Monday, July 15, 2013

Top 10: New cars that don’t live up to the hype

Just like newest restaurants or the latest blockbuster movie, there are plenty of new cars and trucks that don’t live up to their advertised hype and some automakers ask prices for cars that don’t equal their real-life value.
From the hundreds of new 2013 models, here are our 10 most overrated new cars and trucks for 2013.
2013 BMW 3 Series
Here’s one of the biggest reasons why the once-cultish BMW brand has become the No. 1 selling luxury brand on the planet: the let’s-try-to-keep-everybody-happy 3 Series. To be clear, the seventh-generation (or F30/31 for Bimmer fans) is still one of the better driving cars in its class. But turbo-fours instead of naturally aspirated straight-six engines, wonky electric steering and odd-ball body styles (hello, 3 Series Gran Turismo) means the 3 Series is far from The Ultimate Driving Machine buyers believe it to be.
2013 Fiat 500 by Gucciinfested byways of Canada.
2013 Fiat 500
Built for driving in crowded, cobblestoned Italian towns and cities, the Fiat 500 looks chic. And if you can’t afford a Mini Cooper, the 500 works as a cheap alternative, but like the Smart ForTwo, the subcompact Fiat is best driven in its natural home. With little driving refinement or comfort on long drives, the 500 isn’t well-suited for the open spaces and large-vehicle-infested byways of Canada.
Debuting at this year's Geneva Motor Show was the new Ferrari LaFerrari supercar.
Any new Ferrari
Speaking of overrated Italian cars, welcome to the surreal space in the automotive world where Ferrari resides. In mythical Ferrariland, inhabitants forget that less-expensive offerings from the likes of Lamborghini or McLaren even exist, or let alone are available without having to endure waiting lists that can allegedly span into years, or (again allegedly) the hazing ritual Ferrari dealers put upon potential new buyers by forcing them to buy a used model first.
2013 Tesla Model S
Did any current Tesla owner watch The Revenge of the Electric Car? If they did, I can’t imagine why they’d hand their money over to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Sure, the guy’s great at launching online pay services or commercial rockets. For buyers to pay more than US$103,000 for a car that needs to be plugged-in, has no reliability record and a thin dealer network can only mean Tesla’s hype machine is better than the actual car.
2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
American sports coupes
Based on the hype of long-gone youth from the 1960s and ‘70s, the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang continue to get away with old-timey engines, poor space utilization and tired styling. Looking at the three together, it’s as if the ‘80s and ‘90s never happened. My predication? When the last Baby Boomer leaves this planet, that’s when we’ll see the end of this trio of coupes designed to generate more nostalgia than outright driving pleasure.
This Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport set a land speed record for production cars of 431 kilometres an hour.
2013 Bugatti Veyron
Sure, it has more horsepower than four 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingrays put together and can be driven at more than four times the legal road speed limit, but the Bugatti Veyron may be the most overrated new vehicle you can buy. Most of the Bugatti’s performance potential is limited by either the Veyron owner’s driving skills or lack of space to wring it out properly. And really: for $2.5-million, this car isn’t winning any beauty contests.
2013 Land Rover Ranger Rover Evoque
Any new Range Rover
Like Italy’s Ferrari, Land Rover’s Range Rover vehicles demand a premium price based on an inflated reputation. The list of less expensive SUVs and crossovers that outperform most Range Rovers is too long to list here. Perhaps the worst offender is the compact Evoque. Performing many of the same basic functions as many other compact crossovers, the Range Rover is twice the price of a Ford Escape, of which it uses the same turbocharged four-cylinder engine.


2013 Porsche 911 Carrera
The term “sports car” gets taken out of context a lot by automotive marketing types. A good example is the new-generation 911 Carrera. Despite graduating to the largergrand touring — or GT — class of vehicle, Porsche refuses to give up the 911’s legendary “sports car” moniker. Look, if you really want a “sports car” made by Porsche, go get a Boxster or Cayman.
2013 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson
Full-sized pickups
They’re too big, too thirsty and no fun to drive, but Canadians and Americans continue to buy full-sized pickups. In fact, now more than ever before. Interestingly, you’ll find no other two nations on the planet where full-sized pickups are the best-selling vehicles. So while there are just as many plumbers and electrical contractors in Australia and Austria as there is in North America, there are fewer people in those countries who think a full-sized pickup as a daily driver is a good idea.
2013 Hyundai Veloster
Absolutely nobody would consider the Hyundai Accent a “performance car,” but put a swoopy body on it, give it a new name reminiscent of a perennially poor performing Toronto professional basketball team — and et volia! — you have the Veloster. While the coupe’s looks say “sports car,” the Veloster’s crash-and-bang suspension, tepid acceleration, squirrelly steering and notchy manual gearbox shifter will have you screaming “Accent!”