With all the talk about recalls, I began thinking about the quality of cars in general. We've tested a lot of cars over the years, and after some time we began to develop an instinct for initial impressions--those first few minutes sitting in the car's cockpit, senses roaming over the dashboard and switches, getting an initial feel for the automobile.
As it is in dating, the first impression won't say whether the car is a good long-term prospect, but there are telltale signs that should warn you that you'd be better off not making a down payment just yet. Here are 10 signs that you might be buying a bad car. If you ask me which cars I learned these tips from, I won't promise to give an answer. Let's hope you can relate only to the first list.
10 warning signs you're buying a potentially bad car:
1. Inside the showroom, one of the sales-pitch highlights is the audio system.
2. The name of the car sounds like it was coined by people whose first (or second) language is not English.
3. There's no good word-of-mouth about the car.
4. The price is too good to be true.
5. The design looks like it belongs in another decade (and no, not in the future).
6. When you see the list of safety features, it might as well say: "Don't hit anything."
7. The car only seems to sell in its country of origin.
8. The distributor hardly has any sales or marketing events.
9. The design looks pirated from another existing car. Not inspired, not derived--just copied.
10. You can't find test-drive reviews about the car anywhere. If a car company has faith in its product, it will lend it out for review so that the automobile's positive merits can be known. If the carmaker doesn't want the media to touch it, that could mean something.
10 signs you bought your car too hastily:
1. Babies cry when they see your car. They think it will eat them.
2. No one wants to drive your car.
3. No car club exists for the car's brand or model. And you can't find other owners on the Internet to share feedback with.
4. You discover a hyper-advanced feature that prevents you from high-speed accidents. The feature is called "underpowered."
5. When you put on the seatbelt, you get a cut from jagged plastic.
6. The first time you park the car in your garage, the badge falls off.
7. The smell of plastic inside makes you feel dizzy.
8. The engine protests all the way to the Supreme Court when you go up steep driveways.
9. The street merchants in Banawe snub you when you drive by.
10. Babies laugh when riding inside your car because of all the things that rattle.
Illustration by Joriben Zaballa