It tends to go that the most successful cars are the ones that build the best reputation for their performance and reliability. However, it’s not always the case that a well-made car gets the attention that is probably deserves. Whether it’s a marketing snafu or poor release timing, there are some that just don’t bat as well as they could. This article is going to look at some of the cars that aren’t seen as often for no fault of their own. They’re not the best cars ever made, but they’re all great in their own right. If you’re thinking of getting yourself some wheels, these choices might even save you a buck.
The Audi Allroad
One of Audi’s less successful on-going ranges. The Allroad suffered initially for its SUV-like appearance without the SUV performance. It’s easy to be disappointed with the Allroad series for its misleading design, but that’s missing a decent crossover in its own right. This all-wheel drive ride doesn’t offer the best off-road capabilities but it is a sturdy package. The Allroad is particularly good for offering a smooth ride in all weathers. If you’re looking for a car that can take heavy-duty conditions, it could be for you. If you want an off-roader, keep looking.
The Mercury Marauder
A blast to the past for a rather niche range of people, possibly. An old-school motor for fast driving, the Marauder never did catch on with the performance enthusiasts. Still, it was more than decent for the time of release, hitting 0-60 in seven seconds. The Marauder gives a smooth, comfortable ride under all normal conditions. Start pushing it to its limits and taking it around a course, however, and it transforms. Responsive steering and a spirited kick when changing gears make it one of the more exciting drives.
The Kia Soul
As aesthetically pleasing as it is, the Kia Soul’s underlying quality is often over-looked. It’s no racer with a steady acceleration speed, but that’s not to say it’s not dextrous. Despite a cumbersome feel to the steer, the Soul is particularly responsive and responsible. You need to have the patience for its slow-going nature. In return, its solid-as-a-rock structure and long-term reliability are not to be overlooked. It could easily that reliable family car you’ve been looking for. For the quality of the interior and spacious feel, it’s far from overly expensive, too.
The Volvo S60
An entry-level luxury sedan, the Volvo S60 has plenty of competition for its spot on the market. That’s perhaps one of the reasons you haven’t seen it in real life all that much. All the same, it tends to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing of its kind with a body that looks sleek and contemporary no matter what year it’s from. It offers a remarkably comfortable drive, with the kind of ergonomic seating that most people look for in an office chair. If you take a lot of long drives, the S60 will take a lot of that back and shoulder strain out of your life.
The Volvo V70 R
That’s right, another Volvo on the list so soon. The V70 is Volvo’s compact crossover and makes another contender for unexpected family car you should consider. Safety is a priority famous in just about any Volvo you find. Still, there’s plenty of performing power behind the V70 R.. Getting the R edition V70 gives you a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine with 300 horsepower. This is not a car for slow starts. No, it’s for easy rides, safe journeys and zipping all around the place. No doubt something worth considering for those who have kids with a hundred places to be.
The Cadillac ATS
Another luxury sedan with plenty of competition nibbling at its sales, the Cadillac ATS series has not been doing very well. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great car. If you want a car that feels and drives like luxury, you might be able to get it for a little less by looking at an ATS. With well-designed and tactile interiors, it’s definitely a comfortable experience. But that doesn’t mean it’s all lazy going on the road. The ATS has great driving feel to it, with responsive handling and top-notch agility.
The Saab 9-2X Aero
The Aero is Saab’s re-badged Impreza WRX Wagon. It’s not a true Saab in most respects and there are a lot of brand loyalists who probably look on it with disdain. Indeed, no-one really took the Aero into their hearts when it was pushed out the door. Yet unlike most Saabs, this model tends to be a lot more reliable and less costly to maintain. If you’re a Saab fan, you probably won’t be getting this. If you’ve found Saab steering and tendency to break, It may be the turning point of the brand for you.
The Dacia Duster
Despite getting an award for car of the year from Autobest and selling well in 2013, the Duster hasn’t been picked up all that much recently. The Duster is for those of you who were disappointed by our coverage of the Allroad above and really want something that will take you off-road. With a traction system that’s hard to beat, you’ll never get stuck in the mud of conquered by a hill in this thing. The handling on the vehicle on smooth surfaces isn’t to be underestimated either. Dacia’s a brand that doesn’t get quite enough love but if you’re willing to give one a try, take a test drive at Autoworld. You might be convinced yet.
The Ford Taurus
A classic in its own right, the Taurus has long been due a resurgence on the roads. A pioneer of the sports sedan category, Ford’s reputation for sticking solidly in the category changed with the Taurus. With sports suspension and a V6, the Taurus performed excellently for sporty drivers and families who needed to get place to place. The current Taurus SHO is a lot closer to what it was before the V6 got added, so go for the classic option when you have the choice.
The Lexus LFA
You might be scoffing at the notion that a Lexus isn’t popular enough. Yet if you’re after a supercar that might not be quite as recognisable as the others, this car could have everything you need. The car’s exterior won’t be winning any points for an admittedly goofy design. But when it comes to taking a car around a track and letting her rip on an open road, it will not disappoint. A serious machine, it only really opens up at the higher speeds, however.
The Buick Regal
If you want to get some luxury level features for less, the Regal is the one for you. The performance has long been considered sub-par for an entry-level luxury, but with the Regal the devil is truly in the details. Heated seats, keyless entry and a rear view camera are just some of the additions that add some wow-factor. The smart system inside the car still holds up, too, with Cloud-based navigation. There are also apps that can give you all the music and communication functions you could want. If you want the tech of a luxury and are willing to sacrifice a bit of the performance, the Regal could very well be for you.
The Kia Cadenza
With a sharp European style design, the Kia Cadenza is one of the prettier cars on the list, certainly. Kia unfortunately does not have the status of the other luxury designers. The Cadenza isn’t the only time this brand has failed to fully break in and establish themselves. If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of brand power, however, you’ll find a real comfortable ride in the Cadenza. You’ll also find safety technology on par with the Regal and any others in luxury business.
The Ford Flex Crossover
With 355-horsepower, the Flex is a powerful beast indeed. That doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing any of the fuel economy the Flex is known for. Efficiency is the name of the game with this car. Some think that the aesthetics take a bit of a backseat in payment, but from inside, it’s hard-pressed to be pleased with it. It’s a great family car for those long drives and has a few cool additions like some of the more sophisticated in voice recognition software. Another one is the parking assist that actually helps you find parking spaces.
The Mazda 5
The most criminally underused of the lost, the Mazda mini-minivan has now been discontinued. With sizing that beats most crossovers while managing a nimble, more agile drive, the Mazda 5 never did manage to pick up any steam. Mazda looks to be moving closer to the crossovers that were the 5’s competition in the future. A great cargo hauler, its underpowered performance doesn’t make it much of a family car but it still has plenty of utility all its own. Let’s take a moment to mourn this unique foray of Mazda’s.