QOTD: Unlikely Complaints?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd unlikely complaints

Sitting in a new, unfamiliar vehicle can breed a nearly limitless range of emotions and observations. Excitement, lust, desire … and annoyance.

Just as one design flourish or interior feature can turn interest into a buy, another can turn off prospective customers to such a degree that a sale becomes impossible. Sure, to the experienced observer, these minor complaints might appear frivolous, but the customer is always right. Or are they?

Again, the list is endless, but I can provide two examples of minor feature love/hate from my own family.

My mother purchased her first car based partly on price, but also on the deep-rooted appeal of the ’76 Plymouth Volare’s fender-mounted turn signals. Those small lenses were a huge factor in the decision to purchase a car that ultimately turned out to be a disastrous lemon. A rusty lemon, too.

Reversing the situation, I took my sister for a spin last summer in a vehicle I figured she’d adore. As a parent of two kids and owner of a dog, it seemed likely that her aging, domestic two-row crossover might lose some of its lustre, at least in her mind, after sitting in what I felt was a right-sized, three-row domestic crossover. (I spent a considerable amount of time driving two GMC Acadias last summer; this one was the too-pricey Denali version.)

As I wrote at the time, the Acadia is a vehicle that tries its hardest not to annoy the driver. Xanax oozes from the model’s completely unremarkable yet unobjectionable steering and suspension and transmission. Power isn’t an issue. And the extra rear cargo area (with the third row folded flat) might be just the ticket for a normal-sized family used to squeezing all of their stuff into a slightly smaller vehicle.

My sister’s chief complaint about the Acadia amounted to the windshield being too steeply raked (in her view, the trailing edge of the windshield was too far aft in relation to the driver). This observation threw me off guard, as it wasn’t something I ever considered could annoy a driver. True, her older vehicle’s front glass rested in a more upright fashion, but headroom and visibility wasn’t a problem, so it’s not like the windshield was impeding the operation of the vehicle or intruding into a driver’s personal space. And yet this might have been something that took a buyer forever out of the Acadia camp.

Yes, there’s limitless ways in which a vehicle can turn someone on or off. In your travels, what’s the most minor complaint you’ve heard someone give as reason for not buying a car?

[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC]

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  • Arach Arach on Dec 14, 2018

    When the DIC and the manual controls are opposite. its almost a deal breaker on Hyundais that you turn the dial DOWN to increase the speed of the windshield wipers, but in the DIC the bar moves UP. How is that intuitive to anyone? I've had the car three years and sometimes I get so mad at it I just drive without wipers on.

  • Multicam Multicam on Dec 16, 2018

    My wife’s 2012 Camaro had the e-brake lever on the right side of the center console, so you had to reach over the cupholder area to operate it. Drove me nuts. That car’s window button was in an awkward place too, angled in an annoying way. Screw that car, so glad we sold it. Our current and only car is a brand new 4Runner which I have yet to sit in or drive, but once I get home from this deployment I’m sure I’ll find some weird quirks about it. I’m just happy to have a real SUV waiting for me instead of that POS Camaro.

  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.
  • Kendahl One thing I've learned is that cars I buy for local errands tend to be taken on 1,000 mile trips, too. We have a 5-speed Focus SE that has gone on longer trips than I ever expected. It has served us well although, if I had it to do over again, I would have bought an ST. At the time of purchase, we didn't plan to move from 1,000 feet elevation to 6,500. The SE is still adequate but the ST's turbo and extra power would have been welcome.