20 Cars People Think Are Fast For Some Reason (They're Not)

When looking for a new ride, everyone wants a flat-out cool, inspiring, and fast car. This is also the reason why most people opt for a sports car over any other car. For this reason, manufacturers who understand their customers want to make bold designs. Most importantly, some cars are understated regarding performance. These cars have a lot of punch under the bonnet, but no one seems to notice. Similarly, the opposite is also very true and interestingly common.

In the world of these powerful machines, it`s not always all about the looks but what is under the hood. Some of the cars that most people think are stylish and reputable in the performance department are actually quite the opposite. On the other hand, automakers can`t be to blame for making cars that look fast. In fact, those that have perfected the art of manufacturing cars will do this effectively. From an automaker`s perspective, what sells is what counts. Hence, if a car that is good on looks but down on the performance is what works for them, then so be it.

It is still surprising how much some of the cars we thought were among the fastest can actually be very sluggish. Here is a list of some cars that people thought were fast but turned out to be a total disappointment.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

20 Mitsubishi Lancer GT

Via YouTube

Probably the main reason why most people would think this as a fast car is because of its resemblance to the Evolution. It is also bundled with sleek looks, especially its front fascia, which give an impression of a sports car.

The Mitsubishi Lancer GT lacks in performance which is a critical aspect in any fast car but in terms of reliability, Mitsubishi can be trusted.

It comes with 168hp, 2.4L engine and takes more than 8 seconds to go from 0-60. Compared to the Evolution's 291hp and a turbocharged engine, the Mitsubishi Lancer GT is a car with lacking performance.

19 Subaru BRZ

Via Subaru Canada

Subaru has never hit me like a company that would lack regarding speed or performance. On the contrary, Subaru has long been on my list of automakers with the fastest cars on the market. However, even with that said, there is always that black sheep, and the BRZ is one among the Subaru range of fast cars. The BRZ has earned its name for great steering and handling quality considering its price. In terms of looks, the Subaru BRZ can`t be considered insignificant. Subsequently, with the horsepower of an RX8, the BRZ is far from convincing anyone about its performance.

18 Porsche Cayenne


Porsche and performance have always been used in the same sentence. In fact, just the mere sight of their logo sends a quick assurance that a load of performance is packed under the hood. This is not the case for the Porsche Cayenne that looks quite fast for its class. The Porsche Cayenne takes 7.3 sec to move from 0-60 and records a top speed of 147mph which according to Porsche's standards is slow. However, a turbo and GTS for the Cayenne can be the bridge that will match the look and performance.

17 Honda CR-Z

Via Car and Driver

The Honda CR-Z was introduced in 2010, and many Honda enthusiasts looked up to it as the successor of the CR-X. It employed a hybrid powertrain which sets it apart from its predecessor.

While most people were amazed by its sleek design, this was only a decoy to distract from its 1.5L engine and 130 hp.

Though it was not a performance machine like most people would have expected, the model turned out to be fuel efficient. The Honda CR-Z is an attractive model and can be used for different occasions.

16 Hyundai Veloster

Via Motor1

Do not be fooled by the bold style and funky yet asymmetrical doors of the Hyundai Veloster. It is this stylish look that gives most people the impression that this car has speed. Though I would never advocate for compromising on speed, sometimes it gets a little tempting. Astonishingly, the Hyundai Veloster has a 1.6L engine, 128hp and takes up to 11 sec to hit 100km/hr. On the bright side, this is the first model of the Hyundai with a dual-clutch gearbox. Though later on the automaker introduced a turbo version, the Veloster is generally a sluggish and slow car.

15 Mazda6

Via The Drive

Among the brand`s models, the Mazda6 has the most sensuous and attractive look. It is fancy to look at, and the sleek design makes it feel like a much faster car than it really is. The hood houses its 2.5L engine with a 184hp and 185 lb-lt torque.

If you think the six-speed manual is fast, then you are in for a surprise because the automatic one is slightly faster.

It takes at least 7 sec to hit the 60mph which is not so bad compared to other cars that one would think are superior. In fact, rumors have it that there are plans to shift to the turbocharged engine for this model which will boost its performance significantly.

14 Toyota Celica

via bestcarmag

Due to its sporty history, some people would expect the Toyota Celica to be a fast car. When it takes 10 sec on average to turn from 0-60, it gets a little disappointing for a car that has been marked a sports coupe. At the time of production, this car was Toyota`s only sports car on the market, and I wonder why they never invested in a little more power under the hood. This car was designed to attract a younger group of buyers, and from the outside, it looks like a big catch. However, even with the 180hp and 6-speed, the high-end GT-S is not what it looks like.

13 Dodge Dart

Via YouTube

Dodge is a powerful brand and their vehicles are favorites among many people. In the non-sporty category, this is among the most impressive and aggressive looking sedans. The name probably suggests that the car has speed, but that is as far as it gets with its performance.

It houses a 2.0l engine with a 160hp and 148 lb-ft torque under the hood.

Though there are other engine options, the facts are still the same. Additionally, it takes more than 7 sec to hit the 60mph which is really slow for a car that is termed as a powerhouse. However, if speed is left out of the equation, this isn't a bad car to have.

12 Scion TC

via youtube

The Scion TC was the sportiest car before the FR-S that was lined up under the youth’s brands. This alone is enough to give the impression that the Scion TC is not a regular car regarding speed and performance. It was designed to give an aggressive look with the headlights as well as the front fascia. Additionally, I love this car for its simplicity on the body as well as accessories. Under the hood, the car holds a 2.4l, I-4, 179hp engine. The model can take up to 7 sec to reach the 60mph and more than 15 sec to complete a quarter mile.

11 Chevrolet Corvette C3

Via YouTube

The Chevrolet Corvette C3 is the car with the looks of a fast car but on the contrary, does very little. The make of this car is enough to convince you that its performance is also up to the task.

On the contrary, it takes more than 9 sec to hit the 60mph, and for a fast car, this is just a total failure.

The C3 is a perfect example of looks that can deceive for anyone who perceives a fast car based on the looks. Every time I talk of the C3, it amazes me how many people wouldn`t mind buying this car despite its disappointment on the track.

10 Lexus CT 200h

via top speed

Lexus is a reliable car brand and can also be a top performer. For the Lexus CT hybrid, it can be all other things but sporty. By all other things, I'm referring to its aggressive, spindly front that makes it look exquisite and classy. While much is not expected regarding speed from this car, it’s a little below most of our expectations. Under the hood, the CT has a 1.8L, 134hp 4-cylinder, and an electric motor. It takes more than 7 sec to hit 60 mph and more than 17 sec to complete a quarter mile making it the slowest car so far on the list.

9 Nissan Juke

Via Wired

The frog eyed Nissan Juke can easily deceive you into thinking that it really hops faster than a frog. Even with a 1.6l, 188hp turbocharged engine, this car is far from impressive regarding performance, despite its vectoring all-wheel drive attribute that makes driving a fun endeavor. Among the smaller class of vehicles, the Nissan Juke does quite well compared to the rest. Its performance records stand at 16 sec before reaching 60 mph and more than 16 sec to complete a quarter mile. However, if you are into this model, the Nismo RS Variant has 215hp and is a much more powerful car.

8 Chevrolet Impala

Via Motor1

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala with its bold front and curvy rear end makes a sportier look than any other previous models. For me, the modern Impala would never be an option for a sporty car because its looks say otherwise.

It is a good car for a drive to the office and taking your kids to school but not a good choice for when you`re running late.

The full sized sedan has a 2.5L, 195hp, I-4 engine, but just 187 lb-ft of torque which can`t be considered much power for its weight. The 3.6l engine is what the Impala needs to bring it closer to most people`s performance expectations.

7 Mazda RX-8

via caradisiac

The RX7 is what set the pace for the brilliance of the RX8. The RX7 was interestingly high performing considering its ability to give 276hp from a 1.3L engine. In this view, the RX8 had people with a lot of expectations of what it could do given the mark its preceding model had made. However, it turned out this was only a disappointment to the fans who held their heads up high to receive the machine. It was a lot heavier than the RX7, probably due to the additional seats. Even worse, it was a second slower on hitting the quarter mile.

6 Mercedes-Benz SLK200

Via YouTube

I have not met many people who would turn to a Mercedes-Benz for speed. Almost everyone would turn to a Mercedes-Benz for comfort and most of all elegance. The smart, sporty look that integrated well with its folding roof was quite a sight to those who cared to look. However, this state of the art machine was only powered by a 1.8l engine and could only deliver 185hp. The top folding roof that was amazingly cheered on by many added more weight and reduced its performance even further.

5 Mazda MX-5 Miata

via cnet

The Mazda MX-5 is an attractive roadster, and no one would blame you if you thought this car was fast because almost everyone does. Its unique design that distances it from the previous model looks more like a fast car than the rest.

Its 2.0L four-cylinder engine, 155hp and 148 lb-ft of torque are not good enough to give other drivers on the road a hard time.

On the other hand, it is more fun being in an MX-5 when the road is twisty. What it does not have in speed it substitutes with amazing looks and awesome handling.

4 Kia Forte Koup

via top speed

From the Kia Cerato Forte sedan family, the Kia Forte Koup is a special make that is aggressive-looking especially with a body kit. It is relatively affordable and made big sales among wannabe racers and especially the younger generation. If the automaker had made a slight investment in the performance of the car, it would be ranked among the top performers. However, its 1.6L engine with 124hp on an automatic transmission is evidence enough that this is not such a performer. A later generation of this model came with a turbocharged engine and 200bhp power which makes a better choice.

3 Hyundai Tiburon

Via YouTube

Even before the Veloster came with its bold and funky looks, the Hyundai Tiburon Coupe was the stylish version of the Hyundai. The two-door coupe was famous for its sporty look and budget friendliness.

Affordability is an issue when it comes to sports cars and the Hyundai Tiburon`s pocket friendliness is something speed lovers would be willing to sacrifice.

Additionally, if you think about it, it`s better than a used sports car. Under all the style and sleek design laid a 2.0L engine, though the 140bhp was an utter disappointment. Though a later version with much power of 172bhp was produced, its cost was unbearable.

2 Fisker Karma

Via Auto/HowStuffWorks

The Fisker Karma is a sporty car and a performer if you look at the numbers. The car can use electric motors or a combination of the same with gas for top performance. If a little flexibility was included in determining this car`s weight and price, its performance rating would have really improved. It takes about 5 sec from 0-60 and passes the quarter mile after the 14th second. However, its price is an issue since other models such as those from Tesla run better at a lower price.

1 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Via Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi has a problem with consistency among its performance cars. While it maintains and honors credibility with the likes of the Evolution, it goes wrong with other equally deserving models like the Eclipse.

When it was first produced, the Eclipse was termed as a sports car for the poor man.

This is to say that its price did not deserve its performance rating at the time. Over time during the 2000s, the automaker did away with the turbo, and this withdrew all the fun from it. This Mitsubishi has not since come close to its initial capability even with the 263hp, V6 engine.

Sources: zeroto60times.com, sgcarmart.com, jalopnik.com, augoguide.com, motortrend.com, thedrive.com

More in Car Culture