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Modern Cars: Fat, boring look-alikes.


Unkel Kunkel
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Cars look so similar - dark coloured, often with dark glass,   slit like head lights, very small rear window (but  all manner of reversing warnings gadgets and aids to compesate for not having a large clear rear window.

They look like smoothed-out off- road-roaders but in reality, many have only 2WD and they ponce and pirouette  on ludicrous elastic- band width low profile tyres.

They are ugly and fat.

Their girth ever increases as car park spaces get narrower.

New houses are built with the deception that they have a garage  that will accommodate these leviathans.They can’t.You can drive in - but you can’t open the doors to get out of the vehicle.

They sport aggressive names like “ Warrior”, “Barbarian”, “Storm”, “Terminator”  and are invariably.. black, huge and hideous 

Maybe it went down  hill since the “Avenger”., Names thought to be bold and aggressive-but total  bollocks..What do such  names mean - “Avenge what?” 

Long gone are the gentlemanly, polite and inoffensive names like “Swallow” , “Kestrel”, - even “Chummy”-  or the names of English counties like  Devon, Anglia, Somerset, or the non aggressive” Imps” and “Heralds” and “Westminsters,  Oxfords and Cambridges” and the sensible “Prefect” and “Consul” before the stylish Italian names like “Cortina” came in.

Morris even named a car after a river - which was fine in the 1930s but “Isis” in the next century,  held different  associations.

We need a stylish, small light car with good all round visibility and excellent nippy   performance, that  is practical and fun to drive and own.

A new small car?

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  • Unkel Kunkel changed the title to Modern Cars: Fat, boring look-alikes.

Unfortunately regulations force manufacturers into small rear windows to increase the strength of the roof. 
Cars have become bigger due to safety features built into the doors for example. 
A modern polo is bigger than the original golf for that reason. 
 

As it happens my mum has just bought a new smaller car to replace the golf estate which was my dads and too big for her. 
She went for a Skoda fabia - which is a turbo 3 pot 1 ltr. And it is a lovely drive. Very nippy and fun to drive. Has good visibility for a modern car but does have a reversing camera as an option - something I suggested as it saves you having to crane your neck to see over your shoulder.  
 

68D7C001-1B5F-4CF0-8A75-E6E12AE49349.thumb.jpeg.8c265939abe8652728d20461c9589b1b.jpeg

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41 minutes ago, Anglefire said:

 Has good visibility for a modern car but does have a reversing camera as an option - something I suggested as it saves you having to crane your neck to see over your shoulder.  

 

 

Sounds ok, but not to look around before reversing even with a camera is just asking for trouble. Camera as an aid but it will not pick up everything. 

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Angelfire: I like the blue additional bumper, standard fitting or optional extra? 😜

44 minutes ago, Anglefire said:

does have a reversing camera as an option - something I suggested as it saves you having to crane your neck to see over your shoulder.  

My Yeti has it, always loved that name for a car and wanted one from the moment they came out, I have a serious/severe back problem and the camera really does make life easier for me.

what I've noticed lately is the current fashion with some makes to have tiny indicator lights, especially at the back. Stupid!

Mind you i suppose someone will reply that it isn't important as people don't use them. . . Which is true, followed a car yesterday how negotiated 3 roundabouts and not once used them, entering or leaving.

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24 minutes ago, Mathew said:

Sounds ok, but not to look around before reversing even with a camera is just asking for trouble. Camera as an aid but it will not pick up everything. 

I have a Superb with a reversing camera and 99% of the time never look over my shoulder. Why would I? What wouldn't it pick up? - the door mirrors and camera cover everything I need to see- the camera sees wider than the car so I can see bollards and the like and ones directly behind better than I can by actually looking. The edge of the bumper can be seen too and is virtually on the centre line of the car - its actually about an inch off - unlike the camera on my Land Rover which was well offset being on the rear door handle.

Reversing down roads (Like in devon the other week) is a breeze. The only snag is going over about 15mph turns the camera off. 

27 minutes ago, Chris A said:

Angelfire: I like the blue additional bumper, standard fitting or optional extra? 😜

Both! An option removed on delivery 🤣

 

28 minutes ago, Chris A said:

what I've noticed lately is the current fashion with some makes to have tiny indicator lights, especially at the back. Stupid!

Mind you i suppose someone will reply that it isn't important as people don't use them. . . Which is true, followed a car yesterday how negotiated 3 roundabouts and not once used them, entering or leaving.

The new Defender is a case in point - they frankly look silly! I suppose driving one of them means that most people will get out of the way regardless.

I personally don't like day light running lights - great idea on motorbikes, but now all new vehicles have them, bikes disappear into the general clutter of roads. Something the Germans seem to have forced the Eu to adopt with the BMW and then Audi being the ring leaders it seems.

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Yep.. I am currently testing new cars as our lease is about up. Apart from the grill they are all very samey....

The only thing I noticed is they have driven the "brand identity" to new levels insomuch as if you have never driven a Volvo before you can't get the darned thing started without reading the manual (who ever does that?!)

Also all the salespeople I have dealt with have pretty much been jerks acting as if I am not worthy of their money. Granted, they know I am looking at leasing a car according to the rules of my employer who is known for having very tight margins but still... ever heard of word of mouth? I know hundreds of people who don't work or my company and I can easily make a recommendation one way t'other !

 

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To be fair my Mum had a great experience at Skoda - the sales lady promised to give her a call in a few weeks after picking it up - and true to her word did. 

Brand ID is very true though - very much seem to be different settings on the fax machine - Audi, BMW and Land Rover are particularly "good" at it

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8 hours ago, Unkel Kunkel said:

We need a stylish, small light car with good all round visibility and excellent nippy   performance, that  is practical and fun to drive and own.

A new small car?

Sounds like a Herald to me... :)

Do we really need all the other gimmicks? You can start your car by phone and have it warmed up, lights come on to tell you where it is - on your drive, it's the only car - it's got lane sensors as you're so distracted with your bluetooth and audio messages you can't watch the road. It's got automatic brakes as those cyclists who can't keep to their own lanes and have no lights might be in front of you, but you're not looking so won't see them. How many drivers ever take their adjustable headlamps off '0'? It's got climate control and heated seats so if it even warms up in your five minute trip to the shops you can be toasty before having to get out in the cold again. The seats and steering wheel automatically adjust to your preferred setting, and then never move again as no-one else drives the car. The mirrors fold in so that when you double park, vehicles squeezing through won't carry them off, and black strips along the doors so that when you park on the footpath prams squeezing past won't scratch the paint. It's now twice the size as it used to be - a MINI????? - as probably so are you, and it's four feet off the ground so you have better visibility but need steps to climb up in, and if you hit someone, you'll do them more damage than you yourself will suffer. 

We buy cars that are like second homes and capable of overland Safaris and never go further than ten miles away 99% of the year, but still need a huge Sat Nav screen just in case. I miss the days of a single speedo and three warning lights... :)

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2 hours ago, Anglefire said:

Something the Germans seem to have forced the Eu to adopt with the BMW and then Audi being the ring leaders it seems.

Volvos were equipped with them many, many years before anyone else. In fact I met a Brit on holiday here years ago with a Volvo that had them and he said he was forever being flashed by oncoming cars & had been stopped by a Gendarme who wanted him to turn them off as using 'headlights' in good weather conditions was illegal at the time. He had to explain he couldn't.

In certain weather conditions day time running lights are a help in spotting oncoming cars. However on some they are far too bright.

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3 hours ago, Anglefire said:

Unfortunately regulations force manufacturers into small rear windows to increase the strength of the roof. 
Cars have become bigger due to safety features built into the doors for example. 
A modern polo is bigger than the original golf for that reason. 
 

As it happens my mum has just bought a new smaller car to replace the golf estate which was my dads and too big for her. 
She went for a Skoda fabia - which is a turbo 3 pot 1 ltr. And it is a lovely drive. Very nippy and fun to drive. Has good visibility for a modern car but does have a reversing camera as an option - something I suggested as it saves you having to crane your neck to see over your shoulder.  
 

68D7C001-1B5F-4CF0-8A75-E6E12AE49349.thumb.jpeg.8c265939abe8652728d20461c9589b1b.jpeg

Ive heard the “rear window has to be small to increase the strength of the roof “ before - is that really the reason? and no other  option ?
 

My missus has a Skoda Yeti. It is brilliant all rounder- not too big, excellent visibility, easy to park and handles  remarkably well and has all wheel drive and 2 litre diesel very torquey.Versatile - the rear seats come out in seconds and it becomes a small van.

The handbook though is an unhelpful nightmare full of dire warnings and disclaimers.

But, they have stopped making it and have gone down the “ must be bigger and uglier “ route with its replacement in the way Citroen replaced the  wonderfully versatile Berlingo  by something .. bigger and  more cumbersome.

 

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I mentioned my 'love' of the electronics on my new to me Toyota. The reversing camera makes my reverse parking a joke, I can't get used to it and I have never parked so badly since my first lesson. After collecting it my first attempts to start it failed so I rang the salesman. "Ah, you need a new battery, bring it I in". I also complained about it not being valeted properly before collection, the apple cores and chicken bone under the seats gave it away!!! I got put through to the workshop. Yes, bring it on and we'll clean it properly. I also mentioned the starting. "You are pressing the clutch all the way down before you turn the key???"....what!!! Safety feature or something. Ok. Forget it. I went and got out the vacuum cleaner!!

By the way while I'm on the morning moan, how long should it take to charge the stop/start battery (something else new to me) in this time of doing 20 miles a week!! The car has a five year guarantee and it seems to take an age to charge up on the longer journeys, so if it need replacing I need to do something soon.

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New cars are just boring, but they do have a place. I for one have serious back problems and drive a Golf SV. The only things i like about the car is being able to get in without a massive screen rake, automatic a must and adaptive cruise control....... Apart from that it's not a car i would choose to drive on a daily basis. I love driving my Triumphs but not good for daily use, for me anyway.

Tony.

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21 minutes ago, poppyman said:

love driving my Triumphs but not good for daily use, for me anyway.

I grudgingly agree modern cars are reliable comfortable and safe. 

As a metal stamping guy I am in awe of some of the American cars. The complex shapes they achieved without the computer aids of today is astounding. I was fortunate to spend 3 months with three stamping men from Chrysler. They all started working around 1940 so we're involved in the crazy 50s and 60s. The blob shapes of today do very little for me. 

Iain 

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1 hour ago, Badwolf said:

"You are pressing the clutch all the way down before you turn the key???"

The Yeti has the same 'feature'. OK, maybe if you try and start the car when it's in gear but when in neutral don't see the point. "In my day" you were taught to check the car was in neutral before starting, seems now the car has to think instead of the driver.

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I was told that this 'feature' is something to do with the stop/start function. Too many switches & computers to go wrong and will be too expensive to replace (not fix) in due course. All future restorers will need a degree in computer science and chip programmers as there will be no spares available for your model in 20 years. A company making generic (compatible????) programmable modules will clean up the the future restoration game.

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11 hours ago, Unkel Kunkel said:

They are ugly and fat.

Their girth ever increases as car park spaces get narrower.

Don't know if it is politically correct but when I get stuck behind one on the narrow country Norfolk roads I refer to the as lard asses.

At least I say its the vehicle's I'm referring to.

Regards.

A driver of a slim Vitesse.

Paul

 

 

 

Paul

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I’m afraid you are all living in the past.  Our old cars are lovely - but in an accident will probably kill you. 
modern small cars are bigger because of the scaffolding now put into doors for example to provide side protection.  
the depth of the doors on my spitfire are about 2” - my Skoda nearer 5” 

so that adds 6” to the width of the car before you add bigger seats to fit airbags in. Another 6”. 

if you want a small modern car - buy a twingo. But it’s only 2 seats and they are fore and artf. Oh and doors are optional I think. 

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Oh and as for staying within 10miles of home most of the time.  Not me. Due to covid I’m down to about 300miles a week. Which has gone up since last year.  
Pre-covid I would do up to twice what I’m doing now. 

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To be honest I think you could look back at any period of time and make the same "modern cars all look the same" comment, and it's all down to the fact successful motor manufacturers tend to make what people want, and what people want is what's in style at the time.

For colours I can remember it feeling like every other car was silver/grey, before that white, before that red, before that '70s brown/orange/purple, before that lots off-whites/baby blues/etc, and back in the '20s/'30s almost everything was black or very dark red.

For body styles, in the '20s/'30s almost everything was a slab-sided 2 box.  50's/60's more Victorian jelly mould 3 boxes.  '70s/'80s lots of wedges and coupe hatchbacks.  '80s/'90s and it's the flat back hatch.  '00s/'10s lots of single box people carriers and 'tall' flat back hatches.  And now we have the 'soft-roader' dominating.  Give it a few years and it will change again.  And all through these times there have been, and continue to be those that go against the grain.  I mean you could go out today and buy a Range Rover Evoque/Nissan Qashqai/Audi Q3/etc, but you could equally buy a Nissan E-NV200 Combi or GT-R, or an Audi TT, or VW Up! or a Mini.

For width again it's not like there's some conspiracy in the worlds car makers to make cars wider.  No, people both want more elbow room in their cars - and are getting wider themselves.

When it comes to names most of the silly ones are actually driven by the lawers.  First off if you make a name up you can 'own' it and have much more control over who else can use it and how.  Second if you use a common name chances are someone else has already used it and you'll need their permission (and usually £££) to use it.  Again nothing new - there's a reason you don't see many "9xx" cars that don;t also wear a Porsche badge, or "x0x" cars that don't have a Peugeot one.  Hell the only reason I drive a Triumph Spitfire is because Vickers wanted to call their new passenger plane the Vickers Vanguard so had to do a deal with Standard-Triumph who owned the Vanguard name!

 

Oh, and try test driving: the VW Up!, Hyundai i10, and Toyota Aygo.

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Modern = less user interface 

Classic = more enjoyment, friendly waves, social gatherings (remember those) , shows, restoring, improving .

So you can stick your reversing camera, your auto lights and auto windscreen washer. 

Your see me driving off into the sunset , top down in my spitfire for as long as im able

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I'm too soft now, I like my climate control, comfy seats, fully adjustable positions etc etc. I don't get any enjoyment out of it which is why I like classics but not for everyday. However there are a few exceptions, if I didn't have a compliant ULEZ car I would consider a 1981/2 Merc. Great drive and reliable. I did mention it to the wife but I was out voted.... 

Iain 

 

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ive ust ordered a New C4  and the heating controls can be touchscreen or and   yes it has Knobs to twiddle    sense at last 

so you can drive and twiddle without looking at a screen nonsesnse and swerve all over the road 

its just too simple isnt it ???

Pete

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1 hour ago, Mjit said:

Oh, and try test driving: the VW Up!, Hyundai i10, and Toyota Aygo.

Didn't look at the up! - too expensive for what it is - Test drove the i10 when looking with mum - very underwhelmed - Aygo looked at it as there is a garage local but Daughter has the Peugeot 107 which is the same thing pretty much and was too small. Also looked at the Fiat 500  - only because Mums first car was a real 500 - too small.

 

16 minutes ago, Iain T said:

I'm too soft now, I like my climate control, comfy seats, fully adjustable positions etc etc. I don't get any enjoyment out of it which is why I like classics but not for everyday. However there are a few exceptions, if I didn't have a compliant ULEZ car I would consider a 1981/2 Merc. Great drive and reliable. I did mention it to the wife but I was out voted.... 

Iain 

 

Love my Spitfire - but not all the time and certainly couldn't do the miles in it that I have to do. So the Skoda will remain for a good while yet as it ticks all the boxes at the moment - done over 46k and still on the original brakes. Tyres will be needed probably before the end of the year or early next. Service in November ish. 

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12 minutes ago, Anglefire said:

Also looked at the Fiat 500  - only because Mums first car was a real 500 - too small.

Did you try the Panda - same chassis but with more space and more comfortable seats?

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