Maybe because their prospective “hype” machines were not working properly; perhaps because there were other cars that were prepared to shout that little bit louder or make a fuss until they got all of the attention; or maybe simply because people can at times be wrong, me included. But from time to time we miss things, either because we are looking another way, or because we do not want to admit seeing them in the first place.
Here are some cars from the last decade that can fit into this category – the forgotten, the ignored or that damn right missed altogether. We are looking at, in typical game show tradition – what we could have won.
Subaru Legacy 3.0
Subaru are renowned Japanese car specialists, but because car nuts simply wanted the WRX, they overlooked the 3.0R. Indeed chatter was more about 2.5 l GT, thus ignoring the 4-WD 3.0 which threw out 240+ bhp. It’s a true shame that the Japanese car specialists missed a trick here.
Probably the VW badge did a disservice to a great car that was in truth part Bentley, for the price of an Audi, but with that badge… This car came loaded, and I mean loaded with every luxury possible to fit into a luxury car, but the badge perhaps caused some to look elsewhere – their loss.
Jaguar XJR – not XJ-R
390 bhp, supercharged V8 engine gave it some real power, but it never turned heads because it appeared so slow you might mistake it for being parked. How looks can be mistaken, just like car-buying customers.
Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6
The old Mercedes AMG parts, cobbled together with Fiat/Chrysler parts made up the Crossfire. It was simply a case of the sum of the parts individually being a lot more than when they were totalled together – there was no reason for this, it was a good car, but it just perhaps looked a little funny, so people thought “no”.
Korean based Hyundai were once labelled as the poor relatives of say Japanese car specialists such as Toyota, but their investment in research and development, together with styling has made them great manufacturers. Unfortunately, there remains some badge snobbery, and the Hyundai has suffered as a result. This, I am pleased to say is however changing, just maybe not fast enough.
Suzuki Swift Sport
Whilst hot hatches continue to boost power – the Mercedes A45 AMG will have 354bhp, more than the old E55! – The Suzuki offers a more modest 132bhp, but on today’s busy roads, that’s more than enough. It is also perfectly balanced and poised, thus making it ideal, yet the “low” power numbers may put people off.
The poor man’s Porsche it has been called or worse still, for middle aged men, the Men-o-Porsche. Shocking really as performance is rather special, but not 911 special. It will always suffer for being the entry level model and that is simply criminal.
People would rather spend more money on a Golf, but these people are in part wrong. Another badge problem car, which is odd given that it really should have a VW badge on it…
Strange how we have ended up on a “VW” having started with one, but what is quite clear is that cars are not always judged on fact, they are selected with emotions, and other intangibles. As a result, some end up on the wrong side off statistics in terms of numbers and those listed above are just a few.
There is nothing wrong with these cars, in fact they are vastly underrated. One problem may be however, there may just have been too little “right” with them when they were introduced. We were always going to ignore them, even when it was foolish to do so.