OT: Talking Cars Tuesday: What do you want in a car.

Submitted by JFW on January 16th, 2018 at 12:40 PM

I'm thrilled that the basketball team won, and oh, what a sweet win. But I'm not a huge basketball fan myself. So I'm kind of in my own self imposed off season. So I'd like to bring back my favorite off season topic! Talking Cars Tuesday (Thank you JeepinBen). 

I was thinking on the way in about what each car offers, and what draws you to a certain car. For some, it's ruggedness. For some utility. For some it's killer handling. For other's its prestige. 

What got me thinking of it is it seems like the lines are starting to thin in terms of what each automaker offers. My daughter got picked up for car pool today in an Audi SUV. It has a nice engine, heated seats all around, and great AWD. 

But then, my cousin came up with her husband with a Ford Edge that has a 2.7 liter twin turbo 6, a great AWD system, and heated seats all around. 

Quality, while different across makers, is much higher from what I can tell than any point in history. Sure, your infotainment system might not pair correctly, but in general your engine isn't going to blow or your tranny drop. 

So what do you want, and what makes you buy what you buy? 


I'll start: 

I'm weird. I love simplicity, durability, longevity, and easy/cheapness of repairs. Prestige doesn't rank for me and I hate cars that are so damned complex that one sensor puts you into limp home mode. (Yes, I know I described most new cars today...)

I love my 500. It's paid for, great AWD, and gobs of room that doesn't intrude on the passenger space. I've had one sensor fail on it, but I still got home. 

My old Jeep ZJ with the 318 rusted like hell. But the thing *never* quit despite the fact that I beat the shit out of it. 240K and the 318 always ran like a top.

The stuff that did have to get fixed for both cars (bushings, the sensor) were dirt cheap.




January 16th, 2018 at 12:41 PM ^

Aye listen. Spent some time in Houston n all they look at is Pimpin out n poppin there trunks. Google image that shit if u don’t believe me. I’m with u tho. First car was a crown vic. Ugly ass car but it lasted forever


January 16th, 2018 at 3:53 PM ^

for many years now. Had owned a lot of different makes and had waaaaaay too many problems. Bought a used Toyota Starlet many years ago and the thing ran like a top. Had a 140K on 4 cylinder engine and drove the car hard and never had a problem with it. Finally was in an accident with it and it ended up totaled.  Have been buying Toyotas ever since and they are solid vehicles that I never have problems with. Been happy as hell with them.

So for the OP my thing is reliability. I want to get into the car start it and drive where I need to go without problems and Toyota has always meet that need for me.


January 16th, 2018 at 12:50 PM ^

I tend to REALLY want the technology that I want and have a major aversion to tech that I don't.  There's very little "yeah it's OK if the car has that."  But there's also very little of "I guess I could live without that."  Tech that I like includes kick-to-open tailgates, and to a bit of a lesser extent, memory seat settings.  Tech that I don't includes blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping.

I absolutely have to like the way the car looks.  I could not walk up to a hideous car every day and be like "sweet, that's mine."

Otherwise, it's sort of hard to answer this question because I'm approaching (maybe a year or so) time to get a new car, and I'm utterly indecisive about what I want to get.


January 16th, 2018 at 1:14 PM ^

This is pretty much spot on, except there are other things I wouldn't compromise on.

I won't do without a decent infotainment system. Must have. Take your 4" screen back to 2010.

Any car that moves the steering wheel of it's own volition, except to park, is off the list.

Good gas mileage is important too. I know gas prices are low now, but it won't stay that way.

I think I might have to get a SUV now too. There are so many other SUVs on the road now, and their headlights blind me in a lower sedan.

December this year is new car time for me. Think I've settled on one or two, but keep window shopping to be sure.


January 16th, 2018 at 1:48 PM ^

Any car that moves the steering wheel of it's own volition, except to park, is off the list.

Bingo. I don't want to ever be surprised like that.... or, alternatively, nudged to use the turn signal even when it's pointless to do so.

Likewise, I'm no fan at all of adaptive cruise control.  I typically use cruise control in conjunction with my regular driving, not as a replacement for my own brain.  In driving cars with them, I find it really annoying when I have plans to pass someone, then brake, change lanes, and pass another guy who's slower than I am (but occupying the lane nonetheless) - only to have the adaptive cruise control slow me down at what it has decided is a safe following distance.  I want to decide what speed the car goes, not outsource that decision to the car.


January 16th, 2018 at 12:50 PM ^

Definitely utility and ease of maintenance. I want as few bells and whistles as possible because that's just more stuff to break. I'd love for anyone but the Europeans to make a mid to full size station wagon. A real wagon, not a hatchback they're trying to sell as a wagon. My wife's '99 Passat is getting to an age where putting more money in it makes no sense. She still loves it, but she doesn't have to take care of it. Bring back the Camry and Accord wagons please! I'd also take the Fusion wagon they sell overseas.


January 16th, 2018 at 1:37 PM ^

I've developed a sudden aversion to the new fancy key fobs due to the low-battery warning I'm getting on mine.

I do happen to like the ability to lock my key inside the car, though, thanks to keypad entry.

Backup cameras are a big huge plus in my book.  They have a big advantage over your own eyes, even if for no other reason than they're located in the back of the car and therefore can see around the car you're parked next to.  This is a big deal in my grocery store parking lot, where the spaces are three inches wide.


January 16th, 2018 at 2:29 PM ^

I drive a 2013 Mazda 3 hatchback as it handles decently, gets good mileage, and can tote my dogs (now dog). My (practical) dream car is something the size of my neighbors older Mazda protege wagon though, so I resent a bit the plethora of small SUVs instead of wagons that get imported. I don’t want worse handling and worse mileage for...?

In contrast to many here, I hope to keep this car until highway self-driving is reliable and available. I live in NC and drive back to MI twice a year, and to Maine regularly (again, due to my dogs and long visits). I would be thrilled not to have to drive/focus for all of those miles. Do NOT want a car with no steering wheel- I like to zip around town.


January 16th, 2018 at 12:58 PM ^

I like different things for different reasons.  My car, the one I drive to work in, must be comfortable, reactive (decent engine response), quiet, and get good mileage.  For non-work, I prefer a full size pickup (F-150 is my fav rave) that handles like a car, is quiet, and has enough power to do whatever I need to do.  Generally, the half-ton pickups have power in spades for most tasks, unless you're into towing 20-some foot long trailers, which I don't have.

Top requirements - comfy, quiet, responsive.  


January 16th, 2018 at 12:58 PM ^

For me it's acceleration.  Whether it's been a sports car, rally car or now an SUV, it's gotta be quick.  Also I enjoy solid technology and a great sound system (not subs in the trunk) as I have a long commute everyday and I really enjoy listening to music.

Hotel Putingrad

January 16th, 2018 at 12:59 PM ^

The easy answer, as I'm from Detroit, is that it has to be Big 3. To date though, I've only ever driven hand-me-down Chryslers. I like their styling, and I've had fairly good luck in terms of reliability on the current 300 and my most recent LHS (the preceding LHS was basically a water pump/transmission failure waiting to happen. I drive too much for work to lease, and I'll probably be able to afford whatever I want later this year. But my biggest dilemma is this: we have leased an Enclave for my wife for years, and I have never had a negative interaction with anyone about anything at our local dealer. Their customer service deserved my continued business, but honestly I don't. are for any of the Chevy or Buck models. I'm a car guy, don't care for trucks or crossovers. So what do I do?


January 16th, 2018 at 1:02 PM ^

Just about nothing more useless than a car that you can't rely on. And of course, everyone wants to be safe. To be honest, I spent a lot of money in my younger days on (new) cars like a Porche 911S, Lexus LS, and 2 Caddys. Used to like big engines, but rarely revved them enough to justify the cost. While I enjoyed those cars, I also spent a lot of time worrying about minor nicks and dents. As someone already pointed out, getting from Point A to Point B is the most important. Now I'm perfectly happy with my 9-year old Honda Accord. Still looks good and purrs like the proverbial kitten. Inexpensive to maintain. Gets the job done just fine.


January 16th, 2018 at 1:01 PM ^

I am looking at getting a low mileage, certified Porsche Macan S in the next few months.  The Porsche quality, rapid accelleration and "sports car handling" from a mid size SUV are the key points.  I need the extra room over my BMW for my sales organization and life changes, as I will be getting married soon.