Jumping to conclusions about cars and owners is a longstanding tradition both in gearhead circles and in society at large. Yesterday's quick assumption is today's mistaken misbelief or outright falsehood. Here are Jalopnik readers' picks for the ten automotive stereotypes that need to go away now.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Otis Blank
10.) Hybrids and EVs are hopelessly boring lame twitmobiles.
Suggested By: zacarious
Why it's so completely wrong: Electric power is a paradigm shift off of the gasoline-fueled status quo, and change is always going to be an uncomfortable process. Right now, hybrids aren't designed for sheer driving enjoyment, and pure electric power is a work in progress. But the Jaguar X-X16 could make hybrid tech fun by incorporating a KERS-style boost button. And the huge torque and responsiveness of a good electric leave little to be desired in a sports car.
9.) Diesels are smelly, noisy and slow.
Suggested By: tganno1292
Why it's so completely wrong: I owned the ur-diesel, a Mercedes 240D. Dad had a diesel Rabbit. Honestly, the noise and smell issues have always been exaggerated beyond belief; yes, they both always made some interesting mechanical noises, but weren't loud. Smell? Not really, sorry.
Both the VW and Merc were indeed slow, but both were also essentially products of the mid-Seventies. Modern diesels are from another planet as far as output goes, and are perfectly matched to normal American driving. Folks, please figure this out.
Photo Credit: Audi USA
8.) If you ride a motorcycle, you will die a horrible early death.
Suggested By: Klic
Why it's so completely wrong: Yes, if you're a seventeen-year-old on a literbike with no proper training and wearing no real head protection, you're likely to do your part for the gruesome statistics. But if you're an intelligent human being about the whole thing, accept that there's a bit of a higher risk, and keep your eyes open, there's no reason you won't be wiping bugs off your visor well into a happy retirement on the open road.
Photo Credit: Giulio
7.) There's no substitute for cubic inches.
Suggested By: Wake up and Wankel
Why it's so completely wrong: I'm not going to dispute the pleasures of a big motor. I'm also not going to think that's the ONLY rational answer to going fast. Forced induction? Totally. Lots of revs and breathing? Definitely. Wankel? Whoa.
That GTO up there displaces all of 2.8 liters. It's adequate.
Photo Credit: Varin
6.) Any woman driving a Subaru is a lesbian.
Suggested By: McMike
Why it's so completely wrong: Subaru had an early and brave commitment to marketing to the LGBT community before it was an accepted thing. This unfortunately fed a troubling misconception that their female customers consistently see something appealing about Ellen DeGeneres besides a sense of humor.
Y'know what? My brother and his wife live in California and drive a Subaru. My best friends from college, Tony and Beth, got married and live in Calgary and drive a Subaru. The photo of that smiling WRX owner was taken by her husband. Start jumping to conclusions when one of them is driving and you're gonna have a LOT of people who want to have words with you.
We admit, we're sometimes guilty of this one.
Photo Credit: Sean Dreilinger
5.) Miatas are for gay men
Suggested By: minardi
Why it's so completely wrong: Even more so here, and this cuts both ways. First, apparently Miatas are just too wimpy and weak for some people to accept (we'll get back to this shortly), an attitude that's hard to square with the most popular roadracing car in the country. It's light, nimble, decently practical, and can be tuned into daggerlike nastiness. Dismiss it and understand how much fun you're throwing away.
Second, and this goes with the Subaru as well, I've got to put in a word for all the wonderful queer friends I've had over the years: Get off the stereotyping from that side, too. All those limp-wrist/unshaven-underarm assumptions? Grow up and lose it. A person's sexuality is not their total identity. Life is much more interesting than that.
Photo Credit: tripplej93
4.) American cars are shoddy unreliable junk purchased by idiots.
Suggested By: obi1kenobi1
Why it's so completely wrong: Yes, the US auto industry has definitely had its ups and downs. (Vega, anyone?) But blanket dismissals lost relevance quite some time ago. American cars are, as a whole, reliable and well-made and intelligently designed vehicles. Fantastic world-beaters? No, but nothing really is anymore. Good solid machines? Totally.
Also: Monster performance cars that can run with the best in the world (looking at you, M3)? That too.
Photo Credit: Ford
3.) A Boxster isn't a real Porsche.
Suggested By: unhcampus
Why it's so completely wrong: This one is baffling. According to a disturbing number of purists and snobs, the Boxster (and by extension the Cayman) somehow doesn't measure up to some ineffable standard of Porsche-ness. Dirty little secret: What they are really saying is that it's cheaper than a 911 and therefore the owner isn't that wealthy, oh my so tragic.
Garbage. The Boxster is one of the best-handling cars ever built, a perfect inheritor of a very long and noble tradition, and the car that breathed serious vigor back into a troubled company in the early Nineties. Time to open that mind a bit more; discount the Boxster and you might as well leave off the 550 and 356, too.
Photo Credit: 8000vueltas
2.) Anything with less than 300 hp/a 0-to-60 time of more than six seconds can't be fun and isn't worth driving.
Suggested By: jomac006
Why it's so completely wrong: An abridged list of cars that make well under 300 — no, 200 — horsepower: Porsche 356. Alfa Romeo GTV. Lotus Elite. MG TC. Honda CRX. BMW 2002tii. Porsche 944. Alpine A110 1600. Mazda Miata. Triumph TR6. Ferrari 166MM.
Yeah, if your car has 500 pounds of power seats and dual-zone air conditioning and 20" wheels and so much soundproofing that you have to pipe the sound back in, you're going to want a bit of extra power. Do it right in the first place and you can make magic without needing a ton of engine and everything that has to go with it.
Photo Credit: Edgar González
1.) You're compensating.
Suggested By: Ravey Mayvey Slurpee: MANUAL EXTREMIST
Why it's so completely wrong: This lie is the eternal bane of the auto-enthusiast community. "Oh, I get it, You need a big, powerful machine to make up for what you don't quite have [gesturing] down there."
Honestly, I'm into cars because I love fine machinery and interesting design and the liberty of motion and the thrill of driving fast. If I'm compensating for something, it's that it's a pain to find shoes for my size fifteen feet.
Anyone who accuses someone of this is obliged to find out if it's true. Preferably after a nice drive in the country.
Photo Credit: Ed Callow