I try to be a positive person when it comes to the automobile. But, sometimes, you end up getting a heap of scrap. What can an automotive person do after experiencing a piece of…garbage?
We drove them once in our lives. Vehicles that gave us fits, drain our pocketbooks and put us in arrears with our creditors. These were vehicles where even the dealer you bought it from would refuse to take back – even under a Lemon Law.
Trust me, I feel your pain. I had my share of automobile nightmares. Maybe I had more than the usual motorist – if not the same. In my time, I've experienced suicidal radiators, suicidal valve heads, suicidal gaskets, suicidal power steering pumps, over-torqued wheel bolts – and so forth.
And, one wonders why I do not own a vehicle.
So, how do I do a My Favorites column based on the worst automobile experiences I had in my driving life? Well, I already wrote about one – the unfortunate ownership of a 1974 Ford Mustang II Ghia.
Could any one vehicle get as more heinous as that Mustang II?
There is one…the Chevrolet Aveo.
How bad is the Aveo? This was the only car I rented – and return the same day. It was that bad. Um, well…where do I start?
Frankly, it's not all General Motors' fault. They bought Daewoo and had been in transition to integrate the Korean automaker into the company. This was before bankruptcy, mind you.
The Aveo replaced the Daewoo Lanos subcompact was about to become its second-generation model. That was when GM knocked on its doorstep. Soon, the second-generation Lanos would show up at Chevrolet dealers worldwide with the Aveo name.
The only experience with the Aveo was in 2008 when I had to rent a car for some reason. I chose something small. I ended with with a steel-ish blue four-door sedan. Possibly a mid-level model or the top-of-the-line? I cannot recall.
However, I knew this was going to be a fun experience the moment my head smacked the driver's side assist handle. It’s not the fact that it pitched from side-to-side, but rather they installed swinging assist grips above the driver! Everything else was elementary: The quality was bland, the audio system tinny, the motor a bit weak, the gearbox was meh…the use of chrome excessive.
We thought we had Daewoo licked from our conscious by then…that would be too easy to even consider, I'm afraid.
There were others I could have listed here. One in particular would be that 1981 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham that belonged to my fathers business partner at the time, That huge floaty monster was equipped with the most unfortunate first-attempt at cylinder deactivation, known as V8-6-4.
A point has to be made based on recent conversations around a vehicle I just reviewed on here – the 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 sedan. As much as you wanted to bash this inexpensive small sedan made in Thailand, let me submit to you this: Even the so-called "worst" vehicle sold today is far from the worst we have seen in a decade or more.
Let me say it this way: I'd rather have a new Mirage G4 than a decade-plus old Aveo. Enough said.
All photos by Randy Stern