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Five Good Cars That Nobody’s Buying

By Blake Z. Rong | October 27, 2011
If these cars were in gym class, they’d be picked last for kickball. Nobody knows why people aren’t buying the following cars on this list. Maybe it’s a lack of marketing? Maybe consumers aren’t willing to look past familiar nameplates? Maybe the cars come equipped with influenza? Regardless, here are five cars—some brand new, some oldies but goodies—that are good buys, but just don't get picked for the team too often. Paragraphimage 5. Acura RL

If you’re willing to look past the dated styling and that jagged, shiny expanse of bucktooth grille Acura calls a “power plenum shield,” you’ll find a car that is sure-footed, quiet, and comfortable, with more than enough power and stuffed to the gills with technology and luxury features. Too bad not many people do, unfortunately. Does Acura want a carrot? Paragraphimage 4. Dodge Journey

The original Dodge Journey was almost universally panned for its flimsy interior, weak engine, and an archaic 4-speed transmission. The new Journey, redesigned in 2011, fixes all of these things with a strong 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, six proper cogs, and a modern, soft-touch interior that doesn’t look like it belongs in a cardboard box with the words “Revell-Monogram” stamped on top. But you know what they say about the sins of the father, and all that—sales have remained relatively unchanged, even after a $1,450 price drop. Maybe it’ll do better in Europe, where it’s badged as a Fiat. Paragraphimage 3. Nissan Quest

The last Nissan Quest was too weird, too edgy, and trying too hard to be funky to be taken seriously by a mainstream audience. This current Quest sharpens up and matures a lot, imparting some of the imposing Japanese-van style that forever bemuses global, quirky-minded enthusiasts. But the damage has been done: compared to the straight-laced Sienna, Chrysler twins, and even Honda’s lightning-bolted Odyssey, the Quest is still too niche, too out there to capture the traditionally staid minivan market. Paragraphimage 2. The Entire Suzuki Lineup

That’s right, Suzuki still makes cars. And some of them are pretty good, too: the Grand Vitara is one of the last compact SUVs with real honkin’ body-on-frame construction, the SX4 crossover is—despite growing long in the tooth—still the cheapest car in America with all-wheel drive, and likewise the Equator, a rebadged Nissan Frontier, still manages to look better than its progenitor and feature a 100,000-mile warranty. But the gem of Suzuki’s lineup is the Kizashi: a handsomely-styled, roomy car that legitimately, honestly manages to be somewhat fun. Suzuki calls it a midsize, but it slots underneath the hulking Camry and Accord, while still larger than the Civic/Corolla segment. It’s also priced nearer those two as well. And the Kizashi already has the trump card over them with available all-wheel drive and a six-speed gearbox that manages to impart a daring level of sportiness not often seen in the class. Paragraphimage 1. Chevrolet Volt

Yep, the Chevrolet Volt—the Chevy Volt, the car touted by GM as the electric car of the future, the media darling of the green-car movement—can’t sell to the public worth a damn. Blame its high point of entry even with federal subsidies, its lackluster interior and features, and the all-too-unfounded fear of range anxiety: even if the Volt combines the best of both hybrids and electric vehicles, it can’t find converts from both. Skeptics say that the price of batteries will drop in 5, 10, 15 years—always further down the line, of course—which would be a shame if the Volt falls into the realm of interesting historical footnote rather than the world-changing conveyance its engineers envisioned.

  • 2012 Chevrolet Volt 01
  • 2012 Dodge Journey
  • 2012 Nissan Quest
  • 2012 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2012 Suzuki Kizashi
  • 2012 Acura Rl
 
6 comments
Jimbo99
Jimbo99

End of the day, the economy influences what cars are bought. Marketing too. Some of those cars aren't portrayed as cool enough in advertisements to get anyone to say they own them. Not saying all of them, but some. And then there's the reputation some car manufacturers have gotten over decades. Take Suzuki, they used to build some really wonky cars and Ra sized SUV's. Add they compete with Toyota, Honda & Nissan. Hyundai even got a good share of the market, because they advertised & promoted. I can't recall the Suzuki commercials on tv, anyone seen one ?

chris dezmembrari auto
chris dezmembrari auto

I owned a Chevrolet and I wasn't pleased by the car... From Chevrolet I think that the best looking car is the new Camaro

Joel A
Joel A

The Kizashi is a fun car to drive.

Matt A.
Matt A.

great post! sure enough none of these cars appeal to me, but then again I'm not the demographic. Volt doesn't deliver value, RL needs a redesign, Journey is in a competitive segment. great read tho!

jim
jim

The Volt situation is certainly understandable....let me count the reasons why----- 1. Very few people really believe the need for an electric car. 2.Ridiculously overpriced....especially when compared to say, the Nissan Leaf (which isn't selling either) 3.Gas prices are coming down...if only temporary 4.Many better choices from competition in high mileage gasolene cars...visa vie...Hyundai's whole lineup among others... 5.Many hybrids that are more economical to run and buy... 6.Many people feel that this is just another administration connected propaganda ploy to manipulate a swing into 'cleaner/greener' energy use...blah, blah 7.Many also quietly resent the fact that GM accepted a bail-out and subsequent gov't take-over, etc...political reasons... How many other reasons does a potential buyer need to stay away from a Volt...which is probably a good car, but................

Jimbo99
Jimbo99

@chris dezmembrari auto Agree, never owned or rented a GM car that was even close to as reliable or good as a Ford. Chrysler is just as bad as GM products if not worse. It's why Ford still does better than the other two after the bailout and they were the only domestic that wasn't bailed out. Too big too fail ? More like too expensive to keep alive. GM & Chrysler is not family on life support at the hospital. Some things you spend the money in spite of the odds of survival, GM isn't that expenditure.

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