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"Here in my car", said 80s pop hero Gary Numan, "I feel safest of all". He obviously never shared the same stretch of road as me, then. Automotive tales of mirth and woe, please.

(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 12:34)
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Watch out if you're in the US on holiday
American cars, at least the mass market crap that they give you as hire cars over there, are uniformly shit.

A few years ago, we were on holiday on the west coast of the USA. I picked up the hire car, a Chevy Malibu. On paper, it was quite nice - 3.5l V6 engine, big comfy seats, etc. But the engine seemed only loosely connected to the wheels via the (auto, of course) gearbox, and made a huge roaring fuss about setting off at anything faster than a crawl. The seats were not anything like as comfortable as they appeared, and in fact made my back hurt badly.

We drove over 4000 miles in 3 weeks in it, but after a couple of thousand, one morning we got in and the engine seemed a bit noisier than usual. So I stopped and checked the oil. Just as well. The dipstick was dry! It took 2 pints of oil just to register on the stick, but that sorted out the thrashy noise. Later, the gearbox started making a whining sound when coming down steep hills. During which time the tyres would squeal if I attempted to go round a corner any faster than my grandad would. And he's long dead.

But this was a brand new car. We'd picked it up with only a few hundred miles on the clock (and handed it back with nearer 5000!) and I hadn't been thrashing it. Driving briskly, yes, but no more so than I would in my own car.

Americans - please learn how to make decent cars.
(, Tue 27 Apr 2010, 12:23, 6 replies)
I've driven a few cars over there
and I've noticed the same thing. They massively de-tune the engines in the cars, put big, wallowy suspension on them and fit an auto 'box that will change up well before you get into the engine's torque band. Very odd.

I guess they build them to be long distance cruisers, but coming from a country where cars are set up to be short geared and high revving, it does seem strange.
(, Tue 27 Apr 2010, 12:26, closed)
My 2l turbo diesel car
is high geared, but because it's a manual I can extract the torque as I need it and it keeps going in top gear even on steep hills, if I'm going fast enough. But even huge American V8s seem to find a need to change down gears on motorway inclines. It shouldn't annoy me, but it does!
(, Tue 27 Apr 2010, 12:33, closed)
Mustangs had de-tuned V8s that produced 140 bhp in povvo spec trims.
(, Tue 27 Apr 2010, 12:35, closed)

(, Tue 27 Apr 2010, 12:37, closed)
oh come on, be fair
the 5.7 V8 did at least produce 155hp...

Or less than the BMW 2.5 straight six of the same era :(
(, Tue 27 Apr 2010, 15:06, closed)
Fucking Malibus
I started to refuse those from hire places after an 80 mile trip in one slurped a bit over half a tank of "gas". Turned out to be a 3.6l V6, which in every single respect was beaten to crap by my home car, a 2002 Ford Focus estate 1.6l.

None of the other cars in that rental class have ever been much better mind. Huge heavy wallowy thirsty shitlumps.
(, Tue 27 Apr 2010, 19:37, closed)

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