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5 Cars You May Have Misjudged

Some cars have legends or reputations which, somewhere along the line, became an inaccurate picture of what the car actually is. That idea will snowball and before you know it, it's almost as though you're talking about a different car. We put together a list of 5 cars with larger-than-life reputations for your consideration. We haven't included any "green" cars on this list, simply because that is its own debate, and it's already going on everywhere else anyway.

Ford Edsel- It is a well-known fact that the Ford Edsel was a sales disaster. The very name makes you think failure, and logic would tell us that this is because they were crap. They weren't though. The problem was simply that Ford's marketing department had promised that the Edsel would be the greatest thing on four wheels, and it turned out to just be another Ford. You know, a car. The Edsel might not have been a magical wish-granting machine, but in spite of what you may have heard, it was really just an average car.

Mazda MX-5 Miata- Be honest, have you ever looked at a Miata without thinking "chick car"? The best selling two-seat convertible of all time is a cute little car all right, far too cute for its own good. Recent generations are less sickeningly cute, but the legacy of the first generation's cuteness is difficult to get away from. Unless you drive one. They are fantastic cars, truly fantastic. Though it may be a convertible, the chassis was designed with this in mind, and the handling is the kind of amazing you rarely see outside of the Porsche price range. Chick car? Hardly, it's a driver's car all the way.

Dodge Omni- The Omni had the unfortunate timing of being introduced during a period when small American cars were at their very worst. Sure, the Omni had some problems, but the car had so much more potential, and Carroll Shelby proved this. He made hot versions of the Omni (in very small numbers) called the GLH and GLH-S, which stomped all over imported hot hatches like the VW GTI, a car which the GLH-S could beat to 60 by a full two and a half seconds back in 1986. The Omni's biggest problem was just that its parent company didn't take it seriously.

Smart Fortwo- Most Americans, myself included, first looked at the Fortwo and thought it would be better named the Deathtrap. Some dinky little plastic dorkmobile like this couldn't possibly be safe, right? Wrong. When the Fortwo first hit American shores in 2008, it got a higher front collision crash rating from the NHTSA than the same year's Chevy Trailblazer. It might be dorky-looking, and it might be slow, but you actually will be safe. Unless a Freightliner squashes you like a bug, but the Fortwo sucks on the highway anyway, so you probably won't have to worry about that.

Volkswagen Beetle- I know it's always dangerous to go after a classic, but as iconic as it is, the original Beetle really was a turd. A Volkswagen technician once told, as way of evidence of the design brilliance that went into the Beetle, that he could swap out an engine in a Beetle in just an hour. What he seems to have forgotten is that a truly well-designed car doesn't require engine swaps with the kind of frequency that gives technicians the amount of practice they need to do a speed swap like that. Yes, the Beetle was cheap, but that doesn't mean it was a bargain.

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