Motoring history is littered with cars that were misnamed. The Mitsubishi Carisma immediately springs to mind. But I doubt there has every been a more tragic misnomer than the Ford Aspire.

If anyone ever did actually aspire to own this miserable little snotbox, something had to have gone badly wrong in their life to be aiming so low. It was jointly developed with Kia as a replacement for the Pride – itself hilariously misnamed – which was also badged Ford Festiva.

It went on sale in the USA in 1994, probably hidden away in a dark corner of the showroom. It was notable for being the first car in its class to have dual front airbags, but that was about as good as equipment got. It didn’t even have power steering, let alone anything you could reasonably call A Luxury.

Or much in the way of performance from its 1.5-litre engine. With an automatic gearbox, it took a whole 16.2 seconds to wheeze its was from 0-60mph. Plus it was ugly and cheaply made. It’s occasionally cast in films, with pin-point accuracy, as the wheels of a busy-body security guard or a down-on-his-luck pizza delivery guy.

Even during the Nineties, when American cars were uniformly awful, buyers saw through the Aspire and bought something else. Not that the competition – Geo Metro, Hyundai Accent, Toyota Tercel – was any good, but the Aspire was certainly the least appetising.

By Only Motors

Images via Favcars.com; Wikimedia.org