The sports car market is a pretty finicky part of the automotive industry, often dominated by some of the most powerful production vehicles on the road. The sports car is meant as a tool for exhilaration and excitement, offering the driver something far more than just a commute to work or the grocery store. Although the sports car market is one of the most expensive industries to buy a car in, there have been many affordable sports cars which were designed to appeal to younger drivers who might not otherwise have been able to purchase a top of the line sports car - such as a Corvette or a more expensive model.
When it comes to an affordable sports car, the vehicles will often look much quicker than they actually are in terms of performance and value. The basic premise of a sports car is to invite the excitement of the driver, and while the appeal of a sports car is endless, it can begin to change if the car is lacking in the excitement department.
There have been many sports cars released in the last few decades that are only skin deep, and lack in the performance department which can be a bit unsettling for the driver who might be seeking something more. In this list, we are going to take a look at some of the most unexciting sports cars that people seem to think are fast, but actually, lack in the performance department.
25 Chevrolet Camaro V6
There is no denying the legendary impact that the Chevrolet Camaro has made on the automotive industry, with a legion of excited fans that go back a few generations.
Unfortunately, the V6 variant of the Camaro has always been questionable at best. The V6 Camaro lacks a lot of the functionality and features that the V8 variant comes with. Not to mention the lack of that signature sound that you can only get from a V8 engine - which makes the more powerful SS model, the Camaro of choice for many consumers.
24 Mazda RX8
Released at a time when Mazda was working on reinventing itself, the Mazda RX8 was a complete overhaul of the modern sports car that incorporated many new and unique features such as the third door for passenger access.
Unfortunately, the car did a good job of confusing many new customers who thought that this car was the chronological replacement for the RX-7, which had been discontinued during the 90s. The Mazda RX8 never really managed to catch on with consumers due partly to a high price and a unique design.
23 Toyota MR2
Perhaps one of the lesser known sports cars on the road, the Toyota MR2 is a blend of mid-engine design and a lot of thought that probably could have gone into other models.
The final years of the Toyota MR2 were sad at best, and the tiny little convertible never really got the attention that it deserved from the Toyota execs. The Toyota MR2 offering a good blend of styling, to say the least. However, when it came down to the performance, the car was lacking in many aspects which is why it was ultimately discontinued.
22 Nissan 300ZX (Z31)
Trying to build off of the hype that the original Z car generated, the Nissan 300ZX (Z31) was a car that was released to appeal to all types of car buyers. The Nissan 300ZX (Z31) never really managed to find a solid footing on the sports car market and that is because the car lacked any real performance behind it.
Although the Nissan 300ZX (Z31) did feature a lightweight design that made the car semi-responsive, the lack of any actual performance enhancements left buyers going elsewhere for an affordable sports car.
21 Dodge Neon SRT
The Dodge Neon was the replacement for the Dodge Spirit compact sedan. Although it introduced a whole new design as well as a sedan and coupe variation, the Dodge Neon was basically a small and unexciting car for most consumers.
This is why Dodge developed the Dodge Neon SRT which at the time of its release was one of the most anticipated small cars of the year. But in reality, the Dodge Neon SRT is not what it could have been. The models that are available on the market can be had at a pretty affordable price.
20 Dodge Caliber SRT
After the Dodge Neon compact car, the company was trying to get into the competitive compact race for real this time - they needed a one of a kind car that would attract younger buyers.
Unfortunately, the Dodge Caliber is an odd-shaped and weird little car that not many people have shown much interest in, and thus the Dodge Caliber SRT was born. Offering a bit more flare that makes the car interesting both inside and out, you’ll be hard pressed to find a compact car that lets down as much as the Dodge Caliber SRT does.
19 Chevrolet Cobalt SS
If there is one thing that GM does well, it's dressed up slow cars to look fast. They did it with the 90s Monte Carlo, and they did it with the Chevrolet Cobalt SS.
There are a lot of good attributes about the Chevrolet Cobalt SS, for starters, it offers some pretty unique paint jobs that make the car a unique choice, to say the least. There was also a turbocharged version, which is quite unique for a compact economy car but the finished product was not as fast or as exciting as it looked. It was ultimately replaced by the Chevy Cruze.
18 Porsche 924
Perhaps one of the most unique Porsche models to step off of the production line, the Porsche 924 was unique for a number of reasons. The Porsche 924 was the first model to offer an automatic transmission, and this was also one of the slowest Porsche models to leave the production line.
The Porsche 924 managed to surprise with an interesting interior that combined most of the notable Porsche arrangements, and the Porsche models of today have perfected the automatic transmission which is great.
17 Toyota Celica
Toyota has always maintained two sports cars in their portfolio, one being the Supra and the other being the Celica. While the Supra is a powerhouse with an optional turbo and a one of a kind design, the Celica is often a smaller and cheaper feeling.
The final incarnation of the Celica never really caught on with the buying public, and that has a lot to do with the total lack of performance that the car featured, making it a lackluster sports car. It is one that many consumers were simply not interested in.
16 Hyundai Tiburon
Hyundai was damaged pretty badly by the failure of the Excel during the 90s, and thus they begin to expand their vehicle portfolio with a range of new models. The Hyundai Tiburon was one such new model intended to compete as a value-priced sports car. It offered a modern design and a boatload of standard features such as leather seating and more.
The Hyundai Tiburon lacked in the performance department, which let a lot of potential drivers down - thus, the car was finally replaced by the Genesis.
15 Scion TC
Toyota Motor Corporation has been trying to entice young drivers for the past three decades, and unfortunately, the Corolla just doesn’t fit everyone's need. Thus, the Scion brand was born to appeal to a younger demographic who wanted unique and individual vehicles.
The Scion TC was actually a replacement for the Toyota Celica but the car still lacked in the performance department. This made it a lackluster choice compared to more powerful models such as the Mustang and the new Camaro.
14 Honda Del-Sol
There was a time when the Honda Civic was not the most appealing car on the market, instead, an affordable choice for first-time drivers and consumers on a budget.
But, the Honda Civic has come a long way in the last few decades to a more mature and noteworthy car that has also become more sporty. During the 90s, if you wanted a sporty Honda Civic the choice was the Honda Del-Sol, which offered a unique two-seater Targa top design that hadn’t been seen on an economy car at that point.
13 Mitsubishi Lancer Base
No two car makers are the same, and when it comes to creating a truly unique vehicle that stands out from the crowd, Mitsubishi has been perfecting the art for decades.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Base looks a lot like the far more expensive EVO model, but in reality, the car is just your average four-cylinder economy car. Although, it is important to note that the current Mitsubishi Lancer Base has not been updated in quite a long time and is in the process of being phased out for the more desirable crossover models.
12 Subaru Impreza
The Subaru brand has always been a popular choice with the tuner crowd, and in the long run, the car is very sporty in many aspects. But, if you cannot afford the high-speed WRX model, then you are going to be driving a run of the mill Subaru Impreza, which is the basic trim forms is not that sporty of a car by any means.
That is not to say that the Subaru Impreza is a bad car, but it is not the sporty car that everyone seems to think that it is.
11 Chrysler Sebring Coupe
The Chrysler brand has come a long way in the last 30 years, from a company that was on the brink of failure. The Sebring went on to become one of the most popular brands to ever be sold, especially in the convertible form.
The Chrysler Sebring Coupe is a car that looks a lot more sporty than it is, but when you actually drive the car, you are greeted with a more modern and discreet car that does a good job of delivering power. However, it looks a lot faster than it actually is.
10 Dodge Stratus SXT Coupe
The corporate cousin of the Chrysler Sebring Coupe is the Dodge Stratus SXT Coupe, and boy does it do a good job of delivering something different. While not as fancy as the Sebring in many aspects, the Dodge Stratus SXT Coupe definitely looks a lot more sporty than it actually is. Many drivers will mistake this coupe for something a whole lot faster.
We can say that the Dodge Stratus SXT Coupe does a good job of pulling off the sporty look, but in the long run, it will not back those sporty looks up.
9 Ford Mustang V6
Another notable model that lacks excitement is the Ford Mustang V6, a step down from the more powerful V8 model. Although it might be a good choice for the first driver or someone who wants the look of a sports car without the unnecessary power behind it.
The Ford Mustang V6 is a lackluster choice for a sports car if you are in the market for something that is actually powerful and will leave an impact as a muscle car should. If a price is an option, then the Ford Mustang V6 might be a good choice for most consumers.
8 Ford Escort GT
Released during the early 90s as an Escort with enhanced power, the Ford Escort GT was a unique sports coupe that took an economy car and added some excitement to it.
The problem with the Ford Escort GT was that it really wasn’t all that fast, but the way that the car looked got a lot of potential buyers excited. You can still find a good deal of these sporty little coupes roaming around. While the Ford Escort GT is nothing amazing, the car definitely looked a lot faster than it actually was.
7 Mercury Cougar (Final Generation)
The final years of the Mercury brand were painful, with a good deal of oddly designed cars striving to appeal to a young demographic.
The Mercury Cougar was based on the Ford Mustang at the time. However, it went with an oval design that did not go over well with the consumers who were used to driving the Cougar of decades prior. There was also a lack of a V8 engine which had been a staple of the Cougar line for some time.
6 Nissan Pulsar
The 80s Nissan lineup was full of odd looking cars that never really understood their purpose in life, which is also what almost drove the company to the brink of failure.
The Nissan Pulsar was one of these interesting cars which looked a lot more sporty than it actually was, and created a lot of confusion with buyers who were also coming onto the lot to see the then very popular Nissan Z models. The Nissan Pulsar should be a painful blip in the minds of many Nissan enthusiasts who have followed the car brand faithfully after all these years.
5 Plymouth Laser
Designed in a partnership deal between Mitsubishi and Chrysler's corporation known as Diamond Star Motors, the Plymouth Laser was based on the popular Mitsubishi Eclipse model and offered a who new level of sportiness for a reasonable price, or so we thought.
The actual production model of the Plymouth Laser was a scaled-down version of the Mitsubishi Eclipse meant to be an affordable alternative. Which in theory, took a lot of the fun out of a car that was meant to be cheap and fun.
4 Plymouth Prowler
One of the most popular concept cars that was born into reality during the late 90s, the Plymouth Prowler looks like a beautiful roadster that could shred the race track. Sadly the reality of it is that the Plymouth Prowler was powered by the same V6 engine that you might find in a Dodge Intrepid.
You’d think that this muscle car roadster was shipped with a powerful V8 engine but you are wrong, and the Plymouth Prowler was known as one of the biggest letdowns of the decade due to the lack of a real engine.
3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS (Final Generation)
The final decades of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo were painful at best because the car was nothing more than a shell of what it once was. That’s not to say that the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS was a bad car, but when compared to other muscle cars at the time this model just had nothing to really offer the enthusiast.
The final few years of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS marked the return of a V8 engine, but the car was never really the sales leader that it once was and GM decided to end the legendary nameplate.
2 Smart Roadster
There is nothing wrong with the Smart Car brand, which is known for creating some of the most unique tiny vehicles to ever roam the streets. But, the Smart Roadster is a car that will leave you disappointed if you think that it is going to be exciting to drive.
The Smart Roadster is basically a Smart Car with a completely different body slapped onto it. If this is what many driving are seeking, you are going to be disappointed by the lackluster performance that is generally associated with the little gas efficient cars.
1 Pontiac Fiero
Perhaps one of the most infamous cars to leave a GM production line, the Pontiac Fiero is known for one of a kind look that made the car seem like a real sports car. Coupled with the mid-engine design, who would have thought that the Pontiac Fiero was a slow car, or even that there would be reports of the car catching on fire according to Consumer Reports.
The Pontiac Fiero was a bit more sporty in its final years of production, but at that point, the damage had been done and GM consumers were moving onto other models.
Sources: Motor Trend & Consumer Reports