Three automotive frogs that have become princes.

Some people make up their minds for life on cars. “I had a GM product in the early nineties and it wasn’t very good. I’ll never buy a domestic vehicle again” is a good example. I believe in second chances, though. I believe someone (even car companies) can change their stripes. Here are three examples of cars I once thought were the worst, and would now consider buying.

2015 Toyota Camry

2015_Toyota_Camry_XSE-11For the longest time I thought Toyota was a brand that had lost its way for good. Once a maker of amazing cars like the Toyota Supra, and the Celica, they slowly beiged into the most boring car company on the market. As bad as the exteriors of their cars got, the interiors were even worse.

From the 2007 Camry interior. What IS this??? Pale blue with yellow wood? Barf.

From the 2007 Camry interior. What IS this??? Pale blue with yellow wood? Barf.

The Camry was the worst offender. It grew so popular for its reliability that people seemed to buy it no matter how boring or ugly it looked. While cars like the Accord weren’t much better, they at least offered some driving dynamics to bring your heart rate up.

Well, the new Camry, I have to admit, looks very nice. It actually looks quasi-premium, and not Fisher-Price. When I first saw one on the road I thought it was a Lexus. No, it’s not lust-worthy, but it’d would now be on my list of cars to look at if I needed a sedan today, and that wasn’t the case a couple years ago. Well done Toyota, you’re starting to get your groove back.

2015 Kia Rondo

-rondo-gallery-exterior-03-lThe previous Kia Rondo, while super functional and very affordable, was perhaps the ugliest car on the road for many years. It was the butt of many of my automotive jokes, and a shameful representation of the great designs that were coming out of Kia leading up to its redesign.

Previous generation Rondo. Getting the nicest trim was just putting lipstick on a pig.

Previous generation Rondo. Getting the nicest trim was just putting lipstick on a pig.

The current Kia Rondo is actually really nice looking, though. It took all the functionality of the old Rondo, and re-skinned it with European style. The Rondo even made my short list of vehicles to replace my current Mazda 5. The Rio’s transformation is worthy of a slow clap. *clap… clap… clap…* You’ve done it, Kia. I don’t know how, but you’ve done it.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

2016 Chevrolet MalibuIt was a solid fleet car. That’s probably the best thing you could say about the old 1990’s and early 2000’s Chevrolet Malibu. What a dog. The only people that seemed to buy it were Governments who just needed a lot of wheels on the road.

2004 Chevrolet Malibu. Design? What design? The old Malibu was literally a box on four wheels.

2004 Chevrolet Malibu. Design? What design? The old Malibu was literally a box on four wheels.

The latest version, which was just revealed at the New York Auto Show shows how far from bland the new Malibu is. I kind of wish I had a reason to buy a mid-sized sedan just so I could get one.  Sorry Camry, you’ve come a long way, but this looks even better.

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