Why the US can’t make a good car…

Behold, the new Cadillac ATS.  It’s a small sedan which is presumed to be luxurious and fun to drive.  That’s not what I want to talk about, though.  

I want to talk about why American automotive journalism is dreadful.  Whether it’s in video or in print, it’s all a dull-as-dishwater boredom-induced coma waiting to happen.  This video is a perfect example.  I’m fairly certain the script was made using only Cadillac’s brochure and a Xerox machine.  That’s not it’s biggest problem, though.

This brings me back to the Caddy, and why it must be a brilliant car in order to succeed.  By making it a “compact luxury sedan” GM has created a competitor with the BMW 3-Series, THE compact luxury sedan.  I once had a BMW 3-Series Coupe (two doors in black, or as some call it, sex).  To sum it up, it was perfect.  So naturally anyone discussing the new Caddy will want to put emphasis on what a car like this should do.  Simply put, it should excite.  

So back to CARandDRIVER then.  Generally, when I can’t drive a car for myself and must hear about it from some other source, I don’t want to be told things that are blatantly obvious.  I don’t care if the engine makes 4 horsepower or a million, for example. I care about how it feels.

How does CnD accomplish this?  They start by talking with a man who works at Cadillac.  This is because, as anyone who knows anything will tell you, if you want an unbiased opinion on something, you should ask the person who created it.  Then they move on to some stock footage of the car careening down a rural highway (nice, right?) and then cover it with a CHART explaining various engine options and the power they create.  A chart?!  A chart.  The whole point of a video is that you don’t have to read a f***ing chart.

Finally, the CnD man gets himself a track and starts the Caddy around it.  So now we have a “sports” car on a track, and what does he do?  He starts talking, while wearing the most absurd helmet I’ve ever seen.  All I want to see is this thing howling around a corner and instead I have to look at Csaba Csere’s face squished into some ridiculously unnecessary headwear.  At this point, I could watch no further.

It looked just like this, except in every single way.

If we, as a country, can’t talk about a car and make it interesting (a fairly easy task, if you ask me), how are we supposed to design an interesting car?  I don’t think we know what really makes a car exciting. So the simple fact is, we can’t. My BMW and I parted ways only when my little brother put it into a guardrail.  Would I have considered, even for a moment, trading it in for one of these?  Just as soon as I could drive it on a slippery frozen road in hell.

One more thing – The worst part, above all else, of American auto-journalism is that it’s dishonest.  If Csere was being honest in this film, he would have declared the Caddy squidgy and terrible and promptly replaced it with an M3.

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