In Praise of Boring Cars

Photo: Nissan

Many years ago I owned a second-gen Ford Tempo, which sucked. Sometime after that I owned a Saturn Ion, which also sucked, but a bit less. (The first time my dad rode in it, all he could be moved to say was, “This is a very basic car.”) Right now, I’m driving a rental Nissan Versa on a trip west. And you know what? I don’t hate it.

The Fun Cars are the ones we all know of as Fun: Small cars that go quick, like a Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Volkswagen Up GTI, Porsche 911, Ford Fiesta ST, a Mercedes-AMG, etc. The Too-Much-Fun Cars include everything bigger and faster than the Fun Cars, which means every supercar and most sports cars, or basically any car with more than 400 horsepower, whether that be from an internal combustion engine, electric powertrain, or hybrid. These are cars that you might think you want to drive, but will only end up getting you arrested, killed, broke, or all three at the same time.

Then there are the Good But Functional Cars, which are basically any station wagon and any small truck with a two-person cab. Then there are the Way-Too-Big-Planet-Killing Cars, which includes pretty much any SUV and non-two-person-cab truck. Then there are The Vans, all of which are good.

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A whole different category of cars I won’t even get into are the Weird And Unique Cars, which I guess I would slot Miata and Wrangler into, along with a lot of JDM shit, and along with Twingo. And then there is a whole other classification of cars that are not quite boring, exactly, merely extremely competent, like the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord.

All of which brings me to the Boring Cars. You know which ones I’m talking about. The Chevy Cruze. This recent-ish Nissan Versa I’m driving right now. The goddamn Kia Rio. Hell, we had a whole column devoted to meh cars until pretty recently.

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But I was motoring with my Versa earlier this morning in Reno, Nevada, and while it has basically no power, everything inside worked, and it has things (like power windows) that were not a given on cars until fairly recently, and did I mention that everything in it worked, just as I asked it to do? Also, it was pretty comfortable for my 6'2" frame, which I can’t say the same about for even some of the Big Cars.

What I’m trying to say is that it motored just fine. And it isn’t some huge, idiotic SUV. It is a sensible, proper car. And if you want to judge someone for driving a sensible, proper car, feel free, though I would save my hate for people who willingly own, like, a fucking Expedition, which is not only boring but is also big and stupid. Get outta here with that nonsense.

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About the author

Erik Shilling

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.