We live in a golden age of automobiles, especially when it comes to accessories. From air conditioning and heated seats to GPS navigation and blind spot detectors, automotive engineers and designers have concocted many superb amenities that help make those long commutes slightly less hellish.
However, along with the automotive accessory grand slams there have been copious quantities of pop-ups deep into foul territory. Without further ado, a list of automotive things that will hopefully go the way of the Aztek.
Ram pickup taillight coverings: The ostensible reason for a taillight is: A. To allow a vehicle to be seen from the rear come nightfall; B. To give motorists behind you a visual warning you’re applying the brakes. The bigger and brighter the taillight the better. So who’s the Mensa member who came up with those Ram taillight covers in the shape of a demonic goat’s head, effectively cloaking about 50 per cent of the truck’s taillight surface? Baaa-d idea.
Grey plastic body cladding: When Pontiac went headlights-up in 2010, we thought we had seen the end of that grotesque grey plastic cladding that graced the bodies of so many models. But GM can’t seem to let go. Case in point: the otherwise fetching Buick Encore is unfortunately marred by cringe-inducing grey plastic cladding. Didn’t The General learn anything from the abomination that was the first-generation Chevrolet Avalanche?
Roo bars on luxury SUVs: Attention Audi Q7, Cadillac Escalade, and Infiniti QX56 owners: going on a safari, are we? Or perhaps you’re prepping for the next Jeep Jamboree? Why else would you adorn the front end of your six-figure luxury ride with garish tubular metal poles? Unless civility has evaporated from the parking lot at the country club, there’s no good reason for this crass customization – at least not until the zombie apocalypse kicks in.
Fake bull testicles on pickup trailer hitches: Hard to believe there’s actually an automotive aftermarket for oversized manmade testicles. Then again, have you ever been to Keswick, Ont., Billy? What does it say about the guy (it’s always a guy) who affixes a pseudo-bovine ball sack to his truck? Does it mean that the testicle-aficionado driving that Hemi-powered Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn (which isn’t used for construction or farming, by the way) is maybe overcompensating for something?
Silver: That silver-hued Audi 5000 whipping down the boulevard back in 1984 looked oh so whiz-bang futuristic cool thanks to its shimmering silver paint job. However, as we motor into 2014, silver is beyond overdone. Today, that hue is even found gracing the skins of minivans and Corollas. Familiarity has bred contempt: silver is ho-hum, bland, and unimaginative; it no longer whispers “trendsetter”; rather, it screams “lemming.”
Car alarms: I once lived next-door to a woman whose car alarm erupted randomly for no apparent reason (especially in the wee hours of the morning). Oh, did I mention the alarm was “safeguarding” a dilapidated 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier? No doubt the masterminds behind the international car theft ring casing our ’hood were salivating at the prospect of bagging that cutie-pie coupe, only to be thwarted every time by a sound resembling a banshee caught in a leg-hold trap. A car alarm’s sole function is to obliterate our quality of life; little wonder certain jurisdictions have banned these malfunctioning monstrosities entirely.
Alphanumeric names: Remember when cars had proper names? Thunderbird, Eldorado, Firebird, Continental, Wildcat. Today, soul-destroying alphanumeric nameplates rule. Consider such roll-off-the-tongue zingers as XC70, CLS550 4MATIC, and CT200h. Nobody is ever going to write a song about a car called the CT200h.
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