Over the years, consumers have come to love certain car models just as they are. In fact, some models have even gone on to become classics. It didn’t matter if this was a sedan, wagon, SUV, sports car or pickup truck. Once a car has achieved classic status, there is a good chance that car buyers are going to choose this model over and over again. This is simply because they swear by the car’s look and performance. Moreover, they have become quite comfortable with it.
Meanwhile, sometimes, car manufacturers may decide to take a risky gamble with one of these classics. And when that happens, they may choose to surprise the car model’s loyal followers and so a major redesign. In some cases, things work out for the best. Fans of the car accept the new design and even promote it.
However, there are also instances in auto history when a redesign has gone horribly wrong. And when this happens, all the consumers want is to get the old look back. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.
Let’s take a look at some car redesign fails over the years:
20 Toyota Celica
If you ask Toyota Celica fans, the seventh generation of the car was essentially unnecessary. Celica loyalists noted that this particular generation wasn’t as fast and powerful as the previous ones. Moreover, a Toyota Celica Forum on this car also noted some issues, such as a “sloshing sound coming from the back side of engine.”
19 Honda Civic
Overall, the Honda Civic has been seen as quite a dependable car. This is exactly why it has gained some relative prominence in the market over the years. In 2012, Honda decided to launch a redesigned version of the Civic, but it was just decent, at best. As Cars.com described, the car featured “ho-hum styling and a spartan interior.”
18 Mitsubishi Eclipse
The Mitsubishi Eclipse is a sporty car that is generally well-liked. However, it safe to say that there was some love lost when Mitsubishi designed to give the model a redesign in 2003. According to Consumer Reports, “The Eclipse is eclipsed where it counts the most – in the fun to drive department. And still, it suffers from the traditional tradeoffs many sporting-oriented coupes make: stiff ride, poor visibility, cramped rear seat and awkward access.”
17 Nissan Sentra
In 2007, a newly redesigned Sentra was introduced to the market. It came with a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and you had a choice between a CVT automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Moreover, consumers also noted that it came with supersized cupholders and a trunk partition. Looking at the car from outside though, it looked like any other sedan out there.
16 Nissan Quest
The Nissan Quest represents Nissan’s attempt to quash both Honda and Toyota in the minivan market. However, its decision to give the car a redesign in early 2000 proved to be a huge mistake. As a review from The Washington Post noted, “Technically, it’s a minivan that’s classified as a truck, which makes no sense at all.
There is nothing truck-like about the thing. And other than its shape, there’s not much “minivan” about it, either.”
15 Nissan Maxima
Back in 1989, the Nissan Maxima was positioned in the market as a “four-door sports car.” Before that, it was just known as a flagship sedan. From then on, the Maxima underwent some redesigns that were acceptable to the market. And then, the model was redesigned again in 2004. This time, it had a longitudinally fixed sunroof that practically sparked controversy.
14 Subaru Forester
Over the years, the Subaru Forester has proven to be quite a popular SUV model in the market. It was boxy. It was reliable. It was, indeed, a reasonable purchase. However, when 2009 came, Subaru unveiled a redesigned Forester that was very different from previous models. The characteristic box design was gone, and it looked more like any other compact SUV.
13 Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza is a sedan model that has been around in the market since 1993. And over the years, it has accumulated its share of fans. However, in 2008, it seems that the car’s redesign went wrong. According to reviews, its styling was less distinctive. Moreover, feedback on Cars.com stated that the car featured “cheap interior materials” and “low-tech automatic transmission.”
12 Acura TL
The Acura TL is a sedan model that could be considered for everyday use. However, its 2004 redesign proved to be quite problematic. For starters, the car became the subject of five recalls. This is due to issues with steering, suspension, power train, visibility, and airbags. In the used car market, this is certainly a car to avoid today.
11 Chevrolet Malibu
Just like many sedan models, the Chevrolet Malibu has also been in the market for years. In fact, it’s a popular model to drive around in the U.S. And so, when Chevy came out with a redesigned in 2013, it was definitely taking a gamble. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite pay off. According to a review on Cars.com, the car wasn’t really quick, and the fuel mileage was unimpressive.
10 Chrysler Sebring
The Chrysler Sebring has always been an elegant car. In fact, it came to be recognized as a corporate car. And hence, it has managed to find its niche early on. However, Chrysler decided to give the Sebring a redesign in 2007 and the result was terrible. One owner posted a review on Cars.com back in February 2007 saying, “The car has already had two recalls. The trunk lid and cars hood ar [sic] not fitted properly. The lights have a mind of their own and go off for no reason.”
9 Ford Focus
Even today, the Ford Focus is quite a popular car model in the market. It’s possible that consumers especially like it since it comes with a hatchback and sedan option. Back in 2008, however, the redesigned Focus was unimpressive. According to Consumer Reports, “A freshening didn't hide the fact this was a nine-year-old design. Once among our top-rated small cars, this version rated only midpack.”
8 Ford Taurus
The Ford Taurus is a sedan that seems sporty and roomy at the same time. Hence, it’s almost like you get the best of both worlds. However, when the car underwent a redesign back in 2010, the car wasn’t exactly well-received. For starters, the 2010 Taurus became the subject of three recalls. Moreover, customers said that while the car appeared large, the interior is still cramped.
7 Jeep Liberty
The Jeep Liberty is a model that originally came to the market as a replacement for the aging Cherokee. From the very beginning, it’s received a lot of complaints as the car was accused of being too soft. And then, later on in 2008, the Liberty was given a boxier look. By then, however, customers were complaining that the car was “rough riding,” according to the NY Daily News.
6 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Overall, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been seen as a reliable SUV over the years. However, its 2005 redesign wasn’t exactly received well. According to Consumer Reports, “The 5.7-liter V8 engine is thirsty and failed to deliver the performance of some V6s in the class. Even average-height drivers complained about the lack of headroom.” The model also became the subject of five recalls.
5 Volkswagen Jetta
The Volkswagen Jetta is a sedan that has generally performed well in the market over the years. However, its 2011 redesign resulted in some significant problems. As one review on Edmunds noted, “I purchased the 2011 VW Jetta TDI with the manual 6-speed transmission in January 2011. The car had significant problems at first with stalling.”
4 Volkswagen Passat
The Volkswagen Passat is a mid-size sedan that is meant to compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and the Hyundai Sonata. However, back in 2016, it debuted a lackluster redesign. As CNET noted, “Even with updates, the Passat's styling is forgettable. The turbocharged engine suffers from noticeable boost lag when accelerating from complete stops. Steering weight is overly light.”
3 BMW 5-Series
By now, the BMW 5-Series has practically achieved classic car status, thanks to its continuous popularity among consumers over the years. However, the redesign of the car in 2003 proved to be rather disastrous. As one review of an owner on Edmunds remarked, “Avoid buying this car. Have had nothing but trouble since the day we bought it. Headlight system has had to be replaced twice.”
2 BMW 7-Series
It appears that automobile designer Chris Bangle did not exactly receive a good reception upon the launch of the redesigned BMW 7 Series in 2002. According to Cars.com, “His first design statement for BMW didn’t fully execute on his vision for the brand, and it left the world with a mod version of what was once pure German elegance personified.”
1 Lamborghini Countach
Generally, the Lamborghini Countach is a beloved car by many. And so, when its 25th anniversary came, the Italian carmaker was more than happy to do a special redesign. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be as impressive as a supercar as everyone hoped. In fact, one Motor Trend review had pitted the 1988 Countach against a 1993 Ferrari 512 Testarossa. And in the end, the 512 was declared the better supercar of the two.