“Everyone makes passably decent cars these days, and the ensuing positivity is killing me”
“Everyone makes decent cars, and the ensuing positivity is killing me”
I always tell them to never read the comments. Young people who ask me what the frst rule of doing this thing that I do for a living is – which used to be called motoring journalist, but I think is now called Content Infuencer Person, or vlogger, or something else. And I always tell them to never scroll down. Don’t read the comments.
Whatever you call it, don’t read the mayhem underneath the bit you did, because the chances are it will include speculation on your parentage, advice on all matters from faeces disposal to sexual orientation, and a few death threats. Or maybe all of them together. Sometimes they might even discuss the car you’ve vlogged over.
If that does happen, one of the few complaints I have any sympathy for is the general feeling that everyone seems to be so positive in new car reviews. When was the last time you read a one-star stinker or watched a video where the bloke pointing a camera at himself said: “You know what? This thing is total s**t”?
I’d hazard, quite a while. And I’d love to tell you that it’s because the new generation of vloggers are all in the employ of the carmakers and that objectivity died the day Autocar & Motor became just Autocar, but sadly that’s not the reason. It’s because these new cars are just too damn good. Really, they’re too good.
And this is a real problem because however much you twist it and de-sugar the message, a positive review of a good car is never going to be as entertaining as a good, wholesome hatchet job on a pile of junk. Because we all love witnessing a decent shoeing. For the sake of entertainment and the sanity of comments sections throughout the interweb, we need some bad cars. Ten years ago I thought there was a solution, but it proved to be a false dawn: China.
The focus of that hope was when someone splatted a Windy Ssomething into a wall at 30mph and it dissolved into a puddle of soup. It was efectively a reimagined Vauxhall Frontera made from lasagne and Pritt Stick and it was excitingly terrible. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one and stamp all over it with sharp one-liners and casual xenophobia. Back then I used to prowl around motor shows snafing out Chinese s**tboxes, imagining the hilarity generated once they landed in the UK. But they never came. Tragically, they were deemed too rubbish to be granted access to Europe.
Everyone makes passably decent cars these days, and the ensuing positivity is killing me. A whole generation now has no idea how tragic a Skoda once was, or an FSO Polonez – what I would have given to review a Polonez! But those were the low-hanging fruit. The real stars were the cock-ups from otherwise talented homes: the Suzuki X-90 or the Alfa 156 GTA. Or maybe just the raw tedium of the global tat that sold well in Africa and Brazil, but was sadistically foisted on the UK concession. Imagine being a Mazda salesman in the late Nineties trying to fog a Xedos 9 Miller Cycle as the bloke in the BMW site next door fondled his E39 5-Series waiting list. Poor sod.
The last truly bad car I drove was the last-gen BMW X1. I thought the power steering pump had failed. God knows, I’ve tried to fnd that next generation of rubbish cars – I even rented a Vauxhall Mokka in the hope that it would deliver a purity of ineptitude not seen since Luca Badoer’s F1 career. But it turned out to be worryingly capable. So – word to the carmakers of the world. If you want vlogging to remain
entertaining, please resurrect the terrible motor car.