Matt Prior: No one wants to go from A to B Car News

“I just want a car that takes me from A to B. What should I buy?” This is what people will ask you, innocently, because you are their nominee for the car. You are the one among their friends and family who reads Autocar and therefore knows what you are talking about. They want to buy a car and you can advise them, they have simple needs: from A to B.

Only, they don’t really have simple needs. Everyone wants something more than that and always have, since the day Henry Ford said this thing about people who wanted “a faster horse” if he asked them.

Imagine someone asking me what I wanted from a refrigerator, for example. Weird question, I admit, but, not being a fridge enthusiast, I would tell them I want a place to keep my food cool.

Which is true, but not half. It’s not even the start. What I really want is a refrigerator that uses very little energy; which makes a discreet noise; and it has a little bit of light that comes on when I open the door in the middle of the night to pour a glass of R White lemonade.

It needs space for the bottles to stand upright. It should have glass shelves so that spills don’t descend to lower levels yet, letting enough light through so I can easily see what’s inside. I want it to be frost proof and have drawers at the bottom that have limited airflow to keep the salad crisp. I would like a compartment with a lid to store the niffier cheeses and maybe even some kind of flap in the door to keep the bottles safe when I open it.

Then I wish it didn’t cost a million pounds and looked inconspicuous in the corner of my kitchen. I don’t need it to order my groceries, tell me the chocolate in it will make me fat or dispense cold water. I’m not a fridge fetishist. But I want more than what I think.

And it is the same with cars. Last year a friend asked me which car I would recommend to replace his old Citroën Xsara Picasso, using the precise phrase: just to get it from A to B.

If she really wanted to, she could have kept the Citroën. I mean, if you’ve spent all that time figuring out which direction he’s facing, you might as well. But she wanted to go from A to B in a more reliable, quieter and more economical way, and in something that would pair with her smartphone, that would have room for her children, and it was reasonable enough that they can learn to drive in it.

We shortlisted, she tested three cars and “because of the lockdown” she was told she couldn’t test a Volkswagen Golf. At that point, she decided that she also wanted to buy a car from a dealership who would like to sell her one.

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This notice was published: 2021-04-22 23:01:25