And now for something a little different … from me anyway …
Petrolheads believe that what you drive says a lot about who you are. Drive a Beemer and you’re either doing well, or live beyond your means. If you drive a Merc, you’re either ageing well or have an old head on young shoulders. If you drive a hot hatch, and depending on which one and whether or not it’s been tuned or lowered, you’re either yuppie scum, a burgeoning connoisseur, or your Mum & Dad have too much money.
My wife drives a first generation Honda Jazz, because she is a mum, and she needs a car that’s cheap to own and run, but that’s also as reliable as clockwork.
As a result of the black and purple pearlescent paintjob, her Jazz has been Christened ‘Blurple’, and were it not for her dogs or her son, it would be the thing most dear to her in this world – myself included. And while my missus is the self-proclaimed antithesis of a petrolhead, she loves her little Jazz and is vehemently adamant that her car is chock full of character … sounds like a petrolhead to me … though she’ll not sit through an episode of TopGear, so the jury is still out as far as that is concerned.
However, I fear that ‘Blurple’ may be one of the last characterful exports from a country who’s motor industry is in sharp decline. Honda, while they are in the development stages of a new NSX, have little to offer the less well-heeled motor enthusiast. A counter argument could be made with regards to the latest Civic, and the forthcoming Type-R, in that it looks sharper than most things in my tool shed, but is there really anything else in their stable to stir the soul?
If their Brio hatch hails from Dullsville, the sedan version would form part of their Mange Range. The Mobilio screams ‘vasectomy’, the Ballade & Civic sedan are faceless ‘nothings’ that you would struggle to find in an empty parking lot, but their worst atrocity by far is the new Accord. When compared to the first generation, the latest version should be ashamed of itself – not much to look at, and contains nothing of interest for those under retirement age.
It’s very clearly a car designed by committee in that it’s meant to be all things to all men – spacious, luxurious (to a budget, of course), feature-laden, and most-importantly new … but it lacks so much in the visual department that it fails to appeal to anyone with a pulse. And for this reason, I’m certain, it is doomed to failure. With that said, the very latest Jazz, due in February 2015, does carry a torch for the rest of the brand, though I doubt Dads will be lining up around the block to get their hands on one.
Toyota, similarly, find themselves in no-man’s land. While the 86 has been a resounding success, the firm has largely failed to deliver anything like the latent athleticism of its 90’s Conquest/Corolla. These were cars favoured by youngsters for a few basic reasons: they were cheap to buy, cheaper to own, they’d run at full chat long after the cows have come home, and they looked fantastic with the right added mods.
The current versions of these cars though are made for two types of people: those with little ambition in life (and are, therefore, stuck in a perennial comfort zone), and those who could not care less about how they move about. It’ll happily trundle from A to B, not very quickly, nor with any sense of adventure, but it will get there. Every day. Around the same bloody time.
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