We think it’s fairly obvious that Pontiac had given up most hope by the 2000s as a brand. Their cars were downright boring to look at and really nothing more than rebadged GM models. The G5 would have a name that implies some serious performance, but all it was, in reality, was a fancier Chevy Cobalt (via Car & Driver).
The G5 wouldn’t stay on the market for long as GM decided to ax the Pontiac lineup altogether. The car was probably one of the worst badge jobs in the automotive market. You could tell that this was a Cobalt from a mile away and that didn’t do anything for Pontiac’s failing reputation.
The G6 was probably one of the most heavily marketed cars to ever fail. This was the car that Oprah famously gave away to every member of her audience. The G6 was supposed to be a revolution, but in reality, it fell short in just about every aspect of the design (via Car & Driver).
Its reliability was questionable at best and its performance was lackluster. Underneath the car shared a platform with the rest of the GM lineup that was available. There was nothing that was truly unique to this car and consumers were able to tell the difference right away.
The Hummer H3 is a clear example of being released at the wrong time. The truck hit the market as the 2008 economic recession was going on. Consumers were moving away from gas-guzzling cars, and the H3 just didn’t seem to resonate with consumers (via Car & Driver).
Underneath the exterior was the dated Chevrolet Colorado platform. The H3 just didn’t offer anything in the way of value at the time, and the Hummer brand was folded shortly after. Interestingly enough, the H3 would experience a resurgence in the used car market nearly a decade later.
You have to give Suzuki an A for effort in the American car market. The tiny automaker tried for years to make a sizable dent in the affordable car segment. The last model to try and do this was the SX4, a tiny crossover car that was ahead of its time (via Car & Driver).
Initially pegged as a fun-to-drive alternative that also had real-time AWD, there was a lot of promise here. But Suzuki went belly up not long after, and consumers were stuck with a car they couldn’t maintain. The SX4 was the last hurrah for the Suzuki brand in America after trying for nearly three decades.
There was a time, although it’s not discussed much now, when Suzuki was large part of the automotive industry. They made inexpensive cars that offered a decent warranty plan for the price. Suzuki had a modest run, but never anything to brag about when it comes to making a dent in the automotive market (via Car & Driver).
Toward the end of the company’s run in America, the brand introduced a pickup truck. The problem with this pickup truck was that it was nothing more than a Nissan Frontier with a few badge changes. Consumers weren’t blind, and the truck sold poorly. You’ll seldom find one on the road.
The PT Cruiser was a massive success for Chrysler in the 1990s, so why GM would wait six years to copy it is beyond comprehension. By the time the HHR hit the market, the appetite for these retro-inspired wagons was almost non-existent. The HHR was a carbon copy of the PT Cruiser in just about every way. It was almost pitiful how little effort GM put into it (via Car & Driver).
The HHR didn’t sell well at all, and it didn’t help that the economic recession was right around the corner. The HHR would not garner much interest in the automotive market, and the car was eventually discontinued. This is by far one of the most disappointing vehicles to come out of this era.
The Chrysler 200 was a project spearheaded by Fiat/Chrysler with a billion-dollar investment from the company. The plan was to create the next-generation passenger car that would reignite the brand’s image. With a powerful advertising campaign that touted it as being “imported from Detroit,” the car failed to make a splash (via Car & Driver).
There were elements in the design of the Chrysler 200 that were questionable at best. The reliability and build quality were nowhere near what the price tag entailed. The 200 was also a lot smaller in size than its competition, something Chrysler failed to overlook while designing the car.
The Sebring Convertible is one of the best-selling Chrysler models of all time. The Sebring sedan, on the other hand, is a car that most would rather forget. It was universally panned for cheap build quality and questionable reliability, which led to the car being a rental fleet staple (via Car & Driver).
The Sebring had decent looks and a seemingly upscale interior for the price, but the quality issues all overshadowed it. Sales for the car never really recovered, and Chrysler would take one more jab at the car segment with the 200 until the company finally gave up.
Jeep vehicles are more popular than ever and that fact doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. But in the 2000s, the brand was at a sort of stalemate and sales were slipping. The Jeep Compass introduced a compact entry-level Jeep that utilized a passenger car platform (via Car & Driver).
The good thing about the Compass was its excellent gas mileage, but the bad part was that it wasn’t actually capable of going off-road. Since most Jeeps are trail rated, having an off-road capable Jeep model is a must for consumers. The Compass will go down as one of the most frowned-upon Jeep models.
The Crossfire is the product of two companies merging and looking to take up existing market space. When Chrysler Corporation merged with Daimler, there was an instant abundance of Mercedes-Benz engineering at their disposal. The result of a compact sports car based on the outgoing SLK model (via Car & Driver).
Critics universally panned the Crossfire for its bubble styling, outdated technology, and seemingly outrageous price tag. There was an SRT model that came a bit later, but it was never enough to give the sales a real jolt. The Crossfire is one of the most disappointing new sports cars of the new millennium because of this.
You have to give General Motors credit, they were trying to reinvigorate the Chevrolet lineup in the early 2000s. The American Revolution advertising campaign was popular. However, the SSR was a seemingly hideous sports car that took the look of the old El Camino and combined it with futuristic styling (via Car & Driver).
The SSR had an expensive price tag, and the truck bed was non-functional, which left a bad taste in customers’ mouths. The front-end styling of the SSR was controversial and the car didn’t sell well. Nowadays, the SSR has ballooned in value as the car market has experienced widespread inflation.
The Prowler is the ultimate example of a beautiful idea that went wrong by inadequate product planning. The styling of the Prowler leads you to believe the car is a blazing fast hot rod, but in reality, the power plant was taken from the run-of-the-mill Dodge Intrepid family sedan (via Car & Driver).
When you considered how much the MSRP for the Prowler was, the car just didn’t make any sense. The Prowler could have been so much more, and instead, it was the last new original car to ever hit the market under the Plymouth banner, as the brand was done for beginning with the 2001 model year.
The subcompact car segment has never been particularly strong for domestic automakers. These smaller cars were always lacking in quality and reliability compared to their foreign counterparts. After General Motors purchased Daewoo Motor Company, there were many compact car platforms that the company had access to (via Car & Driver).
The Aveo was one of these cars based on the Daewoo Kalos. The car was heavily marketed as an alternative to the status quo, offering a great amount of interior space and a modern design. The Aveo was on the market for almost a decade despite the fact that the car was constantly panned by critics for quality issues.
For people born in the ’80s and ’90s, the word “torrent” is often a bad word in certain circles. But leave it to GM to try and take a controversial word and build a brand around it. The Torrent was the second SUV to have a Pontiac badge on it and it was offered as an alternative to the other compact SUVs on the market (via Car & Driver).
Unfortunately, the Torrent was a carbon copy of the Chevrolet Equinox in every way, and there was no way to avoid this. The Torrent didn’t end up selling very well, and the Pontiac brand was folded shortly thereafter. GM has tried the compact SUV segment a few times, and the Torrent was one of those projects.
There was a time when the Pontiac division of General Motors was one of the most popular automotive brands in the world. But as the 1990s and 2000s went on, the brand became nothing more than a lineup of rebadged cars shared with other brands in the GM portfolio (via Car & Driver).
The Aztek was a car meant to change all that and was far ahead of its time. The Aztek is an SUV designed for outdoor enthusiasts before the current outdoor craze was even a thought. But the vehicle was universally panned for its hideous styling and lackluster performance.
Sharing almost all its components with the X-Type, the Jaguar S-Type was meant to be a more sedate model in the lineup. The smooth lines and beautifully sculpted interior and exterior were far ahead of their time, and the S-Type was initially a strong selling model for the brand (via Car & Driver).
The Jaguar S-Type was one of the least reliable models ever with a Jaguar badge. For years, the S-Type would soldier on in the line, but consumer tastes for luxury cars were shifting. The Jaguar brand was left in the dust by rivals, which became more luxurious and offered better value.
Believe it or not, there was a time when Jaguar was one of the most prestigious automotive companies in the world. But the 1990s and the 2000s were not a pleasant period of time for the brand. The X-Type was positioned to be one of the future leaders in the brand’s portfolio (via Car & Driver).
The fun-to-drive sedan was energetic and offered a decent amount of power for the price. The problem with the car, as consumers soon learned, was lackluster reliability. The X-Type is considered one of the cars that almost bankrupted Jaguar for Ford.
The Insight has come a long way from the humble beginnings of the original car. The Honda Insight was the quintessential limited hybrid car, with a two-seat design and lackluster performance. The new car, on the other hand, was a completely redesigned model geared toward an entirely different demographic (via Car & Driver).
Unfortunately, the car has never been able to get a foothold on the market. Honda has released a few different incarnations of the Insight but nothing seemed to take off. The current model is similar to the Accord in almost every way and mainly confuses consumers.
The year was 2008 and the country-wide economic recession was impacting America, so it only made sense that Chevy would release a hybrid-powered pickup truck. Although critics universally panned the original Silverado Hybrid and the gas mileage wasn’t much better than the ordinary models (via Car & Driver).
You did get some cool vinyl along the sides of the truck that actually read “hybrid”, but other than that, there wasn’t much to see. The Silverado Hybrid is probably one of the most forgotten vehicles that came out in the new millennium, and one of the last to be released by the “old” GM.
When it was first released, the sky was the limit for the Escape Hybrid. The Escape even saw President George W. Bush drive one of the first models. But the SUV hasn’t had such a great time connecting with consumers, and it has since become a forgotten relic of the 2000s (via Car & Driver).
The normal Escape was a success for Ford but the Hybrid just had too many issues with reliability. As time went on Ford would improve the Escape Hybrid but the initial models were problematic.
The Lexus RX was one of the first crossover vehicles ever on the road. The RX 400h was introduced during the economic recession and managed to sell well initially. The RX is one of the more popular models ever to grace a Lexus dealership lot (via Car & Driver).
But the dated design and the high price tag over the standard model caused the RX 400h to fall by the wayside in terms of popularity. The RX 400h wasn’t that big of an improvement over the original model and consumers would rather just purchase the other trim levels with more luxury features.
The Lexus GS 450h is a noteworthy addition to the standard GS lineup that most consumers have never seen. The appetite for hybrids is not what it once was since most new vehicles get adequate fuel mileage nowadays (via Car & Driver).
The Lexus brand was always centered around high-end luxury and prestige, and the GS hybrid hasn’t caught on with consumers even after all this time. The GS was a notable car in the Lexus lineup, but nowadays the car has become a shell of its former self.
The Accord has always been the voice of reason when it comes to a true economy car. But the Accord Hybrid has always been a useless car when it came to frugality. The original Accord Hybrid was not that much different from the standard models, but it had a fairly heftier price tag (via Car & Driver).
The sudden rush to bring a bunch of hybrid car models to the market in the early 2000s made the Accord Hybrid a potential choice. But it just didn’t offer anything that was much different from the segment leader at the time, which was the Toyota Prius.
The Saturn brand was once considered one of the most promising automotive divisions inside of General Motors. The Vue Green Line was supposed to be the more fuel-efficient version of the compact SUV. In reality, it did nothing to bolster the sales and the Saturn nameplate was shuttered shortly thereafter (via Car & Driver).
The Vue never managed to garner much interest in the compact SUV market although it might have been popular in the current market conditions. Nowadays compact SUV models are quite popular and the Vue might have been a decent contender.
When the original Camry Hybrid was released, it made sense to offer something a bit more comfortable than the Prius. But the current Camry Hybrid is sort of an odd duckling in the current automotive market because there isn’t a market for it anymore. Although the Camry was once a power player in the automotive world, that has changed (via Car & Driver).
So many cars already get excellent gas mileage, and the Camry Hybrid doesn’t offer much over the standard models. You’ll have to pay a higher price for what is the same car.
In the early 2000s, Ford decided to push the Mercury brand in a new direction. There was even a trendy new spokeswoman who appeared in all of its new advertisements (via Car & Driver).
Part of this effort was led by the brand new Mercury Mariner SUV, which shared its platform and design with the Ford Escape. The Mariner was poorly planned, and it failed to garner much interest from female car shoppers, which was part of the reason behind the eventual discontinuation of the Mercury brand.
The Mazda brand was experiencing a resurgence in the mid-2000s, and it was high time that the brand had another swing at the SUV segment. Before the Tribute, the last SUV with a Mazda badge was the Navajo in the early 1990s, and there was still an appetite for an SUV with a Mazda badge on it (via Car & Driver).
There is no point to a hybrid model when there were already the Escape Hybrid and the Mariner Hybrid. Consumers weren’t blind to the fact that the SUVs were eerily similar.
The Highlander was a surprise hit for the company when it originally hit the market. The unique look of the SUV and slightly larger proportions than the 4Runner made it a tempting choice for most consumers. The Highlander Hybrid, on the other hand, was not such a great deal and it only offered a slight increase in fuel economy over the standard model (via Car & Driver).
The Highlander Hybrid has been seen in a few different incarnations, none of which have been particularly popular. With the current model achieving such great fuel economy numbers, there hasn’t been a point in having the Highlander Hybrid in the lineup.
The Escalade is the vehicle that saved the Cadillac nameplate from obscurity and it remains more popular than ever. The Escalade Hybrid was released alongside a slew of other Hybrids from GM during the 2008 economic recession. The idea was to provide consumers with a better fuel economy as gas prices soared, but the truck was never that popular (via Car & Driver).
The Escalade Hybrid wasn’t a strong seller for the brand although it remains a part of the lineup today. There is a small section of Escalade buyers interested in the car, but for the most part, the Escalade Hybrid isn’t worth considering.
The Chevy Malibu was one of the classic nameplates that the company reintroduced in the 1990s. But since then, the car has been bland and relegated to rental car fleet status. The Malibu Hybrid didn’t offer all that much fuel economy to justify its increased price tag (via Car & Driver).
The current model of the Malibu is due to be discontinued after 2023 as GM moves away from the passenger car segment. Instead, the company is going to be focusing on the rising popularity of crossovers.
The idea behind the Durango Hybrid was much the same as the many other hybrids on the market, providing a value proposition for consumers tired of paying the high gas prices. Unfortunately, the Durango Hybrid didn’t achieve much improvement in fuel economy over the standard Durango models, and thus most consumers went the other way (via Car & Driver).
The Durango Hybrid is a noteworthy piece of Dodge history, but not a vehicle that most people run to when it comes to value. This period for Dodge was not the best, and the Durango Hybrid is evidence of that.
Who releases a large luxury SUV amid an economic recession? Chrysler decided to, and it didn’t exactly work out. The Aspen could have been the worst possible timing in the history of the automotive industry. The Aspen Hybrid hit the market at the wrong time and was an awful SUV in terms of quality and refinement (via Car & Driver).
Chrysler did nothing more than slap luxury badges onto a Dodge Durango with the Aspen. The Hybrid version was an even worse excuse for a money grab. There were far better hybrid vehicles on the market around 2009, and Chrysler rushed this one to the market.
The Altima Hybrid was not the most planned vehicle in the Nissan lineup, which is why it bombed. Overall, the Nissan Altima Hybrid was nothing more than a quick cash grab by Nissan to try and jump on the bandwagon Toyota was already leading with the Prius (via Car & Driver).
The price tag for the Altima Hybrid was far more than the price for the standard car, and the added fuel economy wasn’t that much better. The quality of the car was also lacking and reliability was questionable at best.
The Tahoe was a volume leader for GM until 2008 and sales started to slide. The hybrid model shared all its components with the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, and it didn’t offer much compelling value (via Car & Driver).
The added fuel economy was only a few numbers over the standard Tahoe models and the hybrid was much more limited. There was no off-road capability, and the height of the vehicle was also a lot lower.
BMW is still relatively new to the hybrid game as the company continues to adapt to a changing market. Critics panned the design of the X6 for being too extreme and also for reliability problems early on (via Car & Driver).
The BMW X6 ActiveHybrid didn’t sell well for the automaker, and the brand has continued to try and evolve in terms of hybrid design. The standard X6 was a much more popular option that more consumers could get behind.
The Fusion was a surprise hit for the Ford Motor Company. It Became a strong seller and diminished the substandard reputation established by the Taurus. The car had everything consumers wanted: style, performance, and technology (via Car & Driver).
The hybrid model, on the other hand, was not as lucky, and it didn’t provide much improvement over the standard trim levels. Ford hasn’t had a lot of luck in the hybrid segment, so this is no surprise.
What does it take to make a successful family sedan? Well, in the case of Toyota, that would be its best-selling Camry. But the brand also offers the Avalon as well, a car that has never had a solid place in the lineup (via Car & Driver).
The Avalon Hybrid only added to the confusion by offering a car with a higher price tag but offered less value. The Avalon Hybrid never sold very well, and the car only continues to cloud the already expansive lineup.
The WRX was, at one point, one of the most impressive cars on the road, but in recent years the car has become quite dated. Gone are the unique design elements that made the car popular from the start. Instead, we have an almost decade-old design (via Electrifying).
The WRX seems to be living on the laurels of its reputation alone, which is not what most automakers want to have to happen. Time will tell if Subaru will finally update the WRX or if the clock is running out for the storied car.
The Smart Car brand was a cool novelty when it first hit the market, but after about a decade, the Smart Car has grown long in the tooth. Toyota, on the heels of canceling the Scion division, decided to re-brand the Smart EQ as the Scion IQ (via Electrifying).
Both cars have been a failure, but Smart still manages to try and market these cars. The appetite for a tiny deathtrap seems to be gone as most automotive makers are exhibiting great fuel economy numbers.
Nissan has tried to build a great full-size pickup truck for almost 20 years, but time and again the Titan just falls short of the competition. The Titan XD took that failure to a whole new level by providing a truck that was almost good enough but fell short again (via Car & Driver).
There is a lot to love about the Titan XD, but for the price tag, there’s a lot more to dislike about the truck. Nissan does build an excellent mid-size truck in the Nissan Frontier, and time will tell if the Titan will be discontinued.
We’re not sure what exact purpose the Mirage has in the automotive world. The lethargic performance and poor finish will remind you of a subcompact that came out in the 1990s, but this car is being sold as something brand-new (via Car & Driver).
There was a time decades ago when the Mirage was a lot in the automotive industry, but the current model is something drivers should forget about in today’s evolving auto market.
Land Rover’s reputation has been tarnished over the years for poor reliability and build quality issues. The Discovery Sport was initially lauded for a great new design, but the same issues have started to pop up (via Consumer Reports).
Whether it be in the transmission or the electrical compartments, the Discovery has not been the most popular car when it comes to consumer satisfaction.
The Renegade was an interesting proposition for the Jeep brand, as it provides a compact SUV to consumers. But the Fiat underpinnings are not hard to hide, and the Renegade has been panned for its lack of reliability. The Renegade is also not a true Jeep in terms of off-road capability, and consumers are hip to this (via The Drive).
There are better compact SUV models on the market that you can get, and the Jeep Renegade isn’t one of them. The lack of quality in the design just makes the SUV fall short in just about every way.
Sharing its underpinnings with the Jeep Renegade, the Fiat 500X has also fallen on deaf ears in recent years. Although the exterior design of the SUV is quite attractive the underpinnings leave a lot to be desired. The lack of build quality and refinement, coupled with the high price tag, makes the 500X something you should avoid (via Edmunds).
Fiat hasn’t had the best run when it comes to quality and the 500X is only another nail in the coffin for the brand. Compact SUV models like this one are a dime a dozen nowadays and the 500X doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
The Fiat 500L is another crossover model the brand is selling that has been on the market for a while now. The idea behind the car was to offer something more substantial than the standard Fiat 500 (via Car & Driver).
In reality, the car only took a lot of the shortcomings from the standard 500 and magnified them. The lack of build quality and questionable reliability make the car a seeming passable option for most consumers.
The Journey has been on the market for a long time, and in that time it didn’t offer much in the way of value. These things were plagued by transmission failures and reliability issues that made most consumers turn the other way. The dated design of the Journey didn’t help things out either (via Consumer Reviews).
The Journey could have been a sales success for Dodge, but it didn’t offer enough value for consumers that are going to other places. This wasn’t the only crossover SUV on the market, and it took Dodge a while to realize that.
The Alfa Romeo brand returning to the US market was big news initially as the cars were known for spirited design and performance. But the models we received here have been less than impressive (via Car & Driver).
Reliability issues have plagued the Alfa Romeo Giulia, and a few recalls have left consumers scratching their heads. The Giulia has a high price tag and consumers expect a quality product. However, that just isn’t the case with this model, making it one of the worst new cars to be released in the new millennium.