Home » What Iconic Car Just Never Clicked For You?

What Iconic Car Just Never Clicked For You?

Autopian Asks Iconic Car Honda S2000
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Hype is a funny thing. It builds a superhuman halo around certain cars, sometimes over time and sometimes immediately. However, sometimes the hype train misses our station. What iconic car is impossible for you to love? I’m talking about cars so beloved, you’d be a pariah if you said anything negative about them.

If you’re hesitant to answer, be assured this is (for the most part) a judgement-free zone. A friend of mine hates the Ferrari Testarossa. Adrian isn’t a fan of old British roadsters. It’s all good. Let me start with my own coldness to a hero car.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Everyone loves the Honda S2000, right? Winner of a zillion comparison tests, commander of strong resale values, bestowed with a legendary redline and a phenomenal shifter, you’ve probably heard it all by now. Actually, I should say that almost everyone loves the S2000, because I don’t. I respect it immensely, but love? It just doesn’t do the sports car thing well enough for that.
Honda S2000 Ad2

Let’s start with the steering. Honda went with an electric power steering rack, and since the S2000 was launched in 1999, steering feedback is an absentee. The ratio itself is reasonably fast, but your fingertips don’t pick up what the car is doing. Instead, keen drivers will have to rely on sensations through the seat and pedals, and that’s a disappointment.

Speaking of disappointing, the seating position isn’t great. On the stock seats, you just want to be an inch or two lower, something that just isn’t feasible. Oh, and that’s before we get into the frustrating inaccessibility of the powerband. Even the torquier AP2 didn’t properly get on the boil until 6,000 rpm, and given a 2.045:1 second gear ratio, a 4.1:1 final drive, and a 24.7-inch rear tire diameter, means the fun doesn’t really start until 52 mph or so.

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Honda S2000 Ad1

Whether a bedroom poster exotic or a humble people’s car, today’s Autopian Asks is all about going against the grain. What’s a widely-loved car that you just can’t get behind, and why? As ever, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

(Photo credits: Honda)

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Beer-light Guidance
Beer-light Guidance
2 months ago

BMW Clown Shoe. I can appreciate their quirkiness, but they are just too damn ugly to really like.

Isis
Isis
2 months ago

VW GTI – I just don’t find them to be special. I don’t get why you’d want a hot hatch with German reliability. . .

Rexracer
Rexracer
2 months ago
Reply to  Isis

I personally love the GTI… but have never had one, but love the concept of a practical fun vehicle. But then you toss the German reliability on top of that, and now I understand what your saying, which is why I have never had one. We need more hot hatch’s in our lives, just wish they were Hondas and Toyotas.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
2 months ago
Reply to  Rexracer

Owned a Mk 6 for 10 months. Loved it when it ran, but spent waaaaaay too much time under a wrench. Sometimes the wrench was mine, sometimes not.

I still want another, but then I remember. And I’m a little sad.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
2 months ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

I had a Mk V GLI (GTI goodies on a Jetta) and it was a great car to drive but it broke down all the time.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

I bought a MK7.5 GTI new and was between it and a Jetta GLI. I ultimately liked the GTI a bit more due to the shorter wheelbase. It just felt a bit more lively.

But anyway, Jesus tap dancing Christ was it a nightmare. It misfired and cut off half its cylinders mid country road pass when it had around 1000 miles. I called the dealership, they essentially said “oh it’s okay the EA888 does that sometimes” and said not to worry about it unless it did it again. Sure enough, it did it again about a month later.

Misfire, loss of power, the car running exceptionally rough, several codes being thrown. I let it go until it happened a 3rd time around 2000 miles. I was on the highway on a road trip and it put me in another dangerous situation. I pulled it into a VW dealership that was along my route and said “figure out what the hell is wrong with it, please”.

Five hours later they told me they couldn’t find anything, charged me like $50 for a container of fuel additive, and said I likely wasn’t putting good enough gas in it. I said “pardon me? I always use premium even though it’s not required” and was handed a list of Volkswagen Approved Gas Stations (seriously).

I then scheduled it at my local dealership and they claimed there was no issue and to just ignore it. Mind you this was all in the first 5,000 miles of a brand new car. Anyway, it ran fine but the stock wipers were completely dead and useless a few weeks later. The tires were wearing way ahead of schedule too and the cruise control decided it was only going to work every now and then.

About a year later it started having issues with starting and at that point I threw up my hands and decided I was done. 22 months after I bought it brand new I traded it in on my Kona N and never looked back. I am never buying a VAG product again unless it’s a Porsche.

Oh and did I mention my sister and her husband had to get out of their VW after only two years because of persistent issues? Or that my mom’s Audi Allroad mechanically totaled itself at 60,000 miles? Seriously. Damn the EA888 to hell. It’s criminal that VAG is still bolting turbos to that monstrosity and unleashing it on the public….

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
2 months ago

Mine liked to eat an intake manifold every now and again. It always happened on a cold winter day. I think the plastic would get brittle around -5 °F and break.
I sold it to a friend and then the traction control computer went on him. He traded it in on a F150. I am glad we are still friends. I will never sell a used VAG to a friend again.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

It’s just shocking how shoddily made they are. One of the rare examples of reputation/stereotypes being completely true.

Turbotictac
Turbotictac
2 months ago

The S2000 is my top pick. As an owner of multiple Miatas I oftentimes hear S2000s brought up as the “better” car. But I just can’t agree. I find the seating position awful as well as the shifter positioning. Actually if I am being honest I hate the entire interior. Everything feels like it is located precisely where it should not be as far as the hvac controls and such. The push button start that still requires a key be inserted also irks me. The one thing I didn’t hate is the gauge cluster design with the ramping up digital RPM.

Driving was fine although I despise the power delivery. I do appreciate them revving to ~9k but the problem is I felt nothing until I was 6k in and then it was over in an instant. I recognize it is much faster than a stock NA or NB Miata but it FEELS so much slower since there is so little torque. On the topic of torque anything short of a supercharger is disappointing in the gains departments because they just don’t gain torque relative to the horsepower. I have seen turbocharger S2000s making in the realm of 500hp and still be below 300 torque which gives me the big sad. The only place they make any sense to me is on a track being driven constantly near their limit.

Also, the price they go for is insane.

SkaterDad
SkaterDad
2 months ago
Reply to  Turbotictac

Completely agree!

I test drove an S2000 for the first time a couple of years ago, and was severely disappointed.

Yes, you can rev to 9000 but it sounds like crap and feels as slow as my NB Miata.

Handling was nowhere near as responsive as the Miata (or even my old C6 Vette). Something about the length/width ratio just seems off.

Camp Fire
Camp Fire
2 months ago

Tri-5 Chevies. Neat old cars, but not particularly more beautiful than other cars of the era. Not worth the massive hype they generate.

The Jeep brand. Yes, it was cool decades ago, but these days the vast majority of Jeeps have nothing in common with the agricultural & military applications of the flat-fender Jeeps. They’re just hum-drum ChryDodgBenzAMCFiaCerbPeugStellantis cars with 7-slat grilles and “trail rated” stickers added for marketing purposes. They write offroading checks that their geometry can’t possibly cash. It’s a Jeep thing. I don’t understand.

I respect the Wrangler. But I don’t understand the Gladiator. It’s marketed as an offroad vehicle, but the geometry doesn’t look good for offroading. It’s pretty small for a truck, but doesn’t get the fuel efficiency expected of a small truck (EPA says it burns 21% more fuel than the Ranger, and twice as much as the Maverick). It doesn’t really fit into either of its advertised categories.

Which brings me to the (old) K5 Blazer, Bronco, and Ramcharger. These may be iconic, but they suck. They have the downsides of a big truck (wide width, high fuel consumption, etc). But they’re not good at doing truck things because the cargo bay is both small and mostly consumed with passenger seating. They’re also not great at hauling passengers, either, due to the 2-door design. Even if you stripped out the seats, they’re not rated to carry much weight. My K5 was rated for a total payload (including driver and passengers) of 1200 pounds. This puts it on par with the Saturn S-Series, and is less than either the Gladiator or Maverick can carry in their beds.

Overall, the “short truck with passenger seating” concept was a very flawed compromise, and I found mine was pretty miserable to use for daily life. Aside from turning radius, a Suburban does everything a K5 does while maintaining passenger comfort and the carrying capacity of a full 6’x8′ truck bed. And it has respectable payload & towing specs. So it can legitimately do both truck things or passenger things (or a mix of both, depending on seat configuration). Putting my money where my mouth is, I sold my K5 and switched to a ‘Burb.

Last edited 2 months ago by Camp Fire
488Magnum
488Magnum
2 months ago
Reply to  Camp Fire

Totally agree with the K5 vs Burb assessment. I am biased owning a 90 burb. Neat thing is it looks huge but is 10″ shorter than my 18 Ram 1500 crew cab short bed and way more useful.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Camp Fire

The Gladiator is not “pretty small for a truck”. It is longer, taller, and heavier than my 1995 f150 long bed, and is only a little narrower. 25 years ago you had to go up to a 3/4 ton to buy a pickup that big, because half tons were too small.

Geekycop .
Geekycop .
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

This.

One of my coworkers parked his Gladiator Rubicon next to my ’90 f350 4 door long bed and there was not a ton of size difference. Mine is also stock and he slapped 35 inch mall crawler wheels and tires on his.

Camp Fire
Camp Fire
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

I should have clarified that the Gladiator’s *bed* puts it in the small truck category. 60″ long x 50″ wide. My burb’s cargo bay is about 99″ long x 70″ wide. 8′ long x 5′ or 6′ wide is pretty typical for long-bed work trucks, but it’s more than twice as much area as the Gladiator offers.

Also, at 61″ outside width, the cab isn’t overly wide (about a foot narrower than the burb). The overall footprint is wide, thanks to the widely-stanced external fenders. But the usable body width is on par with a first-gen Ranger (some measurements are actually narrower).

It may have the length, height, and weight disadvantages of your 1995 half-ton, but it has nowhere near the cargo versatility. Nor will it carry as many people as a 4-door truck of that era. It’s a small truck that occupies the footprint of a large one.

Gladiator table from (https://www.4wheelparts.com/the-dirt/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-the-jeep-gladiators-bed/)

Bed Length (tailgate closed):60.3 inches
Bed Length (tailgate open):81.3 inches
Opening Width At Tailgate:50 inches
Width Between Wheel Wells:44.8 inches
Bed Depth (Floor To Top Of Rail):17.4 inches
Box Width (inside of bed rails):55.2 inches
Box Width (outside of bed rails):60.8 inches

I also checked (https://www.therangerstation.com/tech/ford-ranger-dimensions/) for the Ranger comparison.

Last edited 2 months ago by Camp Fire
Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Camp Fire

Yes the gladiator bed is rather small, but honestly not that small compared to anything in 2024. The smallest bed offered on a new f150 is 66″ long and 48″ between the wheel wells, and the Gladiators 60″x44″ is not much smaller.

New pickups just suck at being pickups is all.

Camp Fire
Camp Fire
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Agreed!

Dan Pritts
Dan Pritts
2 months ago
Reply to  Camp Fire

Definitely not a truck guy but my bud had a bronco growing up, spent much time in that truck.

It was a great plow truck, which was why his family had it. That was one truck thing it did quite well, thank you very much.

Camp Fire
Camp Fire
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan Pritts

Yes, the turning radius is unparalleled in the world of full-size trucks. Never had a problem doing U-turns in the K5.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
2 months ago

All Hennesseys. They’re just hot-rodded versions of cars that are very easy to upgrade, the average 20 year old car enthusiast can make a Camaro as fast as the Exorcist for a quarter of the price, and the same goes for every model they make, plus the 6×6 Raptor is way less capable than a regular raptor at anything other than crawling, which a Wrangler is better at anyway.

Beefing up an engine and cranking up the boost isn’t hard, this also applies to every update to the R35 GTR, they just throw money at the engine to make more power and then pass that cost onto the customer with no other upgrades to the car.

This FURTHER applies to any “supercar” that uses some variant of an LS/Coyote/Hemi/whatever and boasts a new top speed. Congratulations, you’ve successfully done what every Tom, Dick and Harry at Bonneville has been doing for a century, and all it took was enough money to start a small country. This goes for the Tuatara, Venom, and Devel Sixteen. All cost as much as a Chiron, and all are just NHRA engines wrapped in a carbon body, with NHRA reliability, Formula SAE comfort, and Pimp My Ride build quality.

The exceptions are brands like TVR, Lotus, Caterham, etc, who are/were chassis manufacturers who put bone-stock Ford/MG/Renault engines in them and don’t brag about the engines, except when they build their own like the Speed Six/Twelve and Lotus Carlton turbo.

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
2 months ago

Any crazy powerful crossover, and the Jeep Wrangler/Gladiator.

The wrangler/gladiator is here mostly because of how terrible it drives and how small it is inside. My old Impreza had more room!

The gluttony of hi-po twin turbo v8 crossovers just don’t do anything for me. How much better is the X5M competition than the GLE63 AMG S? who cares? Horsepower is easy, fat tires and stiff suspension has been done. Where’s the Raptorized X5M? At least that isn’t trying to be a street rod.

GK27V6
GK27V6
2 months ago

A80 Supra.

GK27V6
GK27V6
2 months ago
Reply to  GK27V6

Upon reading over the comments I’m somewhat surprised I’m not the only one with this answer.

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
2 months ago

1980s Joke:
Why are Camaros like Hemorrhoids?
Eventually, every a$$hole has one.

This just seemed like a place I could retell a joke I heard in 1987.

FloridaNative
FloridaNative
2 months ago

Viper

SAABstory
SAABstory
2 months ago

Chevelle. Never liked the body style, just looks off to me. Also whatever flavor GTO came out of that as well.

Viper, as mentioned like 200 comments earlier. Same with Tri-Five Chevys.

Supra looked best in MK II, everything after just…eh.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
2 months ago

The 458. It’s cool and fast, but the F430 is prettier, lighter and has a manual transmission. The 458 is everything we complain about in modern cars, yet everyone loves it because Clarkson commands it.

Ncbrit
Ncbrit
2 months ago

Pretty much anything that has gotten the iconic label bestowed upon it. I’m a fan of the weird and unpopular.

Josh Jones
Josh Jones
2 months ago

I imagine some folks are going to hate me for this, but the 911. I’ve always just secretly hoped that it’s purely the driving experience that everyone loves about it, but I won’t get to drive one anytime soon.

The look has started to grow on me over the past few years (especially compared to what’s happened to some of my old favourites) but I just never really understood the hype.

Phil Morgan
Phil Morgan
2 months ago
Reply to  Josh Jones

So because you’ve never driven one and say you won’t drive one anytime soon you think it’s overrated? You would understand the hype if you drove one…..

Josh Jones
Josh Jones
2 months ago
Reply to  Phil Morgan

I’m not attacking you, I’m legitimately curious why you’ve interpreted what I said this way (I’m on the ASD spectrum, and don’t communicate well), but where did I said they were overrated? My intention was just to state that they “never clicked” for me (the question in the title of this article) and give an explanation that my belief has always been that the driving experience must be the reason that they’re regarded so highly by others.

Marlin May
Marlin May
2 months ago
Reply to  Josh Jones

I agree with you. Maybe it was from growing up in So Cal where they were as common as late summer cicadas. Smooth tails, duck tails, whale tales, no matter the iteration, they just never did it for me.

M. Park Hunter
M. Park Hunter
2 months ago

Iconic, for a certain value of icon? Spent a month last summer daily’ing my son’s low-mileage 1953 Kaiser Deluxe. These cars were (are?) iconic for “Dutch” Darrin’s styling and for super-plush interiors. They have a reputation – justified, I found – as mechanical turds. Flathead six industrial engine sourced from Continental pushing through a 4-speed HydraMatic sourced from GM. Crude and sloooowwww, like 20+ seconds 0-60 slow. Plus arm-achingly heavy non-power steering and ride quality that just made me tired. Nice to look at and sit in. Sucked to drive. (And since sold.)

Chronometric
Chronometric
2 months ago

Avanti. Doesn’t have a good angle anywhere.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
2 months ago

Well, I never really considered it iconic, but according to lots of the comments in that other thread, 2006 CRVs. I always considered them bland beige-mobiles, but apparently they are undiscovered enthusiast vehicles.

Christo Arvanitis
Christo Arvanitis
2 months ago

When I was a kid, I had always coveted the early Corvettes. Built a model of one and all. When I was in my early twenties, I had a chance to drive a ’58 Vette on a country road. It was an absolute piece of garbage to drive- no power steering or brakes and a clutch that felt like an old farm truck that was heavy as hell.

Changed my perspective on all things motoring. I now appreciate a vehicle just for it’s design and not how it drives. How does an Austin Healey 3000 drive? Dunno. I only want to look at it.

1973 BMW Bavaria Addict
1973 BMW Bavaria Addict
2 months ago

I’m on my 32nd BMW, and the E46 M3 leaves me cold as tuna salad. I’ve driven and wrenched on a pile of the things in every state of tune. But the S54 is cold and technical, I hate the exhaust note, and the E36 is better looking.

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago

32nd?
There’s “glutton for punishment”, and there’s “eating the gluttons for punishment to absorb their powers”

1973 BMW Bavaria Addict
1973 BMW Bavaria Addict
2 months ago
Reply to  VanGuy

Back when I was in college, I ended up working in a shop when I bought my ’73 Bavaria (that I still have). All of the other guys were buying cars all the time, and driving them until they needed registration. I got into the habit, figured out how to do some of the common jobs quickly (the top starter bolt on an E30 comes to mind), and would trade them around for fun. Once you start carrying around Bosch brush packs, it gets pretty easy to become a serial BMW owner.

Biggest piece of garbage I ever bought was an early 3.0 X5. An unscrupulous body shop was trying to con an old acquaintance out of the car, so he asked for my help. In the end, we got them to release the cars after I paid them the $20 for gas they had put in it.

We go to leave, only to realize that he has nowhere to put the thing (he lived in an apartment with very strict parking rules), and didn’t really want to own it. He said I could have it for $100, I gave him $80 (had to pay for the gas).

So now I am the owner of the worst hunk of trash that BMW ever built, but it’s fun and kind of cool, and a blast to drive. There are only two problems; first, the rear window is busted out, and second, the car is disgusting. I’m not sure how it got this nasty, but I pulled both seats and cleaned that carpet for an honest four hours. I got it to some semblance of clean, and screwed a piece of plexi over the rear hatch (I was not putting a $500 window in an $80 car) which I spray painted to match the back glass.

That car was a rolling disaster, and every day something decided to go to the BMW parts yard in the sky. But there is something magical about a car that you care nothing about. Flat tire? Scrap it. Needs new wiper blades? Leave it by the side of the road. It finally let me down for the last time on an atypically cold morning.

I live in the south, and ice is a rare occurrence. On this particular morning, I had crashed on a friend’s couch, and we had to get going at 5am to meet someone about a Volvo he wanted to buy. I reach for the door handle and hear the sound that fills the nightmares of BMW techs the world over; plastic cracking. As they are want to do, the little plastic arm on the door handle has broken. Annoying, but not insurmountable. To be in real trouble all four would have to break, and that’s not very likely. Unfortunately, it was likely enough on this cold morning. I ended up unscrewing the rear window and selling it as a part car a few weeks later. I think I owned the car for a total of two months.

Jerry Thomas
Jerry Thomas
2 months ago

Anything Ferrari.

Phil Morgan
Phil Morgan
2 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Thomas

How many have you driven that let you down?

Forrest
Forrest
2 months ago

Most cars made before 1945 or so. They are all either hideously expensive, difficult and at times terrifying to drive, have kinda meh boxy designs(especially before 1935), and/or are a nightmare to repair or maintain.
I personally want an automobile that doesn’t use bais ply bicycle tires and a 3-speed unsyncronised manual, thank you very much.

OCS-BN
OCS-BN
2 months ago

I’ve never been into brown manual diesel wagons.

(Slams batch and gun down on the desk and leaves.)

Jerry Thomas
Jerry Thomas
2 months ago
Reply to  OCS-BN

I’m assuming you mean badge, but if it was bitch that’s way funnier !

OCS-BN
OCS-BN
2 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Thomas

Indeed, a diction error was made. I’ll leave it up to interpretation, though.

Last edited 2 months ago by OCS-BN
Church
Church
2 months ago
Reply to  OCS-BN

Shun the non-believer!

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
2 months ago
Reply to  OCS-BN

Sure a brown, manual, AWD, diesel wagon for something like $40,000 would not be the solution to all the world’s problems.

But what if I told you the manufacturer could wise up and use crank windows instead of fancy pants power windows and get the price down to $15,000?

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
2 months ago

Jaguar e-type. I just can’t.

Oafer Foxache
Oafer Foxache
2 months ago
Reply to  67 Oldsmobile

I’m the same… it would be a lot better if the windscreen wasn’t so vertical

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
2 months ago
Reply to  Oafer Foxache

It sure clown-shoes the hell out of the BMW clown shoe.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
2 months ago

OK, here goes…

I don’t like the Lancia Stratos.

Bring on the hate.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
2 months ago

I get it, it’s a great race car but on the road I’d rather have the Dino with the same powerplant.

Geekycop .
Geekycop .
2 months ago

I get it. I prefer the 037 myself if I’m picking 2wd purpose built rally machines. Also a Fiat Dino has the same engine and is gorgeous so I’d go that route for the motor personally.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
2 months ago
Reply to  Geekycop .

I love the 037! I’m also surprised nobody is trying to crucify me.

Grant Moss
Grant Moss
2 months ago

The Testarossa, the 348, and any other Ferrari with the giant grill strakes on the side.

Also, any car designed by Raymond Loewy. I get his historical importance as a designer, but when he tried to design cars, the results were horrific. And yes, this means I hate the Studebaker Avanti; it’s just ill-proportioned and ungainly.

Last edited 2 months ago by Grant Moss
Jatco Xtronic CVT
Jatco Xtronic CVT
2 months ago

The Porsche 911.
Theere, I said it. Never liked it.

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