The debuts better left out in the cold

The 2019 Chicago Auto Show’s big debuts are all over and done with, and as we look back at all the new metal that rolled through the McCormick Place convention center this year, we find that some of ‘em nailed it, while others fell flatter than week-old cola. This piece is covering the latter - the lame, the boring, the “what were they thinking?” debuts that left us scratching our heads and furrowing our brows. Per usual, we wanna know what you thought were the worst of the worst, so post your picks in the comments section at the end of this article!

2020 Dodge Caravan 35th Anniversary Edition

2019 Chicago Auto Show - Worst In Show
- image 819929

Ok, so this is pretty much low-hanging fruit, but come on, folks. A special edition minivan is pretty silly, don’t you think?

It’s kinda like adding a ribbon to your appendectomy scar - minivans are a painful, but necessary part of life sometimes, why the need to dress it up?

Meanwhile, TopSpeed writer Siddhant Dhimaan hates the nameplate as a whole, asking, “Why is this minivan still alive? When the Pacifica is doing so well in the market, why hasn’t FCA pulled the plug on this box from the previous millennium? It’s neither tech-friendly nor is it safe, and it’s definitely not a vehicle you would drive out of choice. I wonder how this seven-seater sofa is still selling for $25,000!”

TopSpeed writer Andrei Nedelea agrees, saying, “why are they still selling a car that looks like it’s a facelift of a 1996 model?”

For the record, this special edition model comes with upgrades like 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels finished in silver, a new grille, some badges, some new stitching colors in the cabin, and piano black accents for the console and gauge cluster. How, um, special.

Read more about the 2020 Dodge Caravan 35th Anniversary Edition.

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Italia

2019 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia
- image 821454

This one was pretty much disliked across the board at the TopSpeed office. Granted, we’re big fans of the Alfa Romeo 4C - the low weight and carbon-intensive construction, the head-turning good looks, the mid-mounted powerplant and mania-inducing handling… then there’s the fact the 4C was the first mass-produced vehicle Alfa offered in the U.S. since the 164 sedan was axed in 1995!

But here’s the issue with the 4C Italia - it’s just so lazy.

Really, the only thing this ”special edition” brings to the table is an “exclusive” Misano Blue Metallic paint job (even though you can get the same shade on two other Alfa models).

There’s also a few other minor details, like extra glossy black trim for the exterior, as well as an aluminum dashboard insert and some badging scattered here and there, but that’s it. Never mind the fact the 4C has been around since 2013 without any real updates to speak of, or the fact that all these little bits and bobs add a whopping $5,000 to the bottom line. As if the 4C wasn’t expensive enough.

“It really brings nothing new besides the special blue paint and the price is ludicrous,” said TopSpeed writer Mihai Fira. “Not to mention it took almost a year for it to get to the U.S.”

Read more about the 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia.

2019 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition

2019 Chicago Auto Show - Worst In Show
- image 820033

Let me just start by saying that on the surface, this truck is actually pretty cool. I like the way it looks, with buyers offered three colors to choose from for the exterior paint - Agate Black, White Platinum, or Leadfoot Gray. Further upgrades include a host of orange accents added here and there, including on the grille and fenders, plus there are Harley Davidson logos along the flanks and a functional ram air scoop on the nose. Per tradition, the suspension is now bigger and burlier, with components from BDS and new Fox springs. Filling the fender gap are new 22-inch wheels with a unique deep-dish design and aggressive 35-inch all-terrain tires. Topping it off is a new Flowmaster exhaust system, which adds the necessary growl to the package.

Like I said, on paper, it looks pretty good. However, there’s one really big issue left to address - the price.

You see, the 2019 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition starts at a ridiculous $97,415. That’s nearly one-hundred grand for an F-150!

Utter insanity, if you ask me. The base F-150 starts at $28,115, which means the upgrades add nearly $70,000 to the bottom line. That means you could get a brand-new Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport on top of a brand-new F-150 for the same outlay as this motorcycle-themed special edition.

Part of the reason for the sky-high pricing is that the 2019 F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition isn’t actually from Ford. Rather, it comes from Tuscany Motors Company, an aftermarket tuner and shop that specializes in custom lifted trucks. If Ford offered it directly, it would probably be cheaper, given Ford’s access to mass-production resources. Regardless, this thing is way too expensive for it’s own good.

Read more about about the 2019 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition.

2019 Lexus NX F Sport Black Line

2019 Chicago Auto Show - Worst In Show
- image 820208

Look, the 2019 Lexus NX F Sport Black Line isn’t necessarily a bad car. In fact it makes a lot of sense, at least financially speaking - the compact luxury crossover segment is as hot as ever, and buyers seems to love blacked-out special editions. It’s just that we’ve seen this formula applied so many times before. It’s getting pretty damn repetitive at this point - add bigger wheels, black trim bits, and some extra standard cabin equipment, then toss on some arbitrary production limit and charge more.

This particular example is $10,000 more than the standard model, and yeah you get extra equipment, but you’ll have to excuse our yawns.

Look, if you’re gonna add names like “F Sport” and “Black Line Edition” to a nameplate, at least put a little more effort into it, ya know? How about some new breathing mods for the engine? Or a unique suspension tune? Or hell, how about just a sportier steering wheel? Is that too much to ask?

Read more about the 2019 Lexus NX F Sport Black Line.

Further Reading

2019 Chicago Auto Show - Best In Show
- image 821770

2019 Chicago Auto Show - Best In Show

2019 Chicago Auto Show - Everything You Need To Know
- image 819948

2019 Chicago Auto Show - Everything You Need To Know

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: