By on May 1, 2020

Things change. Once upon a time, the greatest concern among Americans was getting home in time to watch that Three’s Company episode where Jack wakes up in bed with Mr. Roper. Now, it’s antibody testing and virus-rocked retirement funds.

Things change in the automotive world, too, and along with it, our perceptions. Preconceptions often become misconceptions as new technology and a focus on quality control (or lack thereof) changes minds en masse via personal experience and word of mouth. Brands and entire countries once known for building the best become the stuff of jokes, and vice versa.

How has your thinking evolved?

Two mindset-shifting eras come to, er, mind. The first being the 1970s and the long, slow decline of Detroit as carbuilder extraordinaire. A flood of affordable, high-MPG, and often reliable imports put the Americans to shame in an era of economic stagnation, rising interest rates, and oil crises. Mercedes-Benz and BMW’s status rose among the increasing number of citizens seeking luxury and refinement of the non-overstuffed variety.

A decade later came the Koreans.

“We’re going to buy you a new car. How does a Hyundai sound?” a conciliatory car wash manager asks Al Bundy in a nearly forgotten episode of Married With Children.

“Like an old lawnmower,” our antihero replies, continuing the hunt for his star-spangled, forever-broken Dodge Dart.

Not anymore does that sentiment hold sway, and no one who’s driven a new Hyundai built in the last decade or more would ever think that the company once built the Pony. The automaker’s Genesis brand tops quality lists. Its products look great both on paper and in the flesh.

Meanwhile, because things always come full circle, there’s a full generation of drivers who, when they think of a new American vehicle, they envision their aunt’s Cutlass Ciera, or their granddad’s limping-home Dynasty. Since getting their license, they’ve only driven a Honda or Toyota and see no reason to change. To them, anything rolling out of Detroit must be a hopelessly outdated, inefficient, badges-falling-off crapmobile.

And then there’s eras where quality seems to take a dive across many continents — such as the 2000s. The only industry to come out of that era of collective complacency looking good was Korea’s.

And who knows — maybe you picked up a new British car that turned out to be the most reliable thing you’ve ever owned.

So tell us, B&B, how has your personal ranking of various automotive ethnic groups changed over the years? Any big movements on the list?

[Image: Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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39 Comments on “QOTD: Do the Evolution?...”


  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    In the 2007-2010 range, my impressions of GM started to change a bit. I thought they were finally turning the corner. I was doing a lot of car renting at the time for both business and pleasure, and I had a lot of new Malibus, Impalas, a couple of G8s, etc. Compared to what GM was in the 1990s, this was a revelation – the interiors didn’t feel as terrible as they used to, they got decent fuel economy, and I was praying that the bailout and the restructuring was working overtime in putting together a better car.
    At the same time, I was also getting a few Camrys and Corollas. I was stunned at the backslide in interior quality, noise control, and just feel of the car. They were no longer mini-Lexuses…they were built to a price point and no more, no less. That generation of Camry – around the 2008-2009 timeframe was overloaded with brittle plastics, awkward styling, and just an overall cheapened feeling compared to the Camry of 10 years prior.
    But appearances are deceiving. Now, 10-12 years later, you still see just as many of that generation Camrys roaming the roads, still in decent condition (except for the usual Camry dent), still going strong. And the Malibus of that generation? Many are looking clapped out already with bad paint, ragged sounding engines and transmissions, and just look worn out.
    And yet the G8s that are still roaming the streets still look good – I can tell their owners still care about them.
    So, maybe Toyota can still together bad parts exceptionally well and make it last while GM can screw decent parts together and find a way for them to fail?
    Back to the question – my opinions have changed, especially for some of the Japanese makers. I used to think Toyota was invincible with their quality and attention to detail…but that is 20 year old thinking. I used to think Nissan really cared about the performance driver and catered to them. Now, the reality is they build vehicles to the lowest price point and let their best vehicles rot on the vine. Mazda is lip service in that they promise performance, but with the exception of the MX-5, there is nothing in their lineup that moves the pulse. I opinion of Honda/Acura hasn’t changed – still gives a few models to drivers who care about driving…and they fixed the Honda rot issue, but their paint issues…oh well.
    Ah well, sorry about the length. But, hey, it isn’t a copy/paste of a political rant!

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      As somebody who, as a car enthusiast, notices things like your Camry experience, agrees mostly but I put a different time frame on the decline you noted. The greatest generation of Camry was the 1993-1996 era. I’ve noticed while sitting in traffic or walking the dog that the generation I mentioned holds up remarkably well, both in terms of paint durability, body parts, and plastic bits. You still see these cars with good paint, dashboards with no cracks, fender extenders that are intact and match the color of the body panels. Yes a lot of them have rust now and the “dents” as you mentioned but they are still solid. Rare to see oil burning issues either. Toyota did a remarkable job with that car, but the recipe changed for the next generation. The 1997 generation Camry retained the reliability but the materials took a nosedive in quality compared to the previous generation. Paint fade on the fender extenders reared it’s head in five years, and flaking paint another five after that. The materials used felt less substantial because they were. My father’s 2003 Avalon is loaded with inexpensive plastics, seat material, and door panels. This was typical of the “skinny era” Toyotas; they went for more market share and rode on their reliability record. Back then, all Toyotas automatically were assumed to be reliable by Consumers. That stance hurt the publication when Toyota’s legendary reliability slipped and others crept up in standing.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    When Hyundai/Kia fanboys write car articles.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      I was stuck in a 2020 Elantra rental while getting a dent knocked-out of the Jeep last month—

      For the author to have made mention of a Dart/Hyundai in the same passage— he’s forgiving a modern Hyundai that is wholly-inferior to a modern Dart. It triggered the iNeon compare-o-tron response:

      That Elantra was a joke of isht-grade parts/plastics, intrusive( ie: poorly-programmed) electronics and questionable styling. I was never happier to be back in my luxuriant… base model Jeep Compass lol

      My Dart’s name was Peggy Wanker(don’t bother to thank ‘er!)

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I grew-up thinking GM was the only cars worth owning, my father worked for GM, so we didn’t have much choice. As an adult I stopped drinking the GM Kool-aid and figured out that car companies can make good and bad cars simultaneously and each car should be evaluated on it’s own merits and not necessarily those of the company that built it

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      “car companies can make good and bad cars simultaneously”
      So true, I saw that many times. Every time I noticed it, it was a real “WTH?” moment. I did notice a big cultural difference between the Big-3 also. And my Japanese customers too come to think of it.

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    1979:
    1. two men in bed together was scandalous and only sickly-funny.
    2. cars needed to be replaced about every 30-50k miles to be routinely dependable. Only minimum wage workers and high school kids bought Novas, Darts, and Galaxies with more than 50k miles on the odo.
    3. Owner’s manuals were valuable references on how to maintain and do basic repair, and your dad can remember owner’s manuals with instructions how to flush the brakes, replace the generator brushes, and decarbonize the engine.
    4. Toyotas and Hondas were cheap econobox/deathtrap for those who couldn’t afford a real car.

    2020:
    1. Two men in bed together is mainstream, sex is televised, and anything that used to be funny is now evidence of some evil -ism.
    2. Cars rust out before they wear out, and even that doesn’t happen quickly. Minimum wage workers buy 20 year old Toyotas, Hondas and Audis
    3. Owner’s manuals tell you how to work the entertainment center and remind you to call your dealer if an idiot light turns on. Your dad’s memory is toast because of too much Three’s Company, weed, and disco.
    4. Toyotas and Hondas are the go-to brands for those whose priority is reliable, comfortable, and safe transportation.

    Unless they kill us all first, the next stop on the automotive ethnoscene bifurcates: Chinese EVs vs. Detroit-built Gigahorses. Which will limit us first remains to be seen, the costs of oil vs. lithium.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      @retrocrank

      Can confirm on the minimum wage Audi owners. The mouth-breathing monosyllabist/future CFO working at my local booze baggery drives a hot-rodded A4 with straining head bolts. When I was his age I had a clapped-out Parisienne wagon with the sole performance option of usually being able to combust atomized fuel.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Everythings more multinational now so the old the old country of origin of the mother company doesnt make as much sense now. Look at Nissan. In the 80s and 90s they were japanese as you could get and their quality was top notch. Then the french bailed them out and since then their quality amd reliability has taken a nosedive. Theyve become what pontiac was in 2005. Not what you think of in terms of a japanese company or japanese car.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    I have a similar timeline with @theflyersfan’s approximate dates for my changing opinion of GM products and for the same reason- driving two or three rental cars each year. Around the same time, I rented a ~2 year old Kia and I was thoroughly unimpressed by it, but keeping in mind to not extrapolate from a single experience.

    *All* car companies the world ’round are driven by *money*. In the long run it doesn’t matter how your labor relations are structured, what quality control models you use, how your company uses robots or how educated (or not) your workforce is. It doesn’t matter what your workers’ ethnicity is (or your engineers’ or your leadership’s), what language they speak, or what the culture and political system is in their country this decade or the last, not in the long run. What money means is the companies who build peaches today could easily be the ones making lemons tomorrow, and vice versa. Money and change are really the only constants.

    • 0 avatar
      retrocrank

      Car companies exist to pay dividends to their shareholders, everything else is at best an objective by which to achieve that goal. Like any business bigger than the occasional mom-and-pop operation built of passion rather than the need for a paycheck.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    The generation that grew up with “It has to be Japanese” to be reliable is dying off. Go back to retirement communities in the 90s and you would find parking lots full of domestic stalwarts like Mercury Grand Marquis, Cadillacs, and the like. Fast forward to the same retirement homes in the mid 2000s and there you found the car brands chosen by the folks who got burned by Detroit during the Malaise Era. So, almost entirely Japanese. Today’s buyers I think have moved beyond that. Sure, there are snot-brand only buyers, or the few “Made in USA” only types, but most younger people don’t even know about the Malaise Era – they buy what they are comfortable with. I used to be a “Buy American” type because my experiences, for the most part, were positive. Even though we keep our cars long beyond what most here would consider prudent, we have been satisfied with both our domestic and Japanese cars. So the next car will not likely be chosen by where it is made.

  • avatar
    ajla

    -Much more RWD loving
    -Much more pro BMW and Porsche
    -Fell out of love with Buick and Jaguar
    -Became openly pro-automatic trans.
    -Became more interested in performance.
    -Got a little bit more interested in “sporty” cars.
    -Got a little bit less interested in DIY.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    -I have gained an appreciation for vehicles that simply start up every morning and run well (at least for daily drivers). Toyota especially has risen in my eyes, while European luxury brands have fallen.

    -I used to be very anti-Ford, now I own two of them and I like much of the other stuff they’re building.

    -As it’s become scarcer, I’ve realized how much I prefer natural aspiration.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The Hyundai Excel 4-door was a tremendous value, great bang for your buck, and reliable enough.

    Yeah we would laugh at you for not spending the 3 or $4,000 more for a Camry or Accord, but it was a wise choice.

    A new Hyundai or Kia today is bad choice and not much savings or value at the Camry/Accord equivalent.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    If it doesn’t have a double digit cylinder count, I really prefer some form of forced induction nowadays.

    Trucks make better Broughams than most any Oldsmobile

    After being firmly a manual trans guy, then really liking modern dual clutch stuff, I have come home and will always gram the manual when available.

    I really like electric powertrains, I just don’t particularly care for any of the cars they are in that aren’t deep into six figures, mini potentially excluded if I ever see one.

  • avatar
    la834

    When I was a teenager my perception of “electric cars” was of glorified golf carts like the CitiCar. Much later, they became interesting but impractical cars like the GM EV1 that had too short a range, were too small, and would be too expensive to seriously compete with ICE-powered vehicles. By the ’00s a few five-seater vehicles like the Honda EV Plus or last-gen Toyota RAV4s represented EVs – still too expensive, still too short a range. Then came the Tesla Model S which wiped away all my previous notions regarding EVs; suddenly they were fast, attractive, practical, futuristic, had good range, and most surprisingly, had cachet. The Model 3 had all those attributes plus semi-affordability.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I used to think more highly of BMW, Honda and Toyota than I do now that I know actual owners. Growing up my uncle had a Toyota truck and an FJ40. Dead nuts reliable. The moderns stuff, not so much. I know one guy that grew up a Toyota guy but they left him stranded one too many times. He has a Colorado now. Anyway, I have enough anecdotal evidence from people that I don’t believe they are any better than anything else on the road and BMW is probably on the left side of that bell curve. I would still have no problems buying a Honda motorcycle though.

    I never thought much of Mercedes and while I like the style on many but not all Jags, I couldn’t bring myself to buy one with my own money. I I were to buy something less than reliable I would get an A/R. At least the time I could drive it would be glorious fun.

  • avatar
    JMII

    The path the Koreans cut into the US market has been impressive. I remember when the first Hyundai Excel arrived – it was known for being about the cheapest thing you could drive. And while today’s Hyundai’s are still a low cost vehicle their quality and style are not longer an embarrassment. In fact given a choice at the rental counter I happily take a H/K vehicle. I find their non-sense interiors to be the most user friendly choice. My parents who owned nothing but American vehicles their entire life actually had a Sonata for awhile before my mother’s hip requiring getting a CUV which put them into a Ford Escape.

    Despite years of bashing GM I bought a C7 Corvette. There are still things about the car that reek of “old GM” but the strong points outweigh them now. The engineering and technology in the car is on point and even head of the class in some areas (mag-ride, eLSD, composite body panels, aluminum chassis, PTM system). The interior is no longer made from playskool parts and has almost pulled even with the Germans now.

    On the flip side, after putting BMW and Audi on a pedestal for many years I’ve grown to realize they are not a smart buy.

  • avatar
    Sigfried

    In the old days, either the car rusted to oblivion or the drive train failed first. Nowadays I notice that suspension wears out first. I’ve spent a lot more on sway bars, bushings and bearings than on engine or tranny work in recent years. The end result is old cars that may run well and look good but are unsafe to drive.

    The other change I’ve made in my thinking is the misconception that southern cars age better than northern rust belt cars. Even though they may be relatively rust free in comparison, the heat and sun of the southern climes dries and cracks all the rubber and plastic parts. The nylon gears in the window cranks get brittle and crack. Hoses and belts and weather stripping deteriorate. Tires and batteries don’t last. Windshield wipers are single use. You put a new pair on when it rains and they are dried out and cracked by the next time it rains.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    You have to look really, really hard to find a rusted-out, blue smoke belching beater these days. Overall, quality is the best in automotive history. The domestics improved and much vaunted Toyota and Honda had their hiccups. Gone are the days were you’ll pick up a rear wheel drive ‘murrican made brougham and cruise down the highway. Full size SUVs and dual cab trucks have replaced them; Towncar/F-150 Lariat, Coupe Deville/Denali. Porsche 911/Corvette excluded, you pay in maintenance for the performance you want. Most go for low maintenance and overall capability. Are Gulia’s with the hot engine coming in off lease? A closing nod of approval to anything RT, GT, SS; I’m happy they’re still making them.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    • You can’t pre-judge a vehicle based on make (Toyota) or model (Camry) – you have to go by specific generation. And within that generation, it really does pay to choose your model year carefully.

    • I have made my peace with MOPAR (grew up with a strong dislike) and I now like my daughter’s 2010 Liberty. After a wash/clay-bar/machine-polish/wax this week, it is looking spiffy. (And running beautifully.)

    • When I married my wife, she owned a Hyundai and I worked for GM. We ditched the Hyundai. Mistake.

    • Over the past three years I have been surprised by the insights into Ford. They just don’t seem to be very good at the fundamentals of manufacturing vehicles.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I’m seeing more than a few adverts on Craigslist where they say the car has “only” 150,000 miles. That in itself tells you something.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    “As an adult I stopped drinking the GM Kool-aid and figured out that car companies can make good and bad cars simultaneously and each car should be evaluated on it’s own merits and not necessarily those of the company that built it.”
    Ina agreement with Lie2Me.
    Also the Big 3 had a different situation in the 1950s and 60s. Most of the industrial capacity in the rest of the world was wrecked. As Europe and Asia rebuilt they started to get ahead of “Detroit” in some ways.
    One thing I recall. Back in those days of all info being in print there was a thick book, by Chilton IIRC, that had repair info on all the American cars and trucks. Somewhere around 1970 under V, it was in alphabetical order, Volkswagen was added. There was a change in the air. It took a decade, higher gasoline prices, more stringent emission standards, and people experiencing those “Foreign Cars”.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Until I was a teenager Volkswagens were the only foreign cars you ever saw in quantity and they were viewed as pretty much a gag or nerd car. Who cared how many mpg it got?

      • 0 avatar
        pwrwrench

        “they were viewed as pretty much a gag or nerd car. Who cared how many mpg it got?”
        I recall the gags where high school and college kids would try to get more people in a Beetle than anyone else.
        When the price of gasoline got much higher in the mid 1970s many more people started to care about MPG.
        I recall that in the late 1970s VW dealers were complaining to VWoA that Fiat was taking business away.
        Times change.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    When I grew up GM had the overwhelming percent of the new car market and the Japanese products were seen as cheap and inferior. As a young adult the Big 3 still had the majority of the market share but the Japanese autos were making inroads and people started to notice they were more reliable. The Big 3 had noticeable improvements in the late 90s but as of late the Big 2 have taken a nose dive in quality and the Japanese are not as good quality wise as they were. Peak Camry was 1992 thru 1996. Japanese are still better than most but they are just like everyone else decontenting their vehicles and shaving costs to where quality is compromised. The Koreans have come a long way and their quality is about on par with the best Japanese. Eventually it will be the Chinese who will dominate the vehicle market especially the EV market. Things change and you cannot count on any manufacturer staying at the top forever.

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    The above picture says it all. My mom bought a mercury lynx in 1982 and it was Ford’s first real attempt at front wheel drive in USA. It was biggest peace of crap and over the next 5 years every part of that car had to be replaced. To be fair my Dad’s Subaru at the time was not the best car either but definitely several steps ahead of the lynx. in 80 to 90s we owned mostly GM cars and quality was mediocre. My mom’s first Japanese car was a 1991 Honda Accord and she never bought another Big 3 car afterward. My first car after college was an Acura integra manual and I still miss that car as well as the next car which was a Taurus SHO. Nowadays, most of my extended family’s cars are Japanese or German but we still have GM and chrysler Suvs.

    Currently the big 3 with exception of Cadillac (and Tesla) are not making cars and are Pick up truck/Suv peddlers. Can they survive the next transformation to EV, ? to be determined.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Love the Married with Children reference. As I recall, the few times the old Dodge actually made an appearance, it was played by a Plymouth Duster.

    Speaking of Hyundai references on Fox, I remember King of the Hill had Lane Pratley, of Lane Pratley Cadillac/Hyundai. The joke being, that the guy had the best and worst brands available under one roof (this being a red-state, Cadillac was still considered the pinnacle of automobiles, in which Greatest Generation types referred to Cadillacs on a full-name basis as a “Cadillac Car,” e.g., “don’t you dare try to drive my Cadillac Car”).

    Pictured here: kingofthehill.fandom.com/wiki/Lane_Pratley_Cadillac_Hyundai

  • avatar
    MeJ

    “…anything rolling out of Detroit must be a hopelessly outdated, inefficient, badges-falling-off crapmobile..”
    I still think this is true.
    I’m GenX by the way…

  • avatar
    amwhalbi

    Interesting question today. I live in a 3 year old allotment of about 120 cluster homes that is heavily populated by people in their 60s and 70s. There was a time when this demographic really was Buick’s wheelhouse. With the exception of a ’78 Buick Century that I bought pre-minivan era to haul my kids around in, I never aspired to go into that world – either at the time, or when I inevitably joined the demographic.

    Today I look around our neighborhood and I notice 2 Enclaves and maybe an Encore. That’s it. Subaru reigns supreme, with more Outbacks and Foresters than you can shake a stick at, along with a large sampling of Ford SUVs and Chrysler minivans. At least in my neck of the woods, seniors aren’t giving Buick much love. The irony for me is that, after 50+ years of ignoring them, Buick finally make something with the TourX that I would actually consider buying. But they give it absolutely no promotion, you can’t find them on lots, it doesn’t sell, so they decide to deep-six it after 3 model years. This is part and parcel of (at least in my view) Buick’s inability to define to who they are marketing their vehicles.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    In terms of my own preferences: I stopped caring about performance and acceleration beyond a basic “can pass cars easily on the freeway” level. I started caring more and more about cushiness and smoothness. I set a goal (with which I’m currently succeeding) to have my cars have either 0 or at least 6 cylinders.

    In terms of my perceptions of carmakers:

    – BMW lost the plot and is now a maker of California Corollas, no longer great-driving machines that also really aren’t that luxurious.

    – Hyundai/Kia started developing mostly reliable cars, although they still don’t have steering/suspension totally sorted out.

    – The domestics retreated into Wall Street-driven cost-cutting and are no longer doing things as interesting as they were doing at the end of the aughts.

    – The future of road-trippability for electric cars feels pretty close now, whereas a decade ago it was pie-in-the-sky.

    – The idea that the only masculine vehicle is a full-size pickup has taken over most of America to a degree I couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. It’s brain-dead stupid and I can’t wait for it to end.

    – Obviously, the CUV is now the default vehicle, but that’s not new; it was clear that was going to happen 15 years ago.

  • avatar
    B-BodyBuick84

    Was in a full GM family except for maybe the past 5 years. Ideas (ideals?) about car companies has changed.
    – First is that a lot of people my father’s age are coming around to the idea that the big 3 aren’t all they’re cooked up to be. Failure after failure of my BIL’s 2011 Chevy Cruze set us straight. On the other hand, Asian companies have been coasting on their reputation save for maybe Toyota. Quite a few die hard Honda or Nissan owners have been burned with transmission issues or in a more recent case with Honda, gas-in-oil issues. Hyundia/ Kia make great looking vehicles, if not quite as reliable as their Japanese counterparts. European vehicles are over-engineered to the point that when something breaks, it’s so time and cost consuming that it’s not worth it to fix.
    The most recent change I’ve personally seen is people who were original hybrid adopters switching to either full electric or traditional gas/diesel. Either they’ve been burned by the experience- battery looses to much range due to temperate or time, or experiencing breakdowns that require expensive fixes (ECM in one case) OR they’ve absolutely fallen in love with EV drive and don’t see a need for a hybrid system at all, not when they can have pure electric all the time.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I guess I’m stuck at pretty much where I started from. My first cars/trucks were all RWD or 4×4 V8 vehicles and 47 years later, my last 4 vehicles have been 4×4/RWD V8 powered ones. I’ve had one FWD vehicle along the way, and a couple of 6 cylinder Grand Cherokees and an S10 Blazer(Which was great!), and it looks like I will be aging out of driving still driving something similar to what I started with. Just with a lot more power.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    In the 1980s I knew a uni professor. He had been a Ford man. At that time he had a Ranchero for daily drives and a pickup with camper for vacations in the mountains. At some point he got frustrated with the dealer maintenance on the Ranchero and bought the then new Toyota 4Runner. He told me that after driving the 4Runner for a month that he would never go back to Ford.
    Later he told me about a colleague’s car experience. That guy had been a Cadillac man and in the early 80s was on his third or fourth. The 80s model was a let down (don’t recall which one). There were two engine failures in less than a year. By that time the Cadillac dealer had started selling Acura. The guy traded the dead Caddy for and Acura and never looked back.

  • avatar
    millmech

    Owner’s Manual written by lawyers.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’m young enough to have never truly been burned by any car, born in 1988. That said when I was younger my family was generally a Ford family and we never had any real issues aside from a Taurus that ate its head gasket. Other than that nothing really happened. My brother, ever the contrarion, has been a GM guy ever since. He drives his Chevrolets to this day and continues having problems, but I digress.

    I’ve never been a V8 or bust kind of guy and was always well-served with a 4 cylinder application. In all of the vehicles so equipped, I’ve felt more than safe during my everyday driving; the exception being a Neon loaded down with rather large passengers. I had a stint driving a Focus ST, but realized it was more capability than I’d ever need and so now I’m back to an NA 4 cylinder CX-5 and it’s fine.

    I used to be a manual evangelist, but it got tiresome to foreclose the idea of a vehicle that was otherwise exactly what I want, but for a manual transmission. That said if Ford releases the Bronco or Bronco Sport with a manual and AWD I might be willing to take a look.

    As far as styling goes, I used to think the Germans had it going on. Now Mercedes is doing its organic styling and it just doesn’t work for me, BMW is off in the wilderness and has been for a long time, but VW/Audi seem to consistently put out attractive vehicles with a few exceptions. Toyotas went from blah to hideous and Honda did the same. Mazda went from awkward to pretty nice (I’m slightly biased considering I think their current language is pretty en pointe) with a few exceptions. The rest are just window dressing, nothing I really notice aside from proportions that are a hot mess.

  • avatar
    neil733

    “maybe you picked up a new British car that turned out to be the most reliable thing you’ve ever owned.”

    I’m only on my 5th car, keeping each for quite a few years, but my second car, and my first brand new car, was the closest to totally reliable. It was a 1997 Rover 220SDi, a 5-door hatchback with a 2.0 turbodiesel, and its only failure over 5½years and approx 70,000 miles, other than a couple of light bulbs and a puncture, was the tube for the rear screen wash, which cracked one unusually cold (for the south of England) winter where it crossed from body to tailgate when I opened the tailgate. Other than that, all it needed was routine servicing every 12,000 miles.

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