Comment Of The Day: Have Cars Gotten Too Good? Edition

Illustration for article titled Comment Of The Day: Have Cars Gotten Too Good? Edition

The vehicle above is a Nissan Kicks. It’s not a very exciting car. It doesn’t have mind-bending horsepower. It’s got a CVT, and all the non-enjoyment that entails. The interior isn’t especially inspiring and it’s not really all that much to look at. But is it a bad car? Hell no.

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As we compile our year end, low-hanging fruit content splurges like The Biggest Letdowns We Drove in 2018, the indisputable goodness of new cars has been on my mind a lot. It’s now much harder to point out the worst cars than the best cars because even the most boring new cars are safer, more efficient, better built and more powerful than any previous point in history.

It’s a really recent phenomenon. I’ve been working at this fine website since 2012 now, and I can tell you this wasn’t the case even five years ago. It used to be a lot easier to point out the garbage machines I drove every year than it is now.

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But in exchange, except for the incredible but ever-shrinking market of performance cars, most new vehicles are just boring. They drive the same. They sound the same, handle the same. Quality has spread across the board but so has standardization.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed this. Take hoser68:

This is why, as Jalopnik moves into 2019, we’ll be putting more emphasis on car culture itself—events, mods, builds, racing and more—than on the latest new cars. We won’t forsake reviews, of course, but I’ve never been more certain that the truly interesting stories will be found with the wonderful humans actually doing things in cars.

Now get off my lawn!

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.

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DISCUSSION

toxrensem
Recovering Gaijin

New cars ARE boring ( most of ‘em, anyway ). When was the last time you barked joyous laughter prompted by your new car’s antics? I used to laugh a lot in my old air-cooled VWs and EA81&2 ‘Roos. Could just be me, but I enjoy over-driving a car, and the newer ones have limits which are too high for my comfort. They’re just too competent in everyday driving to be unreserved fun to hoon.

There are some damned incredible cars out there, but their grip levels are SO high that testing those limits is very clearly a test of one’s comfort with one’s own mortality. Just my opinion, but I prefer old manual cars. I laughed-or at least grinned-EVERY time I took the ‘58 Morris Minor convertible out and about slid off that flat oxblood-red seat bottom at every turn. Mind, I also worked on it about every time I drove it more than a couple miles, but I didn’t care: worth it.

In contrast, a couple hours ago I tried to diagnose an odd noise in a 2016 Hyundai for someone. Bo-ring! Comfortable, fast ( compared to my 25yo Toyota & 35yo Mercedes anyway ), good seats....but plastic & boring.

I'm NOT saying cars were better in the old days, just that they've become so competent & isolating that they fade into the background for me. I >like< to feel connected to the surface I'm driving on