Alright folks, I'm popping my oppo-lock cherry here, so be gentle...

I thought I'd give my first dance to a topic that I feel I can relate to pretty well: cars that manufacturers have completely given up on. What do I mean by that? Glad you asked...

Car manufacturers these days tend to run their franchise marquees into the ground. They start out with a vision of what a vehicle should be, they produce something pretty close to that vision, it's a hit, and then as other markets develop over a generations time, they start to pander to the lowest common denominator. While you can understand the logic - it's easy money and marketing a car to the masses that is efficient, sort of boring and yet "sporty" (aka, it has a lip spoiler and aggressive lines) isn't too hard - it doesn't make it right, and in some cases ruins entire brands (Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Mercury and Plymouth, among others).

I thought I'd open up the floor with a question: what car has a manufacturer ruined that really hit home for you? Me personally, it's the Jetta. We all can laugh at it now, and rightfully so, but there was a time between 1985 and 1992 that it was one of the best value FWD sports-sedans money could buy here in the U.S. as well as being incredibly versatile across the entire line (economy, up-market, diesel, performance). There was a reason why it became so popular at that time, and then from there Volkswagen decided "performance? Basic convienance? A no-nonsense sporty feel? No I don't think that will work at all" and the MkIII was born. Now to be fair, the MkIII was a disappointment for the golf line as well, but not nearly as much as the Jetta. And it with the exception of the Mk5 TDI and GLI, it never got better. The newest Jetta's are big marshmallows with a bunch of plastic and none of the sportiness crossing over from it's little brother in the golf/gti hatches. I know why this is the case, it's been well documented (and criticized) on Jalopnik, but it doesn't make me any less disappointed. I miss the time of the lightweight, 16 valve GLI that was looked at as a legitimate enthusiast car. It was a better time, really.