Do you really need us to tell you that compact SUVs are the blockbusters of today?
One look at the state of our roads is all it takes to see why. But the truth is that modern SUVs offer staggering levels of ride and handling for ostensibly high-riding vehicles. But, after getting behind the wheel of Skoda’s new sedan, the Slavia, I got a whiff of just how much better a vehicle with a lower centre of gravity is from behind the wheel.
Think about it, what made BMW the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’? Well, clever marketing of course, but, more than that, it was perfect weight distribution, rear-wheel drive and engines that absolutely sing. That recipe, as enticing as it is, only serves to reinforce the fact that I’m living in the past – because they really don’t make them like they used to. My formula, then, for the ideal daily driver would be:
Drivetrain: Six cylinders, naturally aspirated, manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive.
Chassis: 50:50 weight distribution, low centre of gravity, double wishbone suspension front and rear.
On the Inside: Clear analogue gauges, big central screen (my concession to modernity) and Wireless Apple CarPlay.
Safety: ABS, Airbags, Traction Control and ESC (both easily turned off at the press of a button).
Usability: Four doors and a decent boot.
Said recipe, if available today, would prioritize engagement, entertainment and authenticity over bragging rights, touchscreens, and fake vents. It would be all about the chassis, free-revving motor and interface between driver-and-machine.
A car such as this would be easily engineered and, looking at the crazy values of cars from the 80s and 90s, demand shouldn’t be a problem either.
Of course, as an automaker, you have to develop SUVs, EVs and autonomous driving technology. You can’t survive and thrive by looking in the rear-view mirror, but there are enough of us out there who actually enjoy the act of driving. That’s why modern classics have quadrupled in value – because the driver is an essential component and not a mere bystander. Someone needs to cater to those of us who are looking for more than a sensory deprivation tank on wheels.
So, my message to all you carmakers out there is simple: Have arms and legs, and a seemingly functioning frontal lobe; looking to use them during the act of driving. Please design your vehicle accordingly.
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