With Class Warfare currently being raged by the political left on both sides of the Atlantic (not a political judgment, just stating the truth about rhetoric coming out of Clegg and Obama), it has come to my attention that some (ok, almost all) of the recommendations put forth in this column might not necessarily be “politically acceptable” in the current climate (of course what’s politically acceptable to the boy who didn’t understand why we couldn’t still have patrician lanes on the roads like the Romans in his first-year Latin class and has in this column argued for the London rioters to be sent to Texas in order to shot for violating the sacred right to property is always suspect, so I asked around to make sure on this one). Since I was apparently right in my assumption -isn’t it amazing that right means correct, and the left is the “unclean” or “bad” hand that uncivilized people use to wipe their own ass (again, just an observation not a political statement in any way)-, this week is going to focus on good cars wearing a “normal” badge. Basically these are the brands of cars that my anti flash badge (yet huge car enthusiast) grandmother would have driven:
Subaru: My father is a Subaru man (he likes to think of them along the lines of Audis that actually work, and isn’t very far off in his judgment), and my brother drives my old (and under his watch quite abused) Outback H-6. Subaru makes a damn good car (not just for the price), and possesses a brand image extolling value-for-money, which is something their European competition simply (Audi and Volvo) cannot claim. Think of a Subaru as the anti-BMW, a status symbol only for those “in the know,” or an actual gentleman’s automobile (my brother excluded of course). Plus, they’ll still pass inspection after crashing through a fence once the remnants of a post are less than carefully removed from the undercarriage (warning: do not let irresponsible younger siblings borrow your “rally proven” Subaru; they may do some impromptu amateur “rallying” themselves). I would stay away from the current Legacy and Outback (too big), but a previous generation model with even 100,000 miles on the clock still has decades of use and abuse left in it. This aircraft-like reliability is due to the fact that Subaru’s boxer engines are actually used in airplanes, there is actually an Aero-Subaru (they may have also made the kamikaze plane that tried to kill your relatives during World War II, but those bombers were much more rugged than the Mitsubishi Zero), and the tractor-like ruggedness is assured by the fact that in some places the Subaru dealer is also the local agricultural supply.
VW: Well, my mother drives a VW, and she’s become even more opposed to automotive displays of wealth than her mother-in-law ever was (my father did get a first date by having an Audi, but according to her that was well before Audi’s become “popular”). Volkswagen means “People’s Car” in German (Funny how the original name of “Adolf Hitler’s Car” didn’t stick), and save the new Mexican made Jetta, which is total crap and completely unworthy of the badge, they also make a good car. The Golf alone literally has a variant for nearly all people (from TDI to GTI there’s bound to be one you like), and the Phaeton is literally the same car as a Bentley Continental for a mere fraction of the price. VW may have possessed a brand image that was slightly posh, but their attempts to move much further up-market clearly failed (hence the total POS new down-market Jetta). Therefore, you can safely drive a VW, well, anything but the Jetta.
Ford: Yes, good old Ford. Ford may now be the best all around automaker in the world. Build quality and reliability have now surpassed pretty much all of the competition, and Ford employs an entire development team just to make sure all of their cars handle well. On top of making reliable, fun to drive, cheap to own, and readily available cars: Ford is also a leader on the safety front. Basically they don’t make a bad car, and head to head they subjectively and objectively keep beating even mighty BMW in comparison tests. The only problem with a Ford is that you have to put up with a Ford dealer. If they treated their customers like say Lexus, then there might not need to be any other automakers, but sadly this is not the case.
Unfortunately this short list is that way for a reason. Either almost all moderately priced cars are total crap, or you wouldn’t be caught dead in them (this does not apply in America, where they are just crap). Nobody reading this column is going to drive a Skoda (despite them being in most cases better than the VW upon which it has been based), unless it happens the last car left at the airport rental counter. The current world’s second largest automaker (the mighty Toyota Motor Company) only makes one car (in a single specific trim/engine/transmission combination), which doesn’t completely suck (Lexus IS250 6M), but, of course, it has to be from their fucking posh brand. Clearly something is wrong here, and I more am willing to bet that it’s not my judgment, which my mother has declared as quite harsh but unfortunately (her words not mine) almost always correct on these things. Basically, if you want to survive the political onslaught with out looking like a total, well, “stupid posh twat”, then your automotive choices are clearly (and quite unfortunately) limited, but you can always spend that extra money on a bigger boat. Even a militant Marxists (hopefully a good-looking one) likes to go a boat ride, and remember, that yacht can even be Volvo powered (ok, it’s not the same company as the car maker anymore, but you get my point)!