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Popular ’90s Sports Cars That Failed To Justify The Hype

Cameron EittreimJanuary 15, 2020

via: GT
via: GT

13. Pontiac Grand AM GT

The little brother of the much larger Grand Prix was usually understated in terms of styling. But with the redesign, GM looked to change all of this and bring the car into the next decade. The styling of the Grand AM GT was very refreshing to say the least. But the performance from the Ram Air V6 was pretty mediocre. There were some cool aspects of the car but for the most part, it fell short.

via: Car Gurus
via: Car Gurus

GM had promised the automotive community that the Grand AM GT would be a standout car. But when it came down to it the car was just lacking real power and performance. When you took a look at the exterior of the car, that was a real letdown. Aat the time the Grand AM, was one of the best-looking cars on the market.

via: Car Gurus
via: Car Gurus

12. Pontiac Sunfire GT

The Sunfire was a compact car sold by Pontiac for over three decades. The compact Pontiac had a lot of features that made it stand out from the crowd. The overall design was exciting at a time when small cars were underpowered and boring. But the actual production version of the car fell short in terms of design and implementation. What made the Sunfire GT fall short was its underpowered engine.

via: Neo Drive
via: Neo Drive

The car shared most of its sheet metal with the Chevrolet Cavalier at the time. This was a drawback for most consumers who wanted something sportier in terms of design. There were a lot of expectations for the Sunfire GT from a track standpoint because of Pontiac’s other well-performing cars.

via: Acura
via: Acura

11. Acura CL

When you look back on the Acura lineup of the ’90s, there are a few things that come to mind. The brand was known for producing well-appointed sporty cars. But the next generation of the CL was nothing more than a souped-up Honda Accord. The car shared most of its exterior styling with the sedate Honda, which is what made the CL lack personality.

via: Acura
via: Acura

The CL could have been a capable performance coupe with the right features. But somewhere along the line, Honda missed out on something. Without the execution, the CL was a substantial letdown. Resale values for these cars have started to creep up in recent years, but they’re nothing to get too excited about.

via: Neo Drive
via: Neo Drive

10. 1990 Toyota Celica

The bold-faced 1990 Celica was a departure from the traditional styling that had made the sports car a success. There were quite a few notable features of this Celica, such as the AWD version. The car was underpowered compared to offerings from Mitsubishi and Eagle. The design was a bit lackluster and the car looked dated even at the time it was on the market.

via: Car Photos
via: Car Photos

There’s a lot that Toyota could have done differently with this generation of the Celica. The car had the potential to perform well on the market, especially as the larger Supra was gaining popularity. The Celica has always been a staple of the Toyota lineup, but this model was just a letdown.

via: Car Gurus
via: Car Gurus

9. 1995 Toyota Celica

The next generation of the Celica didn’t score very well either. Although the swooping design was better for the most part, the car still had a lot of drawbacks to it. The powerplant was still weak, especially when compared to other coupes on the market. This generation of the car didn’t have a specific sport version, and instead, it was marketed as a lightweight sports coupe.

via: Parts Open
via: Parts Open

The bug-eyed design did look a lot better than the previous generation. But looks are only skin deep, and the car didn’t perform well otherwise. You can drive the Celica comfortably and still have a level of enjoyment with it. But as far as a true sports car, the Celica of this generation was still a disappointment.

via: CDN
via: CDN

8. 1999 Audi TT

The Audi TT was a big advancement over the previous Audi sports coupes on the market. But when you thought about what the design brought to the table, it was nothing immensely noticeable for the brand. The turbocharged motor was one of the advantages, and the Quattro drivetrain made the TT a stellar bargain in terms of design and sheer horsepower.

via: Diesel Station
via: Diesel Station

But the design was unimaginative and the car lacked any sort of creativity. The TT stayed in production for over a decade and was perhaps one of the biggest disappointments to come out of the decade. Audi has long been a proponent of innovative technology and driving characteristics, and the TT fell short.

via: Super Street Online
via: Super Street Online

7. Honda Del Sol

Honda had quite a few hits during the ’90s as the cars that hit the market were well-designed. The Del Sol, on the other hand, was a bit of an oddball in terms of design. The car looked a lot faster then it was. There are certain aspects of the Del Sol that could have been a winner. But Honda decided to keep the car fairly underpowered and performance was just not up to par.

via: Modified Car Racer
via: Modified Car Racer

There were certain aspects of the design that were innovative, such as the Targa-top. Honda has come a long way in design and performance, but the Del Sol is a blip in company history. There has never been another car that is like the Del Sol, and there probably won’t be.

6. Acura NSX

Acura was on a bold new path during the ’90s as the brand was creating new, one-of-a-kind vehicles. The NSX was a bold new supercar that was designed to put the Acura brand on the map for new and innovative designs. The NSX had a lot of unique benefits to it that made the car stand out for the most part. What made it so unique was its mid-engined design.

via: Acura
via: Acura

But what could have been one of the fastest cars on the road ended up being a disappointment because it lacked a truly powerful engine. Acura decided to go with a V6 instead of going for a larger displacement. This left a lot of the automotive industry in awe because the car was disappointing for the most part.

via: Hemmings
via: Hemmings

5. Plymouth Prowler

Chrysler was looking to create unique cars and get some semblance of quality back into their lineup again. The Prowler was a retro-themed roadster that had an immense amount of suspense and excitement around it. What made the Prowler such a letdown was not the design, but rather the lackluster V6 engine underneath the hood. You’d think that a car like this would have a powerful V8 engine.

via: Motor 1
via: Motor 1

Instead, the Prowler got the same V6 engine you’d find in a Dodge Intrepid. Why Chrysler decided to use such a lackluster motor in such a beautiful sports coupe is beyond us. The Prowler developed quite a reputation for its striking design and innovative features, but when it came down to it, the car was disappointing.

via: Motor Trend
via: Motor Trend

4. Porsche 968

Porsche had a couple of unique sports car models during the ’90s. The main problem with the Porsche 968 was that the design was becoming ancient. When you think of a car that is quintessential ’90s, the 968 is it. The design was very close to Porsche models of the previous decade. The performance was derived from a powerful engine, but the design was dated.

via: Hemmings
via: Hemmings

The interior of the 968 was cramped inside and the materials were not up to par in terms of quality. The 968 was a disappointment in terms of what the sports car could have been and what it was. Other models were very close in terms of design and offered more features.

via: Motor Trend
via: Motor Trend

3. Isuzu Impulse

The Isuzu brand wasn’t known for developing sports cars into the ’90s. But at the start of the decade, there was one. If it looks familiar, that’s because the Impulse shared its sheet metal with the Storm. The overall design of the Impulse was very dated, even at the time of its release. There was a hatchback version of the Impulse that was also worth noting, although it didn’t offer a lot in terms of features.

via: Barnfinds
via: Barnfinds

The Impulse could have been a success for the Isuzu brand. But at the time of release, the company was shifting gears toward developing sport utility vehicles. Had the Impulse had a better design and a more powerful engine, it might have made it into the next generation of sports cars.

via: Flickr
via: Flickr

2. Geo Storm

GM was so determined to break into the import market during the ’90s that they thought the Storm was the best route to take. The car was a sheer clone of the Isuzu Impulse in every sense of the term. What made things even worse was the fact that there was no difference other than the badging on each vehicle. In terms of performance, the Storm wasn’t anything that was much more fun to drive.

The Geo Storm lasted longer than the Impulse, but buyers who were looking for cheap fun were disappointed. The car had the potential to be a fun little bargain-basement sports car. But instead, GM went the cheap route and just chose to rebadge an existing model.

via: Automobile Mag
via: Automobile Mag

1. Subaru SVX

When you think about impressive feats, the Subaru brand has come a long way. The company has a lot of longevity, and the Impreza is one of the most popular cars around. But there was a time when the brand had another sports car on the market. The Subaru SVX was an odd-looking sports car that utilized the same turbocharged engine you’d find in the Impreza.

via: Automobile Mag
via: Automobile Mag

There were a lot of benefits that made the SVX a great sports car. But other elements of the design just made it fall short. The car could have been a real success for the Subaru brand. But when you think about it, the car fell short. The awkwardly-designed SVX will go down in history for having a rather unique design that’s hard to forget.

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