In the now-infamous article on the Scion FR-S and the relentless hype campaign leading up to its launch, I invoked the Chevrolet Camaro as an example of how a new car can be praised as the Second Coming of Christ during its debut, only to have cooler heads prevailed down the line, when the novelty wears off and its flaws become apparent.
Thanks to reader and contributor Jeff Jablansky, I was able to dig up perhaps the most egregious example of this phenomenon.
For the true car snob, nothing is held in higher esteem than the British buff books. Even as sales of the American color mags declined, people would willingly shell out upwards of $12 for a copy of CAR, EVO or the print edition of Top Gear. Their ruthless criticism of certain cars (sometimes warranted, sometimes not), hyperbolic tales of driving derring-do and beautiful aesthetics lent them a credibility that no American publication could match.
How could one not love a publication that summed up Kia’s sub-par sub-compact offering with “Her name is Rio, and she’s crap“? Unfortunately, when it came time to review anything homegrown, no superlative was spared for even the most wretched garbage dredged up by the post-Thatcher automotive industrial complex.
The Jaguar X-Type, as we all know, was a less than stellar car. Despite being based off of a Ford Mondeo platform, they were as reliable as an old Mark II, and failed to offer grace, pace or space. And yet CAR magazine is effusive in its praise, even going so far as to state that “Even the Impreza WRX ought to be worried”.
That might be the only statement more ludicrous than Peter Robinson’s assertion that the Toyobaru is better than the Porsche Cayman. The Toyobaru is at least in the same league as the Cayman, as far as being a sports car goes. The only similarity between the X type and the WRX is that their monikers share the 24th letter of the alphabet.