Join us for a collective face palm

Let me be frank – the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show wasn’t exactly the most amazing auto show of all time. And if I’m completely honest, I’d probably say it was, for the most part, a bit of a dud. But don’t get me wrong – there were still several standouts worthy of their floor space. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Honda Civic Si Prototype are both good examples of that (check out our complete list of Best In Show here). But, as is tradition, there was still plenty of bad to accompany the good, and as such, we’ve rounded up the top five worst debuts from this year’s La La Land circus right here.

Included is a sport compact disappointment, a high-riding turd on wheels, a couple weak-sauce concepts, and an are-you-even-trying “special” edition convertible.

But before you hit that jump, a warning – we brought out the TopSpeed troll to help us write this one, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Continue reading for the full story.

Worst In Show

Nissan Sentra Nismo

2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO High Resolution Exterior
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Nissan, I’m glad you’re here. Why don’t you take a seat… Okay. Look. I’m not mad. I’m just very disappointed. The Sentra Nismo comes so close to being a Best In Show contender. It’s got the right look to it, and the interior has some nice touches as well. And I haven’t driven it yet, but I bet the suspension tweaks and stiffer chassis do a lot to improve the handling. But there’s one very big problem here, and it’s under the hood.

When we first started dreaming of what a Sentra Nismo could be, we were thinking around 265 horsepower. But what did you give us instead? Exactly the same powerplant as the cheaper SR Turbo model, which means 188 ponies and 177 pound-feet of torque at the front axle. I’m sorry, but that’s just not gonna do it, especially when the last hot-to-trot Sentra (a.k.a. the SE-R) was pushing 200 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. In 2012.

For goodness sake, this is a Nismo we’re talking about. And yes, I’m sure the handling tweaks do a lot to improve cornering, but to be honest, the bar wasn’t exactly high in that department to begin with.

Next time, let’s try to crack the 200-horsepower barrier, m’kay?

Read the full review here.

Ford EcoSport

2018 Ford EcoSport High Resolution Exterior
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Oh joy, yet another lame compact crossover! Exactly what the world needs! Thanks, Ford!

Pardon the sarcasm, but I’ve had more than my fill of crossovers. Yes, I’m very well aware of their popularity in the States, but that doesn’t excuse the Blue Oval from cramming yet another cheap-o offering into an already bloated segment.

So, why all the salt? For starters, the engine options are rather yawn-worthy, with either a 1.0-liter three-cylinder or 2.0-liter four-cylinder on the table. Then there’s the way it looks, with styling that seems to pull cues from a five-year-old rental compact hatchback on stilts. The interior isn’t all that practical either, with little to offer in terms of cargo space.

Well at least it’s cheap, right? Not really. Exact pricing has yet to be announced, but we’re thinking it’ll probably get an MSRP at around $19,000. That’s still about a grand cheaper than the Mazda CX-3, but the question is this – is it worth it?

The answer is no.

Read the full review here.

Lexus IS Sriracha

Lexus Gets Spicy With The Sriracha IS In Los Angeles High Resolution Exterior
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I’ve got nothing against product tie-ins, just so long as they offer something interesting. That means it’s gotta have more than a thinly veiled attempt at capitalizing on some spur-of-the-moment popularity. Creativity is paramount.

That said, you can see why I don’t like the Lexus IS Sriracha. The sedan pays homage to the ever-popular hot sauce that’s now well established as the condiment of choice for stoned breakfast burrito fans across the nation. But rather than adding a hotter, more powerful engine, green bottle cap rims, and a tortilla machine in the back seat, this IS just gets new paint, a sauce dispenser in the key fob, and a trunk full of Sriracha.

Sorry, but that’s just too mild for my taste.

Read the full review here.

Volkswagen Passat GT Concept

2016 Volkswagen Passat GT Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Speaking of half-hearted concepts, Volkswagen provided us with yet another reason to face palm in LA this year. It’s called the Passat GT Concept, and it attempts to add some sporty flavoring to the humdrum four-door sedan, hence the letters “G” and “T.”

So, how does it fair? Well, it looks a little sportier, with a new front fascia and LED-equipped headlights, not to mention a few slick red stripes across the nose. The same is true inside, where we find fake carbon fiber trim and a little contrast stitching in the upholstery, pretty much par for the course these days for any model touting itself as a performance machine.

Fine. But what about the powertrain department? You know, where the actual performance comes from?

Well, that’s 100 percent stock. VW didn’t even add breathing mods. And that’s a fail, in our book.

At least the ride height was lowered. But to be honest, we could have pulled off the same effect by cutting the springs in our driveway.

Read the full review here.

Buick Cascada Sport Touring With Dark Effects Package

2017 Buick Cascada Sport Touring with Dark Effects Package
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Special editions – you can’t escape them. It seems like with every revolution of the auto show circuit, we’re bombarded with slightly different iterations of new or soon-to-be-discontinued models. Some of these are worthy of the title “special,” offering unique upgrades that take the original car to a whole new level. Most, however, are crap.

The Buick Cascada Sport Touring with Dark Effects Package is part of the latter classification. So what are all those extra words actually doing to the Cascada? Well, the Sport Touring half of it means the car is red, because red equals fast, and fast equals Sport Touring, or something, I guess. Meanwhile, the Dark Effects means its got glossy black trim and a new finish for the 20-inch wheels.

That’s pretty much it. Now who’s feelin’ special?

Read the full review here.

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