Which car ended up living up to the hype?

By Colin Wood
Jul 3, 2021 | Nissan, Toyota, Supra, GT-R

Photograph Courtesy Nissan

A lot of cars in our scene–new or old–receive quite a bit of hype when it comes to how fast they are or how well they drive.

Unfortunately, it’s also just as common for such cars to be overhyped, leaving a bad first impression, or, even worse, giving praise to a car that never really deserved it to begin with.

However, what was one car that you felt was overhyped, but realized it lived up to all that hype after you drove it?

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Cchambers13 New Reader
7/2/21 8:07 a.m.

Focus RS lived up to the hype personally. Test drove a used one with some tuning done to it and had the "feel" of what a street oriented rally car would be. Exhaust pops between shifts, sharp handling for backroads... many enjoyments were had.

Early Audi S4 Biturbo... in stock form was underwhelming.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/2/21 8:15 a.m.

Most recently for me, C8 Corvette lived up to the hype. 

MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
7/2/21 8:15 a.m.

I'll go with BMW 3 series. They might not be the fastest thing on the road, but they're good for putting a grin on your face while being relatively practical.

Mndsm MegaDork
7/2/21 8:20 a.m.

I know I'm biased, but the Mazdaspeed 3. Absolute riot out of the box. 

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/2/21 8:32 a.m.

I test drove a Fiesta ST because every automotive journalist and blogger in the US and Europe raved about it, and several bought one. It also won 22 awards:

  • Automobile Magazine, 2014 All-Star
  • Top Gear (U.K.), Car of the Year
  • Echappement (France), Sports Car of the Year
  • Auto Express (U.K.), Best Hot Hatch
  • Scottish Car of the Year, Best Hot Hatch
  • Car (Spain), Top 11 Sports Cars
  • Sunday Times (U.K.), No. 1 Hot Hatch
  • Autocar (U.K.), Best Value Driver’s Car
  • Car and Driver, 10 Best
  • Gear Patrol, GP100 Top Gear
  • Popular Mechanics, 2014 Automotive Excellence Award for Handling
  • Esquire Magazine, Small Car of the Year
  • Culture Map – Houston, Hot Compact of the Year
  • Autobytel, 2014 Compact Car of the Year
  • MotorWeek, Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Subcompact Car
  • Hagerty, 2014 Hagerty Hot List
  • About.com, Best New Cars of 2014
  • China Auto Pictorial, Performance Car of the Year
  • Top Gear (China), Best Performance Car in 2013
  • National Business Review, Sports Car of the Year 2013
  • U.K. Car of the Year, Best Performance Car
  • kbb. com, 10 Coolest New Cars Under $25,000 of 2014
  • Grassroots Motorsports Magazine, Best Car ever made, ever

OK, I made that last one up. But the hype was large and the car did not disappoint.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
7/2/21 8:47 a.m.

For me, the 1990 Miata in 1990.  The hype was huge with every car being sold at more than sticker.  Dealerships were taking deposits for whatever came in next.  This means that you would often have to accept whatever color or options (there weren't many) that arrived.  

bobzilla MegaDork
7/2/21 8:54 a.m.

Veloster N? It seems to have lived up well to the hype.

I hate to say this, but Civic Hype R?

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
7/2/21 8:55 a.m.

Out of the cars I've owned (not a long list, honestly) the one that most met the hype to me was my '88 Mazda 626 Turbo.  Everything else basically met expectation or worse.

bobzilla MegaDork
7/2/21 8:57 a.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

I have never owned a car that had "hype". 

rob_lewis UltraDork
7/2/21 9:00 a.m.

The MINI Cooper.  Bought one brand new in '03 and could never wipe the grin off my face driving one.  Funny enough, 13 years later, my son went from borrowing my Fiat 500 Turbo to a well worn '04 MINI and had the same grin.  They are just that much fun to drive.


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