If you took a guess, what's one of the happiest times in a man's life? I'll give you a hint. It's not when he walked down the aisle, though, that should rank near the top if he's married. Maybe it's the day an old teen becomes a young man, turns 21? Every beer in the cooler at the grocery represents Christmas Day. But nope, that's not it either.
Many a male will agree that the most exciting moment in his life is when he picks out a new vehicle all for himself. Tell me I'm wrong, fellas. It doesn't matter if it's a new car or a used truck; the day we get the keys to our new set of wheels injects us with a feeling of freedom and accomplishment—one we haven't felt since way back in the day when we got our first bicycle. Now that was living!
So, how in the heck can some of us mess up a huge decision like what we're going to drive for the next 5-10 years? Simple really—some individuals received pocket protectors with colored markers and #2 pencils about the same time the rest of us were begging our parents to teach us to drive. Each of us is cut from a different cloth, and this article is going to point out who's a stud and who just may be a dud.
20 Chevrolet Corvette (Stud)
In 1953, in Flint, Michigan, Chevrolet released one of the most iconic American-made muscle cars of all time. The Corvette quickly became the dream car of every man, woman, and child from East to West Coast. Today, the famous Chevrolet's design has changed dramatically since its initial release. Holding true to its roots, the rear-wheel-drive, small-block V8 has remained a sports car that everyone can identify with. Regardless of whichever model you're lusting after, your dream is well founded. The Corvette's done well. That's not easy to do for well over 70 years and running strong. As a child, a teenager, or an adult who grew up too fast, you probably know which year of Corvette you'd own if you were lucky enough to have the cash.
19 Smart Car Fortwo (Dud)
Look at this little blue and silver car. This tiny princess looks like a hatchback-ish body thrown on top of a go-cart sized chassis. This baby is what's called the "Smart Fortwo." In some countries, micro-sized eco-cars like the Smart automobile are an above-average, logical-choice buying decision. Not only for their money-sipping cost to operate, Smarts are also known for their ability to fit into the smallest parking space when you need it the most. Wondering what type of buyer is after a vehicle with this appearance and its positive ergonomic footprint? Good question. Anytime I see a person driving one of these penny-car-type creations with a small carbon footprint... whoever's driving looks like they're about ready to die in a dud.
18 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (Stud)
Since its introduction to a clamoring public, the 2006 Jeep has been amongst the highest-selling SUVs on the market. Whether it's the Jeep's legendary 4x4 capabilities or the removable top that adds to its fun factor, the JK has a plethora of utility that's peppered with a good-time appeal. Over the past 12-years, the JK has remained largely unchanged. The manufacturer offers several different models for sale with the big-daddy Jeep Wrangler Rubicon being the top dog. Regardless if you like the two-door or you and your family need the four-door, it's hard to lose on great value when buying into the Jeep nameplate. Throw on some sweet rims and nubby tires, and you can turn a JK into a studded whip.
17 Mini Cooper Convertible (Dud)
The Mini Cooper can make a pretty sweet racecar. Besides that, a number of men find it hard to see themselves owning one. There's an abundance of articles online covering the topic "Can a man drive a Mini Cooper"? Most are interesting reads but leave us without closure. Those who are Mini fanboys will stick by their purchase. The rest of us, though, we're looking at a small percentage of guys who had a ton of other buying options. Looking for a drop-top perchance? Purchase a Mini convertible and give your wife a reason to doubt you! Well, unless the car's for her, by all means—it probably should be, too. Robert De Niro says it best to Zac Efron in Dirty Grandpa, but repeating his pink Mini Cooper comment here... we'll just say he thinks the car's a dud.
16 Chrysler 300 SRT8 (Stud)
How about a decked-out, tire-burning, sexy beast sitting still or "cruising down the freeway"-type ride? You'd almost think a hot blond and floor tickets to a Slipknot concert come with the purchase! The Chrysler 300 SRT8 has packed a Hemi-heavy punch since its inception.
The first-generation 425 hp, 6.1-liter Hemi sprinted 0-60 in under 5 seconds.
That's pretty darn quick, even today. Next time around, Chrysler upped the ante and installed a 6.4-liter, taking a few tenths off the 0-60 of the previous model. If you remember this car from somewhere, maybe a TV show, you're not wrong. Walter White in the cult classic series Breaking Bad drove a dark gray SRT8, further emphasizing the fact that Heisenberg was indeed a badass through and through.
15 Scion xA (Dud)
A Scion.? C'mon, really? Did you think that you just may see a Scion on the list? You're right, but it's not just one Scion. We're going to throw the majority of their lineup in to. Harsh? Depends on whom you ask. Toyota has done an excellent job offering go-fast goodies at its dealerships. TRD has a reputation for durability and legitimate horsepower gains. It's too bad there doesn't seem to be a decent car in the Scion lineup to put them on. That's not totally true, though, I guess. If there's a Scion that doesn't scream "dud" other than the FR-S, which is actually a fun little sports car, you're stretching your stud status, my friend.
14 Dodge Challenger SRT8 (Stud)
Do you fancy vintage pony cars, only, you desire modern features like premium sound, navigation, heated mirrors and seats that fit you like a glove? Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge have all done an excellent job resurrecting a few of their most recognizable nameplates over the past several years. Sure, Ford and Chevy have sold the Mustang and the Camaro in much larger numbers, but that doesn't mean they were nice cars. Ford and Chevrolet have made their share of poor decisions concerning their entry-level sports car for the masses. Dodge, on the other hand, appears to have gotten the Challenger right despite its once-lengthy absence. Today, Dodge has even gone as far as to offer all-wheel-drive to its customers. That's a feature never offered in an American made pony car. No Hemi yet, though.
13 Chevrolet Sonic (Dud)
Chevrolet Sonic, forgettable eco-car, boooo. It's easy to see why this vehicle is photographed here sitting still in front of a wall of graffiti. The tagged, brick artwork is the only thing in the picture that looks cool. Is that the part of this photograph you noticed first? Me too! It sure wasn't the sunburst orange, two-door Sonic. There are tons of compact cars in the new and used marketplace that buyers can choose from. Pick a manufacturer, and they surely have a small car to suit your needs. VW, in many respects, offers the best small cars in the world. They have for a while now. Other manufacturers, like Chevrolet, have been playing catch up. It doesn't look like GM's looking in the right places.
12 Ram Power Wagon (Stud)
The Dodge Power Wagon has come a long way since it was a civilian military truck in 1946. It was introduced to the public as Dodge's first 4x4 truck offering for the masses. The huge beastly truck hasn't always been in the lineup; its name means business on and off-road, though. The Power Wagon isn't the popular choice on the list today, for most people's needs. When the time comes to trade in your vehicle, I'm willing to wager that the Dodge retains its value as well or better than its competition. The Ford Raptor you'll see later may be able to ramp sand dunes in a single bound, but it's not ever going to look as tough as the Ram.
11 BMW 135i (Dud)
When BMW replaced its award-winning 3 series in 2004, people paid attention. The automaker is known for design that ages well, in most cases. When BMW told the automotive world that its new entry-level car was the 1 series, we hoped for the best. Unfortunately, the tiny Beemer never got any bigger or better looking. Looking back, I can recall driving a 1 series and thought "circus car." It was nothing like the mid-'90s Z3, M3 Edition roadster I tore up at 16. That was a fun car. Are you a male who's over 6'0? Well, you're going to fit in the BMW, but you're not going to look comfy in the car. Hatchback, 2-door, doesn't matter. No model has as much panache.
10 Ford Raptor (Stud)
It's no secret that the Ford Raptor is the first truck of its kind. Actually, it's the only truck of its kind... still. The name fits because this vehicle is that versatile. It's as well behaved on the road as it is running sand dunes. Luxurious enough on the inside too, the Ford has just about every bell and whistle that a person could want.
Stomp on the gas, and you'll hear a turbocharged engine—one that actually outruns the outgoing 6.2L.
Maybe the Raptor was really a matchbox car before it ever peeled out a niche completely to itself. I faintly remember cool trucks like the Raptor for a dollar at WalMart. Today, Ford sells a version that's no kid's toy.
9 Toyota Rav 4 (Dud)
The small SUV market is a crowded place. Look around at dealerships, and every car company offers 1, if not several SUV-Crossover models to choose from. Those who seek out smaller options are often vying for gas mileage and lower maintenance costs. That's a realistic concern. Toyota builds some of the most dependable, bland vehicles, next to Honda—much like this Rav4 that's pictured here looking uncannily similar to the Jetson's space mobile. If you'd pass on the blue paint job, too, you're not alone. It doesn't seem to look quite right on the oddly shaped utility vehicle. It's not attractive, but it's not unattractive. Completely practical for a small family, the Toyota is largely unnoticeable amongst other options.
8 Lexus LS (Stud)
Pretty tight the Lexus, isn't it? I may have been a little brash about Toyota, but when it comes to Lexus, it seems as though they've changed their tune. Have you seen an RC or a newer GS rolling around? They're a nice, classy ride, and yeah, you're going to pay. Lexus manufactures some pretty noteworthy cars with unique designs, miles from what the car company was selling us just a decade ago. Here's the big daddy of the group; it's Lexus's top of line LS, and the nameplate has been with the car company from the beginning. It's synonymous with quality, function, safety, and reliability. If you want to look like you got something right in life, take a look at a Lexus.
7 Honda Ridgeline (Dud)
Honda's Ridgeline has never struck a chord with the public when referring to its overall look. In many ways, the small pickup looks like a cross between a minivan and a small truck. Owning one of these odd ducks will get you a few stares, but it may be for all the wrong reasons. I doubt anyone is going to describe the Honda as tough, right? Ridgelines are about utility condensed into a small package for a certain buyer. If you find yourself shopping for a light duty truck, you'll likely pass a Honda Ridgeline online or in the lot. At times, they do look kind of cool, maybe. Do you want to take that kind of chance, though?
6 Jack Roush Mustang (Stud)
Take your pick. Jack Roush, Saleen, Shelby, does it really matter? When it comes down to mulling over which version of Ford's Mustang you'd like to own, there seems to be an option out there to suit almost any buyer. The newer Mustang has been popular with automotive critics and customers alike. Improvements made to America's most popular pony car haven't gone unnoticed. Its looks beckon back to the fastback models of the late '60s with a modern touch of refinement. The car itself looks like it's moving when sitting still. Is it sexy looking, though? Well, for a Mustang, it sure is. Fans clamor that it's the best-looking, most capable Mustang ever. Diehard Mustang enthusiasts have their reservations still. Only time will tell just how popular Ford's sports car will remain. It's looking good so far.
5 Lexus CT 200h (Dud)
Next up is the second Lexus to make an appearance on the list today. The CT200h looks like just another hot-hatch that thinks it's better-looking than it really is. Lexus set out to build a practical, ergonomically friendly, environmentally conscious, small car with utility for its entry-level customers. 2011 isn't that long ago, but it seems like the 200h has been around longer. Maybe that's because it's rather unattractive, despite various attempts by Lexus to spruce up its curb appeal. No such luck, for the most part. The Lexus, no matter how you dress it up, hardly stirs up any emotion with its 184-horsepower engine either. Is it a gas sipper, though? You bet, and it looks like one, too.
4 Cadillac CTS-V (Stud)
The Cadillac CTS-V was released in sedan form back in 2004. A Corvette motor was stuffed under the hood, and you got to row your own gears via a Tremec manual transmission. A "sleeper sedan" would be a fitting description back then, but today, the Cadillac often becomes the life of the parking lot.
Stiff competition from Audi, Mercedes, and BMW forced the American automaker to bring its A-game both on the streets and on the race track.
The CTS-V has done that and more while remaining more affordable than its counterparts. Performance isn't lacking in the Cadillac and ascetically has a macho yet sophisticated design. The real fun begins when you smash the gas, though. That's when the Cadillac comes to life, displaying its true spirit.
3 Jeep Patriot (Dud)
Jeep, for the most part, offers its customer base its share of choices in a variety of ways. Want a rugged all-terrain vehicle with a removable top? They have that. Or do you need an SUV that can fit you and your crew in style? They have that, too. Known for their off-road ability, originally, Jeeps were built and used for their utility on the battlefield during World War II. Perhaps one of America's most recognizable nameplates, the manufacturer has stood strong even during the lean years, when the big 3 all went broke. With the good comes the bad, though. In an attempt to appeal to a broader crowd, Jeep offers models like the Compass and the Patriot, like the one pictured here. The photo wants to make this Patriot look like it belongs outdoors. Some people would say they missed the mark.
2 Chevrolet Camaro SS (Stud)
In the late '90s and the early 2000s, General Motors couldn't seem to get it right. Sales weren't good and competing with foreign manufacturers, who built more desirable vehicles, caught up with the manufacturer. Since then, G.M. has turned their losing streak into a lineup of winners. The Chevrolet Camaro is a car that belongs in that conversation. Today, the Camaro actually looks like designers took their time making it look good—not like the thrown-together examples of yesterday. Its performance is on par with sports cars twice its price, and Chevrolet has hit a home run with the new Camaro. Are you short on cash but want to buy a used car that won't break the bank? The Camaro SS is a logical place to begin your search.
1 Mercedes Benz CLA (Dud)
Mercedes is no stranger to trying to build cars that entry-level car buyers can afford. The problem with their attempts is they've been feeble. Much like American manufacturers in the late '90s and 2000s, Mercedes dropped the ball with regard to owner loyalty and dependability. Since then, they've returned to a respectable rating, according to JD Power. What the German car builder still can't get right, unlike its rival BMW, is the small car market. The CLA you see here is a good example of a near miss, resembling what some people feel is an over-designed vehicle that doesn't deliver. Aside from the Mercedes symbol on the grille, there's nothing that makes this car look like a Benz. Maybe next time!