Name A Badge-Engineered Car That’s Objectively Better Than The Original

Name A Badge-Engineered Car That’s Objectively Better Than The Original

Modern cars are expensive to build and that’s why every single company is thoughtful about how much money they spend on every model they make. It’s also why we’ve seen a practice called badge engineering where two or more brands sell what is largely the same car but with very subtle differences aside from the badges on the steering wheel and the front and back of the vehicle.

Think of cars like the Pontiac G8, which was really just a Holden Commodore. Under the skin, they’re almost identical and so we wonder if there’s ever been a badge-engineered car that was better than the original.

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These cars are rarer than you might think too. Look back on our Holden and Pontiac comparison. The G8 came later and wasn’t any better than the Commodore (aside from being legal here in the States). Even when the second car to arrive isn’t slower or more boring, it’s very rare to find one that’s actually better. The trend continues almost everywhere we look.

The Toyota GR86 and the Subaru BRZ are practically identical. If we turn the clock back nothing seems to change. The DSM cars that included the Mitsubishi 3000GT and the Eclipse are great cars but neither the Dodge nor Eagle versions are any better in objective ways. When we focus on domestic brands we get the same thing. The Pontiac Firebird and Chevrolet Camaro are carbon copies of each other in almost every way aside from styling.

Read: Did Toyota And Subaru Fluff A Chance To Give The BRZ And GR 86 Their Own Identities?

We may have one winner, though, in the Aston Martin Cygnet. Sure, it was hugely more expensive than the Toyota iQ on which it was based, but we’re throwing that argument out here. This is all about a badge-engineered car that came out after the original and ended up being objectively better. The Cygnet was the result of Aston Martin being almost comically cheeky and working around emissions regulations. They even made a totally batty V8 version for a Cygnet customer that wanted the engine and transmission from the Vantage. Sure, it was an one-off, but it was nonetheless bonkers.

Can you think of any other badge-engineered car is better than the original, be that for something subjective as styling and/or objectively measurable qualities such as handling, build and performance?

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