Pops’ Rants: Best and Worst of 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
Bring out the tar and feathers, I’m on fire!by Pops, on
Oh boy, my first auto show as an editor for this outlet! You know what this means? I get to rant about a whole bunch of cars. Yeeey! Okay, so you’re wondering why I am doing a "best and worst" type article instead of the usual weekly rant. Well, it’s what everybody does. Go read every major automotive website, and you’ll find one of these pieces. But, and I mean a biiiiig BUT, they’re doing it all wrong, and they’ve been doing it like that for years! Why? Because every freakin’ article of this kind comes with a "best in show" list that contains mostly supercars, sports cars, and luxury cars. And that’s wrong!
Yeah, they’re fancy and stuff. They’re quick, exotic, and have all the horsepower in the world. We like looking and them and hearing them growl and we like dreaming about owning each and every one of them. But you know what? We will never be able to buy any of them. Because they’re expensive, exclusive, and some carmakers won’t even sell you one unless you already own at least a couple of other models. So why in the name of dinosaur juice are you all listing these expensive lumps of carbon-fiber and metal as best-in-show vehicles over and over again? How about we make a more practical list for normal people who might want to buy a new, regular, mundane, not-so-fancy, and not so freaking expensive car in 2018? Here, I’ll show you how it’s done!
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Worst in Show
You’re probably expecting a "worst in show" list packed with boring production models. And I don’t blame you for that; it’s what the outlets have been doing for years now. But you’re going to be disappointed because I’m including almost all concept cars here. And I’m thinking at least nine. So here you go, Top 9 Frankfurt concept cars that suck.
Thunder Power SUV
Hmm, Thunder Power. Never heard of it. And if this name didn’t appear on a car, I’d swear it’s some Indian chief from an old western movie. Why is it on the list? Well isn’t obvious? It’s made by a new Hong Kong-based company, and we don’t know much about it. The firm also unveiled a sedan and a coupe that are supposed to have more than 650 horsepower and a range of around 400 miles. And they’ll go into production in 2019. Yeah right, like any of these cars will happen. And if they do, they’ll be nothing like the concept, and they will cost a ton of money because these cars are probably made for rich Chinese folk. Meh.
Expensive as it will cost at least $50,000 bare naked and some $80,000 with all the important options
Look, a Bimmer, everyone gets excited and raises their hands. This concept is supposed to preview a new i production model, most likely the i5. The i5 is supposed to be some sort of competitor for the Tesla Model S. You know what this means? It will be expensive. Fancy, but expensive. Expensive as it will cost at least $50,000 bare naked and some $80,000 with all the important options. Cool design and that’s about it.
I actually like this one. I’m nuts about wagons and shooting brakes, and I’d love to see more in showrooms. And that interior is just gorgeous. But again, not gonna happen. Proves again that big auto shows are mostly about experimenting and making a good impression on people. And when that’s over, it’s time to roll out the production cars that have very little in common with jaw-dropping concepts. That’s marketing for you.
This one isn’t that bad, to be honest. At least it signals the arrival of an all-electric A-Class, which will be nice to have because you can’t have too many electric city cars. But hey, it will still be too expensive for the average Joe. Because Mercedes. And no, LED screens shouldn’t be mounted on car noses. Nope!
Are you kidding me? Fuel cells? Hydrogen? Why in god’s name are you still clinging to this technology, Mercedes? It’s way too expensive, and you need to spend billions to set up a hydrogen refilling network. You’re better off spending all that money on making electric cars. Affordable ones, so we can all say goodbye to gasoline and diesel. Man, I hate it when I have to do all the thinking.
My dog can walk more than that without peeing, which pretty much makes him a very green, environmentally friendly dog
Now here’s the star of the show. The almighty supercar that every website praises and includes it at the top of their "best in show" list. Well no. That ain’t happening here. I don’t care how excited you are about the Project One. It’s butt ugly, awfully expensive, and will emit a ton of greenhouse gases. And no, 15.5 miles of all-electric range doesn’t make it a hybrid. My dog can walk more than that without peeing, which pretty much makes him a very green, environmentally friendly dog. And what’s with the 217-mph top speed? This was somewhat spectacular in the 1990s. There are plenty of mundane supercars with similar top speeds available now, and they cost a lot less than this $2.5-million Merc. Disappointing doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Oh, my lord, this one is so ugly. If you ever wanted an SUV with huge teeth, BMW just made one. And to make that fugly grille stand out even more, it designed a pair of extremely thin headlamps. Woof!
All I can say about this car is that I think Mini was under the impression that Frankfurt was supposed to host some sort of hill climb race. Or it simply had a faulty GPS and landed in Germany instead of Colorado, where the annual Pikes Peak race takes place.
The same piece of paper that says pigs can fly and going to the moon and back takes half an hour.
Unlike Thunder Power, Aspark comes from Japan, which adds quite a bit of credibility. On the other hand, claiming that the supercar will hit 62 mph in only two seconds is quite daring. Especially when you can’t prove it, and you don’t have a running vehicle. I’m sorry, but I can make my own fancy looking supercar and haul to auto shows around the world, claiming that it can hit 62 mph in... I don’t know, 1.5 seconds? What? It’s very doable on paper. The same piece of paper that says pigs can fly and going to the moon and back takes half an hour.
Best in Show
With all these overrated concepts and supercars out of the way, let’s have a look at the Frankfurt cars that actually matter.
If you’re living in the U.S., you probably don’t give a crap about the Seat Arona, but this little crossover is as important as they get. It’s basically an Ibiza on stilts, and it won’t cost much more than the hatchback. It will be widely available in most European markets, and it won’t cost as much as a trip to Mars. It’s basically why it’s on this list.
Not as fancy as a Lexus, but quite capable on the unbeaten path
If you’re into SUV, you just gotta love the Land Cruiser. Not as fancy as a Lexus, but quite capable on the unbeaten path, and now available with all sorts of modern upgrades. And hey, it’s not exactly boring to look at. Sure, it’s not exactly affordable, but hey, it’s a big ass SUV. And that 2.8-liter turbodiesel — loads of torque and solid fuel economy.
Now here’s a solid contender for this "best in show" list. Opel has made tremendous progress in recent years, and it’s close to finally turning a profit. The Grandland X is part of this big scheme to move as far away as possible from bankruptcy, and it looks very promising. It rides on a new platform from PSA; it has a good-looking interior, and a bunch of fuel-efficient engines. What makes it that much more appealing is that it will become Opel’s first hybrid offering. Not this year, but it will get a gasoline-electric powertrain in 2018. And, it won’t rip your wallet to shreds for that either!
Fancy a hot-hatchback but don’t want to spend a whole lot of cash on a Volkswagen Polo GTi? Get a Suzuki Swift Sport. A rather dull hatch until now, the Swift Sport is finally living up to its potential with the company’s latest redesign. The Sport trim finally stands out compared to the standard model, and it has loads of new tech. Yeah, it might not be as powerful as the other high-performance options in this niche, but it’s also lighter. And you really don’t need to have the most powerful engine to have some fun. For the price, this is the most fun you can buy!
It's a new platform, a new design, and a car that may become the new Volkswagen Golf of the all-electric industry
This list isn’t supposed to have a hierarchy but, if I were to pick a winner, then this would be it. It’s a new platform, a new design, and a car that may become the new Volkswagen Golf of the all-electric industry. Yeah, it’s small and boxy and not as aerodynamic as you’d want, but stop complaining, it’s supposed to be an affordable city car. It seems easy to park in tight spaces, and Honda promises an innovative electric drivetrain. And to be honest, I dig the simple design. And I really need to justify that. I just like it, and I’d buy one in a heartbeat. If more automakers would bring concept cars like these to the big auto shows, the world would be a happier place. And cleaner too.
Rant away; the comments section is all yours!