July 11, 2012 / By Jake Holmes
If sales volumes accurately predicted quality, we might think Justin Bieber were a better musician than Mozart. But in many areas of life, the most popular things are not always the greatest. That certainly holds true for cars: the Ford F-150 and Toyota Camry may be the two top-selling vehicles in America, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are absolutely the best new cars on the market.
Many of the nation's most popular vehicles are purchased because their nameplates are well-known or because the manufacturer has a huge number of dealerships. Subjective qualities like driving enjoyment and styling frequently take a figurative back seat, meaning that consumers often overlook great cars from lesser-known manufacturers. We at Automobile Magazine, by contrast, often look beyond the obvious and popular choices to find cars that are truly fun to drive, exciting to look at, or outstanding in some other way. We see cars not simply as a tool for traveling from home to a destination, but as a way to have fun along the way. Cars can be beautiful, thrilling, and expressions of identity. Our magazine was even founded on the simple motto, No Boring Cars.
Unfortunately, not every car that we love becomes a hit with consumers. We sometimes fall for more obscure, more expensive, or more unusual vehicles than the typical driver. That's in part because we have the luxury of driving nearly every new car on the market, whereas most shoppers are only able to test-drive a handful of models. Although we of course love luxury and sports cars, many of our favorite rides are very practical choices that just don't meet the needs or budgets of typical consumers.
Here is our list of excellent cars that most buyers bypass, despite the cars' virtues. Each of the models here sells fewer than 3000 units per month, based on rounded average monthly sales figures for the first six months of 2012. To put that into perspective, sales of the Toyota Camry average more than 35,000 each month.
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