A few weeks ago, the good folks over at Autoblog covered the list of ten overlooked vehicles compiled by Edmunds. That article sparked our interest, since a GM product – the new Buick LaCrosse – made Edmunds’ list. This sparked me to think about some of the other overlooked vehicles from The General.
There are many GM vehicles that are laden with quality but for whatever reason get overlooked by the public (and the press). Many are new and others made their debut during the the last several years. So yours truly came up with a list of five GM vehicles that are oft overlooked yet are still very capable. It certainly does not include all GM vehicles that fit this description, but just the first few that came to mind.
- Last-generation Oldsmobile Aurora: the first gen was ugly, which led to low sales volume. The second generation, however, was a simple (read: generic) looking vehicle that did little to increase sales over the first generation. Or so they thought… the second generation Aurora, with the “shortstar” V8 (a 4.0L version of the Northstar that was recently discontinued), was a very capable car. It probably appealed to the Buick crowd more than the BMW folk but was a well-made vehicle that made for a comfortable drive. Unfortunately, it never achieved the sales level it deserved.
- Epsilon-based Saab 9-3 (before the clear tail lights edition): this car sold in average volumes and probably got as much market share as it deserved for its price and quality. Ignoring the price tag, however, the 9-3 was a great vehicle – fun and entertaining. It may have lost some of the Saab spirit of yore but to this day, it remains an exciting drive.
- Saturn Aura: yeah okay Saturn’s dead. We all know why. And like Oldsmobile, the lineup at the time of death was the strongest the brand ever had. Arguably the Malibu is the “better” Aura. But the Aura has that European styling flavor that’s noticeably absent on the ‘bu. As someone who has driven a new Aura, I can say it is as refined and entertaining as a family sedan can get. Even though the one I drove lacked GM’s excellent 3.6L, there’s no arguing that the V6 could only improve the car.
- The Sigma platform (first gen) Cadillac SRX: this car was amazing, especially with the updated interior. It drove beautifully and even beat out a Porsche Cayenne in a Car and Driver comparo. It had unique styling, great engines, and superior driving dynamics. Unfortunately, tall wagons were out of style and the first-gen SRX looked too much like a wagon than a CUV. Alas, it never achieved the succes it really deserved.
- Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky: two huge problems with these vehicles prevented them from reaching their sales potential. First was the timing of both vehicles. Both Saturn and Pontiac were sent to the automotive graveyard shortly after each brand released their Kappa roadster. And being halo vehicles, these fun rear-wheel drivers were never intended to be huge sellers. But GM could have sold more copies if it had made the convertible tops go down as easily as that on the Miata. Both the Solstice and Sky drove well, looked good, and gave people something to lust after in Saturn and Pontiac showrooms.
What do you think? Would you add/subtract/edit my list? Let me know in the comments.[Source: Autoblog]