If you read the statistics of car sales around the world, it will become clear that the leaders of this list are representatives of the Japanese automobile industry. Cars from the Land of the Rising Sun are incredibly popular around the world, especially if we talk about models of brands Toyota, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Suzuki. And it is not surprising, because the way to achieve such results was very long and painstaking for the companies. But is everything so good with Japanese cars?
Popularity of “Japanese”.
Surely every child in the 90’s and 2000’s had a dream to buy a beautiful Japanese car, as colorful sports cars often appeared in Hollywood blockbusters and action movies.
The next wave of popularity of cars from Japan began after the series of computer games Need for Speed, in particular – Underground 1 and 2. At that time, hundreds of thousands of users from around the world literally fell in love with sports cars from the Land of the Rising Sun and dreamed of someday try their hand at drifting on the cult classics.
But in fact, those legendary models, which were presented in every way by mass culture, were far from perfect, as many believed. No doubt, these are reliable and quality cars, but they had numerous flaws, about which the geniuses of marketing often kept silent.
If we talk about the obvious flaws of the representatives of the Japanese car industry, they include:
Excessive softness of metal body panels. More than once the owners of Japanese cars claimed, that their body material is softer than in American or European cars. And it is confirmed in practice, though it is not particularly critical disadvantage.
Thin paint coating. If you compare German cars with “Japanese”, then there is a tangible difference in thickness of paint coating between them. This point is partially solved in the course of small modifications, which involve increasing the protective qualities of the paintwork in a specialized workshop.
Weak noise isolation. Most likely, it is a subjective nuance, which depends on the price range and class of the car. If we make the general analysis of Japanese cars, in quality of sound insulation they are inferior to the European competitors, in which the interior is much quieter. Certainly, the latter are more expensive. In order to eliminate all the problems with insufficient noise isolation, car owners can apply for professional assistance to the car service and improve the quality of external noise absorption.
Expensive and complicated maintenance. This point can be considered a disadvantage only if you plan to service and repair the vehicle in your own garage. The fact is that it is practically impossible to replace individual nodes and units by yourself without the use of special equipment.
High-tech equipment. And although the technologically advanced models of the Japanese automobile industry are their weighty advantage, it is a parallel and weak side. In fact, not all experts are ready to conduct high-quality and proper maintenance, and in the case of damage to complex and expensive units the cost of repair will be very high. In addition, the category of disadvantages can include the high popularity of Japanese vehicles among car thieves. But this is due to their relevance and reliability.
Now let us go over a few of the most remarkable Japanese models.
The iconic Mazda MX-5 has an expressive exterior design, and it is no wonder why the vast majority of guys favored it in the racing simulator Need for Speed Underground. In real life, the sports car was interesting to buy because of its low weight and dynamic powertrain.
However, it also had obvious flaws. First of all it was a body vulnerable to corrosion. In order to avoid rust traces, it is enough to properly monitor it and service it regularly.
The next controversial point is the rear-wheel drive platform. Although in those days, almost all sports models had rear-wheel drive. The main difficulty was due to the off-balance between the rear and front of the vehicle, which caused oversteer and increased the likelihood of a rollover when it skidded. And since the Mazda MX-5 was designed for racing competitions and autocross, where drifting was commonplace, the motorist needed to carefully watch the road when entering corners.
The Toyota Celica is arguably one of the most recognizable Japanese cars, and it’s far from because of computer games. In most cases, when we talk about this model, it is assumed to mean the series with the label T230, although the first modification rolled off the assembly line back in 1970.
But despite the recognizable sporty appearance, Toyota Celica version T230 had mediocre running parameters. For example, in the hood of the base version was 143-horsepower 1.8-liter unit, which looked obviously weak for this class of cars. Most likely, it is connected with absence of special experience at the manufacturer in development of sports cars and orientation on average and budget price segment.
As a result, the Toyota Celica was equipped with numerous units from budget cars, which were not designed for high-speed driving. For example, the oil pump could easily fail when cornering, which in turn caused pistons to jam.
Therefore, the owners of the model and critics made the obvious conclusion: Toyota Celica is a good car for everyday use, but clearly not a top sports car.
In the domestic space, the Honda S2000 was not as popular as in Japan or in Western countries, where the model became a cult first and foremost because of its distinctive appearance. At the same time in the technical characteristics of the car was a lot of shortcomings, including the brake system is not adapted to the 247-horsepower engine, which jeopardized the control at high speeds.
In addition, drivers had negative comments about the car’s build quality and corrosion resistance, noting that the body rusted quickly. In addition, despite its relatively compact dimensions, the car was cumbersome to operate in the city and insufficiently maneuverable.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Making the list of cult, but at that time the most ambiguous cars from the Land of the Rising Sun, it is impossible not to mention the last generation of sports car Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. The appearance of this model became a source of inspiration for many automakers, trying to repeat its success and attract a young audience of buyers. Besides the Japanese legend repeatedly participated in various automobile competitions, taking prize-winning places.
The weak side of the series became its suspension. Undoubtedly, there are no claims to it when driving on a race track or high-speed highway, but at the slightest cross-country it loses responsiveness and becomes very stiff. In addition, engineers have intentionally reduced the car’s performance for the sake of safety.
The selection continues with another legendary Japanese car that all the guys in the 90’s and 2000’s dreamed of. In the second case, the sports car gained worldwide fame thanks to the Need for Speed Underground series of computer games.
The line received an expressive design and a powerful power unit. However, the latter here is rotary type and has a very limited resource – according to owners’ reviews, the service life does not exceed 150 thousand kilometers of mileage, which is due to the impact of high temperatures and revolutions.
Also Mazda RX-8 is very voracious in terms of fuel consumption. And if you consider the minimum ground clearance, the car becomes clearly not the best option to buy.
As in the case of the Toyota Celica, the status of “cult” gets the late modification car R34, which is produced since 1998. This particular series has been featured in computer games, having outstanding technical parameters, especially in the GT-T series with a 2.5-liter turbocharged 280 hp unit.
From the negative moments, about which the owners spoke, it is possible to allocate the capricious suspension, showing itself on the slightest bumps, and also small ground clearance. Back on the background of financial problems in the early 2000s, French investors demanded to cut costs by installing inexpensive electronics in the car, which significantly worsened the car’s reliability.
Like many previous models, the Mitsubishi 3000GT has repeatedly appeared in computer simulations, and between 1990 and 2000 this sports car was upgraded in every possible way, changing 3 generations. Depending on the configuration, the car could have all-wheel or front-wheel drive platform, a powerful unit and excellent speed potential.
However, it had also disadvantages. In particular, this is a capricious fuel system and short-lived injectors, which were subjected to failure when using low-quality fuel. The manufacturer also decided to significantly save on paintwork, which caused the body to be quickly covered with cracks.