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But there are such sweet ass cars out there!
September 27, 2006 4:48 PM   Subscribe

Audi released its new super-sportscar, the R8, at the Paris Autoshow today. With cars like the R8 and the Bugatti Veyron at the top end and the Toyota, Volkswagen or Lexus, there's lots of neat stuff going on in the automotive world...just not from GM, Ford or Chrysler. Maybe it's just me, but pumping out crap like this may be part of the reason. Just guessing.
posted by tgrundke (63 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Bugatti, Audi, and Volkswagen are all the same company. Toyota and Lexus are also part of the same company.
posted by delmoi at 4:53 PM on September 27, 2006


It looks like the team that were told to put an Audi badge on a Gallardo spent too much time looking at Fords. (Lamborghini is also part of the VW-Audi group)
posted by b1tr0t at 5:02 PM on September 27, 2006


Interestingly enough, the Gallardo platform is being utilized for the R8 but each is intended to have very distinct characteristics. The Gallardo is more of a 'balls to the walls' pure performance car where the R8 is intended to be more refined and more of s technology showcase.
posted by tgrundke at 5:04 PM on September 27, 2006


Hah, the top gear sendup of the F150 was pretty funny.
posted by delmoi at 5:12 PM on September 27, 2006


Clarkson is absolutely one of the funniest SOBs on the planet. His reviews are often the most punishingly and brutally honest you'll see. Sad to say, thanks to the influence of the automakers on the advertising budgets of most magazines and news outlets here in the US, you usually won't get such wickedly honest write-ups.
posted by tgrundke at 5:13 PM on September 27, 2006


BMW are doing incredibly interesting things with car technology, from head-up displays to hydrogen limos. Shame they forget how to make them look attractive.
posted by bonaldi at 5:13 PM on September 27, 2006


My last volkswagen (2002 Jetta turbo) was a piece of crap. Never again.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:16 PM on September 27, 2006


Why do American car companies lend their car to Top Gear? Of course, why would Detroit even think they would sell in Europe? Especially cars like the F150 and Escalade? And why on earth would someone in Europe buy one. 30K £ for a truck? 50K £ for an Escalade?
posted by birdherder at 5:16 PM on September 27, 2006


Shame they forget how to make them look attractive.

Oh, I am sorry bonaldi, but I have to respectfully disagree with you.
posted by quin at 5:18 PM on September 27, 2006


Crap, ignore that bonaldi, I thought you were speaking to car design in general, not the BMW line specifically.
posted by quin at 5:19 PM on September 27, 2006


BMW has done some neat stuff, but all in all I think the Bangle-era, heralded by the current 7-Series has been an utter disappointment in design aesthetics. Now, the new 5 and 3 are looking quite a bit better, but the 7 has just become big and bloated.

Don't get me started on "iDrive"..... ;-)
posted by tgrundke at 5:28 PM on September 27, 2006


"Hah, the top gear sendup of the F150 was pretty funny."
posted by delmoi at 8:12 PM EST on September 27 [+] [!]


No, it wasn't. There is something about a right hand version of an American pickup truck that screams "Wrong!" louder than would an anti-matter fountain in Trafalgar Square. And the Brits couldn't afford the gas bills, anyway.

And while I'm not a Ford man, the 2007 Shelby GT 500 looks pretty sweet, to me.
posted by paulsc at 5:29 PM on September 27, 2006


The new Mustang has been a nice revival piece for the company. I just wish the domestics would get away from trying to live off of past glories and look ahead, instead of back.
posted by tgrundke at 5:33 PM on September 27, 2006


Why do American car companies lend their car to Top Gear?
It's a good question, and I think the answer speaks volumes about motoring journalism in the two countries. In the US market, I've heard journalists talk about car companies withholding cars from reviewers and generally throwing their advertising weight around with magazines and reviewers.

Here, that virtually never happens*. And the journalism is miles better for it. The motoring press pack are some of the most irascible and surly journalists I've ever met (and that's going some), but they're fearless about telling the truth in their reviews.

Our other markets are mostly -- a few notable exceptions aside -- in the thrall of PRs, however. Games reviews are the minimum-6/10-rating you'd expect, film magazines do what they're told and so on. I'm not sure where the fearlessness of motoring writers has come from, but it makes for good magazines and good TV.

Actually, I do know: it's because they're a hideously closed shop, and a seriously close-knit bunch, who all know each other and meet at least monthly on the various launches. It's a union, in effect, and the manufacturers have to court that union, not the other way round.

*Yes, apart from Vauxhall pulling cars from Clarkson after the Vectra 2-silent-minutes review, or Perodua refusing their cars to Car after months of mockery
posted by bonaldi at 5:33 PM on September 27, 2006


Good point, bonaldi. The good auto journalists like Clarkson and his crew at Top Gear don't hold anything back. His reviews of the Bugatti, Phaeton, M3, Z4, RS4 etc. are all brilliant - he knows where the cars are utterly brilliant and he has no tolerance for when they fall flat. His statements about the Bugatti are especially brilliant, stating that it is such an absolutely incredible car that he's sad because chances are very good that there will *never* be anything better. Ever.
posted by tgrundke at 5:39 PM on September 27, 2006


It's odd to see Audi reusing a name. This is the "traditional" R8, a staggeringly successful car on the Le Mans circuit... they should have at least picked a new letter for this new car.
posted by clevershark at 5:52 PM on September 27, 2006


Shame they forget how to make them look attractive.

i think they did a pretty decent job with the Mini Cooper. And i liked the Z8.


...just not from GM, Ford or Chrysler


This one's not bad IMHO. Let's hope it's a beginning of a trend.
posted by facapulco at 5:52 PM on September 27, 2006


Yes, the Sky/Solstice are very pretty, but they're built with the interior space that screams out "skinny supermodel only".

I'm not a huge guy, but I can't sit comfortably in it AND close the door. My shoulders are too wide.
posted by clevershark at 5:55 PM on September 27, 2006


I subscribe to Car and Driver, and its like a big advert for the Corvette.

What really did it for me and American car companies is the 1980s Mustang. Its like they knew they had a loyal "always buy American" customer base, so they put out the absolute shittiest car every made in Detroit. Hideous. And it was as if they were thinking "fuck 'em, they'll buy it 'cause it's Detroit." And the mid-90s Mustang was a joke with the fake plastic air intakes on the sides and the hood. Embarrassing. And it's not just the once awesome Mustang (1969 Mach 1 anyone?) that went to dust. Pontiac. Buick. Chrysler. Once mechanical vanguards now cash cows, ready to be tipped over by the nimble Japanese, and the industrious Germans.

So fuck Ford, fuck GM. You reap what you sow, eventually. Many of the cars I've driven beat the best American cars - the Mini, the BMW 5 series, even the Ford bought companies are nice (Volvo S60, Mazda R8.) And word in Nashville is Toby Keith drives a Benz ;)
posted by four panels at 6:00 PM on September 27, 2006 [1 favorite]


And while I'm not a Ford man, the 2007 Shelby GT 500 looks pretty sweet, to me.
posted by paulsc at 7:29 PM CST on September 27


I haven't driven it (would like to!), but the New York Times thinks it's a lumbering artifact.
posted by four panels at 6:08 PM on September 27, 2006


Top Gear doesn't hate all American cars. Not at all -Clarkson loved the Ford GT so much he bought one. Sadly, when he got it the alarm system was utterly buggered. If you don't mend it, I'll bone your dog.

On a related note, Hammond appears to be making some progress in his accident recovery.
posted by jimmythefish at 6:08 PM on September 27, 2006


The sad thing about GM is that Oldsmobile was just about to turn the corner when they shitcanned it a few years back. The Aurora, Intrigue and Alero were just about the only GM products that actually had anything coming close to passion and spirit about them.

As to the new Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice - they are nice, pretty cars, yes. But they just don't do anything for me. They don't really make any kind of statement, just re-badging again, in my opinion. I've never been a huge fan of roadsters, anyhow.

Problem is, nobody knows what the domestics stand for anymore. Companies like Toyota, Audi, Saab (before GM gutted it), Volvo, BMW all have very strong heritages and strong senses of identities. Audi has really been on an upswing these past five years, pushing their combination of technical prowess, racing and very unique design into production and consequently reflecting well upon the brand as a whole. Audi is about 10 - 15 years behind BMW as far as 'branding' is concerned, but more product like the R8, A8, Q7, upcoming A5 and next generation B6 platform ought to really leapfrog them.

General Motors and Ford are woefully behind the 8-ball for precisely the reasons stated before. The current Ford Fusion and 500 are 'good cars' - unfortunately, they're good cars that are about 7 years too late for Ford. Today they melt into the market like any other sedan without identity.
posted by tgrundke at 6:16 PM on September 27, 2006


Things are changing in Detroit. It's going to happen faster than you think. And this is coming from a D native who doesn't drive a domestic because he doesn't want the autos getting the impression that they're turning out cars people want.

The aforementioned Sky is a good example of the new direction. But the Ford Edge is really the first example of a Big-3 company finally getting the fricking picture.

And there is more to come.
posted by fusinski at 6:18 PM on September 27, 2006


I have no idea what "Correct Aspect, No logos" is. But it made me laugh uncontrollably as I cried for the lameness of my country.

I grew up with the Chevy Vega and the Ford Pinto. I will NEVER buy an American car. Ever.
posted by cccorlew at 6:29 PM on September 27, 2006


Why do American car companies lend their car to Top Gear?

Well, Top Gear has reviewed other Fords favorably, especially the Focus. Which is good for Ford, since Top Gears are much more likely to be buying a Focus than a GT or pickup truck.
posted by smackfu at 6:32 PM on September 27, 2006


I'm at a complete loss--why should I care about the Edge? Looks pretty dull to me. Chrysler, on the other hand, has been kicking ass, from the 300 to the Magnum and the Charger. If they weren't big, fat gas hogs, I'd own one of 'em today.
posted by Neologian at 6:34 PM on September 27, 2006


Eh, most American cars are crap, but not all...
Some designs I actually like (on-preview edit: I see some of these mentioned already, but oh-wellser):
Pontiac Solstice
Ford GT
Saturn Sky
Panoz Esperante
Aston Martin (/Ford) Vanquish S
and, (if ony they'd make it) the Cadillac Sixteen
That said, yes, there are a LOT more kick-ass European cars out there.
posted by numlok at 6:37 PM on September 27, 2006


I looked around for the youtube video on the veyron and found it. They drove the car from northern italy to london, racing some people in a private plane. Very cool.
posted by delmoi at 6:45 PM on September 27, 2006


The top gear show on the veyron, I mean.

The aforementioned Sky is a good example of the new direction. But the Ford Edge is really the first example of a Big-3 company finally getting the fricking picture.

I'd say the ford focus was really the first hint. That's actually a decent car, and the GT, and even the new mustang is pretty nice. Ford actually seems to have figured things out, it's GM that doesn't know what they're doing. Chrysler is owned by the Germans now but they still seem rather stupid.

Also the ford edge looks rather lame. Just another over inflated car pretending to be an SUV. Bleh.

Ford also owns some foreign marquees, including jaguar, Aston marten and Volvo. Volvos have been pretty sweet lately. GM owns SAAB and they're murding the brand with their idiotic "born from jets" (wtf?) marketing strategy. Oh well.
posted by delmoi at 7:01 PM on September 27, 2006


I have faith the American companies will turn around. I think once one of them goes under and/or gets bought out, the message is going to be very clear. I've been very fond of 2001+ American car aesthetics. I love the Crysler line-up, for instance. I'm really curious to see the new Camero. On the other hand, Honda's and Toyota's keep getting uglier and uglier. Something happened after around '98 to make them all look like Tonka toys with tall trunks and compressed engine bays. Mazda is the only Japanese company putting out interesting designs and technology, IMO.

An Audi is a rebadged purty VW. VW hasn't been able to get wiring right for some time. The A4 I drove a couple months ago was a year old and already had effed up turn signals and lights. This new Audi looks like someone sat on the back window of the new 350Z... 500hp is nice, but I'd wager $10 the CD player would stop working within a year.

BTW - for what it's worth, Buick is the only American car company really representing in China. It really stands out nice amongst the Asian [except maybe the Mazda6] and European cars.
posted by trinarian at 7:15 PM on September 27, 2006


Ohh, and I have to disagree with those who were saying BMW's are getting uglier. I kinda of agree about the higher end models... the battleship trunks take some getting used to, but there is something extremely appealing about the simplicity of the 3-series. It looks and feels like the perfect sedan - nothing more, than less. It has the perfect proportions of balance, aerodynamics, and comfort. If only one could buy de-luxoried versions in America.
posted by trinarian at 7:20 PM on September 27, 2006


I have faith the American companies will turn around. I think once one of them goes under and/or gets bought out, the message is going to be very clear. I've been very fond of 2001+ American car aesthetics. I love the Crysler line-up, for instance.

Chrysler is German. And What does "American" even mean? Toyota makes cars in the U.S.
posted by delmoi at 7:25 PM on September 27, 2006


It looks and feels like the perfect sedan
Top Gear nailed this when they put it on the uncool bit of the cool wall: they said it was ... "a car. It's a saloon car, and that's all". The new 3 series is both bland and over-designed at the same time, and it is entirely without soul.
posted by bonaldi at 7:27 PM on September 27, 2006


I'd say the ford focus was really the first hint. That's actually a decent car

The problem is, except for a facelift, Ford hasn't really changed the Focus here in the U.S. since it was introduced. Top Gear favorably reviewed a Focus ST based on the C1 platform which is also used in the Volvo S40 and Mazda 3, but for some reason Ford has decided Americans don't need the updated platform for the U.S. Focus.
posted by gyc at 7:39 PM on September 27, 2006


Top Gear favorably reviewed a Focus ST based on the C1 platform which is also used in the Volvo S40 and Mazda 3, but for some reason Ford has decided Americans don't need the updated platform for the U.S. Focus.

Ah, but we do get the Mazdaspeed 3, which is essentially the same car (based on the S40) but even more powerful.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:21 PM on September 27, 2006


The Edge is a fine looking vehicle, too bad Chrysler already built it as the Pacifica though. Chrysler has actually made most of the American vehicles that I've considered buying. The Prowler, Viper, Pacifica and the PT Cruiser were all interesting for me for different reasons. I've also liked the Chrysler's I've had as rentals. They're not super posh but they seem well put together and things seem to be in the right location (a big annoyance for me is when companies get creative with the location of things like switches or ignition systems etc)

The Ford Mustang is a pretty striking car, I really like the throw back to the masculine looking muscle cars of the 70's. I don't think you can base a car company around revisiting your history though (chrome and fins are probably right out). You can go back sometimes but you also need to hire people that know how to design cars. The look of a vehicle is a big thing. My current car is fast, but for the price I could've bought something a lot faster. I loved the styling though and the engineering that made such a quick car around a 3.2L V6 that still can get 29 mpg on the highway.
posted by substrate at 8:25 PM on September 27, 2006


"Well, most people who go for a walk in the American countryside are eaten by a bear, so they need a car with a gun rack."

Haha.. humorous Top Gear American commentary.
posted by spiderskull at 8:43 PM on September 27, 2006


Problem is, nobody knows what the domestics stand for anymore.

Exactly. Where's the American car company that stands up and says, "This car isn't very sexy, but it's fucking bomb-proof. Your grandchildren will still be using this car to haul shit around because it will NEVER break down."

Or, "This is a fucking muscle car. It goes really fucking fast. It don't break down and it's dead-easy to tune the shit out of it. Go crazy, Bullitt."

Or, "This is a goddam mini-van. It'll haul all your kids, all your dogs, all your gear. It gets great gas mileage and if you drive it into a tree, everyone will walk away without a scratch because it's made OUT of airbags. And, oh yeah, it don't break down."

Instead, Americans make all kind of half-ass compromises. Screw 'em.
posted by frogan at 8:52 PM on September 27, 2006 [1 favorite]


This isn't completely on topic, but here's my favorite TopGearFilter clip... Mitsubushi Lancer Evo versus Lamborghini Murcielago.

Get well soon, Richard!
posted by BeerFilter at 9:00 PM on September 27, 2006


Top Gear hasn't completely hated all American cars. Jeremy liked the Ford GT40 so much he bought one for himself, though he has famously failed to make a round trip anywhere in it without it breaking down. They also really liked the Cadillac CTS, saying that it was an American car that had one really unusual feature... it could turn.

They are also big on old American muscle. Richard got really hot and bothered about an old GTO (or was it a Challenger, I forget.)

I'll be interested to see if they talk about the new Solaris or the Saturn Sky, as both cars have that roadster feel that they seem to like reviewing.
posted by quin at 9:12 PM on September 27, 2006


But the Ford Edge is really the first example of a Big-3 company finally getting the fricking picture.

Looks like a Pacifica.
posted by cellphone at 9:13 PM on September 27, 2006


But even uglier, somehow.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:27 PM on September 27, 2006


I thought the truck critique was stupid. I have a 2001 F-150 4x4, and while it has some issues, it's overall a very nice truck.

First of all, they were reviewing a very niche model, one that's about going very fast. That's much different than most truck uses.

Scratching the paint? Ask the 7' long manzanita scratches running down both sides of my truck. I'm been very happy tearing down desert roads in it. And I'm not really sure how that's a complaint. Any vehicle you want to take offroad, you'd better not care too much about the finish.

No 4x4? Um, maybe that's because you got a model that doesn't have it. My 4x4 works just fine, thanks. AWD might be nice, but I've never had a problem. The limited slip rear has also generally treated me very well. Of course a locker would be better, but there are very few stock vehicles with lockers. My bone stock truck has happily kept up with a range rover crawling up rocky hillsides before. It's quite capable.

The critique of interior fit and finish was incredibly disingenuous. At least two of the examples of "large gaps" were dash bits that can open, and were left part way open.

I could go on. There are plenty of complaints to make about the truck, but they didn't make any of them. That clip was chock full of bullshit.
posted by flaterik at 9:57 PM on September 27, 2006


There are some niches only American cars fill and fill very well.

I'm possibly one of the very few to ever do such a thing, but I recently traded in my four year old bimmer 3 series for one of the last of the '06 Jeep Wrangler Rubicons. Since I'm in Utah, this vehicle is perfectly designed for everything I'd want to do, and is in a niche no foreign company wants to seriously fill in the US.

I suppose if the Rover Defender was still available in the States I would have considered it, but with whats available today, there's nothing else with integrated lockers, solid front axle, excellent gearing for off road, a ton of 3rd party options, and a convertible top.

Plus the design, at least before the Wrangler redesign, is rather old-fashioned and no-nonsense. Besides, there's no other new vehicle on the road today that is designed to let me remove the doors and put the windshield down. Driving across Fins and Things with a completely open vehicle is a pleasure I couldn't get from any import.
posted by pandaharma at 12:43 AM on September 28, 2006


Man, that last link was annoying. Not all americans are dumb gun-totin' rednecks.

Or did I miss the joke?
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 1:10 AM on September 28, 2006


And while I'm not a Ford man, the 2007 Shelby GT 500 looks pretty sweet, to me.

Ford came really close with the new Mustang. Unfortunately, when they decided to put in a solid rear axle they lost all credibility with me. I remember reading somewhere that they thought putting an independent rear suspension would leach sales from Jaguar. Really?

Or did I miss the joke?

Yes. It's a running joke on Top Gear to deride anything that's American. Those Brits and their senses of humor!

I thought the truck critique was stupid.

Agreed. I also think it's kind of silly that Ford is trying to sell the F150 in the UK. These trucks are purpose built for duty in the US. Most of the big pickups I see on the road (at least in Maine) are work trucks and are good at what they were built for: Hauling shit around.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:50 AM on September 28, 2006


numluck : "Aston Martin (/Ford) Vanquish S"

All Aston Martins and Jaguars being designed by an English guy in Oxford kind of ruins this point though...

Ford's subsiduary companies all seem to do a much better job of building cars than Ford themselves do.
posted by twine42 at 4:07 AM on September 28, 2006


Scratching the paint?
That was a comment about its sheer size, not the paint.

Um, maybe that's because you got a model that doesn't have it.
Ok ... but all Land Rovers have it, if you're comparing model range to model range.

The critique of interior fit and finish was incredibly disingenuous.
The impression I got was that the bits that can open were as closed as they could be. And the rest of them sure weren't meant to be open. I could even tell from the YouTube that those cabin parts were nasty brittle ski-boot plastic. For £33k that thing's competing with Audi and BMW, who make some of the best interiors in the world.

Yes. It's a running joke on Top Gear to deride anything that's American.
That's not true though! Like people have said, Clarkson bought a GT40. The running joke is that the majority of US cars are pretty shit by global standards ... and the sales figures bear that out. Detroit can't sell overseas, because it both makes rotten cars and decent cars that will appeal only to Americans.
posted by bonaldi at 4:15 AM on September 28, 2006


Like people have said, Clarkson bought a GT40.

True. But it was so awful that they took it back from him. Quoting Wiki...
His experiences with his Ford GT are well documented, having had many issues with the satellite tracker/alarm system - he reported that it would tell him the car had been stolen even when he was driving it. As a result of what he called "the most miserable month's motoring possible", he returned it to Ford for a full refund. After a short period, including asking Top Gear fans for advice over the internet, he bought back his GT
posted by twine42 at 4:50 AM on September 28, 2006


Now that's what I call a TT with bells and whistles ;-)
posted by CMoller at 6:45 AM on September 28, 2006


Not all car manufacturers will let Top Gear have a car - for example VW wont let them have a Buggatti Veyron to put round their track (though they did let them have one to drive accross Europe). Vauxhall (owned by GM) let them have the Vectra estate though, which Clarkson crashed by trying to drive it using a series of ropes and poles from the back seat.

The best looking cars today and for as long as there have been cars, have been designed by British people. Sorry, its just true. The Americans have style icons, the Japanese mimic, the French are French, the Germans industrial yes yes. But when we can roll out an Aston Martin DB9 you can all shush.

As for the quality and reputation of Audi. Theres always the odd one that has a niggle - but generally cars made in Wolfsburg are solid. But. Some VWs esp on the American market are made in Brazil (or Spain). And so only made for the Germans, just not by the Germans.

Audi where the first to put 4wd and a turbo on a production car - the Quattro kicked everythings backside when it was first put through the rally series.

A geographical difference between us in Europe and you in the States when I look at Google Earth. American roads tend to be laid out like grids, lots of straight lines and junctions. Where here it seems its mandetory to have at least one bend every half mile.

As a young Brit I really cant understand the American desire to have big lazy V8s and big massive trucks and Escalades - but I gather as petrol prices are going up and up there, you dont understand it either.
posted by 13twelve at 7:33 AM on September 28, 2006


I thought the truck critique was stupid.

It's not like they hate all pick-up trucks. They have a famous segment with an indestructable Toyota Hilux. They just hate Ford's attempt at a pick-up truck / GT40 marriage. Go figure.
posted by smackfu at 7:37 AM on September 28, 2006


tgrundke writes "The sad thing about GM is that Oldsmobile was just about to turn the corner when they shitcanned it a few years back."

GM still has too many badges by half. They need to cut it to Chevy, GMC and one of Saturn/Saab/Buick.

bonaldi writes "I could even tell from the YouTube that those cabin parts were nasty brittle ski-boot plastic. For £33k that thing's competing with Audi and BMW, who make some of the best interiors in the world. "

Really? Hows the cargo capacity of a £33k Audi?
posted by Mitheral at 9:11 AM on September 28, 2006


Hows the cargo capacity of a £33k Audi?
As Clarkson pointed out, more than ample for its target markets. But quality interiors shouldn't be market-bound. If Audi made a £33k truck, it wouldn't have an interior like a 1970s computer.
posted by bonaldi at 9:26 AM on September 28, 2006


That was a comment about its sheer size, not the paint.

That's silly. I actually would've preferred a toyota pickup, but in 2001 they didn't have one with 50" between the wheel wells in the bed, which I actively need. Sometimes the size is necessary.

Ok ... but all Land Rovers have it, if you're comparing model range to model range.

And all land rovers cost more than base F-150s. One of the reasons they sell so many of them is that there are so many configurations. Adding a half ton to every one just so they all have 4wd would be stupid.

The impression I got was that the bits that can open were as closed as they could be.

Your impression is wrong. One was the cover for the cig lighter and extra power port, one was the push-in-click to open or close cup holder / ash tray. Did you miss the bit where I own one? The interiors are all pretty much the same.

The rest of the interior bits being off I found very odd. Mine looks NOTHING like that, even after many miles offroad and many hours in the sun. Given that they left some things partly open just to look bad, I don't trust anything else they showed.

There are very good complaints to make. They just didn't make many of them. For example, I hate Ford's climate controls. They blow, and they use the same ones everywhere.

As I said, they chose a very niche model to represent all F-150s, which is very stupid. I think the lightings are stupid, because I think trucks should be trucks. But that's the benefit of the model - you can have it however you want.
posted by flaterik at 11:42 AM on September 28, 2006


> A geographical difference between us in Europe and you in the States when I look at Google Earth.
> American roads tend to be laid out like grids, lots of straight lines and junctions. Where here
> it seems its mandetory to have at least one bend every half mile.

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

- G.K.Chesterton
posted by jfuller at 2:52 PM on September 28, 2006


Sometimes the size is necessary.
Right ... but the question they were trying to answer was "why don't Britons buy these trucks that are the best-selling car in the world?" And Britons don't buy them because they are way too large for the UK.

And all land rovers cost more than base F-150s.
Not in the UK they don't.

Did you miss the bit where I own one? The interiors are all pretty much the same.
No, I noted the vested interest. And what I was trying to get across was that the impression I got was that the closed parts were as closed as they could get them. Perhaps it was a lemon, but in my experience of US car interiors, it wasn't all that out of line. I can ever hear the sound of the gritty hard plastic. Ford Fiestas have better trim in this country, and they're the size of children's toys in the US.
posted by bonaldi at 4:09 PM on September 28, 2006


I guess people do looooove their trucks.
posted by smackfu at 4:20 PM on September 28, 2006


"why don't Britons buy these trucks that are the best-selling car in the world?" And Britons don't buy them because they are way too large for the UK.

There was a whole section devoted to "the truck is a piece of crap". They had two different points - different markets, and "the truck blows". The first is entirely accurate. On the second point, the arguments were wrong at best and lying at worst.

I was trying to get across was that the impression I got was that the closed parts were as closed as they could get

And I'm telling you the impression you got from the roughly 2 seconds of video is wrong, and reminding you that I have much more experience than that to go off of. I was being overly abrasive, though. Apologies for that.

I don't mind people making valid criticisms of things that I like. I would've been cheering along if they bitched about the real problems the vehicles have. But instead they made shit up. I'm annoyed whenever any media simplifies, distorts, and misdirects just to make whatever point they feel like. Yes, I spend a lot of time being annoyed.

Smackfu - I loooove my motorcycle, too! And if Clarkson called it heavy and underpowered... he'd be right. But I'd be annoyed if he opened the gas cap, left it unlatched, and bitched that there was a gap, all the while ignoring the frequently crooked fairings or shitty counterbalancer design.
posted by flaterik at 4:47 PM on September 28, 2006


They have a famous segment with an indestructable Toyota Hilux

You have to see this. The truck survives crashing, being put on top of an office block which is demolished, it's swept out into the Bristol Channel and spends half a day underwater and is finally torched.

And the thing still fucking runs! I can do no better than Clarkson: Toyota pick ups; automotive greatness.
posted by dmt at 2:49 AM on September 29, 2006


bonaldi writes "As Clarkson pointed out, more than ample for its target markets. But quality interiors shouldn't be market-bound. If Audi made a £33k truck, it wouldn't have an interior like a 1970s computer."

Then why the heck would the target markets be looking for a truck? If you don't need the cargo capacity of a half ton then there are lots of better, more suitable vehicles to choose from. I hate this comprimisation of picks ups where the manufacturers are doing stuff sacraficing capability and toughness for ride. Indpendent front suspension instead of solid axles on 4X4s. That kind of thing. You've got to step up to a 3/4ton to buy a PowerWagon.

I'd bet if Audi made a truck it would be all carpeted panels, wood grain accents, leather seats and controls, and fancy carpets. All the things I'm not looking for in a truck. I want something you can take down to the car wash and hose out at the end of the week. A cab that lends itself to mounting radios, brake controllers and PTO levers. A cab that allows you to drive the truck while wearing a pair of Baffins and gloves.

I've got to admit, I've never liked Ford pick cabs, they've always felt cramped compared to Dodges. But to rag on a truck because the cup holder doesn't close seems to be missing the forest for the trees.
posted by Mitheral at 9:33 AM on September 29, 2006


If you don't need the cargo capacity of a half ton then there are lots of better, more suitable vehicles to choose from.

Yes there are. Yet the F150 is the world's best-selling car, on US sales alone. Do you all need to carry a half-ton? Yes, just like you need 4x4 SUVs to get the kids to school.
posted by bonaldi at 9:41 AM on September 29, 2006


I read that a long time Detroit resident feels that things are changing in Detroit for the better, then links to the mysterious ALL NEW FORD EDGE. When the annoying flash intro finally subsided, what do we have?

A mid-sized SUV with that bronze paint that's in this season, and some bulbous design cues.

Hello? Excuse me? Am I missing something? I can drive down to any domestic car dealership any day of the week and show you ACRES upon ACRES of unsold gas-guzzling SUVs that no one wants to buy.

No seriously, what am I missing, because I don't see how the Ford Edge is going to rescue the world's first automaker from turning into a gutted penny stock. Is this really the best they can do?

On another note, the C6 Corvette is really getting to be the kind of car that a performance enthusiast might want to drive. Took 'em long enough - I make it 27 years since the last time you could honestly say that (not counting the brief moment in 1990 when the ZR-1 was better than anything else on the road.) And the Z06? Worldbeater.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:48 AM on October 8, 2006


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