Gobble Gobble: Five Automotive Turkeys Set Forth on the Buying Public

By Jacob Brown | November 28, 2013
While few people will ever admit as much, most cars and trucks put on the road today are pretty fantastic. They're refined; they have amenities galore. And when you put them into perspective with how much it'll cost to redo your kitchen, they're actually relatively affordable, too. But out of the many great cars, there are some missteps that automakers can take. There are also vehicles that, while they may be excellent on their own merits, have failed to keep up with the competition. They're turkeys, so to speak. Rather than focus on the tried-and-true duds of yesteryear like AMC Gremlins, Ford Pintos, and Pontiac Azteks, we're going to look at turkeys on sale today. Some of them are so much lame ducks that you'd be lucky to see one. So enough with the poultry jokes, here are five turkeys to warm your cockles. Oh yeah, also, Happy Thanksgiving from our staff to you.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV
One of the first mass-market electric vehicles to go on sale in the U.S., the Mitsubishi i-MiEV earns its spot at the top of the list because of its glaring deficiencies. Interior straight out of a 1995-era economy car? Check. Sixty-two-mile driving range? If you're lucky. Horsepower? Sixty-six. At a price of what was about $30,000 before Mitsubishi took down the 2013 model on its site and said "See you next year," the Mitsubishi i-MiEV also was absurdly expensive for what was ostensibly a modified Kei car from Japan, otherwise known as something that you buy because Japanese law forces it upon you, not because it's in any way otherwise satisfying. Mitsubishi says it plans to get back into making cars that are competitive for the U.S. We wonder how and in what world, if they're going to be anything like the i-MiEV.
Scion iQ
Its sales numbers at 3,611 through October aren't even half of what they were this time last year, and there's a very good reason for that: It's a novelty car. And it's not even that good at that. The Scion iQ is the Americanized version of Toyota's sub-subcompact city car, jazzed up with flashy paint and Scion's accessory catalog. Unfortunately, it's a lousy car otherwise: loud, unrefined, and lacking a good number of expected features given its small size and high price. While it starts out at right around $15,000, we tested one that cost $20,000. For that kind of money, there are plenty of real cars to be found that won't embarrass you wherever you go. It may be Toyota-reliable, but the Scion iQ is hardly desirable.
Kia Sedona
When the current-generation Kia Sedona debuted in 2006, it was seen as a coup in the minivan establishment, offering a competitive, feature-packed product that was, in many ways, better than its competition at a lower price. In 2013 heading into 2014, the Kia Sedona is a two-ton turkey. Kia brought it back after a hiatus for the 2013 model year, largely unchanged with the exception of some more features, a minor refresh, and a higher price. It did so for two reasons: Minivan sales are important for the automaker, and its next-generation Sedona is still not ready. So why not drag a dying dog, er, turkey out for another model year, right? Perfectly fine for anyone needing a big hauler on the relative cheap, the Kia Sedona is no longer the segment infiltrator it used to be. In fact, it's mostly just a space-filler 'til the next one gets here. And by the pound, it's still more expensive than nearly everything you just took out of your oven.
Smart Fortwo

If, perhaps, you thought the Scion iQ might be the worst new car on sale today, you've not yet driven a Smart Fortwo. With the exception of some interior materials that are slightly--but only slightly--better than what you might expect from a car in its class, the Smart Fortwo is cramped, scary at highway speeds, expensive, and it doesn't even get that great of fuel economy given its under-a-ton weight and modest engine--34 mpg city/38 mpg highway. Did we mention that's using Premium fuel? If that weren't enough, there's a Smart ForJeremy with wings--like protruding wings from the back of the thing--and the Smart ED. That's for Electric Drive, not some sort of medicine guys take after their 30s. One could only hope there'd be that kind of enthusiasm in driving a Smart; there never will be.

I may get a fair amount of flak for this one, but there are only two redeeming features of the BMW X1: its badge and the way it drives. Unlike most modern BMWs, the BMW X1 shares most of what's under the skin with the previous-generation BMW 3 Series. That's a good thing since so much of the enthusiast public thinks that car drives better than the current model. But BMW shortened and narrowed the car and as a result, cargo space suffers. So does rear leg room, which is rendered nearly useless. And the car isn't especially accommodating up front, either. Then, we get to materials, which are among the worst of any vehicle we've driven recently, much less a $45,000 small crossover. Last we checked, BMW retrofitted a small cupholder into its center console since it wasn't originally available with one. In our tester, it squeaked, and interior bits rattled about. Plastics felt cheap and thin, and we were left with a cubby hole to remind us that our X1 wasn't fitted with a navigation system. If P.T. Barnum were ever to go into car sales, we imagine he'd find a way to sell the BMW X1. Through this year so far, he'd have more than 21,000 takers, somehow.