11 Underrated Cars That Deserve More Attention

Krystal Smith

In the automotive world, there are certain models that get all the hype and attention, while some equally impressive vehicles seem to fly under the radar. As an auto enthusiast who has tested my fair share of both overlooked and overhyped cars, I wanted to highlight some of the most underrated models that truly deserve more recognition from car shoppers. Just because a car doesn’t have a fancy badge or get discussed constantly in forums doesn’t mean it’s not praiseworthy. Here are some of the most underappreciated cars and trucks currently on sale that provide an amazing driving experience without the prestige or marketing hype:

Kia Stinger

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The Stinger provides proof that Kia can build a truly world-class sport sedan. With precise handling, a powerful twin-turbo V6 putting out 365 horsepower, and Gran Turismo styling cues, the Stinger rivals German cars costing twice as much. It’s a shame more buyers aren’t giving this stylish, grand touring Kia a look when shopping for a fun mid-size sedan. The Stinger deserves to be cross-shopped with Audi, BMW, and Mercedes.

Toyota 4Runner

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The 4Runner mid-size SUV may not get much media love, but it’s one of the most capable, durable, and reliable 4x4s at any price point. Drivers seeking adventure love the 4Runner’s off-road chops and confidence-inspiring nature. It will conquer trails that would leave most crossover SUVs floundering. Combine that with excellent reliability ratings and strong resale value, and the 4Runner deserves more consideration from families looking for a dependable, roomy SUV with timeless styling.

Mazda CX-5

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For those turned off by the dull driving dynamics of CR-Vs, Rav4s and other mainstream compact crossovers, the CX-5 brings some real driving passion to the segment. It punches above its weight with engaging handling that provides feedback, upscale interiors full of premium touches, and a fuel-efficient turbo engine option. The CX-5 proves that an affordable crossover can still offer an enjoyable driving experience. Mazda gives crossover buyers an athletic option devoid of compromise.

Genesis G70

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Hyundai’s fledgling luxury brand Genesis builds cars that rival premium German competitors for less cash. The G70 sport sedan in particular offers smooth, powerful engines, balanced athletic handling, and elegant design inside and out. Yet it lacks the prestige and brand cachet to attract buyers away from the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. For shoppers open to discovery, the value-packed G70 provides luxury unmatched by other entry-level sport sedans.

Ford Mustang EcoBoost

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The turbocharged four-cylinder Mustang has the same great styling and chassis as the V8, but with thrifty fuel economy topping 30 mpg on the highway. Drivers who don’t need massive power should consider the capable 310 hp turbo-four ‘Stang for their commute. It offers strong performance while sipping gas. At around $27,000 to start, the nimble EcoBoost Mustang is a performance bargain hiding in plain sight on dealer lots.

Toyota Tacoma

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The Tacoma doesn’t boast specs like some other trucks, but it’s hard to beat for reliability and resale value retention. This mid-size pickup requires less maintenance than competitors while hauling and off-roading with confidence. It may not have best-in-class towing or payload ratings, but the Tacoma will keep running long after flashier trucks have quit. It’s the easy choice for down-to-earth truck buyers who want dependability above all else.

Hyundai Veloster N

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Hyundai really delivered with the Veloster N, tuning the quirky hatchback into a legitimate hot hatch shredder. Its turbocharged 275 hp engine, popping exhaust, and track-tuned suspension with adjustable dampers make it a consummate backroad and autocross weapon. The Veloster N is just as fun and capable as the Ford Focus ST and VW GTI at a lower MSRP. This feisty Veloster deserves more consideration from driving enthusiasts on a budget.

Nissan Frontier

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Nissan’s mid-size truck is ancient, having been on sale since 2005 with minimal changes. But the Frontier soldiers on as an affordable, capable pickup that just works. For basic hauling and towing needs without needless complexity, the no-frills Frontier gets the job done without the expensive bells and whistles found on newer trucks. Sometimes simple and reliable is best.

Honda Ridgeline

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This innovative pickup deserves more attention from shoppers who need a daily driver with a bed. The unibody Ridgeline has car-like road manners, unique storage solutions like an in-bed trunk, and decent fuel economy for a pickup. It’s ideal for buyers who like trucks but don’t go off-roading or tow heavy loads. The Ridgeline can handle homeowner truck duties with ease while being comfortable and efficient.

Volkswagen Golf

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With crisp handling and high-quality interiors, the humble VW Golf hatchback makes for an ideal commuter car. Don’t let its low starting price fool you – the Golf punches far above its weight. The GTI version cranks up the fun even more. For affordable German engineering without the complexity, the Golf deserves more love from hatchback shoppers.

Kia Telluride

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Kia’s new large SUV has all the luxury features and premium appointments of SUVs costing $20k more. With expansive cargo room, sharp styling and an upscale interior, the Telluride belongs on any family’s shopping list. This overlooked SUV deserves consideration alongside the crowded segment leaders. Don’t just follow the crowd when choosing your next car. The underrated models above are just as rewarding to own as some luxury cars that get far more publicity and hype. Savvy buyers should always look beyond the mainstream choices and consider all the options when researching vehicles. Some hidden gems provide an amazing ownership experience without the prestigious badges. By keeping an open mind, car shoppers can find vehicles that perfectly suit their needs that may not top the best-seller charts.


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