PH BLOG: WHY MODERN CARS ARE TOO CONFUSING
As a car-spotter, Garlick is feeling overwhelmed by the bewildering choice in the modern car market, and yearns for simpler times
Mini is the perfect example of confusing model proliferation
Cast your mind back a few years and let's assume you wanted to buy a small hatchback. There would be three main choices to make: three doors or five, engines from, say, 1.0 to 1.8 litres (with maybe a diesel and a sporty 2.0-litre model), and four or five tiers of trim. Then - perhaps - a sales chap would show you a fairly small list of options available for your chosen trim level; nothing more exotic than metallic paint or maybe a sunroof.
Spot a 1.3L in the street and you'd know exactly what toys the driver had to play with, see a Ghia and you'd know the owner was lucky enough to have velour seats and a rev counter. OK, so we live in an age where to make a fuss of such features is laughable, but my point is that you would know what to expect from a car at a glance.
Has your neighbour just bought a swanky S4 or is that a base A4 diesel with all the styling kit? I wonder if he has leather and fancy audio, or might it be cloth trim and a cassette deck? That Mini looks good, too, and apparently it has the Chilli pack, whatever that means. and is that limo the LWB hybrid or the normal 3.0 entry model?
I'm not saying choice is bad, it just annoys me that as a car spotter more often that not I have no idea what trim level a car has these days. A Toyota IQ might have more toys than my LS400, but how am I supposed to know?
the new Vauxhall Adam has a million different option combinations, for example). Maybe I'm just getting old and should embrace trim levels called Jam, Chilli and suchlike...