You might find this surprising for a motoring writer but this year I have decided to get out more. It is a great privilege to be offered cars to review and I appreciate every one but last year I drove so many that I seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time at the computer and not at the wheel. Clearly this has to change.
Broadly speaking, there are no bad cars any more. Sure, some are better than others – even within the same price range – but none are of the same ilk as the historical horrors and rust-buckets of yore. There is very little to criticise in terms of build quality and general usability. Thus reviews all end up sounding the same.
The automotive industry is changing, or being forced to change, as manufacturers and motorists have to comply with more and more rules and regulations issued by and large by sanctimonious bureaucrats.
The result is, as I have mentioned before, that the emphasis these days seems to be on the rather vague concept of ‘lifestyle’ and not on the enduring pleasures of skilfully piloting a good car on good roads; driver at one with machine. Many of us would wish that things were as they used to be but they simply are not and never will be, Amen. It’s called progress apparently. Well, I’m not going to take it any more.
There are any number of quality magazines, websites and blogs which will give you a considered opinion of a car written by people who know of what they speak. The result of my ruminations on this subject have decided me to look at things at least a bit differently. Instead of driving eighty cars a year and then struggling to write about them all, I’m going to cut down and go for the cars – for all budgets and sectors – that first and foremost provide a good driving experience.
Call me an old fashioned Luddite but I simply cannot get interested in autonomous cars. If I want to be driven I’ll get a taxi. Electric cars are okay but will they go the distance? Sat-navs and ‘infotainment’ centres are fine but I don’t much care if they are the latest thing as long as they work. I can’t get excited about levels of trim or upholstery crafted from the delicate skin of a virgin manatee. Can I get comfortable? Check. Does the steering at least give the sensation of the elusive feel? Check. Does this car handle? Check.
I’ve got some great cars lined up. There’s a wide selection on their way from a couple of supercars to budget shuttles that nevertheless offer fun motoring. Some are currently on sale, others will be new this year. First up is the R-Sport version of the Jaguar XE you see in the image. Looks like it’s going to be a great driving year.