For some, Thanksgiving is a time for turkey. For others, turkey is a year-round treat — one that’s driven. Yes, there are a number of four-wheeled turkeys. Give this list a look, and then give thanks these turkeys have passed from new car showrooms.
Why it’s foul: Little more than a stretched K-Car, this has to be the worst Chrysler Imperial ever built. With boxy styling and soggy handling that was two decades out of date, the tarted up Imperial looked exactly like the cheaper Chrysler Fifth Avenue. And it used the notoriously trouble-prone 4-speed Ultradrive automatic transmission. A sad end to a once-great name.
GMC Envoy XUV
Why it’s foul: Mimicking an idea that was equally unpopular 40 years prior in the 1963 Studebaker Lark Wagonaire, GMC put a sunroof over the cargo hold, not the passenger compartment. And while you could transform the Envoy XUV in a pickup truck, its 1,208-pound payload was too low to make it useable — especially if you’re hauling an appliance. And what did XUV stand for anyway? Xtra Ungainly Vehicle?
Why it’s foul: Just look at the Crosstour, and you’ll know why this vehicle never proved popular. Built using the Honda Accord platform, it was 2.5 inches longer, 2 inches wider and 7.6 inches taller, which did wonders for utility, but did nothing for its looks. Looking more like a Honda with a glandular condition than a true utility vehicle, Honda struggled to sell it by the end of its run.
Why it’s foul: After Ford Motor Co. acquired Jaguar, they sought to make it a mass market luxury brand — something it had never been. In an effort to battle the rear-wheel-drive BMW 3 Series, Ford took the front-wheel-drive Ford Mondeo, sold stateside as the Ford Contour, and doused it retro styling. The results fooled no one, except Ford executives. It didn’t feel like a real Jaguar, and its premature transmission failures didn’t help its reputation either.
Why it’s foul: A luxury pickup with a cargo bed lined in aluminum and carpet and topped it with a cargo bed cover that can’t be removed, the Blackwood was better for hauling polo mallets than garden pallets. Lincoln pulled the plug after 3,356 were built, making it the shortest-lived Lincoln in history. Ford Motor Co. didn’t have an American CEO at the time, leading to this expensive mistake.
Why it’s foul: Arriving shortly after the rear-wheel-drive Mazda Miata debuted, the front-wheel-drive Capri used parts from the previous-generation Mazda 323. The Capri couldn’t help but be compared to a Miata, which had more enticing styling, superior build quality, and sportier handling. Lackluster doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
Why it’s foul: The brainchild of former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, it’s rumored that Ghosn’s wife desired a topless Murano. The result was this bulky lump that lacks sex appeal, decent driving dynamics, or storage space. And its array of vibrant pastel paint choices ensures that no one with Y-Chromosome will be caught driving one, unless forced to by their significant other.
Why it’s foul: The Pontiac Aztek started as a decent-looking concept. But GM’s bureaucratic product development process, beholden to corporate bean-counters, insisted it be built on the corporate GM’s minivan platform. The resulting vehicle was so ugly, it looked better with its optional tent open. But it did have its charms, such as the center console doubled as a removable cooler. Still a great idea, it’s one that no one has copied.
Why it’s foul: Given its Lilliputian size, you’d expect this two-seat hatchback’s raison d’être would be stellar fuel economy. But you’d be wrong. Produced as a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Swatch, the ForTwo was already a decade old when it arrived in the U.S. and was powered by a Mitsubishi engine, rather than the German engines used in Europe. Outclassed by every other economy car, the Smart seemed to be misnamed.
Why it’s foul: Talk about bait and switch. When Volkswagen trotted out a production version of its retro-themed New Beetle concept, it seemed that the Microbus concept would soon follow. Instead, VW released the Routan, basically a fancier Chrysler Town & Country that was nothing like the Eurovans, Vanagons and Microbuses that preceded it. Even after decades in the U.S. market, the Routan proved VW executives didn’t understand their customers.