Hooniverse Asks- What Car or Truck Do You Think Doesn't Get Enough Love?

We all like different things for different reasons. As they say, variety is the spice of life. I don’t know about that exactly, I’ve always thought it was paprika, but them who am I to say? Similarly, cars and trucks find different favor, some justly so, by being very obviously terrible. For others however, the reason for their favor or disfavor proves elusive, and in fact I’m sure that there are cars that you dearly love and find incredulous that others don’t share your opinion. I mean, what’s wrong with them?
That’s what we’re looking for today, the cars that you think have been unfairly maligned by a seemingly unfathomable lack of popularity. What cars or trucks do you think never have received the love that, in your mind, they deserve?
Image: Cargurus

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  1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Kizashi, Kizashi, Kizashi. It's lot in life is so unfair, it's like the love child of Manga Oliver Twist and Manga Little Orphan Annie.
    <img src="http://www.gaddidekho.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Suzuki-Kizashi-Sport-Red-Colour-550×327.jpg"&gt;
    EDIT: I am referring to the MT version. The others need to have their maladapted CVTs ripped out and sacrificed to the car gods.

    1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
      PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

      I remember when these first went on sale. One reviewer called it "The best midsize car that you will never drive."

    2. Juliet C. Avatar
      Juliet C.

      Thumbs up for me now trying to imagine how Manga Little Orphan Annie's eyes would be drawn.

    3. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

      I completely agree. I test drove a manual FWD about 2 months after they came out while helping my cousin car shop, and was VERY impressed with the dynamics for a mid-size people-pusher. It was also about $4000 cheaper than anything else we looked at that day (Fusion, Mazda6, Accord). I campaigned very hard for it, especially as my cousin waited a few months to buy anything, and the rumblings of Suzuki's imminent demise had slowed Kizashi sales to almost nothing and they were incentivising the hell out of them. She could have gotten a loaded up FWD 4 cylinder brand new for $18k out the door. But she got scared of the potential lack of service moving forward and got an Optima.

      1. JayP2112 Avatar

        At one point, Suzuki was pitting the Kizashi vs CPO Audi A4s. Same price but the Suzuki had the edge on the warranty and maybe reliability?
        The only other cars I'm aware of marketing a new car to used car buyers was the Yugo and the first round of Hyundais in the US.

  2. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
    PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

    <img src="http://betterparts.org/images/jaguar-x-type-01.jpg&quot; width=600>
    The "It's just a Mondeo" line forgets one thing, we didn't have access to the Mondeo in the US. Also, with the right boxes ticked, this is a fun car. Let's review. It' had a 227-HP 3.0L V6, AWD (A really good AWD at that), and an available 5-speed.
    This is the car we are now begging Cadillac, Lincoln and BMW to build or even keep in their lineup.
    Plus it is far from ugly. It may be the blander of the recent leapers, but it's not ugly.

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      Well we basically did. The Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique were Americanized versions of the Mondeo, but you're right that the US didn't receive the next generation Mondeo.
      That said, the Contour, Mystique, and FWD Cougar can all go away as far as I'm concerned. I was a tech at a Ford dealer when these cars were fairly new and they were far away the most difficult Ford cars to work on.

      1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
        PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

        Exactly. We had the first gen Focus too, but then we kept it when the new architecture was released in Europe. So we didn't get the good one. We dealt with many Contour/Mystique trades, every single one went wholesale.

        1. karonetwentyc Avatar

          Agreed on the X-Type having been a good car that received poor press due largely to its Mondeo heritage. The shape hasn't aged as well as I'd like around the nose, but you're dead right that they're a great car to drive with the 3.0 and manual. Even the 3.0 with the autobox isn't bad; 2.5s are OK but could use more grunt.
          I've made some effort over the years to find one used, but every time I've looked prices and condition have been all over the place. A shame, because this is exactly the kind of Jaguar I'd love to have (apart from a flat-floor E-Type roadster or XK 120/140/150).

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            I dwelled with buying an X type wagon before I acquired my current Honda. To my big surprise, the X type is really cheap even in Norway. I guess people are scared by the Jaguar name…in the end, I didn't even test drive one. As is the tradition around here, we basically only have base engines and diesels available used.

          2. karonetwentyc Avatar

            The wagons are seriously rare here. For every twenty X-Types that I see on the road, there's maybe one wagon. If there was a sales hotspot for them in the US, Southern California does not appear to have been it.
            Oddly enough, I was originally looking at these as a replacement for the Peugeot 405 Mi16 I had at that time. The overall size was about the same, but the power hike over the Pug and AWD while retaining similarly-sharp driving dynamics were very appealing. Ditto the interior; no BMW, Mercedes, or Japanese luxury marque had one as nicely-done in this segment. But Jaguar had them way overpriced when new for the first two or three years that they were on the market here, and finding used ones with a decent service history seems impossible.

          3. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
            PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

            There is one (uno, eins, 1) wagon on eBay right now.
            Looks nice. I'd buy it if I needed to replace a car.

          4. Sjalabais Avatar

            Just for the fun of it: There currently 25 X types for sale in Norway, 10 of them are wagons. In wagon country, that is a remarkably low share.
            @karonetwentyc, that would have been an eclectic bombshell to replace a 405 Mi16 with a powerful X type wagon…in the US.

          5. karonetwentyc Avatar

            I really can't explain the choice of the X-Type other than that I'm just not someone that BMWs, Mercedes, Audis, various Japanese and American luxury marques, etc. appeal to. That's not to say that those are bad cars by any means, but more that they just don't tend to engage me the way that French, Italian, and British cars do.
            Which gives absolutely no insight into why my current daily driver is a diesel Volkswagen. Really, I just tend to pick cars that I for some reason like and go with them.

          6. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            When I was car shopping with my mother-in-law at CarMax about two years ago, they had an X-Type wagon on the lot. Jaw, meet pavement.

          7. Sjalabais Avatar

            How did she not buy it?
            <img src="http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/obamathatsnotevenfunny.gif"&gt;

          8. JayP2112 Avatar

            They pop up. I've seen one in traffic.
            I've also seen one McLaren F1, one F40 and one Veyron in traffic. Good company.

    2. wilco40 Avatar

      Bought an '02 with 2.5 and automatic with 98K for $6000 last spring. Wife drives it to work 5-6 days a week 4-500 mi. and loves her 26mpg "Coventry Cat" as she calls it. The AWD is terrific here in NW Minnesota. Two problems so far- one fixed. 1. Radio was theft locked, I got in one day and randomly punched a number. I looked down at the display- I had punched in 8888. The display went from "Please Wait" (Which is Jag code for "I've been stolen !") to "Welcome" and came on. Cheaper than Minneapolis JLR $200/hr flat rate ! 2. Have to heat underneath the car just below the fuel door toggle when it's really frigging cold. Other than that a marvelous commuter and road trippin' car.

    3. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

      A lot of the flak the X-Type was very well deserved. The biggest problem was the transmissions. Only the manuals were any good. The AWD transmission was garbage. If you made it over 100k without touching the transmission, you were incredibly lucky. Most were on their second or even third replacement trans by 100k. The FWD auto wasn't much better. The manuals had their share of shift linkage problems, but at least they didn't grenade like the autos. It's a shame too, besides the transmission issues and the occasional electrical gremlin, they were actually pretty nice cars.

  3. LEROOOY Avatar

    We don't get to have a lot of compact station wagons in the States! If you see one neglected, please give it a good home, no matter where it's from. Unless it's a Compass/Caliber. <img src="http://image.motortrend.com/f/oftheyear/8478348+w799+h499+cr1+ar0/112_0401_coty_24z%2B2004_mitsubishi_lancer_wagon%2Brear_right.jpg&quot; width=400">

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      Agreed. I was thinking about what car I'd buy if I needed to replace my Mazdaspeed 3 (which is almost wagonly) and there aren't many cars that meet my criteria.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      Oh, the Lancer wagon is a crapcan that disintegrates just you say: "Toyota!". It dresses well in yellow though.
      Seems like the Compass/Caliber needs some love and attention. =8^)

  4. Maymar Avatar

    I'm rather fond of most late-model Acuras. Yes, they're largely nicer Accords, but that's not such a bad thing. The Accord's a great car, so toss in AWD, nicer materials, and more tech, and it's still great. But apparently that formula only works if you apply it to a Pilot, it's terrible on an Accord or Civic?

    1. Vairship Avatar

      I think the beak deterred almost all potential buyers.
      <img src="http://www.porridgehead.com/vortex/whysoserious.jpg&quot; width=600>
      Source: http://www.porridgehead.com/vortex/whysoserious.j
      Why Acura dealers didn't simply swap in aftermarket grilles the moment the cars rolled off the transporter, I'll never know.

  5. Rob Avatar

    I think the BMW 128i and 228i don't get the credit in which they deserve. They are lighter, have better balanced and are more reliable than their more powerful counterparts.
    As an enthusiast, I want a small-ish, rear wheel drive, low maintenance, lightweight performance car. Not many people buy the lower powered 1/2 series, and if they do, it's for the brand recognition with an automatic transmission. The m-trimmed -28's with a manual are rare as hen's teeth and command a huge premium that one might as well buy the -35 instead. And there in lies the problem, for not much more money one could buy a whole lot more power.

    1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
      PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

      I would argue that it's the case of the -35 BMWs getting too much love. I've driven them, they're nice, but I'd prefer the N/A I-6 and a lighter car overall.

  6. boostedlegowgn Avatar

    N/A 1st gen MR2. Not that it's not a little bit loved, but that car is, IMHO, on a par with the NSX.

  7. Sjalabais Avatar

    I've jumped on similar occasions before: The Volvo 340 is a well-balanced, butt-ugly car, that can be had for next-to-nothing in Jurop right now. 800€ will buy you a gorgeous "grandma's CVT" classic. If the goes-as-quick-in-reverse-as-forward-CVT-bonus isn't tempting, these were available with man-gears, too.
    <img src="http://www.rallyinfo.no/2004/bilder/bilderhistorie/For%20fort%20i%20Tsjekko.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I don't even think it's ugly.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        It all depends on the model year and angels. The 360 is a tad worse, too:
        <img src="http://www.volvo300club.nl/images/ontwikkeling/16.jpg&quot; width="600">
        But the interior is really just a dark plastic wall with a steering wheel mounted to it, and it is no particularly enjoyable place:
        <img src="http://volvo.rubenj.nl/Volvo340/20121101/Voorin.jpg&quot; width="600">
        I have really gotten used to them over the years.

        1. Van_Sarockin Avatar

          Nice Audi 3000

    2. Rover_1 Avatar

      And one of the few cars with De Dion rear suspension.Can anyone name any others?

  8. onrails Avatar

    <img src="http://www.caranddriver.com/photo-gallery/2015-chevrolet-ss-manual-instrumented-test-review#9"&gt;
    The Rodney Dangerfield of performance cars.

      1. onrails Avatar

        Thanks! My skills are broken this morning.

  9. Jeff Avatar

    Thank you for posting a picture of the last generation (1999 – 2002) Mercury Cougar. I own three….currently on the hunt for number four. My local Valvoline Oil change guys joke with me with comments such as my "Cougar Thing must be similar to a Jeep Thing." But after joking, usually one of the guys will tell me that he, or a friend, owned one at one time, and really liked the car.

    1. safetystephen Avatar

      Right there with ya on the Cougar. Drove once only once on a two hour trip, then tearing it up through the suburbs of of Washington D.C.. Nice car, good engine, balanced chassis, comfy layout. Loved that thing.

    2. ptschett Avatar

      I had a 1st-generation ('73) Cougar, lusted after a MN12 Cougar, but had a soft spot for the FWD Cougar.
      Many years ago, my dad and I traveled from the frozen northland to eastern TX in February to visit a college I wanted to attend. We took my MN12 Thunderbird to Sioux Falls early one Thursday morning and flew to Shreveport where our rental was a new-Cougar with the V6. The college visit was Thursday night thru Saturday morning, but our flight home was scheduled for Sunday (far cheaper than Saturday) so we had a day to kill. We took the Cougar south to Beauregard Parish, LA and visited the family of one of my dad's employees, then on the way back to Shreveport my dad turned the car over to me and we took a nice sweeping road through a forest area till we got back to the interstate and my dad took over driving again.
      When we got back to Sioux Falls on Sunday evening and headed back homeward in my Thunderbird, I was appalled at my car… my nimble and responsive MN12 had turned into a land barge with heavy steering in the course of a few days.

  10. Devin Avatar

    <img src="http://www.iihs.org/frontend/iihs/ratings/images/api-model-year-image.ashx?id=eyJNb2RlbFllYXIiOjIwMDAsIlNlcmllc0lkIjozNjZ9&width=500"&gt;
    The Lincoln LS is basically the car all the pundits say that Lincoln should be making now – midsize RWD luxury sedan, plus you could even get it with a manual that nobody actually specced. Yet it was forgotten by everyone, especially Ford, pretty soon after it launched.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      I got to know it through the Obscure muscle car special. The want is strong with this one! Now…how'd a custom brown wagon look like?

    2. Vairship Avatar

      Nice Mitsubishi, dude!

  11. needthatcar Avatar

    First-gen Scion xB. I have said it before, and I'll say it again. Brilliant car. Peppy, reliable, super cheap to own and afford, comfortable, more useful than most cars twice its size… Too bad they removed all the things that made it great for the second gen.
    <img src="http://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/scion/xb/2004/oem/2004_scion_xb_4dr-suv_base_fq_oem_1_500.jpg&quot; width=400>

    1. needthatcar Avatar

      Also, the 2006-2011 Volvo V50. Attractive, quick, useful, and 30 MPG on the highway, and an available 6 speed manual (though, sort of a needle in a haystack). MOAR WAGONS!
      <img src="http://imganuncios.mitula.net/volvo_v50_d2_r_design_92986074576184554.jpg&quot; width="400/">

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Agree fully about the 1st gen, and about the 2nd.

    3. eggsalad Avatar

      I'm still driving one. Ten years old, and I still find it brilliant and sadly irreplaceable.

    4. EriktheAwful Avatar

      Two weeks ago I bought one to replace the wife's Honda. Great car. We've put 2000 miles on it already. Parts are dirt cheap, and it's actually fun to drive (made sure and bought a manual transmission). Completely undervalued. It is a tin-can-car, but absolutely usable, especially when you have a family member who's 6'6" tall.

    5. Preludacris Avatar

      I need that car.
      They weren't sold in Canada: Scion didn't make it here until 2010. Too bad, because I believe it would have been a smash hit. A home run with the bases loaded. Sure, we only have the population of California, but come on – any car you can legally sell in the U.S. is just a set of DRLs away from meeting Canadian standards. And we love our econoboxes.

  12. dukeisduke Avatar

    It was a great idea, but from what I've read, the dealer techs want them all to go away.

  13. stigshift Avatar

    The Ferrari 400/412. Although I hope the prices never go up until I can afford one, I will never understand the lack of admiration and respect these cars suffer from. http://cloudlakes.com/data_images/models/ferrari-

  14. karonetwentyc Avatar

    The Chrysler Crossfire. We have one in the family, and I've put a few thousand miles on it. This is a really good car (better than the SLK it's based on, in my opinion) and I cannot for the life of me understand why the motoring press gave it such a hard time. They're much better to drive than the SLK of the time, and, despite having similar underpinnings and shared componentry, a generally-better reliability track record.
    While I can understand how the styling on the Coupe is in the love-it-or-hate it category, I like it. Yes, that slope at the back that tucks inward does impair rearward visibility; reversing out of a parking space can be an adventure. And no, it really isn't designed for anyone over six feet tall – but this is also a small car; it's around the same length as a 5-door Suzuki Swift / Geo Metro, but wider.
    <img src="https://i.imgur.com/DWcXkcQ.jpg"&gt;

    1. engineerd™ Avatar

      Came for the Crossfire answer, not leaving disappointed.

    2. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

      The non-SRT was too soft and marshmellowy. Steering, suspension, transmission, all of it was tuned too soft and mushy. The SRT was a hoot. But the non-SRT really didn't drive well IMO. And I'm definitely in the "hate" category on the looks. I simply can't get the image of a dog doing his business out of my mind every time I look at one.

      1. karonetwentyc Avatar

        I'll disagree that the non-SRT suspension was soft and/or marshmallowy, but I will absolutely agree that the SRT-6 was much firmer. However, it's a good compromise for a vehicle that's capable of daily driver duty: controllable in most normal situations, even when pushed, but not so stiff as to beat you up on the commute. My one ding on the steering (and this is one shared by the testers) is that there's a minor dead spot around centre, but I've never found it to be a major issue at high speed or making serious progress on back roads.
        Transmission programming (and I'll admit that the majority of my Crossfire experience is with an automatic) is probably love-it-or-hate-it. Shifted manually, it's a non-issue; in traffic, it works well to keep the car tractable in start-stop situations. It does pay to learn its habits and how to work with them if just left in 'D', though.
        Part of the reason why I think this car was given a harder time in the press than it should have been came down to how it was set up from the factory: it's not an outright sports car in the mould of a Miata, Elise, or Z4, but it's also not falling into the GT car pattern. Granted, the SRT-6 went a long way towards bringing it into the former category, but it could never really achieve the latter either due to its smaller overall size.

  15. Chris L Avatar
    Chris L

    I am an 'outside the box' kinda dude. I have a Pontiac Aztek, and LOVE it. I don't have to look at the outside when I am driving it. Camping package, removable cargo tray, removable console/cooler, heads up display, 10 speaker audio, comfortable for my 6'7' 290lb frame, and spectacularly reliable at 240k miles.

    1. pj134 Avatar

      I've been thinking about picking one up. A basic 4×4 wagon with GM's most ubiquitous drivetrain? Pretty damn tempting.

    2. JayP2112 Avatar

      I thought the same… everyone bags the Aztek for being ugly.
      Do you get wet when driving in the rain? No? Mission accomplished.

  16. Jaap Avatar

    Fiat Multipla, it's quite common to bash it. I believe it's just sort of special.
    Ferrari Dino (the Bertone one) and Ferrari Mondial.
    1986 Toyota Camry actually looks pretty good, I saw one this summer and think it's a sleeping giant

  17. Stu_Rock Avatar

    The first-generation Plymouth Barracuda. Everybody swoons over the 340-, 440-, and 426 Hemi-powered second and third generation cars, but it was the first generation ('64-'66) that had style. That glass is a design triumph on its own.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cc/1965_Plymouth_Barracuda_fastbak_ivory.jpg/320px-1965_Plymouth_Barracuda_fastbak_ivory.jpg"&gt;

    1. salguod Avatar

      Dad bought one of these new in '65 (273 2bbl, 4 speed w/Hurst shifter) and drove it daily until 1982 when it was totaled by a potato chip truck. I was nearing driving age (started driving in 1984) and had my eyes on it, even though it was pretty rusted by then.

  18. Tomsk Avatar

    The second-generation Corvair is wildly under-appreciated, IMO. It looks sleeker than the 1960-'64 models and, more importantly, had a true independent rear suspension that eliminated almost all of the original's handling…um…"irregularities."
    If you absolutely need a '60s car powered by a butt-mounted air-cooled pancake-six, why spend six-figures on an early 911 when a Monza or Corsa coupe on good tires will give you maybe 70% of the experience for 10% (if that) of the price? Plus, you get a lot more "frunk" and rear seat space!
    <img src="http://www.mclellansautomotive.com/photos/B20075.jpg"&gt;

  19. JayP2112 Avatar

    <img src="https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/969167_10151694893167853_1111343080_n.jpg?oh=102ccba8e45d5327c8144a8998d20c31&oe=5530B4AD&__gda__=1428492021_245355e0be15eaa539b400c29437036e&quot; width="600">
    "Oh no- a Rubber Bumper 'B!!"
    Yea- by the end of the run, they were down on power, jacked up and weighed down. But take a look at chrome 'Bs. They sucked too. Just less than the late models.
    For those in the know- the engine was lowered to balance the ride height (and fit the BOP) so lowering the car put the CG lower than the old 'Bs. A nice set of headers and maybe a DCOE carb to bump up the power. Shave the head and run 93. You'll have yourself a peach.

    1. ptschett Avatar

      I never really thought about fuel octane till I bought my 6MT Challenger that can tolerate 89 but has a strong recommendation for 91. The best I can count on finding at a random gas station is 89. 91, at the few places that offer it, can mean paying $0.50/gallon more for no apparent reason. 93 seems to either be a cruel hoax, or at least is something that doesn't exist this far from tall buildings and large bodies of water.

      1. JayP2112 Avatar

        I had to run 93 in my old 'B. Otherwise the car wouldn't run… really.
        After the debacle with my Ranger and a shaved head, I have to use 93 or it pings terribly. My ST needs 93 to make the 252hp and my Mustang has a 93 tune. So I've not bought regular gas in 5+ years, except for filling rentals.

    2. Rover_1 Avatar

      And paint those bumpers, suddenly the link to the MGF, and later MGs comes clear.

  20. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    <img src="http://pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/200708/2008-chevrolet-trailblaze_600x0w.jpg"&gt;
    Trailblazer SS (or if you can find one, a Trollblazer)
    6.0L + 4L80e + 14-bolt rearend + AWD = better drivetrain than the contemporary Tahoe in a lighter package. Speedy beast with a lot of utility, so long as you have minimal aspirations of hitting the dirt.

    1. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

      The only downside was the transmission. It just wasn't tuned well to the task. It would always try to keep revs super low and never let it wind out, probably in an attempt to avoid a guzzler tax. The LS2 doesn't love to rev, especially with the TBSS intake and cam, but they could let it go to 6000 every once in a while. Tuning goes a long way there. A co-worker had one that I got to experience before and after transmission tuning, and it was amazing how the tune woke that truck up. It was so much quicker when it wasn't trying to get to the next gear as soon as it possibly could.

  21. Rover_1 Avatar

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9a/BMW_X6_M_(E71)_%E2%80%93_Heckansicht,_2._Juli_2011,_D%C3%BCsseldorf.jpg"width="600"&gt;
    Just kidding.
    The only people who like these are orange-skinned wide-boys,(and peroxided girls) with assertive under-developed personalities, absolutely no taste and a compulsion to be the centre of attention for any reason possible including the bad ones.
    And apparently there are more than a few of them.