The US car market is a tricky little devil. We Americans buy cars with little to no sense whatsoever. Case in point: the Hummer H2. We buy cars that are meant for off-roading but instead are used to be driven to and from the grocery store. Likewise, we buy cars that seem economic and fuel efficient but fall short of both.
Much of the misconception about what cars to buy comes from fancy marketing strategies. How many times have you said or heard someone say, "I like being higher up when I drive"? Where did that come from and why? People never seemed to have a problem with driving at a lower level 10 years ago.
Ever since crossovers were introduced a few years back, sales of sedans and wagons have dropped significantly. One report by CNBC says how Ford's sales for sedans have dropped 24.2% in 2017 while those for trucks have gone up 2.5%. This trend is observed across most car manufacturers. A great example of the market shifting and producing unnecessary cars was the genesis of the Porsche Cayenne in 2003. Since then, car manufacturers with no business making SUVs are now making SUVs. Ferrari's CEO Sergio Marchionne has been quoted saying that a Ferrari SUV would have to be made over his dead body, but here we are, and this Ferrari SUV is coming out later this year.
But in this article, I'll only be listing new cars that are on sale today. Many of the cars on this list sell well but have no logical sense being on public roads. Others don't sell well, and it's very obvious to see why. Let's check them out!
The Mercedes-Benz GLC/GLE is a product of the "niche" market. You'll have to know what that means because I'll be referring back to it repeatedly. A "niche" market is a spot that's untapped or unused in a given business. Car manufacturers use it to sell more cars. So, instead of buying something relatively enormous like a Range Rover Sport or something miniature like a Land Rover Evoque, you now have the choice to buy a model that fits right in between: the Range Rover Velar. Mercedes is the biggest culprit of niche models, as they've made models that are so similar to the ones around them and with such complex names that no one has any idea what is what. Most car salespeople for Mercedes stumble over it as well. That just goes to show how jumbled and backward their model range has become.
While we're on the topic of niche cars, let's talk about crossovers. Crossovers sell like hotcakes to every mom and younger adult nowadays. They're more prevalent than almost any other car on the road (besides an SUV). Besides that, crossovers don't fulfill the need to be higher or more nimble as they're marketed to be. The Audi Q3 is no different. It serves no purpose in this world because it's essentially an Audi A3 that's a few inches higher or a more cramped Q5. Make up your mind, people. Buy a hatchback or an SUV. You won't feel the difference in between.
Ahh... Audi. Sorry, don't take it personally, but the A5 SPORTBACK has to be one of the dumbest cars on sale today. It may be alluring and good looking, but that's all just a trick. Essentially, it goes against every reason for releasing an A5 in the first place: to be a coupe. If you wanted to buy a sedan, why not buy an A4? if you wanted a slim sedan, then choose the gorgeous A7. This is one car that's made its way from overseas, but frankly, I wish it had stayed there.
Wipe that smile off your face, BMW. You're also a leading culprit of creating bogus models. Audi may have taken a page out of your book for this last model. The 3 Series and 4 Series were split over four years ago solely to differentiate between the four-door models and the coupe models, but the 4 Series Gran Coupe throws that entire marketing strategy out the window (looking at you, too, 6 Series Gran Coupe). A similarly spec'd 3 Series is $3,000 less than the same 4 Series Gran Coupe, so... why buy one?
Environmentalists everywhere, sit down. It's a known fact that Prius manufacturing has left a massive carbon footprint on our planet. Its batteries make the journey all the way from Canada, to Europe, to China, and then to Japan where they're implanted into the car. That global round trip is solely for the battery. Then, once all its other materials are rounded up and the car is finished, the little Prius has to make the long journey over to America. All of that shipping back and forth is actually significantly worse for the environment than just buying a car made in America (a Nissan Leaf or a Chevy Volt are great options). So, in short, don't go out and buy a Prius in the hopes of saving the environment because buying a new car at all is one of the worst things one can do to the Earth. For all these reasons, a Prius has no use for those of us in America and actually is failing at what it first sought out to fix.
While we're on the topic of batteries, let's have a chat about the biggest manufacturer of batteries - Tesla - but specifically, the model with the most powerful engine, the P100 D. The Model S P100 D can do the 0-60 sprint in less than 2.5 seconds, which makes it one of the fastest-accelerating cars in the world. That impressive thrust is achieved only in Ludicrous+ Mode, where all 560 kW of electric power is sent to the four wheels. That immense power surge takes a massive toll on the battery, which will eventually lead to a dead one. Tesla makes claims to be the greenest cars on the market, but the company has no solution for used batteries, which pose a significant threat to our environment. If you want to buy a Tesla, don't buy the P100 D because it's a battery just ticking away. Instead, buy a model that won't die quickly, such as a 90 D.
If you live in Los Angeles, specifically Beverly Hills, a G Wagon is about as prevalent as a common Honda. The G Wagon is an exceptional offroading SUV and can perform feats that no other SUV in its class can. That said, driving around in a G63 AMG with a 5.5L V8 engine making 563 horsepower in traffic makes no sense at all - not here in America and not anywhere. These cars should be used to tackle terrain, not crawl down the I-405. They're simply a waste of space and a waste of a beautiful hand-crafted engine. It has no use for any city-dwelling individual despite its glamorous facade.
If you were given a choice to buy an Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio, a BMW M4, a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, or a Lexus RC F, which would you go for? That question is a tough one, but I can guarantee that the answer isn't the Lexus. Sure, it's the only one with a naturally aspirated V8 and makes a healthy 467 horsepower, but it's about as heavy as a parade of elephants, so it doesn't hold a candle to any of the other competitors. Not only is it heavy and sluggish, but the transmission is also about as speedy as a 2005 Aston Martin Vanquish and lacks any real driver involvement. This was simply a car that Lexus could've made into a masterpiece but somehow didn't, and for those reasons, it makes the list.
This may anger some muscle-car fans, but take a step back and consider what this car is made for and how much it'll truly be used for that reason. Every fiber of my Gearhead being wants to love this car but cannot because it serves only one purpose and one purpose only: drag racing. With its 6.2L V8 engine and 840 horsepower, the Demon smokes the 0-60 run in 2.3 seconds. That's about all it does - besides a wheelie, which admittedly is very rad. Unfortunately, this car serves no logical purpose for those on public roads. Its rear tires are unable to be driven below 15 degrees Fahrenheit and its front tires resemble those on a bicycle.
Arguably one of the coolest trucks to have ever been made, the Raptor is a similar story to the G Wagon. This monster is meant for the sand dunes in Baja rather than the concrete hills of San Francisco. We must treat some of these cars on the list like animals and release them where they belong. Using the Raptor's whining, supercharged V6 on public roads makes about as much sense as Trump wearing a lederhosen. Set the Raptor free in Jurassic Park where it belongs.
The Hyundai Genesis - you may have seen one driving around town but had no idea what it was. It's Hyundai's luxury model and is supposed to take on the Mercedes S Class, the BMW 7 Series, and the Audi A8, just to name a few, except the Hyundai has one major flaw, and that's itself. No self-respecting businessman will buy a Hyundai over a Mercedes. I'm sorry to say that the Mercedes just does everything better and is wrapped up in a fabulous package. The Hyundai is a great car for the money but can't stand up to the German juggernauts. It's an unnecessary car that very little people buy. Word of advice to Hyundai: stick to what you're good at, and leave the luxury models to the Germans.
Just say that name out loud..."Q-X-eighty." Doesn't really have a ring to it, does it? I suppose it's about as pleasant sounding as it looks because it has to be one of the ugliest and bulkiest cars on the market today. It doesn't offer anything that an Escalade, a Suburban, or the similarly spec'd Acura and Lexus can offer. It's an ugly package, and almost everyone knows it to be. From a company that makes such stylish coupes and sedans, this SUV could easily be a stunner, but instead, it's the brown Hulk with no purpose in life.
If I were to tell you that Lincoln Motors were to vanish forever, would you blink an eye? Neither would I. Lincoln is a struggling company which has had many ups and downs in its short lifetime. Many are familiar with its Town Car, which is used as taxis or black cars. Despite its best efforts and having Matthew McConaughey as their spokesperson, no one will ever think to buy a Lincoln in America. Ask anyone overseas, and they're completely unaware of such a car brand. There's no brand recognition associated with Lincoln, and there never will be. The former head of Ford and Lincoln Motors, Mark Fields, has been quoted saying that Lincoln doesn't really have a future in the American marketplace. If he says that, then I'm sure it belongs on this list.
Now is the point where I become a raging Gearhead in defense of a brand that has always been synonymous with passion. Alfa Romeo was the company through which Enzo Ferrari got his start in racing. Without Alfa, there would be no Ferrari. They created magnificent cars in the early decades, all having flare, style, and excitement built into every example. Now, times are changing, and Alfa has done what no one was expecting--they built an SUV. It's not just any SUV, but a crossover. If the founders Nicola Romeo, Alexandre Darracq, and Ugo Stella found out about this, they'd be rolling around in their graves. If the most passionate marquees in all automobile history sell out and make an SUV, who's to say everyone won't? It's a car that'll sell very well but has no place in this world. It taints the beautiful name "Alfa Romeo" and is a sock to the gut of all the "Alfistas" out there.
This may come as a surprise to some of you readers, but Ferrari has announced that they're making an SUV code named the FUV. Sure, it's not currently on sale today, but it soon will be, and it soon will be the hottest seller out of Maranello since the F40. I want to nip this model in the bud and say how ridiculous it is for a name like Ferrari to make an SUV. Just two years ago, the CEO has spit in the face of a Ferrari SUV. This is a story that mirrors that of the Alfa Romeo, and I honestly understand why they're making an FUV, but every molecule in my body wants to erupt as I see this model come to fruition. It's an unnecessary model to be made seeing as everyone else has made an SUV thus far. Can't you just buy one of those?! Leave Ferrari alone!
One of the most gorgeous cars on sale today has just added a new engine to the family - a dinky 2.0L turbo making 296 horsepower, which is more than its little brother, the XE with the same engine, makes. An impressive engine and an alluring package it may be, but consider the other engines available, this 2.0L variant is a total letdown. This is made for people who want to seem posh and stylish driving a Jaguar around town and don't care about how it drives or sounds. If you've driven a V8 F-Type, you know what I'm on about. This variant was made for another niche market and doesn't deserve to bear the F-Type name we've all come to know and love.
Some may doubt the Slingshot is a car at all, but it makes this list just due to its absurdity. It has three wheels, Transformer looks, and 173 horsepower from a 2.4L engine. (I assume any more power would render this car undrivable.) It's a car not designed for car enthusiasts or motorbike enthusiasts but instead, someone in the middle. This is a niche upon niche product and shouldn't be allowed on public roads. This is kind of a car-bike thingy that absolute weirdos would drive. Please make it end its production after 2018.
The Fiat 500e is a stylish and silent take on the 500. Due to pressure from heads at FIAT to sell an electric car in California, they whipped up this pathetic example of an electric car. Its range is 87 miles on a full charge, which may be fine for the daily commuter but may not seem like much when compared to a BMW i3 which can go 114 miles on a single charge in EV mode. All things considered, it was a commendable attempt to make an electric vehicle but should've never made it to the production line. It's simply overshadowed and outpriced by its competition.
When you think Cabrio, what comes to mind? A nice long-hooded sports car with supple leather and a bombastic engine under the hood, I assume, right? Well, Smart has just tried a go at a convertible car, but it's not really a convertible as much as a misidentified large-sunroof driving minuscule hunk of junk. If you've ever had the horrific experience of driving a Smart, you know that you'd rather do terrible things than have the roof down for everybody - every pedestrian - to see your miserable face and hair flowing in the wind. The Smart Cabrio makes no sense and was a terrible car without a roof to drive.
See a trend so far? Most cars on this list are crossovers with no purpose besides to fill a niche and convertibles where the should be a roof. The Land Rover Evoque Convertible is no exception; in fact, it's the pinnacle of both of those things. It's both an ugly and a useless crossover, which has been a displeasure to drive and a half-baked convertible experience. This car, I assume, is for the buyer who has no idea what he or she wants. Either that or they live in a place in which it snows, rains, and is extremely hot all within the same day. It's an ugly car for one and, due to its complicated roof mechanism, is much heavier than the normal hardtop - which was already in need of a diet. Please stay away from this car and its enormous $52,000 price tag at the risk of making yourself look like a massive joke.
Seems I'm not done with you quite yet, Mercedes. This car is arguably even worse than a Fiat 500e. At least Mercedes has the resources to make a phenomenal electric car, but instead, they made a frumpy minivan-styled ogre with an electric range of 85 miles. It also makes 177 horsepower to add fuel to the fire. Not only will you get to your destination with little to no charge left, but you'll also be late because of its lack of power, and you'll look like an idiot once you exit the car. This car is an example of a niche car as well as an electric car gone wrong and should be wiped from Mercedes's showrooms for good.
It's time for the Nissan GTR to take a lap and rethink its purpose. When it came out over ten years ago, Godzilla was a phenomenon. It could smash any supercar of its time, no sweat. It cost a quarter of the price but delivered five times the thrills. It was truly a shock to the motoring world, but alas, the GTR has grown old and cars have caught up (jeez... it took long enough). Porsches, Audis, BMWs, and even Dodges can offer the same performance for similar prices. This doesn't take away from what the GTR is and what it can do because it still performs like a beast of nature. It's just time for the folks at Nissan to start anew. They need to confine this R35 GTR to the history books and bring another R36 that will truly knock our socks off. Until then, the GTR just isn't relevant anymore.
Yes, a shock to many. I for one, love this car to death but can't think of any reason to buy one. For its colossal $3 million base price, the Chiron costs about as much as an entire suburban area. Sure, the average person who buys these (as stated in a Bloomberg article) has "...about 84 cars, 3 jets, and one yacht," so I doubt money matters. But what do you exactly get for that money? Well, what about 1,500 horsepower and a quad-turbo W16 engine for starters and a 0-60 time of 2.5 seconds. Not to mention, it's all enveloped in a beautiful, customizable cabin, which is second to none. Unfortunately, these cars serve no purpose but to be driven around Dubai to the most spectacular parties of the year. That's a shame because a car such as the Chiron is an engineering marvel, but the people who buy them will never take them to a track or drift them around corners. Instead, they'll be protected and seen only on Instagram car pages. If you wanted to go fast in style, there are plenty other supercars and hypercars to choose from that can actually be driven.
Other downsides include immense maintenance costs, which include regular tire changes every so often for a whopping $30,000 a set. The Chiron is a beautiful car, and you could argue that Koenigseggs and Paganis pose the same problems, which they do. But the Bugatti owner is a lot less likely to take the Chiron out on a mountain road due to its immense price tag. At least Koenigsegg had the balls to do a top-speed run.
Sources: bloomberg.com; edmunds.com; caranddriver.com