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3 Terrible Cars We Love Anyway

Pontiac Aztek
Let's begin with the Aztek, which Edmunds ranked as the worst car of all time, saying that not only was it ugly but also that it destroyed an 84-year-old brand. The Aztec was defended by two veterans of the automotive industry.

Ed Ohlin, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, resident who is former head of U.S. product development for Toyota (TM), said he sometimes sees an Aztek at the grocery store, and it doesn't look that bad to him.

In fact, "as long as it is not in certain two-tones, it is not the worst-looking vehicle of all time and in fact many not in the car biz would not give it a second notice," Ohlin writes. "It looks like many other more modern crossovers, although the rear-window graphics do show a great lack of taste."

As far as reliability, Ohlin writes, "my guess is that it was just average or slightly below Pontiac [average] warranty costs after its first year." And Aztek did not kill Pontiac, he says. Rather, the brand "was killed because it was another victim of better Japanese and German alternatives and because of serious badge engineering mistakes by GM."

Pittsburgh resident Dominic Dascola, a longtime employee of GM and GM dealerships and a classic-car enthusiast, writes: "The Aztek was certainly ugly, but I wholeheartedly disagree that it destroyed the Pontiac brand. Pontiac failed because of bad overall management of GM, not because of the Aztek."

Dascola concedes that the 2001 debut car was bad, but "the vehicle was immediately refreshed the following year, dropping the goofy-looking gray cladding and going with a monotone paint scheme, amongst other needed changes to the appearance." The vehicle itself, he says "was not a problem child [and] did not have numerous recalls. It drove and handled very nicely."

In retrospect, Dascola thinks the Aztek deserves to be honored for being the first crossover vehicle. "It launched a hugely successful new market segment that still captures a good piece of the market," he says. "That in itself makes it one of the most successful vehicles in history."

And by the way, Dascola asks: "Where's the Pinto on this list? The Pinto triggered an immensely more negative impact to the overall market than Aztek could ever dream of."
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