What Car’s Redesign or Facelift Upset the Most People?

Porsche 996

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What’s Reddit good for if you can’t make the occasional rant? Car enthusiasts, as you may know, are a somewhat opinionated lot. I asked Reddit this question, and at the time of writing, I’ve received over 700 responses.

Granted, just because someone writes into a Reddit post doesn’t mean they can channel the combined emotion of the automotive community.

For the most part, however, the comments aligned with sentiments expressed in the media and by reviewers everywhere. Here are a few of your least favorite second, third or umpteenth attempts at redesigns, reboots and mid-cycle refreshers.

Die Jeep Cherokee

Don’t mess with our Jeeps! If this thread proved anything, it’s that the Jeep Cherokee was better in its boxy days. For other SUVs, the gradual erosion of market forces smoothing body lines and lowering ground clearance is to be accepted. Not for the Cherokee.

It’s true. Fiat/Chrysler isn’t doing a whole lot right these days, and Jeep is one of the few marques keeping them afloat. Bad idea trying to fix what’s not broken.

The End of Porsche Consistency

Porsche owners use lots of adjectives to describe their cars. Up there with the sincerest of Porschefile put-downs is the “fried egg” 911, the 996. Even though it’s instantly recognizable as a 911, a quick look at the cars that preceded and followed the 996 makes it clear to see the difference in aesthetics.

But those adventurous headlights aren’t the only way this car differed from the 911s that came before it. The 996 represented a huge evolution in Porsche design as the first water-cooled 911 and the first 911 designed with mass production in mind. It even shared parts with the Boxster. If you want to find the last cheap 911s, this is where you start.

Bangle Butt Strikes at BMW

While we’re on the topic of German cars, Chris Bangle is probably the only designer whose name appears seven times in the bad car redesigns thread. The reason? Bangle’s new rear fascia treatment for the 7 and 5-series introduced in 2001 had Bimmer stealing a page from the Kardashian clan.

The notorious rear-end treatment that Bangle applied to the E60 5-series and E65 7 was not only huge. It featured two sets of lights that appeared to have been designed by separate people. The controversial styling sunk BMWs first genuine attempt to meet Mercedes-Benz luxury head-on.

Acura’s Fatal Mistake(s)

A few contributors mentioned the styling change that Acura’s flagship sedans saw around the 08-09 model year. The “beak” treatment that eventually spread to the entire range was not well-received, and the brand has been in a death spiral ever since. It took until their 2017 model range for the company to toss the beak look.

Adding to the A brand’s list of failures, the new NSX is a holy grail for technophiles but has gotten mixed reviews in the aesthetics department. Moreover, it took a decade to bring to life and is the complete opposite of the original NSX’s do-more-with-less philosophy. Even if it’s a good car, it has ticked some people off.

Honorable Mentions

While these are some of the most berated car redesigns in recent memory, comments from many contributors brought attention to epic failures of the past and cars that perhaps snuck under the radar after a terrible re-hashing.

One Redditor called the 1996 Ford Taurus “a series of nested ovals,” which is a 100% accurate description of that car. Whether the ’96 Taurus was a step backward compared to the Taurus that preceded it or not is a difficult question. It was a take on Ford’s world car the Mondeo and a hugely popular global seller.

Honda received some much-deserved hate for the 2012 Civic. But then they knew it, and as a result, new Civics are beginning to show a return to the transport-appliance efficiency and reliability we all know and love from Honda. At least they’re paying attention. Maybe they were just distracted trying to come up with ideas to keep Acura on life support.

The Future of Bad Car Redesigns

It’s hard to say whether the transition to self-driving cars, a change that will take place in our lifetimes, will ultimately rob the car of individualism and style. Here’s hoping it doesn’t, or there will be a lot more posts like this to write.

Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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