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ragingloli's avatar

You always hear on Top Gear how rubbish American cars are. Are they really that bad, or are they worse?

Asked by ragingloli (45892points) April 19th, 2009
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14 Answers

Harp's avatar

They’re much better than they used to be, for the most part. The 80’s were pretty much the low point in the quality of American cars. Then pressure from the Japanese competitors forced GM and Ford to overhaul their engineering, production and design standards (although Chrysler didn’t seem to get that memo). These days, American cars hold their own in objective reliability evaluations, equalling or even surpassing the Japanese cars.

It will likely take awhile for the tarnished reputation of American cars to recover. I, for one, now drive a Honda, after my Saturn (a GM product) crumbled around me. The engine on the Saturn lasted a trouble-free 170K miles, but the interior simply self-destructed.

Cardinal's avatar

I don’t think American cars are rubbish at all. At least not in the last 10 years or so. At one time the Asians were making more reliable vechicles. But I think the current offerings are very well built from the states. Besides I bet of the regular vechicle (excluding all of the exotics) there isn’t a single one 100% built in the US of A.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The cars they review on that show are high end, high performance vehicles but largely, yes American cars are rubbish comparatively.

Think for a moment about how the US’ best sports car fares against Europe’s best sports car. It’s no comparison.

Shuttle128's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic The new Z06 gives Ferrari a run for it’s money.

The problem with American cars is they are simply under engineered. They can get away with it because the majority of Americans aren’t looking for the ultimate driving experience.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@Shuttle128 That’s a shame. When did we start looking for luxury in lieu of performance? Bad trend.

Shuttle128's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic American cars aren’t even close to luxury either. It’s the Model T all over again. You can have any car you like, as long as it’s the one we already make. The big three have been using the same method for a long time. The problem is, in order to change their method, they have to take big risks. Few companies will ever take big risks. The auto bailout made it even less likely for them to take those risks.

ragingloli's avatar

“That’s a shame. When did we start looking for luxury in lieu of performance? Bad trend.”
one of the complaints about american cars on the show, apart from the miserable handling, the rubbish suspension and the trashy gearbox, is ALWAYS the cheapness, and the low quality of those cars, even on the high end, so no, american cars are far from luxury.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Good points on the luxury.

The last time my father bought a car, he was going back and forth on whether he should buy a Porsche or a Jaguar. He eventually decided on the Jag. I’ve driven it. It has some horsepower but it handles like a king sized mattress. It’s a luxury car but it’s not a high performance car. Basically he bought himself and old man car. I was diappointed in his decision. It’s an American jag and it has all the hallmarks of an American car. It’s huge, gets terrible mileage, and its gaudy.

Built for luxury not performance.

ragingloli's avatar

@ heretic, Jaguar is a british company

Shuttle128's avatar

@ragingloli Jaguar was owned by Ford until last year.

ragingloli's avatar

@ shuttle, not since 2008. now it is owned by tata, and indian company.
ford sold it in 2008.
But that does not change the fact that all the development is done at home in britain.

Shuttle128's avatar

@ragingloli True, though it doesn’t change the fact that Jaguars of yesteryear were heavily influenced by American standards. Jaguars have a reputation for being fairly unreliable even if they are pretty luxurious. I’ve always been a Lotus guy myself.

tehrani625's avatar

@ragingloli its funny because India and America were at one time colonies of Britain so they are still British.

When I went to Tampa, Florida we rented a nice new Chevy Malibu. Normally I drive a 2008 Red Toyota Tundra Crew max 4×4 with TRD anti-role bar. That is an amazing truck, it drives like a Lexus and accelerates like the space shuttle but with less smoke and vibration. My truck was also built in Texas. The chevy was an eye opening experience as to how amazing my truck is. A bit about driving this Chevy: the brakes are like stepping in tomatoes, the suspension feels like tea bags, the gas pedal never does the same things twice, the steering wheel is gigantic, it handles like the titanic, the interior looks good in pics but in reality its Chinese water torture same goes for the seats, and the engine is anemic at best and sounds really rough. It was interesting because on the way into Disney world I took a turn made for 35Mph at almost 50Mph, that was fun, my Dad almost pissed himself it was the most fun I had all day. I would not buy from an American brand but I don’t mind buying things made in America.

tehrani625's avatar

My truck also gets 17Mpg when I drive, some people get 25Mpg but the temptation to test the 6.4second 0–60 time always gets me.

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