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Cars From The Last 20 Years That Should Be Wiped From Auto History

Cameron EittreimJune 15, 2022

Photo Credit: Ford

15: 2002 Ford ZX2

The Escort was always an integral part of the Ford lineup. But by the 2000s, the market for compact cars was quite crowded. The ZX2 had a barebones design with cheap interior materials and lackluster build quality. This was not a sports car in any sense even though Ford tried to bill it as excitement (via Forbes).

Ford Escort ZX2
Photo Credit: Car Domain

The ZX2 would trudge on for a few more years, but this is one Ford that should be wiped from history. The car made no sense, and there wasn’t enough there to justify even purchasing one of these.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

14: 2002 Volkswagen Cabrio

The Cabrio was one of the last convertible models sold by Volkswagen. The car had a lot of potential but the reliability was lacking. The design of the car was also quite dated when you compared it to other models on the road. The Cabrio was meant to be a fun-to-drive car but it was anything but that (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

For years, the Cabrio was sold as part of the Volkswagen lineup, but by the 2000s it was time for a change. Volkswagen switched things up, and the Cabrio was removed from the lineup shortly thereafter.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

13: 2002 Suzuki Aerio

The Aerio was a notable subcompact released by Suzuki. It had a lot of potential because it was modern and offered a fair amount of standard features. But the cheap design wasn’t compelling enough to sell the car and sales were low (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The Aerio got a nice refresh in 2005 but it still wasn’t enough to boost sales. The Aerio was unreliable, and many consumers were upset with the cheap build quality. There were some decent attributes about the Aerio, but it wasn’t the right car for drivers in the end.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

12: 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mirage was one of the most paltry compact cars ever sold. The 2001 model was extremely stripped-down, especially compared to other models on the market. The Mirage was unlike the rest of the Mitsubishi lineup, including the popular Lancer (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

Calling it a basic car is an understatement overall. It had a cheap plastic interior and lack of options, and the car was extremely unsafe. Mitsubishi is known for its performance, but the Mirage was far from anything exciting.

Hyundai Santa Fe via Hyundai
Photo Credit: Hyundai

11: 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe

The Santa Fe was the first SUV with a Hyundai badge and for the most part, it was well-received. But the build quality of the Santa Fe was far from perfect, and the first models were full of problems. The bright spot was that Hyundai offers one of the best warranties in the automotive business (via Forbes).

2004 Hyundai Santa Fe via Motor Trend
Photo Credit: Hyundai

The Santa Fe was not as off-road capable as many other SUVs from this period. The styling was also debatable, and it could be said Hyundai was aiming for a feminine look. The Santa Fe has managed to stay on the market to this day. Hyundai gradually improved the model as years went on.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

10: 2001 Pontiac Aztek

The Aztek was the first SUV with a Pontiac badge and was heavily marketed by GM. There was product placement in a few well-known TV shows and extensive advertising. The problem with the Aztek is that it was universally panned for excessive body cladding and its performance was lackluster at best (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: GM

The shape of the Aztek was also confusing, although there were many useful outdoor features like a built-in tent. In recent years, the Aztek has gained a cult-like following after it was featured in the hit TV show, “Breaking Bad”.

Photo Credit: Bring A Trailer

9: 2001 Suzuki XL-7

The Suzuki brand was quite limited by 2001. The company wanted to jump onto the SUV craze and decided to launch a stretched version of the Suzuki Vitara SUV. The XL-7 was the first compact SUV with seven-passenger seating and this proved popular (via Forbes).

Suzuki Xl7 #5 | BestCarMagz.net
Photo Credit: Best Car Magz

The XL-7 was a modest success for Suzuki, and there was a version of the model sold until Suzuki exited the American market. The problem is that the XL-7 was nothing more than a stretched Vitara and wasn’t refined. There were much better SUV options on the market at the time.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

8: 2000 Nissan Quest

Nissan tried to jump onto the highly profitable minivan run of the late 1990s. The problem is that no one could approach Chrysler’s dominance during this era. The Quest was a lot smaller in size than Chrysler minivans and its performance was even worse (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

To say the Quest was a crowning achievement for the company would be a lie. Nissan cars from this era were just coming into their own. The company would experience a resurgence a few years later, but it wouldn’t be due to this car. The Quest never stood a chance against the Chrysler minivans.

Photo Credit: Car Gurus

7: 2000 Nissan Sentra

The Sentra has always been a runner-up to the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic. It’s not necessarily that the car was bad, but it just wasn’t as good. The 2000 Nissan Sentra was about the most bread-and-butter compact car you could get. Performance was lackluster at best and the interior was cramped (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: Car Gurus

The car would get some attitude in a slightly refreshed model a few years later. This generation of the Sentra has mostly been relegated to junkyards at this point. There were better compact cars released in this era. The Sentra wasn’t up to snuff when it came to the compact car segment.

Photo Credit: Jalopnik

6: 2000 Daewoo Nubira

Daewoo is a Korean automaker that had an interesting run in the United States. The automaker had a unique advertising structure here in the U.S. where college students were used to promoting the cars. Although this was a unique strategy, Daewoo sales in the U.S. were minuscule at best (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: Jalopnik

The Nubira was a mid-range car that offered decent standard features for the price. But its cheap design and lackluster reliability meant many consumers turned their backs on the car.

Photo Credit: Jalopnik

5: 2000 Daewoo Lanos

The Lanos was the smaller model of the brand and an entry-level offering for new customers. Daewoo was not selling the most advanced or luxurious cars on the road. Around this time, there were quite a few subcompacts on the market and the Lanos didn’t offer anything new (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: Jalopnik

The Lanos was also not the most reliable car on the road and word got out quickly. The few consumers who purchased a Daewoo were not impressed with its quality. The brand was in trouble and sales were not going to be improved anytime soon.

Photo Credit: Jalopnik

4: 2000 Kia Spectra

The Kia brand you see today is nothing close to what it was two decades ago. Kia started out in the U.S. market very lean. The Spectra was one of the first new models introduced to the brand after the Sportage and the Sephia. The Spectra offered great gas mileage and a unique design (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: Jalopnik

But as with all first model runs, the Spectra had many quality issues from the gate. The car was underpowered and the exterior was not the best looking. The Kia dealership network was also quite small at this time.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

3: 2000 Kia Sportage

Although it’s not the most common car around, the Sportage was one of the first mainstream compact SUVs. But the Toyota RAV4 often overshadowed the Sportage and the Honda CR-V. That’s not to say the Kia Sportage was a bad vehicle, but Kia didn’t have the type of dealership network that big automakers had at the time (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

When it came down to it, the first generation of the Sportage was a very basic vehicle. There was a removable top, and there were some unique attributes to the thing. It just wasn’t enough to propel the Sportage into the same popularity as the other compact SUV models.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

2: 2000 Kia Sephia

By the time 2000 rolled around, the Sephia was tired. It was the first car launched by the Kia Motors Company in the U.S., and that was back in 1994. The car hadn’t changed all that much since then. On top of that, the Sephia was a lot smaller and underpowered than the other compact cars on the market (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

The 2000 Sephia had some of the worst sales in the model’s history and Kia was moving on. The Spectra was the replacement, and the subcompact Rio was also going to hit the market. There was no room for the outdated compact car to be in the lineup and Kia moved on.

Photo Credit: GM

1: 2000 Saturn L-Series

The Saturn brand was a unique offering in the automotive industry when it first hit the market. General Motors invested billions of dollars in the development of the brand and the unique cars sold. The Saturn models were unique to this brand and not shared with any other GM models (via Forbes).

Photo Credit: Jalopnik

By the time the L-Series rolled around, the Saturn models were dated. There were better compact offerings that had come to the market. Everything that made the Saturn brand unique at the start was not there anymore. You could say the L-Series spelled the end for Saturn.

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