiat's last best hope of competing in the small hatchback segment, but it failed due to - surprise! - quality issues. The styling was also a bit odd, which didn't help, and the 1.5L engine provided rather weak performance, even by the modest standards of the day. What it had going for it was a relatively roomy interior, good fuel economy and a comfortable ride. Those attributes weren't enough to win over American drivers, though, so the Strada made only a brief appearance on our shores, from the late '70s-early '80s.

    Does anyone here remember the Strada?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,776
    edited January 2013
    I remember the Strada, although not when new. It was a US market Ritmo. Weird styling (the round lights are offputting to me, somehow), and I have to imagine quality control was laughable. I bet parts supply and service availability were also suspect. They have to be fantastically rare today - I know I have seen somewhere local, I want to say Portland, but maybe it was online.

    I have a 1981 Consumer Guide, where they raved about the Strada. Maybe nice until the end of warranty.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    The Ritmo/Strada has some distinctions I'm told.

    First off they made about (roughly) 1.8 million of them, so not too shabby...

    Also it may have been the first, or one of the first cars to be built almost entirely by robots!

    "Ritmo" means "rhythm"......"I got ritmo, I got tow chains, I got hand tools who could ask for anything morrreeeee...."

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    edited January 2013
    You'd think that Mopar would've gotten the successor to the Neon right, but no. The Caliber got panned in every test I read. The gas mileage was disappointing for its class, even though the automatic was a CVT.

    I rented a Caliber in Idaho and drove it almost 1,000 miles, much of it on mountain roads, and I thought it was okay. I liked the styling, it had good room, and was as comfortable as anything in its class. Performance was competitive, and I didn't discover any notable negatives. Well, okay, the CVT was a little odd, but that didn't make it bad. Would I have bought one? Probably not, because I wouldn't have wanted to take the chance that all those reviews were wrong. The fact that there was no second generation Caliber suggests that mine was a minority experience.

    Has anyone here owned a Caliber or know of someone who has, and, if so, what was the experience?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,998
    The Calilber got dropped, but aren't the Jeep Compass and Patriot on the same platform, and aren't they still around? I think my biggest issue with the Caliber was that it seemed sort of blurred the line between hatchback/wagon and SUV, but it wasn't enough of either to be all that great at anything.

    My only experience with them was driving one at a test drive event at one of the Carlisle Mopar shows a few years back. Didn't really do much for me, but I'm not really the target market of these things.

    I like the Patriot, though. They added just enough length to it to, IMO at least, make it a nice, roomy vehicle given its size. The Compass makes me think too much of a Gremlin though, although the recent facelift at least makes it not as brutal to look at.

    But, as such, I view the Caliber as more of a competitor to something like the PT Cruiser or Chevy HHR, or to a lesser degree the Matrix/Vibe or Focus wagon. And, not really a direct competitor to more mainstream sedan-type compacts like the Corolla, Civic, Neon, etc.

    According to Wikipedia, even vehicles like the Dodge Journey, Avenger, Chrysler 200, and Mistubishi Lancer and Outlander are also related. So apparently, the basic platform is viable, but the Caliber version just ran its course.

    I think when the Journey came out, it stole most of the Caliber's thunder, and probably served better as a crossover SUV than the Caliber did.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Has anyone here owned a Caliber or know of someone who has, and, if so, what was the experience?

    I don't, but I remember seeing a Caliber for the first time at the Cleveland Auto Show some years back. I told a friend that I thought it would be a big hit--utility, price, and looks. I was dead-wrong.

    I saw a new one a couple years back or so at a dealer in Erie, PA, that was a base model with 5-speed. It was only $13K on the windshield. I think one could hardly go wrong with one at that price. That's the type vehicle I look for, for me...cheap, economical, and practical.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    edited September 2013
    Was the Cadillac Catera mentioned before? See recent comments under "I Spotted A..." discussion.
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