No, we don’t like your new car

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - IN GEAR -

The ques­tion dreaded by all of my ilk is: ‘‘What car should I buy?’’ Not from ev­ery­one, you un­der­stand. Not even from most of you.

It is, af­ter all, our very pur­pose in life to shine clar­ity on these murky wa­ters, to be a pil­lar of logic in what is the sec­ond-big­gest pur­chas­ing decision most of us make af­ter our home.

It is a priv­i­lege and a plea­sure to help. If our re­views some­how leave you in any doubt, feel free to call for more ad­vice any time dur­ing busi­ness hours. So what am I on about? I’m on about the mi­nor­ity for whom this ques­tion is rhetor­i­cal, those who will ask: ‘‘What do you think of BRAND X?’’ when what they mean is: ‘‘Clearly I’ve al­ready bought this box of span­ners; now tell me how great it is and/or how hot I look in it.’’

Af­ter a few years you learn to spot this sort of thing com­ing and de­flect the de­mand with a mild ‘‘I’d re­ally rather not say’’. Or ‘‘Please — not while there are chil­dren present’’ or ‘‘Look! Over there!’’ and ex­e­cute the quiet sneak. (This works more of­ten than you might imag­ine.)

The fact of it is, peo­ple don’t want to hear bad stuff about their cars.

They take it in­cred­i­bly badly. They take it, not al­to­gether un­rea­son­ably, as a per­sonal slight. Well, too bloody bad. That is, may I re­peat, what we’re here for.

That said, I do kind of get it when own­ers of Lancers with con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sions com­plain about me com­par­ing the CVT drone to the voice of Eric ‘‘Oz Car Af­fair’’ Abetz. In ret­ro­spect this was a cruel thing to say about a sound car that I’ve rec­om­mended to sev­eral readers.

Of course, there are some peo­ple who sim­ply can’t be helped. Ac­cord­ing to the Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries, three peo­ple bought Saabs last month.

Not even the new, stupidly over­priced 9-5, but the rat­tly relic chunk of nineties-stal­gia, the 9-3.

I’d love them to ask what I think.

Paul Pot­tinger

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