10 Worst Cars of 2014
While our 10 Best Cars of 2014 article was written to focus on the most newsworthy cars launched in the past year from a positive point of view, we figured that the circle could only be complete if we also take a look at some of the not-so-good vehicles that became part of our world in 2014. Obviously, the presence of some cars on the following list will probably anger a good amount of keyboard warriors and/or diehard fans out there, but that usually goes with the territory and you can’t please every reader every time.
As most of you know, no matter how much soul and poetry a carmaker exudes for some people, the automotive industry is just that, an industry. Industries, like every other business, are here to make money, because otherwise they would simply cease to exist sooner or later. Since marketing is a pretty big part of almost every business’ success, a lot of carmakers rely on intangible details such as brand or model image to sell their products, especially when talking about niche cars.
That is exactly where a lot of them go wrong sometimes, when newly-introduced cars don’t necessarily tick all the right boxes, or at least the minimum required in their brand DNA. From some points of view, this results in a bad car, while from others it simply means that one or more entities that helped to develop said car didn’t do a very good job at some point. Either way, the following list is in no way a professionally-made or objective one and each of the cars on it may very well become a best-seller and a huge success in the future.
With that being said, click past the jump to read more about the 10 Worst Cars Of 2014.
By far the most expensive and fastest car on this list, the Lamborghini Huracán seems to have brought a bit too little and too late to the game form some points of view.
First of all, I am well aware and many of you — myself included — would probably say goodbye to their left nut for a chance to own not only the Huracán, but just about any Lamborghini from the company’s 51 year history. That doesn’t mean that all of the cars spawned in Sant’Agata Bolognese are God’s gift to mankind, with quite a few of them not being 100 percent worthy of the Lamborghini aura.
Second of all, many would think that the Huracán should never be on a "worst cars" list simply because it confidently wears the angry bull on its hood, therefore being exempt of a comparison with "lesser" cars out there. The problem with that line of thinking is that it would make Lamborghini lazy when creating new cars, and in my view this is pretty much what happened with the Huracán.
By far the most expensive and fastest car on this list, the Lamborghini Huracán seems to have brought a bit too little and too late to the game form some points of view. Sure, its 3.2 seconds and 9.9 seconds it requires to reach 62 mph and 124 mph, respectively, are more than enough to cause you a concussion to the back of the head whenever you press the go-fast pedal, you might say. But is that enough to obliterate a Ferrari 458 Speciale, a McLaren 650S or a Porsche 911 Turbo S? Not quite, it seems. Sure, it can play in the same league as them but it is not exact the game changer everyone was expecting, don’t you think?
We’ve come a very long way in terms of performance cars in the recent decade, and that is the perfect reason for Lamborghini to go all-out bonkers and create more four-wheeled insanities like those that helped it become the brand that it is today. Instead, models like the Huracán only play catch-up at most, and in my view that does not make it worthy of the Lamborghini aura – it is just a very fast entry-level supercar that is good to its neighbors.
In my opinion, the 2 Series Active Tourer should have remained a MINI, not a BMW
When Mercedes-Benz launched the first generation of the boxy B-Class back in 2005, few analysts would have guessed that in time it would become so successful. Now in its second generation, the compact B-Class has so many fans that in Germany it is the best-sold MPV in any segment, despite being quite a bit more expensive than most of its rivals. Seeing this, BMW decided on a whim to also jump on the compact MPV badwagon, and 2014 was the year when the 2 Series Active Tourer came on the market.
While the car itself is not half bad in the segment it is supposed to compete in, especially since it brings a much needed sportiness with the overall package, the problems with it lie elsewhere, starting with the name. As most of you know, BMW’s new nomenclature implies that all coupe and coupe-like models in the lineup will get an even prefix (2 Series, 4 Series, etc.). Why is this five-door compact MPV called the 2 Series Active Tourer, then?
Second of all, until a few years ago, BMW’s marketing was among the most vehement against its competitors who base quite a lot of their cars on front-wheel drive platforms (hint: mostly against Audi), going as far as even introducing that humorous rabbit with longer front legs ad. In other words, introducing a front-wheel-drive compact after all that screaming kind of makes the brand a bit untrustable, don’t you think?
In my opinion, the 2 Series Active Tourer should have remained a MINI, not a BMW, especially since it shares the UKL platform with all the other current and upcoming MINIs. Not sure if that would have kept it off this list, but it was probably worth a shot.
With just a little over a thousand vehicles sold in about a year, it seems that not that many customers were touched in a good way by its puffed up marketing and the $75,995 starting price without incentives.
Introduced with one of the smuggest and ’murican commercials I saw in the past decade, the Cadillac ELR is pretty much a better-looking, more luxurious and much more expensive Chevrolet Volt, something that Cadillac saw fit for becoming a blockbuster. About a year after its launch, sales are lackluster at best, and its not exactly rocket science to see why.
The ELR is a very good-looking car for a lot of people, I give it that, but that wasn’t hard to achieve since it follows over 90 percent of the lines on the gorgeous Converj Concept. Why did Cadillac choose to combine the car’s looks with the appeal of the Volt’s green tech and try to make a business case out of it is something I will not understand though.
With just a little over a thousand vehicles sold in about a year, it seems that not that many customers were touched in a good way by its puffed up marketing and the $75,995 starting price without incentives. Wondering why? It’s rather simple, actually, for similar money you can get a Tesla Model S, which is not exactly lacking in luxury, nor looks, is miles ahead in performance and you don’t even use gasoline when driving it.
While BMW was busy working on the second generation of the X6, Mercedes-Benz was developing a competitor for the first generation
Instead of jumping on BMW’s X6 bandwagon while the iron was hot, Mercedes-Benz waited no less than seven years to introduce a competitor of its own in the "five-door-coupe-suv" niche. This is one of the major problems with the recently-unveiled GLE Coupe actually, as it is a bit like the Huracán in the "too little, too late" department.
While BMW was busy working on the second generation of the X6, Mercedes-Benz was developing a competitor for the first generation, which makes the GLE Coupe rather dated from a number of points of view. First of all, its porky overall look and "get outta my way" front fascia were probably chosen so that it would be liked by the Russian oligarchs and nouveau riche types who befriended the first BMW X6. Unfortunately, the problem with that line of thinking is that the second generation of the X6 has a much slimmer look, with some people going as far as calling it "elegant." A lot of you can agree that you can call the GLE Coupe, especially in white, anything but "elegant."
Second of all, since the upcoming Mercedes-Benz MHA achitecture is not yet ready, the GLE Coupe had to be based on the somewhat old and heavy M-Class (in the future, GLE) platform, with which it will share quite a lot of components. Just take a look at its interior and think how nice it looks. Sadly, it looks like it was designed for a car from from five years ago, not from today.
Sure, from certain points of view, including design, it represents a significant revamp over the old model, but calling it "a new generation" is quite a bit of a stretch
A perfect example of trying to milk a platform until it bleeds and then some, the latest generation of the Opel Corsa was launched in 2014 but it is actually not as new as Opel would like its customers to believe. Instead of calling it a very thorough facelift, Opel is actually trying to pitch the latest Corsa as a totally new automobile, which it certainly isn’t.
The "new" Corsa is based on the so-called SCCS (Small Common Components and Systems) platform, which started development back in 2002 by Fiat in cooperation with General Motors. The first car to use it was the 2005 Fiat Grande Punto, followed soon by cars like the "previous" Opel Corsa (D), Opel Adam and the Alfa Romeo MiTo. In a somewhat strange turn of events, the SCCS architecture is also used by the Jeep Renegade/Fiat 500 X duo and the "all new" Opel Corsa E.
Sure, from certain points of view, including design, it represents a significant revamp over the old model, but calling it "a new generation" is quite a bit of a stretch, as most of its undersides were under development no less than 12 years ago. Bad, Opel. Bad!
many customers will probably just see it as a slightly more expensive Renault Twingo
If the smart car brand would be synthesized in just a couple of words, "a perpetual startup company" would probably be an appropriate choice. Beginning as a co-project between Swatch and then Daimler-Benz, and eventually becoming a subsidiary of Daimler alone, the micro-car company had quite a lot of ups and downs since its foundation. Now in its third generation, the tiny fortwo is by far its most successful model, and that isn’t saying much.
Over the years, the fortwo had two very short-lived brothers, in the form of the ill-fated smart roadster/coupe and the Mitsubishi Colt-based smart forfour. Thinking that the initial success of the forfour could be recreated in present times, smart took the decision to introduce a second generation of the car starting with 2014, only this time the car is quite a little bit different in nature.
While the first smart forfour was following the tried and true formula of the original Mini (front engine, front wheel drive), the second one is actually an elongated smart fortwo and will be manufactured by Renault, alongside its Renault Twingo brother.
On one side this means that the new smart fortwo is rear-engined and rear-wheel drive, which is actually kind of cool, while on the other it means that it is much smaller than the first generation and many customers will probably just see it as a slightly more expensive Renault Twingo, which it kind of is. Not a very good combination, if you ask me.
Only 250 units of the model will ever be built, with each starting at... 111,000 Euros
For quite a number of years — actually since Ferdinand Piëch became Chairman in 1993 — Volkswagen has had a rather peculiar attraction for extreme engineering projects, with "world’s fastest" and "world’s most fuel efficient" being very commonly used words regarding VAG. Obviously, the Bugatti Veyron took care of the "fast" bit, while the fuel efficiency segment has been mostly debated with a range of Volkswagen-branded vehicles.
The Volkswagen XL1 started as a futuristic concept car and pretty much stayed that way even after it went into production, some people may say. With the look of a vehicle from Minority Report or I, Robot, it was bound to cause a stir, but its most important asset is obviously its fuel-sipping ability.
Why is it on this list, you ask? Well, the VW XL1 is all fine and dandy as a technological tour de force, but as car which you would buy for its minuscule fuel consumption is about as bad as they get. Only 250 units of the model will ever be built, with each starting at... 111,000 Euros (approximately $138,000 as of 12/18/2014). So it pretty much is just a tease, not an actual car, that is why it’s on the list.
In short, it is a slightly stretched regular MINI with two more doors added for practicality, which in theory should work.
Now at its third generation since being reimagined under the tutelage of BMW, the MINI has evolved into an entire range of niche vehicles, with all of them keeping next to nothing from Sir Alec Issigonis’ original legacy. That is not necessarily a bad thing, since evolution is the name of the game in the automotive industry and the original Mini couldn’t have been reinvented in a better way from my point of view.
There are a couple of exceptions to that, sadly, and the all-new MINI Hardtop 4-door may very well be the latest example. You see, the four (actually five) door variant of BMW’s MINI comes to cover yet another sub-niche in its over-crowded lineup, and the way it tries to do it is not unlike the aforementioned smart forfour.
In short, it is a slightly stretched regular MINI with two more doors added for practicality, which in theory should work. In practice, the $1,000 difference in starting price between the two nearly-identical models makes for some rather expensive pair of extra doors, doesn’t it? In other words, time will tell, but the MINI Hardtop 4-door is starting to look like a marketing foul-up the more I look at it.
if Ford wants to rejuvenate the aura of Lincoln and restore its image, it first needs a proper flagship and not a restyled Ford Escape
Once one of America’s best known luxury car brands, seen without a problem near the ranks of Cadillac, Duesenberg or Packard, the Lincoln of today has slowly evolved into nothing but a shadow of its former glory, and its current lineup is a perfect example of the marketing mishaps it has been through.
Its latest model, the MKC compact crossover, will most likely do nothing to help the brand regain its long-lost fans, and that will happen for a number of reasons. First of all it is a compact crossover, part of a growing segment in which an ever-increasing number of competitors are battling for sales. Its chances are slim to none at become a best-seller considering it.
Second of all, its name could very well be MKD or MKB and no one would be able to say which one is more fitting to the car, simply because it sounds like the historical Mark (MK) followed by a random letter. In other words, it makes no sense and it certainly isn’t memorable. Last, but not least, if Ford wants to rejuvenate the aura of Lincoln and restore its image, it first needs a proper flagship and not a restyled Ford Escape with a premium starting price, if you know what I mean.
Until Saab either changes ownership for the zillionth time or the current owners get enough money to restart production and/or the Saab Phoenix program is brought back from the dead, we are pretty much stuck with a "limited edition" 9-3.
"Hey, man, the Saab 9-3 has been out of production for I don’t know how many years, why is it part of a 10 Worst Cars of 2014 list?" You would be half right to ask that question, as the Saab 9-3 above is not an all-new model for 2014. That is correct, it is pretty much the same 9-3, based on GM’s Epsilon I platform that first saw the light of day back in 2002 with the Opel Vectra C.
Owing to a number of quite extraordinary changes of ownership in Saab’s recent history, a slightly revamped version of the 9-3 started being manufactured once again in December 2013, for the 2014 model year and beyond. Now under Chinese-Swedish possession, the "new" Saab 9-3 is pretty much like the old one, sans the Griffin badge but with a restyled interior and new seats. Oh, and allegedly a full-electric variant is also on the way.
Naturally, these aren’t the only problems with the car, as its parent company is far from leaving its financial problems behind and the car’s production is currently on hold once again. Until Saab either changes ownership for the zillionth time or the current owners get enough money to restart production and/or the Saab Phoenix program is brought back from the dead, we are pretty much stuck with a "limited edition" 9-3. Its resurrection was only good enough for it to pop on our list, sadly.