Worst. Car. Ever.

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As is necessary when you travel to the US, I hired a car. It’s always tricky to hire a small car in America — only in the US could an SUV fit in a “small car” parking space — but I dismissed all their attempts to get me to upgrade. Maybe it was some form of revenge, but I ended up with a Chrysler P.T. Cruiser. Not terribly small. But actually terrible.

I don’t own a car. I live in London and have no need for one. I mention this so you realise that every time I drive it’s in a different type of car. Most cars are… fine. Uninspired perhaps but adequate. Put it this way: I didn’t whinge when they gave me a Neon a previous time.

The Cruiser looks hideous. I guess we’re now post-Mondeo where everything is no longer designed by a focus group, so it’s almost positive that its shape elicits an emotion. But still. What were they thinking? Bulbous, bug headlights, chrome accenting, as aerodynamic as a breeze block, this is a machine built this decade but with a design sensibility set five decades ago.

Inside things don’t get better. My eyes are immediately drawn to the clock in the middle of the dashboard. Not particularly because it looks good but because the back-light is twice as bright as the speedometer. Not a great feature when you’re trying to get used to a new car.

But once I’ve moved passed the aesthetics and have resigned myself to driving it, I find that it lets me down here too. The parking lot is, of course, designed for American cars. Yet I still need to do a three-point-turn just to get the vehicle pointing towards the exit. This thing has the turning circle of a small bus.

Out on the road things aren’t quite so bad. Visibility is poor, it’s difficult to tell how wide it is and performance isn’t exactly its middle name but, to be fair, it does get me around the Bay Area without too much trouble.

But, in the end, being barely competent is hardly a cause for celebration. I was happy to get the car back to SFO. Hopefully next time my hire car will be a better drive.

2 thoughts on “Worst. Car. Ever.”

  1. I don’t mind it looking retro. Well, I do but I agree that that is entirely subjective. What makes the car so bad is the lousy ergonomics, performance and handling.

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