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These Are the Ten Most Unloved Rides in the U.S.
Some cars just can’t catch a break. Either because there are better rivals out there or the times have simply moved on from the type of transportation they’re offering, these vehicles have found themselves shunned.

These Are the Ten Most Unloved Rides in the U.S.

Cadillac CT-4 BlackwingChevrolet CamaroChrysler 300Fiat 124 SpyderFord EcosportMazda CX-3Mitsubishi MirageJeep RenegadeNissan LeafToyota Prius
Poor sales have led some of them to end their production runs, others solider on in relative anonymity. Find a new one on a dealer’s lot and you just might find a bargain.

Chevrolet Camaro

Why it can’t find love:
Cramped cockpit and limited outward visibility compared to the Mustang.

Most endearing quality:
In a word, handling. Razor sharp and fun to toss about, even the 4-cylinder turbo model has road manners that will keep you smiling. What’s not to like about one of America’s two legendary pony cars? The Camaro offers sporty looks, a wide range of engine options from a turbo 4-cylinder to a supercharged V8 and great handling. And yet, its sales last year dropped to just under 22,000 from over 50,000 in 2018.

Part of it might be the cramped cockpit and bunker-like roofline that doesn’t provide the best visibility. While the Camaro does offer a convertible version, it’s still not as popular as its crosstown rival, the Ford Mustang which topped 50,000 sales last year.

Chrysler 300

Why it can’t find love:
The market has moved on from American full-size rear-drive family cars.

Most endearing quality:
Gangster looks. This big 4-door pays homage to the traditional American full-size sedan with a twist. Its underpinnings are the product of the DaimlerChrysler merger of the early 2000s and much of that structure is derived from the Mercedes E-Class of the day. It is holding up remarkably well and offers both V6 and V8 power, an all-wheel drive option and in-your-face styling. It’s also one of only three Chrysler models left, the other two are minivans, the Pacifica and Voyager. With a sticker starting less than $40,000, there’s plenty of bang for the buck here.

Cadillac CT4 Blackwing

Why it can’t find love:
While it offers BMW levels of performance, Cadillac just doesn’t have the performance car vibe of German sport sedans, which is a shame.

Most endearing quality:
The last of a breed, it’s one of the few sport sedans left that offers a 6-speed manual. With the declining popularity of sedans in favors of SUVs and trucks, the Cadillac CT4-V is a rare commodity, a compact sport sedan that offers the option of a 6-speed manual transmission to go along with its razor-sharp handling. The Blackwing package pumps out 472 hp from its twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6.

It starts at about $59,000. If that’s a bit rich for your tastes, the standard CT4-V comes with a twin-turbo 2.7-liter 4-cylinder making 325 horsepower. However, there only a 10-speed automatic available. The CT4-V stickers for about $46,000.

Fiat 124 Spider

Why it can’t find love:
Called a Fiata by some, it never was able to step out of the shadow of its more popular cousin.

Most endearing quality:

Wrapped in a longer Italian body that recalls the original 124 Spider, the Fiat has a much more compliant ride than its Mazda counterpart. The Fiat 124 Spider offers the same sort of affordable, top-down fun as the Mazda MX-5 Miata with a bit of Italian flair. Power comes from a Fiat-sourced 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes 160 horsepower and mates to either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission.

While power is down to the 180 horses in the Miata’s normally aspirated 2.0-liter I4, there’s more torque here. That combined with a different suspension setup gives the Fiat 124 a lively, yet compliant feel all its own. You’ll also be driving a car that’s less ubiquitous than the Miata.

Ford EcoSport

Why it can’t find love:
Lost among the excitement over Bronco and Bronco Sport.

Most endearing quality:
Low sticker price that brings standard all-wheel-drive. Ford’s least expensive SUV is the EcoSport, a subcompact model that was previously offered with an even cheaper version that had a weak 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine and front drive only.

The 2022 model year is the last one for this small crossover built in India and it comes with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and standard all-wheel drive. The looks are fairly fresh, and a unique feature is the side-hinged swing out rear door that makes cargo area access a breeze.

Jeep Renegade

Why it can’t find love:
Despite its rugged looks, it’s looked down on by purists as not a real Jeep.

Most endearing quality:
When equipped with the Trailhawk package, it’s capable of exactly what critics think it can’t do. The exploding SUV craze has led to a host of products in all segments and one of the hottest right now is the subcompact category. Born of the Fiat Chrysler days, the Renegade shares its platform and Italian production plant with the Fiat 500X (which is equally unloved).

Despite its clear Jeep styling influences the Renegade isn’t considered a “real” Jeep by some purists for its availability of a front-drive entry-level variant aimed at the urban set. Still, slap on the trail-rated Trailhawk all-wheel drive package and you’ll find yourself able to go where a lot of other rival small SUVs will fear to tread.

Mazda CX-3

Why it can’t find love:
Never had the panache of its larger CX-5 sibling.

Most endearing quality:

Despite its ungainly looks, it still handles like a Mazda. The CX-3 was the automaker’s entry-level SUV with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive powered by a 148 horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Its small footprint results in a tiny rear seating area and its foreshortened profile lacked the elegance of the larger CX-5.

Last offered as a 2021 model, its place is taken by the slightly larger and better looking CX-30 in the lineup. Still, the CX-3 has the road manners of a Mazda and the added benefit of a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission rather than a spirit-sucking CVT favored by some of its rivals.

Mitsubishi Mirage

Why it can’t find love:
The name Mirage pretty well describes its presence in the market.

Most endearing quality:
Cheap transportation for those who really want a new car. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and Mitsubishi still sells cars in America. In fact, it’s on a comeback trail thanks to its Nissan ties and access to platforms that are doing a lot of upgrade its product offerings. However, the Mirage is not one of them.

Nevertheless, if you’re set on buying a brand-spanking new car, the Mirage, which starts at around $15,000 for a hatchback or G4 sedan, might just be the ticket. You’ll get a 78-horsepower 3-cylinder engine and about 40 mpg. Mitsubishi also offers a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Nissan Leaf

Why it can’t find love:
Ugly styling and limited range of first-generation models still taint the range.

Most endearing quality:
Still eligible for big tax breaks. Perhaps the biggest tell that the Nissan Leaf gets no love is the fact that it’s still eligible a $7,500 federal tax credit. That’s for an electric vehicle on the market for 10 years. Both Tesla and GM can no longer offer the credit because they passed the 200,000-unit sales threshold—after that point, the tax credits phase out.

So, do the math—in over 10 years, Nissan still hasn’t been able to sell that many Leafs (Leaves?). Now, its understandable because of the ugly first-generation car and its limited 90-mile range. Evidently, the new Leaf still suffers from that reputation even though its sports more conventional looks and a choice of either a 149- or 225-mile range.

Toyota Prius

Why it can’t find love:
Polarizing design and a hybrid powertrain that’s not particularly unique.

Most endearing quality:
Gets a legit 50 miles per gallon. There was a time when Prius was synonymous with hybrid technology. Not so much anymore as electric assists are available pretty much across the board both in Toyota’s and other manufacturer’s lineups. Even its unique styling of the second generation has given way to a more polarizing design meant to separate it from the crowd.

However, all it seems to have separated is interest in the vehicle. Still, Prius offers plenty of value and a stunning 50 mpg EPA rating. A plug-in version called the Prime also now offers some tax benefits as well as 29 miles of pure electric range.

 
 
 
 
 

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