What Car Defied Your Expectations?

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Artsy photo of an Acura NSX Type S, largely silhouetted against vertical light bars

Photo: Steve DaSilva

Things don’t really seem to surprise us any more. At least, not the way they used to — the way they did when you were a kid, and the whole world was big and alien. Now we have the internet, with reviews and spec sheets galore, and it sucks a lot of the mystery and wonder out of things. With cars, and their easily-compared numbers for horsepower, torque, and weight, the problem is even worse.

Yet, sometimes, we can be surprised anyway. No matter how many first drives you read, how many specs you cross-reference, there’s always the opportunity for a car to change what you think once you get behind the wheel. You can set every expectation you want in forum threads and comments, but cars — for better or for worse — can always feel different in person. With that in mind, let’s discuss: what car defied your expectations?

Image for article titled What Car Defied Your Expectations?

Photo: Steve DaSilva

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sold on the second-generation NSX at launch. Its final production reveal, after years of teases and reworks, was immediately upstaged by the never-before-seen Ford GT. On the spec sheets, the NSX was heavier than a Lotus and less powerful than a Camaro ZL1 — what kind of supercar was this?

But then the NSX changed my mind. Acura tossed me the keys to a bright yellow Type S model for half an hour or so, and I emerged from that experience reformed. The torque push, the feeling, the sound — driving an NSX is an incredible experience, one that sticks with you like an adrenaline rush. You want more.

The NSX defied my expectations, turning out to be a more involved and entertaining driving experience than I had ever imagined. But what car defied yours? Did you buy a much-hyped new car, only to be let down by its driving feel, or have you ever bought a Craigslist beater that absolutely ruled? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll collect the best answers after the holiday.

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