Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Auto Countdown: Worst Cars that I drove in 2012

2012 was an interesting year for me. In addition to covering cars that I have seen at the various car shows, I have also done test drives. In 2012, I started a series of cars that I have driven, First Drive Reviews. In 2012, I have driven sports cars, compact cars, midsize sedans, muscle cars, hybrids, a turbocharged sports sedan, and an electric car. With 2012 coming to an end, I think it is time to reflect on the cars that put a smile on my face during the test drive and cars that were pleasant surprises. While I enjoyed driving some of these cars, there were a three that did not impress me. These are the three cars I never want to drive again.

3. Toyota Prius

I find the Toyota Prius overrated. I just do not get why this car is popular. I does not have the aggressive or sporty styling I like. I slammed on the accelerator pedal, but it slowly accelerated. The interior is nothing. I hit my head while sitting in the back of the car. One thing I do not like is that the gear shifter is located on the dashboard, not on the center console. To me, having the gear shifter on the dashboard makes the Prius feel like I am driving a minivan. I drove the Prius on the highway and was afraid that I was going to get in an accident due to the Prius' poor acceleration. You can say that I am picking on the Prius because it is popular, but I was just not impressed with the Prius. I found it boring to drive. The main way to improve the Prius is to add a more powerful hybrid engine that can greatly improve the acceleration of the Prius, to make it safer for highway driving. 

2. Chevrolet Volt

At the 2012 Houston Auto, certain cars were available for test drives. I went with my dad. He sat in the back while I drove the cars. The Chevrolet Camaro and Chevrolet Volt were available for test drives, but you had to drive another non-Cadillac GM car. I drove three Buicks. There was a line for the Camaro, but no line for the Volt. I wished I waited in the Camaro line because the Volt was very unimpressive. The car has poor acceleration, underwhelming power, and a bland interior. The car has a 0-60 mph time of 9.0 seconds, which is slow in my books. For a car that costs $41,000, not including the $7,500 tax refund incentive, this was just boring and unimpressive. If I am going to spend over $40,000 on any car, the car must be comfortable and fun to drive. The Chevrolet Volt was neither. At least this car did not try to destroy my back when I drove it.

1. Buick Regal 2.0T

While the Volt and Prius are unimpressive, those two cars were not trying to destroy my back. Just one minute in the Regal and my back was already sore. I also drove the Buick LaCrosse and Buick Verano, but those cars were very comfortable to drive and my dad had plenty of room in back of both cars. My dad is 5' 5" and he was hitting his head on the ceiling of the car. The 2.0L turbocharged engine produces 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Regal was the most powerful car I drove at the 2012 Houston Auto Show, but it was the least comfortable car to drive. The suspension was too stiff. One way to improve the rough drive is to have a way for the driver to adjust the suspension. The driver can make the softer for everyday driving. When the driver wants to take this car to track days or want to have fun while driving on curvy roads, the driver can make the suspension stiffer. GM could have used the magnetic ride suspension found on the Cadillac CTS-V and Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1. I did not do a First Drive Review on the Regal Turbo because my back hurts just trying to remember the test drive. I can handle substandard performance if I am very comfortable in the car. But if the car causes me pain, then I could care less about the performance of the car. The Buick Regal Turbo is the worst car I drove in 2012 since it was very painful to drive.

Next up on my 2012 reflection, I am going to cover the cars that were pleasant surprises.

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