In fairness, it would have been a miracle for any car to lift us out of the global funk that was 2020. Still, even considering our low expectations, some of the 2020 models managed to take the wind out of our sails. Here are 25 cars that underwhelmed us.
25. 2021 Jeep Wrangler
Chrysler has been resting on their laurels with the Wrangler a bit. Despite updating the powertrain, the rest of the Jeep has remained largely unchanged, and consumers are getting impatient. Especially considering the sticker price, Jeep needs to get some new tricks into this old dog.
24. Volkswagen Atlas
VW has been trying to get back into the market’s good graces since the emissions scandal of 2015. Unfortunately, the Atlas isn’t enough of a new look for them, since it’s basically just a bigger Toureg. While the driving experience remains excellent, there’s just too much flab in the sales lineup already.
23. Volkswagen Tiguan
For a small vehicle, the Tiguan has some serious issues with fuel economy, which has been a sticking point with a lot of owners. While it was a big success a decade ago, the market is so packed with crossover models now that the Tiguan is lost in the crowd. The 2020 model of this car did very little to make itself exceptional in the way that Volkswagen desperately needs.
22. Acura MDX
Acura hasn’t represented the kind of high-performance luxury market that it was first born into for a while now. The MDX is a great example of why – despite middling performance and outdated design, it’s still priced like a luxury model but doesn’t live up to it. Acura hasn’t had a clear mission for a while now and parent company Honda might consider a rebrand.
21. Tesla Model X
We’re going to level with you, Elon – this is a weird-looking car. The “falcon-wing” design on the retrofuturistic blob silhouette is alienating to the mainstream buyer who isn’t looking for a vehicle from The Jetsons. Though perhaps that’s intentional – certainly the $100k+ price tag isn’t exactly courting the masses either.
19. 2020 Nissan Armada
Nissan didn’t have a great 2020 sales-wise, and looking at the Armada it’s not too hard to see why. The huge SUV doesn’t have the place on the market that it once did – compared to other models in its category, it’s a total gas-guzzler, and doesn’t offer the driving power to make it worthwhile to feed. It’s aptly named, we guess: like an ancient military armada, it’s huge, slow, and past its time.
16. 2021 Jeep Cherokee
The Cherokee hasn’t managed to hold onto its customer base since its launch – it still calls to the outdoorsman but it no longer has the widespread appeal it once did. It’s also sold at such a premium that it has to compete with luxury cars, but doesn’t have the comfort and cachet to fit into that market. What was once the affordable entry vehicle into the Jeep brand has become a costly and outdated relic.
15. 2020 Infiniti Q50
Infiniti is the “luxury” imprint of Nissan and just doesn’t live up to expectations. There’s very little innovative or unique about their models. Which isn’t surprising, since they’re basically just regular Nissans with all the expensive add-ons already added on. The consumer market is already turning their back on this brand.
13. Lincoln Nautilus
Like Cadillac, Lincoln is struggling to deliver luxury these days, and it could be their end. The Nautilus is an attempt to make their mark in the crossover category, combining Ford power and engineering with Lincoln’s trademark style (and, of course, price tag to match). Unfortunately, it’s just not interesting or original enough to be the brand-saver they seem to be searching for.
12. 2020 Chevrolet Colorado
The Colorado is a decent middle-of-the-pack midsize truck, and 2020 introduced a diesel option that they hoped would push it to the front. This just didn’t resonate with customers, though, and the high price of the Colorado doesn’t seem justified by any of its features. It’s still in the game, but definitely requires more imagination.
11. 2020 Chevrolet Camaro
No one could have anticipated that the Camaro would actually mark the tail end of the retro car remake fad. A decade ago, it hit the market and caused a joyful uproar, but now, it’s still trying – and failing – to ride on that appeal. Its style is dated and redundant, and definitely not in a good way.
10. 2020 Cadillac CT4
Like the ATS, the Cadillac CT4 is largely relegated to rental car fleets at this point. Buyers just aren’t interested in the sub-par luxury features at Cadillac’s optimistically astronomical price point. It’s an underwhelming sedan with nothing beyond the brand name to justify its ticket.
9. 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
Standing out from most of the other entries in this list, the 2020 Corvette suffers from too distinct a change, rather than not enough. This year, Chevy redesigned the classic favorite to include a mid-engine design, a first in Corvette’s history. Never one to miss a chance for drama, the die-hard enthusiasts took this experiment like a stab in the back, and it hasn’t done well at all.
8. Ferrari F8 Tributo
This car carries a massive powerplant and a lot of history – and we’re not just talking about the brand name. The Tributo was designed to be an explicit tribute to past Ferraris, and delivers on its design promises. Unfortunately, customers aren’t very welcoming to new supercars right now, and in the cutthroat market of sports cars, it isn’t especially notable.
6. 2020 Land Rover Defender
We’re still confused by Land Rover’s thought process here. The Defender is an iconic model with a massive fan base, and older models still command impressive prices with collectors. But for some reason, they decided to bring this classic back into the modern market… missing almost everything that made the original such a favorite, like the removable top. A sure-fire way to alienate old and new customers alike.
3. 2020 BMW 7 Series
If you’ve ever seen a picture of a baleen whale, it’s not hard to see why the 7 Series’s grill design (along with its size and general sedateness) is reminiscent of the animal. BMW, like Mercedes and Cadillac, just doesn’t have the market cornered on full-size luxury sedans any more, but they still price their cars as if they have the demand to match. With costly repair issues, the 7 Series just doesn’t have the performance edge that BMW wants to act like it does.
1. 2020 Ford Escape
Ford appears to have cribbed most of this design from the Kia Nero, since the two are basically twins. It’s more genteel, a mannered road car compared to its off-road predecessors. Ford is still trying to cement their place in the crossover market, and this effort is… fine? It makes no waves and pushes no envelopes, but hey: it’s there.