How many times have you come across a car that is all bark and no bite?
In automotive terms, a “sleeper” is a car that doesn’t look like it’ll do much damage, but once it hits the road, it’s a real performance dream. Think of the Mazdaspeed3 or BMW 335D — two cars that don’t look all that vicious but are really stunning driver’s cars.
This article, however, lists cars which are just the opposite. These cars are stylistically overdone without the performance or quality to match the exterior shape. And while some of these cars aren’t that bad to drive, they still don’t live up to their exteriors.
In the early 1990s, the Eclipse was a good choice for bargain enthusiasts. In recent years, though, the funny Mitsu has been plagued with horrible interior refinement and not-so-great driving dynamics. What a shame.
6. Saturn Sky
When General Motors launched the Sky roadster as the sister to the Solstice in 2006, we were greatly impressed with the bold exterior styling. But a Miata fighter? Hardly. The Sky is a portly roadster with a weak naturally aspirated engine and really poor interior materials.
5. Nissan Altima Coupe
A sporty two-door from Nissan that doesn’t wear a Z badge? Good thought, but the base car’s 2.5-liter four and CVT are really weak, and upgrading to the V-6 won’t help things all that much, either.
Twenty-two-inch chrome wheels and a revised front fascia aren’t sporty, but if “sportiness” and “tons of wind/road noise and harsh ride quality” go together in your book, we suppose it fits the bill.
3. Dodge Challenger SE
Like the V-6 Mustang, the Challenger’s muscle car exterior does very little to match the 3.5-liter V-6, horrible steering, bad transmission, and poor interior quality. A shame, because it’s such a looker.
2. Lexus IS250
The Lexus IS looks like it has the potential to be a pretty aggressive sport sedan poised to take on the BMW 3-Series. The 250, however, with its 2.5-liter V-6 and only 204 horsepower is a real slug with little to no driver involvement.
1. Nissan Rogue Krom
When Nissan did the Krom treatment to the Cube, it was cute and sort of fun. But the Rogue? Not so much. It might look sporty and crisp, but there’s an anemic four-cylinder engine and buzzy CVT under that hood.