Over HATED Cars
What makes me really sad deep down inside is when great cars are overlooked. Or sometimes, hated on. Perhaps they were conceived in the wrong era or had a competitor that took the limelight. Or, I dunno, maybe they burst into flames whenever you got into a car accident. You know, small stuff. So today I will talk you through 12 of the most hated cars in history. And then try and convince you that they’re actually pretty cool. Let’s start over hated cars
Mazda Miata! – Some people out there think that the Miata is too small, too slow, and, I can’t even believe that I’m saying this because they use it in a derogatory way, that the Miata is a hairdresser’s car. Well, I for one, love hairdressers! Fun fact about me, before I moved to California I was considering becoming a hairdresser myself. Of course, I would’ve been called a barber, but that’s neither here nor there. Lots of people like Miatas. Construction workers, professional fighters, scuba-diving welders. Lots and lots of very macho people get to and from their very macho positions behind the wheel of a Mazda MX5, aka a Miata. It is small. It has fantastically compact Japanese proportions. The result being a short wheelbase, perfectly balanced with great weight distribution. And therefore, great handling. It is low on power relatively speaking, I guess. Compared to, like, a Dodge Demon.
Yeah, the original Miata only had 115 horsepower, but the upshot of that was that when those horsey babies were championed by that brilliant, compact, light, well-balanced chassis it meant you could push the car to your limit and its limits. Squeezing every last mile per hour out of that beautiful, little 1.6 liter. And have a bunch of fun doing it without being totally terrified. Although, driving Miatas is pretty scary. Especially when Eddie’s behind the wheel. Hi Eddie! The Miata has been described as one of the great, authentic driving experiences by pretty much, I dunno, everyone who knows a thing or two about driving. It’s such a good car, we made an entire Donut show about it, it’s called “Money Pit”, check it out. It’s every Wednesday, it’s hosted by one of my best friends Zach Jobe. He’s a genius and the car is awesome.
Chevy Corvair. For everyone who doesn’t know, the Chevy Corvair was a rear-engined compact car made by by Chevrolet between 1960 and 1969. Nice! It was one of the first, if not the first, production cars offered with a turbo. But unfortunately, it was made famous by the following phrase: “Unsafe at any speed”. That is how Ralph Nader described the 1965 Chevrolet Corvair in his book about automotive safety. He’s got some pretty progressive views on the environment, which I respect, but he’s kind of a downer. So yeah, the Corvair was unsafe. It had an engine which hung out past the rear axle, putting way too much weight past the wheels and making it prone to spins. And who cares if the car didn’t have any form of roll protection to protect the occupants, and, ugh, come on, gosh, get over it! It had a single piece steering column that tended to impale drivers during a front-end impact.
Nobody’s perfect! But, turns out, a lot of that stuff wasn’t even true. It took 12 years for the Corvair to have its name cleared by an independant report. But the damage, the damage had already been done. But here’s the thing. The Corvair is an awesome car! It’s really cool looking. Because of the whole bad reputation thing, it’s pretty cheap. And they’re super easy to work on. From 1965 onward, like I mentioned before, you could get a Corvair with a turbo. That came from the factory with 180 horsepower. The Corvair was the first, and still today only, mass-produced American car to be designed with a rear engine.
Which on its own makes it worthy of this list, but that engine was also a freakin’ air-cooled flat six. It’s basically a Porsche 930. By the end of its production run in 1969, nice!, you could buy a Corvair as not only a coupe, not only a convertible, but a sedan, a station wagon, even a freakin’ pickup truck. And you don’t have to take my word for it, I’m just an idiot on the internet. Take my older brother Jay Leno’s word for it. He said that the Chevy Corvair is one of the 10 best cars that GM has ever made! Do you know how many cars GM has ever made? More than 10! More than 10!
Ford Pinto! – From one American compact with a rear end of nightmares to another, the Ford Pinto was, let’s be honest, kind of a mess. The thing would actually explode if it was involved in a rear-end collision. A dude named Lee Iacocca, you know that guy who Jon Bernthal played in “Ford v Ferrari”. The guy who came up with the idea for the Mustang. Well he headed up project Pinto and rushed designers to develop and test the car in 25 months, rather than the standard 43. He also wanted it to weigh no more than 2,000 pounds. And cost no more than $2,000. Because of this, concessions were made. Most infamously the steel fuel tank which was mounted low between the axle and the rear bumper. Unfortunately the results were, how do I put this? Um, what’s the word, uh, disastrous! Several tragic, very well publicized crashes.
Some of which resulted in life-changing injuries and some even in death, basically ruined the Pinto’s reputation forever. Ford was even prosecuted for homicide by the families of some of the victims. That’s how serious this was. However, if I may counterpoint, reports of the Pinto’s safety, or lack there of, are greatly exaggerated. And though it took some seven years before an independant report would highlight this, sadly the damage was already done. It’s like how I told everyone that Nolan likes drinking milk so much even though I think he likes drinking milk a normal amount, but because we put that out there now people think that Nolan loves drinking milk.
It’s the power of influence. Secondly, and more importantly if you ask me because I love little cars, the Pinto was Ford’s first attempt at a compact. And because of that, we have the Pinto to thank for some of the coolest cars that Ford has ever made. I’m talking about Escorts, I’m talking about Fiestas, I’m talking about Focuses. You like Gymkhana and Ken Block? Thank a Pinto! Just like the Corvair that we just talked about, the Pinto was available in an incredible amount of body styles. My favorite is that Pinto wagon with the rally pack. Check out that freakin’ window! It’s a thing doesn’t even belong on this earth, it belongs in space! Also, Pinto means spotted horse. And you know I’m down for anything that has to do with horses.
Pontiac Aztek! – This is one of the most unloved cars in the history of cars, but it’s honestly actually pretty cool. Okay, I get it, yeah. It is ugly! The interior is insane. It was super expensive when it launched, it cost $25,000. And yes, there was no option for a manual transmission, which is a huge bummer. However, to me the Aztek was the forerunner to every crossover vehicle you see on the roads today. And love ’em or hate ’em, it’s a granddaddy. And granddaddies are cool. This is my granddaddy. His name is Linton Pumphrey, he’s a good guy. So not only did the Aztec help to form the blueprint for crossover vehicles, which is almost every car on the road these days, it also came in all-wheel drive, and it had a freakin’ tent on it.
You could actually leave work on Friday and just drive right to the woods and sleep in your car. Hell, there’s some pretty scary stuff going on right now, and I’m kinda wishing that my car came with a tent. Nowadays with nerd style and normcore at the top of fashion and music and everything, I personally foresee the Aztec reaching a cult-like status. And I think that the makers of Forza might agree with me because they have included the Aztec in Forza six. I know it’s not the most recent one, but that’s the one with an Aztec in it. I wanna see who gets the fastest ring time in an Aztec. Post your screen grabs, the winner gets a shirt. And, if you needed anymore convincing, freaking Heisenberg rolled in an Aztec, okay! Bitch!
PT Cruiser! – Now this things problem was always gonna be how it was marketed. And how it looked. And how poorly it was made. And the fact that it was front-wheel drive. Okay, so it was styled to look like the cars from the ’30s and honestly, I don’t think that they did a bad job. It looks like something that (beep) Dick Tracy would have driven. But while the snooty car journalists and better-than-thou cool kids laugh at this oddly angular, yet soft and squishy car, I’d like to offer a not so popular opinion.
The PT Cruiser is one of, if not the most, whimsical, imaginative cars ever produced in the modern age. And that started at the factory. The factory spec sheet for the PT Cruiser reads like the wishlist for an 11-year old’s birthday party. Turbos, manual transmissions, flame decals, this kid is a cool kid! I hope my kid ends up being like this kid. When is his party? In 2005 almost half of all PT Cruisers were ordered with the optional turbo-charged engine. And people didn’t stop there.
The PT has a very passionate fan base! And these guys and gals have done so much to keep this car going and keep it going well. They haven’t made PT Cruisers for a decade but you still see ’em everywhere. They made so many of ’em, and they sold so well, that I don’t see these things going anywhere anytime soon. Plus this one has over 800 horsepower.
The Tesla Cybertruck! – Very few automobiles in the history of all automobiles have been as divisive as the Cybertruck and they don’t even sell these things yet. People in one camp think that it looks like a car straight out of Blade Runner. And in the other camp, some people think it looks like a baby drew it. Personally, I think it’s both. The styling combined with the lack of a combustion engine, because duh, it’s a Tesla, really triggered truck people. Who gets more offended than truck guys? But here’s why it’s actually great.
It’s a pickup truck that’s faster than a McLaren F1. It’s cheaper than a Dodge Charger. And you can buy it with a matching freaking ATV. It breaks, literally, all of the rules of what a pickup truck should be and that’s exactly what we need right now. We need to tear down and rebuild from scratch. So like it or not, it’s gonna change the future of trucks and cars, and that’s a huge a deal. This next car is probably the opposite of the Cybertruck.
Hummer H2! – There is no better word to describe the Hummer H1 than heroic. It liberated countries, kept troops safe, and it looked handsome and rugged doing it. By comparison, the H2 did none of these things. This vehicle was a huge, ugly, chrome-covered eye-sore released right after 9/11, a time when gas prices sky-rocketed and when having a gas-guzzling truck wasn’t quite as cool as it used to be. Now you’ve got to remember that while SUVs are a common sight on roads today, back in 2001 the SUV craze was only a few years old. So the H2 looked very out of place next to all the ’90s Acuras and Saturn Sedans. But looking back, dare I say, that this thing was a victim of the time. The Hummer H2 is actually very cool and compared to the SUVs of today, it wasn’t even that big. It’s comfy and luxurious on the the inside and it looks damn cool from the outside.
It came with a 6.2 liter V8 making 393 horsepower and had a towing capacity of 8,200 pounds. Which is more than a Lamborghini Urus. Now I’m not sure what that proves but it’s something. It’s something! Now when we were putting together this episode we were like, “Oh yeah, Hummer H2 we forgot about those! “I bet they’re cheap, we should all get ’em.” But it turns out the Hummer H2 has managed to hold it’s value surprisingly well through a national crisis, two wars, a couple recessions. But that tells me that these things might even go up in value in the future. So if you want, I dunno, to take a gamble on a future collector car, check out Hummer H2s.
Smart Fortwo! – The reasons that this car is hated are basically the exact opposite reasons as the Hummer H2. Americans love big cars, all right. Our roads, our towns, our drive-thrus, all of them are built for large cars. And the Smart Fortwo was always gonna be a tough sell to us giant American drivers. Also, it only has two seats, it’s not that sporty, and it really doesn’t have any cargo space at all. And even though it was tiny and focused on being economical, it’s not even that good on gas.
For a while there it was kind of embarrassing to be seen in one. But, for all of its faults, the Smart Fortwo challenged conventions. It might not have made sense for the vast majority of people, but it was cheap and it could fit into impossible parking spaces, making it a must-have for people who need tiny parking spots. Plus, may I add, the number one reason why I have added this car to this list, (engine revving) you can put a Hayabusa engine in it.
Chevy SSR! – Yes, the Chevy SSR is very weird looking. Yes, I don’t think it quite understands what it is. It was a convertible, but also a truck. It didn’t make any sense, but that’s why I love it. A freakin’ truck drop-top! That’s literally the most awesome combination ever. Now, imagine how much easier that would make the daily chore of rustlin’ your sheep. You can just yell at ’em when you sat inside your convertible truck. Get in the truck you damn sheep! Early models suffered from low power, but in 2005 Chevy totally redeemed themselves and dropped in a 400 horsepower LS2 with a six-speed manual. ♪ Did you even know that that was even possible ♪ That’s right, 400 horsepower. 400 pound feet of torque. Six-speed with the fun lever on it.
Why are we looking at this as some weird old-man collector car, when really it’s Chevy’s response to the Ford Lightning. Which is the other coolest pickup truck that’s ever made. But nobody hates those so it’s not on this list. I, in my mind, sometimes in my dreams late at night, I go to an alternate reality where Brian drives an SSR in “The Fast and the Furious” and all of a sudden everybody likes ’em. And since we didn’t get Holdens in America, the SSR is still one of the only car-truck things that you can put a bunch of wood in the back of and do a screamin’ burnout! Oh, I also wanna apologize for last week’s video. Apparently I called the Holden Maloo a truck a number of times– Truck truck truck truck truck truck. It is not a truck it is a Ute, which are very different things. It is also not a car with a truck bed, it is a muscle car with a tray in the back. It won’t happen again.
Dodge Neon! – The Neon made by Dodge– (The Neon was also sold by Chrysler and Plymouth. I’m just gonna call it the Dodge.) Was the quintessential ’90s econobox. In other words, it was boring. And Dodge should not be boring. They are the coolest company I’ve ever worked with. They paid me to get a tattoo of their name on my chest. My girlfriend won’t even do that and she’s the coolest person I ever met. Hardcore Dodge fans didn’t want a cheap, efficient, front-wheel drive car. However, the Neon did have a saving grace. I’m talking about a little thing called racing! The Neon is one of the cars that dominated autocross in the late ’90s and early 2000s. It was light, which made it fast. And it had really, really, surprisingly good handling. It held its own and successfully defended America in a compact car market which was full of imports like the Civic and the Sentra.
And that helped endear it to millions of people across the country. Also, it came in a bunch of really cool different versions. Like the ACR, the R/T, and the top-of-the-line SRT-4. I swear to god, once a week I open up Facebook Marketplace and look for an SRT-4. It went zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds, which is very fast for a compact of the time, and it had a top speed of 153 miles per hours. It was faster than a Chevelle 454 SS. It was one of the first cars that I could say, “Hey dad, you’re wrong man! “You’re freakin’ wrong dude! “There is a replacement for displacement, “it’s called a freakin’ turbo!” Nowadays almost every car is turbo-charged, hell there’s turbo-charged minivans and turbo-charged everything. But it didn’t used to be that way and this was a really really brave decision by Dodge. Most SRT-4s have been beat to absolute (beep) though. So be very careful while you’re looking.
Honda Ridgeline. If there’s one thing that can bring Ford, Chevy, and Dodge people together, it’s that they hate the Honda Ridgeline. Now with a name like Ridgeline, you’d expect this Honda truck to be able to scale peaks, traverse tricky mountain passages, and brush off knocks, bumps, and scratches like they were nothing. That’s not really the case, but I still like this car. Now hardcore truck guys hate the fact that this truck has a unibody construction as opposed to the body-on-chassis that is more common in big trucks. It also has a transverse mounted engine. And worst of all, front-wheel drive. Ridgeline’s all wheel drive would eventually kick in if you went off-road and needed the extra traction.
But for many this was just too much to take man. To them, this was a modified minivan, and they didn’t want anything to do with it. But I got a news flash for yah, pal! That was sort of the whole point. That’s what made the Ridgeline so great. Rather than being a truck with a second row of seats, squashed into an elongated cab, this really did feel like a minivan or a small SUV with a bed. It’s comfortable, it’s spacious, it’s got great gas mileage, and just like every other Honda, it’s insanely reliable.
Even if you go off-roading, which most people who own trucks and SUVs don’t do, you still spend 90% of your time on the road. What, just because I want some open-air cargo space means that I have to pretend like I’m an adventurer. No, this is a great city truck. My friend Nick Thune drives one. Hello Nick Thune, check out his comedy albums or something.
Toyota Prius! – Finally my lovelies, we have reached number one. The number one most hated car that I actually think is awesome, the Toyota Prius. Now Prius translated from Latin means first, which is exactly what it was in everything accept for any drag race or beauty contest that it ever entered. The Toyota Prius was the car which brought affordable, efficient, ecologically responsible hybrid power to the masses. In fact, due to their popularity as Ubers, I feel confident in saying that every person in the US has probably ridden in one of these cars. Can you say that about the Pontiac Aztec, no you can’t. You’re probably wondering, “James, I thought this was a car channel. “Why are you defending the Prius?” Well, hey, maybe the Prius needs to be defended.
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I’m trying to convince you that it’s a good car, an important car, a car that we should be happy exists. The Prius gets a really really bad rap because I think that people don’t acknowledge what it’s for. Jeremy Clarkson hates the Prius. It had a really bad “South Park” episode about it which didn’t help either. Prius was also viewed as a threat to automotive freedom. They’re slow, they’re boring, they’re uninspired. And having driven one I can definitely confirm this, but that’s okay and here’s why. That’s not what they’re for. Again, Priuses are cheap.
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They’re reliable. They’re economical. And they will last forever. If any of my girlfriend’s friends ask me what car they should buy I say a Prius. It really is responsible for opening the world’s eyes to hybrid technology. Which is everywhere now thanks to the Prius. Freakin’ F1 cars are hybrid now. And if you need any more convincing, think about this. Every car manufacturer has a fleet CO2 emissions target which they have to stay under in order to sell cars around the world. And if Toyota didn’t have the Prius bringing their emissions average way way down, they might not have been able to give us the new Supra. So next time you look at a new Supra, thank a Prius.