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Sajeev
Community Manager

The 10 biggest design letdowns of the last 30 years?

Ever loved a conceptual design from an automaker only to be let down by the actual model that rolls off the assembly line?  Things got a lot tougher for automakers in the last 30 years: safety, insurance, emissions, global platform sharing, etc. all make car designs far more constrained than they used to be. 

 

Here's my biggest letdown, the Pontac Aztek: 

 

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23 REPLIES 23
Sajeev
Community Manager

Okay, maybe the Aztek is the lowest of the low hanging fruit.   How about the Ford Contour concept vs. the 1996 Taurus? 

 

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56gasser
Pit Crew

The Chrysler Crossfire. What an Awesome design, and RWD to boot. But with a V6, who cared?lutterbach-france-november-rear-view-red-chrysler-crossfire-parked-street-lutterbach-france-november-rear-view-red-163487457.jpg

rokky
Intermediate Driver

The Cross fire was one great design it both fastback and convertible.

They should bring it back and build less SUV's.

In fact, bring back the old Station Wagons. The were more comfortable, carried more passengers and lovely to look at.

spoom
Technician

Some Crossfires were butt ugly, literally, the butts were ugly☺

spoom
Technician

Wasn't there a supercharged option? Just because it had a 6 seems an insufficient reason. I remember some 4cyl. jobs doing well at the Indy 500 😉

TB
Pit Crew

I will throw the new Lexus grille on the fire - looks like a deranged electric razor.

Cheers

TB

rokky
Intermediate Driver

 
RR
New Driver

Inspired by beta fighting fish. Fine for a fish, but not one out of water
Tim
Advanced Driver

Basically, any Lexus design for as far back as we can remember. Long derided for having generic, forgettable designs, Toyota said, "We'll show you!" and lost their sanity and their way. Good thing I'm not interested in Lexus. It must be hard for owners to like the car but hate to look at it.
TB
Pit Crew

Overall the Pontiac Aztec sets the ugly bar for a while

Greg_I
Advanced Driver

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer. Granted, the concept wasn't that well known, but the expectation of the usage of the name warrants inclusion to this list. The new Bronco being such a knock out just adds a truckload of salt to that wound for Blazer/Jimmy fans like myself.

pauluptime
Pit Crew

Chrysler LH vs Lambo Portofino 
Got a chance to finally see it in person at the 2018 Eyes on Design show at Edsel Ford's place.  Bit rough, but striking!

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Sajeev
Community Manager

I would love to see the Portofino in person, great example! 

pauluptime
Pit Crew

Oh Cadillac!  STUNNING Ciel, Escala and Elmiraj Concepts vs. anything they've put into production the past 10 years, with the Converj Concept perhaps the only notable exception given how beautifully executed the ELR was.  Not so much a design letdown here.  Cadillac's "N'est-ce pas?" marketing pretension, pricing $20K too high and performing too low (vs Volt) were the reasons for the true disappointment as it sold only from 2014-2016 and in substantially fewer numbers than expected.

I had the pleasure of driving the ELR in an electrified road rally that provided a truly extended opportunity to admire the design, build quality and ride.  Truly an exceptional car.  Still considering picking one up in the used market.  Despite unicorn status and CUE failures it's now one helluva used value!

Converj.jpgELR.jpg

Sajeev
Community Manager

Wow I completely forgot about the Converj! 

jimliberty
Pit Crew

How about the Prowler. It could have been a real car with a HEMI. Why does Chrysler always wimp out with the motors.    .....Jim.

LIBERTY MOTORSPORTS
jeffdej
New Driver

aztek--universally derided from day 1--little known fact is its designer was then promoted to head of corvette design. thats a talent! talent for gm politics.

jeff

richreed701
Pit Crew

The Ford Motor Company in general, for abandoning cars.  Yeah yeah, Mustang.  Fine.  But what about people who want sedans, or basic transportation, or a hot hatch?  Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and the Korean powerhouse of Hyundai and Kia don't seem to be bothered about selling these kind of cars along with their SUVs.  It won't be long before Ford will use the same rationale (whatever it was) to add another set of doors, AWD and the body from the MACH-E to the Mustang.  

Tim
Advanced Driver

How about the VW Microbus concept that turned into...a lightly modified Chrysler Town & Country (aka Routan)? 😫

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Tim
Advanced Driver

The Ford 427 concept, which could have given the Chrysler 300C serious competition,

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instead became the completely forgettable Ford 500:

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Unbalanced
Intermediate Driver

My pet peeve has long been the Porsche Boxster.

 

Concept:

 

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Production car: Well, you know, not that. A true bummer because for a while there it really looked like we were going to get a legitimate successor to the 356.

 

But more than that, my main beef is with the whole idea of pre-production “concepts.” True concepts like the Cadillac Sixteen are amazing but increasingly rare. The so called concepts we get instead today are production models with huge wheels and tiny mirrors that inevitably look just a wee bit better than what’s put on sale a few months later. But what’s the point of getting our hopes up with a “concept” and then disappointing  us with the production model?

DRF
Intermediate Driver

For me it was the current generation Lincoln Continental.  I think it was Bob Lutz who said it looked like they took the concept and left it in the oven too long and melted the sharp fender edges down. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

That's funny, he said something similar about the 1995 Continental...which was another letdown from the original concept version.