When Did You Realize Your Car Sucked?

Was it when you bought a Volkswagen Rabbit stretch limo?
Was it when you bought a Volkswagen Rabbit stretch limo?
Photo: Marti Coale/BIPs (Getty Images)

I had never driven a luxury car until 2018. My family were more of the practical types, buying used machines or lower-trim new cars that could get the job—commuting and hauling the kids around–done. I didn’t realize there was a vast middle step between our Tahoe and, like, a Bentley, not on an experiential level. That shit just didn’t exist in my small realm of life.


Then I got to drive a Cadillac XT6 in order to review it for Jalopnik. It was a decent car, but there was one aspect of it that completely changed my perception of vehicles: air conditioned seats. What a fucking concept. My butt was so comfortable in Philadelphia’s late-summer humidity.

And that’s when I realized most of the cars that I’ve driven before kinda sucked.

This is not to say that I had a come-to-Jesus moment where I pitched my beloved Mazda 2 to the curb and immediately invested in a luxury sedan. That’s not even to say that I don’t love my Mazda 2, which is the ideal machine for all of my current needs. It’s small and speedy, it’s cute, it has enough space for my shit, and it’s never needed a serious repair. It’s a great “lady who can’t decide where she wants to live and travels alone quite frequently” car.

It was more of the wider perspective, where I realized that, oh yeah, my family mostly spent my childhood nipping at the edges of middle class. Nothing we owned was ever bad (aside from the 300,000-mile Grand Prix Turbo), but nothing was also ever great.

But I want to know when you all realized your car sucked. Was it when it was in the shop for two weeks out of every month? When you realized you were never, ever going to have the time to complete the renovation you dreamed of? When you found yourself stalled on the side of the interstate in the middle of a downpour, regretting every decision that you ever made that led you up to this point? Or did you just have a chance to sit in a Nice Car? Fill me in on all the deets.



I always realize my car sucks when I get a rental car. The disparity in the options on a new car vs. what I’m driving always hits me in some small way. I distinctly remember plugging in my phone to a rental and Android Auto activating to make me realize that life could be just a little more convenient. It also makes me notice that my old car has a little extra play in the steering, a little more pressure needed for the brakes, a little tougher ride from the old shocks, etc. Thankfully now I have a car purchased newly in 2019 and it’s up the the standards of a rental car... for now.