Picking out the lame and the vile so you don’t have to

With our list of the best debuts to show in Detroit now live, it’s time to visit the opposite side of the spectrum with our Worst In Show list. And while it may seem cruel to highlight the following five vehicles as the biggest targets for our automotive ire, we do it out of love. Just try a little harder next time, okay people?

Included in this list is an off-road monstrosity, a brittle EV, a confused crossover, a same-old-story compact, and a no-show sports car.

But there was a ton of debuts in Detroit this year, and we’re sure there are at least a few we didn’t include that rubbed you the wrong way. Or maybe we missed the mark entirely. In either case, let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Continue reading for the full story.

Worst In Show

VLF Automotive X-Series

The Hummer Is Back! Oh No, Wait...
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The world certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to bizarre-looking truck concepts, but that didn’t stop VLF Automotive from creating this less than flattering off-roader. What started life as a Chevrolet Colorado is now one of the most overdone vehicles we’ve seen in a while, sporting enough add-ons to make even a SEMA truck blush.

Kirby Garlitos explains – “For the record, I actually like VLF Automotive. The Force 1 V10 it unveiled at last year’s NAIAS showed some promise. Unfortunately, the X-Series that it showed at this year’s event has no such potential in my eyes. There’s not much known about the concept itself beyond what’s on the surface, but I’m already going to disregard it as a viable model. The poor Hummer imitation underscores one of the many issues I have with the car. The whole thing looks cheap and forced, kind of like what somebody could do to a scrapyard Hummer H2 if he tried to restore it with his own hands. If this were 2007, the X-Series might have some appeal. But today, it’s nothing more than a poor attempt at rekindling the glory days of the hulking SUV that did nothing better than chug down fuel like its life depended on it. No thanks, VLF.”

Read the full review here.

GAC Trumpchi GE3

Chinese Automaker Brings Three Cars to Detroit, Announces U.S. Market Assault
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For whatever reason, we have yet to see a major Chinese automaker break into the U.S. car market. GAC is aiming to change that, and arrived in Detroit this year with three models to showcase what it has lined up for American consumers. Unfortunately, one of those models had a minor, somewhat embarrassing failing on the show floor. Mark McNabb explains –

“It’s hard to hate on an up-and-coming automaker, but an on-stage incident with China’s GAC Trumpchi GE3 compact electric car is hard to ignore – and not uncontrollably laugh at. Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky was doing a walk-around of GAC’s booth on Facebook Live, including the GE3. He was examining the interior of the BMW i3 lookalike when he casually tried to open the glove box. *SNAP* The handle just broke off in his hand.

“Perhaps it’s the perpetuation of the perception of shoddy build quality with Chinese cars, or Jason’s awkward “whoopsie” face, but the video is pricelessly hilarious. ‘Some of the plastics might be a little brittle… so, huh, we should probably be a little careful about that,’ he said dumbfounded with a cracking voice.

2017 Detroit Auto Show – Worst In Show
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“While it’s not really a big deal, the moment doesn’t bode well with overly cautious Americans skeptical about a new automaker from a country that’s never imported a vehicle to the U.S. Sure, I bet it was an early pre-production model or whatever, but it’s still hard to ignore.”

Read the full review here.

Volkswagen Atlas R-Line

2017 Volkswagen Atlas R-Line
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VW just introduced the large-and-in-charge Atlas SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, but the marque is already looking to make a few special edition models. And that’s fine with us – we can appreciate the enthusiasm. After all, we Americans love SUVs, and we love feeling special, so it makes sense, right? What doesn’t make sense is gluing an R-Line badge to a full-size SUV.

In case you were unaware, R-Line is VW’s way of adding extra sportiness to a model. In certain circumstances it works – the Beetle R-Line, for example, gets 40 more horsepower, 18-inch wheels, upgraded suspension, and the like. But R-Lining an Atlas? Eh… not so much.

Upgrades include tweaks to the exterior panels, 20-inch wheels, “sport” pedals, and an R-Line logo in the infotainment startup screen. Meanwhile, the engine and suspension go unchanged. Lame.

Read the full review here.

Mercedes-Benz GLA

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Don’t get me wrong, the GLA isn’t necessarily awful, especially if you’re talking about the hot-to-trot AMG version. I mean, it’s hard to argue with 375 horsepower and a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds, no matter what package it comes in.

That said, the 2018 iteration left us wanting. Updates include minor styling tweaks, like bigger intakes, while the cabin now gets stuff like more chrome trim and the odd infotainment upgrade.

However, the powertrain, drivetrain, suspension, and every other piece of important hardware goes unchanged in this mid-cycle refresh. And that’s a shame, if you ask us.

Read the full review here.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
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Finally, we have this – the Corvette ZR-1. All of us here at TopSpeed had each of our collective fingers and toes crossed in the hopes we’d get a peek at this monster in Detroit, but alas, it wasn’t to be. Oh, but the want is strong, dear readers! This thing is pure race-bred technology for the streets, with big-time, purposeful aerodynamics, lots of lightweight composite materials, and possibly a twin-turbo V-8 cranking out over 700 horses at the rear wheels. With that kind of output, the ZR-1 should have the means to hit 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds, plus over 200 mph in the top end.

But the Bow Tie didn’t deliver, which means it’s back to waiting. Boo.

Read the full review here.

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