Sunday 19 November 2017

Experts say they're the 'worst' 80 cars of past 20 years. But are they?

Bentley Bentayga
Bentley Bentayga
Ford Probe
The Hyandai Accent
Nissan Serena
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

I don't know of anyone better equipped than Honest John to come up with the 80 'worst' cars of the past 20 years.

I recently had a great chat with him en route to a motoring launch. We got on famously. The man who wrote the Motoring Agony column for the Daily Telegraph for 20 years has forgotten more than the rest of us will learn and has helped so many people with advice and action over the years.

With a glint of devilment in his eye, he told me of his new book, then in preparation. True to his word, he sent me on a copy. Now I know why he had that 'bold-child' look. Co-authored with George Fowler (Motoring Editor of the Star for 20 years), he has called it Car-Tastrophes.

Between the two of them, they have picked out 80 of what they deem "automotive atrocities" from the past 20 years. They have a right old cut at them; and to turn the knife a bit, they give models a 'flat-tyre' rating.

I found some of the inclusions quite surprising, I must say. Some of the language used to describe models is earthy to say the least ('lying little cow' to describe the 2008 Alfa Brera 3.2 V6 is a bit strong) as disappointment and frustration spill over onto the printed pages.

They are right up to date with the models, too, describing the 2016 Bentley Bentayga as a car for "tasteless Premier Division footballers and disgracefully rich b*****ds and tax exiles" (there is more, but this is a family publication).

They describe the BMW X6 as a "sledgehammer" you might mistake for an upturned barge, the Citroen DS4 as a "misconceived mess", the FIAT 500L MPW TwinAir as having a suspension like a pick-up truck, the FIAT Multipla as "nuts", the Ford Probe as one of the "all-time let-downs".

They don't sit on the fence, do they?

The biting criticisms come wave after wave:

*The Hyundai Accent (2000 - 2006) is described as nearly "the worst car" they'd driven since the disastrous Tata Safari.

*The Kia Carens (2000 - 2006) as the car your children would ask you to park out of sight at the school (harsh I thought).

*The Nissan Serena diesel (1993-2000) had, they say, "the same resistance to forward motion as a 1946 London bus".

*The Peugeot 407 had, John says, a "gormless gob".

And so it goes. I must say, I would not agree with some of the choices or descriptions at all. There is an obvious attempt to over-state and shock. Some of it is downright unfair. But it is provocatively 'bold-schoolboy' in its descriptions and the assessments certainly get you to react.

Others taken out for a public withering include the Renault Avantime, Renault Fluence ZE, SEAT Marbella, Smart ForTwo, SsangYong Rodius (2005-2013), Toyota Avensis (2003-2009), Opel Corsa (1993-2000), Volkswagen Golf R32 2003 and the Golf from 2009-2012 which they describe as the "Faultswagen Golf Mk VI".

It's a sharp, crisp read and while I can't agree with parts of it, I had to laugh at the descriptions and comparisons.

Honest John asked me to "let everyone know what a terrible Christmas present it would be". So don't buy it, OK?

CAR-TASTROPHIES is by Veloce Publishing Ltd and costs stg£9.99. It's available online too.

** Did you own any of those models and would you agree with the experts' assessments? Are there worse ones they missed in your experience?

Let me know at: ecunningham@independent.ie

Indo Motoring

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