autoevolution

Which Japanese Brand Do You Hate?

Mazda has come a long way since it copied off the British to make its first roadster. In fact, you could almost say that the latest MX-5 model to come out is miles ahead of any mass-market UK-built affordable sportscar. Toyota, on the other hand, is a global sales leader and Honda isn't doing too badly either.
But every tree has its rotten apple, if you will and we do know quite a few people who say they will never buy Japanese (again), especially now that the American automakers have moved their game to the next level. There are more reasons to love Japanese automobiles than there are to hate them, but we're curious to know which of their brands is doing the worst job and why.

You all have your favorite and least favorite German brand, of that I'm sure. BMW for the win, Audis are boring... that sort of thing. But nobody ever says which Japanese brand he/she detests the most. Are the Asians not worth as much flame as Audi's understated design? I beg to differ.

For this editorial, I'm going to do things a little outside the box. Instead of just sticking to my own (admittedly warped) opinion, I've asked my colleagues to tell me what they thought as well.

For me, the worst of the Japanese brands is Nissan and there's a whole mob of GT-R owners who want to kill me for that. Besides making a few of the most interesting sportscars on the market, they also mass-produce a confusing variety of strangely named and sometimes badly made machines.

Nissan also continues to use CVT gearboxes and underpowered 1.6-liter engines on way too many models, having also turned the legendary Datsun brand into a price-cutting machine that recycles old Lada bits. Having said all that, I really love the Juke, the Qashqai, the 370Z and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of their new Pulsar hatchback.

Andrei, our test drive editor, says he hates Mitsubishi, because they are killing the Evo. I'm willing to bet a good portion of you petrolheads resonate with his words, as do I. The company that developed the famous Zero fighter is now too stuck in its Japanese ways and some of its other models, like the Mirage, aren't finding much traction with overseas customers.

Our resident US-market editor, Mircea, says he hates Subaru for their badly made interiors. This, I think, isn't something many people agree with, especially if we consider 2015 Legacy and Outback sales and the fact that they found a way to keep the WRX STI alive and kicking. Mircea believes Honda is by far the best Japanese brand, the Civic being a brilliant compact tradeoff between sportiness and practicality. Were I not a fan of German cars, I would probably agree with him 100%.

For Gabriel Nica, the worst Japanese brand is Suzuki, as he says this company that once made only motorcycles has never set a benchmark with its cars. Beside the Jimny, he says, there isn't a Suzuki model that's famous for being good. Perhaps that's why they had to leave the US market a few years back.

Gabriel Brindusescu is of the same opinion. Having kindled a strong motorcycle passion for many years, our Toyota Blog Editor says Suzuki bikes are as good as the cars are bad. It's like one of those Catch-22 situations.

I find it interesting how nobody has a bone to pick with Mazda, probably because we all loved the sexy 6 sedan and the way it drives. But a broken heater or miss-firing engine probably made at least one person hate the Zoom Zoom boys. That's why we want to hear from you guys.

 
 
 
 
 

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