We are some of the luckiest people in the world because we spend our days driving cars of all types.
But we don’t do it for the glory, we drive everything we can get our hands on because we owe it to consumers to help them make educated purchasing decisions when it comes time to buy a new car. Sometimes, we’re blown away by how good cars are, while other times, we’re sorely disappointed.
We hate to start the New Year off on a negative note, but here are the most disappointing cars each of our editors drove in 2016:
Jodi Lai, Managing Editor: 2016 Maserati Quattroporte
I must seem extremely spoiled to say a Maserati was one of the most disappointing cars I drove in 2016, but hear me out. Maseratis are legendary for performance and luxury and this big sedan just couldn’t meet the high expectations I had for the Italian exotic. The Quattroporte’s interior had cheap plastic parts you can find in a Chrysler, it didn’t have any of the technology you’d be right to expect in a six-figure car, and the performance just wasn’t where it needed to be. It felt outdated and couldn’t even meet the standards I have for cars that cost much less. It just didn’t feel as special as it needs to be in this segment. Luckily, the Quattroporte was updated for the 2017 model year, and it addresses a lot of the complaints I had with it.
Read the full review: 2016 Maserati Quattroporte Review
Dan Ilika, Road Test Editor: 2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo
Anyone who remembers the Sentra SE-R Spec V wouldn’t blame me for being excited about this new turbocharged version of Nissan’s compact sedan. And maybe that’s why it was so disappointing. Yes, it’s not a NISMO-tuned number, and yes, it’s an improvement over the naturally aspirated version, but the Sentra SR Turbo fell well short of even a modest version of my expectations. Its 188 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque looks good on paper, but that’s where the good ends. Throttle response is mediocre at best, and the engine, borrowed from the Nissan Juke, does nothing to make the Sentra feel any lighter or more capable. To make matters worse, the pending Sentra NISMO packs the same lacklustre engine, with output going unchanged. It will, however, get new suspension and steering tuning, as well as beefier brakes.
Read the full review: 2017 Nissan Sentra SR Turbo Review
Sami Haj-Assaad, Features Editor: 2016 Chevrolet Cruze
In a segment full of awesome cars like the Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic and Mazda3, I was very excited to see what Chevy cooked up with an all-new Cruze. But then I was let down with this drab, dull and utterly boring car. Yes, I tested the base model and many of the complaints I had with the car are rectified with the higher trim levels, but I still didn’t enjoy driving the vehicle, even with its manual transmission. Additionally, the interior appointments were downright terrible and cheap feeling. The most redeeming factor about the Cruze is that it comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and can be had with 4G LTE Internet from OnStar.
Stephen Elmer, News Editor: 2017 Nissan Armada
The “new” 2017 Nissan Armada isn’t all that bad of vehicle, but it certainly feels like a missed opportunity and a step backwards for the brand, making it one of my biggest letdowns of the year. To save on the budget, Nissan has killed off the Titan-based Armada and decided to re-badge the Nissan Patrol, an SUV that is well known worldwide for its toughness and off-road prowess. The brand has actually been doing this for some time, though instead of new Nissan bodywork, they have been slapping chrome and leather on them and selling them as the Infiniti QX80.
Here’s the issue: the interior of the “all-new” 2017 Nissan Armada looks a lot like the interior from a 2010 Nissan Patrol, because it has barely changed in over six years. And it makes this new vehicle feel old, with the small grey plastic buttons making the dash look like an ugly ’90’s computer.
Read the full review: 2017 Nissan Armada Review
And here’s the kicker. In other markets, the Patrol is offered with front and rear locking differentials, disconnecting sway bars and Hydraulic Body Motion Control (HBMC), a system of hydraulic cylinders located at the shock absorbers which provides variable roll-stiffness assistance. It’s an off-road beast, while our Patrol is a pure mall crawler, designed for some light-duty off-roading.
Despite the fact that the Armada drives fairly well for a big SUV, it just isn’t what it could have been. I would even settle for an ugly interior if this thing could at least head off road, but the new North-American Armada has been stripped of its best features and has been left with little to be desired.
Craig Cole, Associate Editor: Mitsubishi Mirage
What was the worst car I drove in 2016? Well, that’s an easy question to answer since I endured the experience only a few weeks ago, a late-year kick in the male parts, a Christmas present I couldn’t even return for store credit. If a raucous interior, Novocaine-injected steering and an engine that makes more vibration than power top your list of must-have features, then the Mitsubishi Mirage GT hatchback has been custom made just for you.
Jonathan Yarkony, Editorial Director: Kia Optima
After being thoroughly blown away by the 2017 Kia Sorento, I fully expected the Optima to offer more of the same comprehensively good in all areas quality of the midsize SUV, but it just seemed like another middling Kia of old. If anything, I feel like the redesign looks worse than the previous generation, and despite a quality, easy to use interior, the driving experience was the same clunky, sloppy mess we thought and hoped they’d solved.