QOTD: Dealing With Depression?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

No, not depreciation — though that might come into play here, too. A great number of car models are lackluster, deficient in style, reliability or panache, or basically appeal to buyers only for their low cost of ownership. Some vehicles are simply appliances, nothing more.

Yet appliances stimulate little in the way of bad emotion. They’re not meant to. So, despite the blandness of some vehicles, you wouldn’t call them depressing. No, that term is reserved for a very specific cohort of rides. Which models are they?

The topic of this discussion arose from a movie debate, perhaps one sparked by CNN’s obsessive campaign against a certain flick your author had no intention of seeing, but now might shell out for a ticket. The movie looks a little grim. A little depressing in its subject matter and character arc.

Sure, lots of movies are downers, but few add weight to your bones and leave life a little less colorless hours, if not days, after watching. Then there’s movies like Ordinary People (great Olds, Donald) or The Deer Hunter. There’s that episode of Black Mirror about the U.S. college student and the shadowy UK video game developer that stuck with me for days. Films and shows like this leave a mark.

And so do some vehicles. Directors try to insert such vehicles into films to give a sense of what the characters’ lives must be like; to have the vehicle embody the type of person they are, or the situation the character finds themselves in. Remember the jobless, unravelling D FENS abandoning his 1978 Chevette on a crowded L.A. freeway and walking off into the city, (empty) briefcase in hand? Think of how different that scene — and character — would be if you instead watched Michael Douglas exiting a purple 1970 Barracuda 440.

You get the point.

Some vehicles simply lack almost any redeeming figure, and the passage of time isn’t likely to make such mediocrity cool or quirky again (in some unlikely cases, this isn’t the case. Oddball vehicles or grim crapwagons can experience a resurgence in popularity among the hipster contrarian set). And while your author might be more quick to find silver linings than others, the fact remains that the derisive descriptor “penalty box” exists for a reason. What car model, perhaps one you have personal dealings with, is simply irredeemable, leaving you feeling bad for anyone seen driving one?

[Image: Murilee Martin/TTAC]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 95 comments
  • PandaBear PandaBear on Oct 08, 2019

    Not any particular car, just a particular previous owner (my father in law). Trashed Escort with broken AC and worn struts, crumbled plug wires and misfiring, dirty MAF sensor and CEL, leaking radiator, dirty dirty interior, faded paint, tearing seat belt (how the heck can that happen?), missing floor mats, flooded trunk, boil over battery acid spill (he believes in acid top off instead of water). Crushed for $1k baaqmd payment. Trashed Camry with leaking roof, flooded interior from the leaking roof, P0420, stuck window guide, stuck motorized seat guide, cracked sun visor, dirty dirty interior, missing floor mats, missing radio buttons, exhaust leak, Xmas tree blinking light dash, oil leaks from every gaskets, broken thermostat, won't past smog if you don't drive on the freeway for at least 1 hr. Sold for very little money as an old people grocery car.

  • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Oct 08, 2019

    I had a Jeep Patriot as a rental a couple of years ago. I presume it was FWD only, though that isn't relevant. This was probably the worst modern vehicle I have ever driven. It had nothing redeeming about it. I was struck by the thought that it was likely sold to people who wanted the Jeep name even if it was a glorified wagon. (And for the record, I love wagons and hatchbacks.)

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.
Next