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5 Cars That Don't Deserve Their Bad Reputation

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2017

Later today, I'm going to tell you about the Ferrari 348, which is a Ferrari that most people -- even many Ferrari fans -- don't really like all that much. I, on the other hand, have always kind of enjoyed the 348 -- and I don't think it really deserves its reputation as the "black sheep" of the Ferrari family. With that in mind, here are five other cars that have earned bad reputations over the years -- not rightfully, in my mind. You may disagree with me, and you may think that all these cars are just as horrible as everyone thinks ... but you'd be wrong.

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR

For those of you who don't know the ELR, it's basically a Chevy Volt with a little extra power, some additional luxury features, better styling and two fewer doors, which severely limit its practicality. It also had a $76,000 price tag, which led me to call it one of the all-time worst values in the car industry. And yet, it's on this list. Yes, that's right: The same guy who recently said the Cadillac ELR was a truly horrible value is now saying it doesn't deserve its bad reputation -- and here's why: While the ELR made no sense with its $76,000 price tag, it had a handsome design and a futuristic, plug-in hybrid powertrain -- and now that it's depreciated into the $30,000 range, it's no longer such a bad value. If I was looking for a stylish electric car, I'd consider it.

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Ford Flex

Ford Flex

If you're a casual observer and you've seen the Ford Flex on the road, you probably think it's weird, unusual and possibly very ugly. In fact, most people I talk to tell me they think the Ford Flex is one of the strangest cars they can imagine -- and they can't believe anyone would buy it. But have you ever spoken to a Flex owner? They love the thing for its family-hauling capabilities, and for its, well, "flex"ibility. People love how big the interior is, how versatile it is and -- oh, yeah: You can get it with a 355-horsepower turbocharged engine that sends it from 0 to 60 in 6.2 seconds.

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Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Mercedes-Benz R-Class

The Mercedes-Benz R-Class has been maligned for various reasons over the years -- mainly its styling, which virtually everyone complains about, but also its performance, and the mere idea of a "minivan" from a luxury brand like Mercedes-Benz. But I recently spent some time with the ultra-rare R63 AMG, and I was stunned to find out just how versatile the R63 is. It has giant rear doors for easy access, ultra-simple seats designed to facilitate adults climbing in the third row and a highly comfortable interior. Best of all, used R-Class models are surprisingly cheap -- though maintaining them might not be.

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Nissan Cube

Nissan Cube

The Cube has been maligned virtually since it debuted in 2009 for its unusual styling and its boxy profile. But I briefly owned a Cube, and I'm happy to report ... it's not so bad. In fact, it's pretty good. The boxy design means tons of headroom, and the unusual styling, while odd, is at least not boring -- like so many cars are today. Most importantly, the Cube is cheap to buy and cheap to own, and it has a lot of cargo room, so you can stick your stuff inside. No, I'm not telling you to rush out and buy a Cube -- but they aren't as bad as you think.

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Toyota Solara Convertible

Toyota Solara Convertible

Most car enthusiasts mock the Toyota Solara convertible for the simple fact that it's a big, dull convertible whose styling gives it rather unwieldy proportions. I've spoken to car enthusiasts who simply can't understand why someone would get a Solara instead of a Z4 or an Audi TT. Well, here's why: Some people want four seats, don't want to spend BMW money (or deal with BMW maintenance), and don't need a car that constantly delivers excitement. Instead, they just want to put down the top and relax -- and the Solara convertible does a great job delivering precisely that.

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5 Cars That Don't Deserve Their Bad Reputation - Autotrader