Thursday, June 27, 2013

Curb Your Enthusiasm

I've been trying to figure out why it is that I haven't felt the need to write about these days.  The knee-jerk reaction would be to believe that I am not capable of writing anymore, but I don't think that is the case.  I can write, I just don't have anything to write about.  The vehicles that are coming out don't inspire any enthusiasm.  Even the biggest shills are finding it hard to stand behind the stuff their favored brand is putting out these days.  What's more troubling is that the trend seems to be effecting the market as a whole, not just the enthusiast community.
Everything that I thought would be exciting was just terribly underwhelming.  I was geared up for a big, new war between the midsizers and every single one of them was just a huge snooze fest.  Even my precious Mazda 6, as good as it is, was a snooze fest because it doesn't have a proper engine.  Ford releases the most powerful 15 second Fusion they've ever made.  Seriously, that car should be deep in the 14s.  Chevy gears up to release a RWD sedan and its the second coming of the fleet queen Impala with a giant price tag.  Seriously, I think Toyota could have done a more exciting "SS".  Seig Heil.
What's worse: I think the market is asking for this boring shit.  Getting into driving in the 90s, I feel like I was living during a special era.  People were enthusiastic about cars and modifications, even if they were just a bunch of riced out Honda Civics.  Kids were excited to get their driver's licence.  These days kids could care less.  They've got their iPhone and their Facebook, what do they need a car for?  Furthermore, cars are damn near impossible to modify these days unless you have a really deep pocketbook.  Add to these factors that my generation has traded their enthusiasm for the chance to put large chrome rims on their SUV and you can see why things have gotten so boring.
But it's not all bad, I am told.  We have 500 and 600 horsepower pony cars.  We have the fastest base Corvette the world has ever seen.  The everyman cars aren't really any different than they've always been.  Here's the problem.  I remember a day when the very pedestrian Ford Taurus was the "fastest sedan in America".  I remember the day when GM stuffed a 215 horsepower DOHC V6 into their midsizers.  I remember a day when the Acura Integra and Honda Civic were so high strung that by today's standards they would be considered unstreetable.  I see a bunch of 'MPG' hand wringing and 'good enough' engineering these days and I don't like it.
Perhaps I am getting old enough that I look back on previous decades and remember them as a bygone age when things were 'better'.  When we didn't have to worry about people texting in the car because texting didn't even exist.  When we didn't have to worry about bullying on Facebook because Facebook didn't exist.  When we got our licence so that we could drive to see our friends rather than pretending like Skype was 'seeing our friends'. 
As you can probably guess, I'm not really sure what is causing the problem as I keep jumping around to different topics here, but the main point is that our cars are getting more boring because we want them to be more boring.  We aren't enthusiastic anymore.  Is being enthusiastic too expensive?  Maybe.  Do we just not care anymore?  Maybe.  Do our kids just not care about driving anymore?  Maybe.  I don't really know.  All I know is that things are different than they were 20 years ago.  And that sucks.

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