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In general, what do you like about modern cars?


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Me and miss t bought a brand new Yaris. She has done 25k in it already in a year and a half.


To be honest I don't like driving it, but it does 45mpg all day long has six gears and will cruise at 85 and still be quiet. Has Bluetooth, climate, reverse camera, cruise, sat nav etc etc.


Yeah it cost £££ and we will lose ££


But miss T gets a decent car allowance and fuel allowance, and with 0% finance it ain't really costing us anything.


Plus I like moderns as I don't have to piss about with it, and she loves it, which is the main thing.


Riding around in a very shabby scimitar was not one of my missus life's moments.


But it was mine.


Life is full of compromises. And spunking £14k on a Yaris was one of mine.



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The answers are going to depend on the old cars that members drive or used to drive. My overriding memories of cars from the 70s and 80s are things where moderns walk all over them:

- lack of rust when most 5 year old cars would have blisters in the front wings above the headlights and below the windscreen.

- total lack of fuss when starting from cold when in the old days you had to get used to feathering a manual choke or trying various tricks to get the auto choke to work properly

- relaxed cruising at 70 mph when the old'un would invariably only be comfortable at 55-65 mph

- comfortable climate on hot days and defogging the windows on humid wintry days

- no need to grease bits of the suspension every 3k to 5k miles or replace bits like the alternator, exhaust and battery every 4-5 years

- no need to decoke the engine at 60-70k. Most old car engines where totally shagged by 80k miles unless they were meticulously maintained

- modern autobox and cruise control giving the brain cells a more relaxing time or the ability to concentrate on the other traffic instead of just manipulating the car


On the other hand the old car wins with:

- always having a real spare wheel

- having a proper handbrake

- in most cases better all-round visibility

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For me it would have to be the massive improvements in safety - crumple zones and airbags etc. The size of "modern" cars compared to older ones is remarkable. Even the difference in size between a car from the early 2000's and late 2000's is quite remarkable. My 2002 Fiesta looks tiny compared to most newer cars, finding it in a packed car park can be quite difficult. Mate of mine has a 2007 Pug 306 which looks positively tank-ish compared to mine

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The i10 has been a paragon of reliability and hassle-free motoring. It is the commuter car and also the going to somewhere for the day or so car. Would I buy another new car? Nah.


To me the Mondeo is the newest 'used' car I have had for years.


I like older cars as I can tinker with them and t hey have character.


I could still tinker with most of the i10 I suppose but it isn't as much fun.

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+ I'm likely to not die in a crash

+ What comes out of the tailpipe for non-Volkwagen cars is a lot more lungs friendly nowadays

(realistically, the above two, especially the top, are the key factors that have affected the changes in vehicle design in recent years)

+ Better for high speed driving

+ Cheaper to insure

+ Better radios (and quieter)

+ Air con


- Less practical

- Less comfortable seats

- Horrendous for fogging up inside in basically all weather conditions

- Massive pillars

- Very little interior space for people and/or luggage

- Repair costs

- More difficult to drive imho due to their physical size, crap visibility and detachment of the driver from the driving experience

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I've driven a couple of nearly new French people carriers recently, a Citroen C4 Picasso and a Renault Scenic.


The Citroen looks quite 'space age' inside and out, visibility is appalling, you can't see the corners of the car.

No dedicated heater or stereo controls, it's all buried in a sluggish touch screen. You have to look down to check the satellite nagivation screen.

Harsh ride and wallowy handling, how did they manage that? Not suitable for French back roads.

It goes quite well (2.0 HDi I think) but there's a lot of wind noise at high speeds. Averaged 38MPG.


The Scenic is a lot more 'normal', still with awful visibility, drooping bonnet and invisible corners. Has dedicated heater and stereo controls, much better than the ergonomic and tactile nightmare of the C4. Sat-nav in the driver's eye line.

It rides a bit better than the C4 and has similarly wallowy handling, seats are comfier and there's more space in the back.

Sluggish (1.5 DCi) and not great on fuel, averaging 41MPG.


TL;DR... buy a Xantia or 21 estate instead. The only thing moderns are better at is constant high speed driving on smooth motorways.

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Forgive me if it's been mentioned already but seemingly far better outer body corrosion prevention. When I grew up most cars had hanging arches etc at a few years old.


It's weird going to modern scrap yards to see rows of fairly fresh rust free cars, obviously written off by mechanical failures or over the top insurance repair costs.


I think yesterday's OMGRUST has been replaced with DMF and weird electronic failures for sending cars over the bridge



Regarding rot, they stay looking good on the surface thanks to zinc, but subframes can still rot out as they always have - here's an example, https://www.gumtree.com/p/alfa-romeo/alfa-156-jtd-2.4-superchipped/1138423007


Perhaps comments about better radios are a reflection of the speaker positioning today - not so long ago having four single cone identicalish speakers was posh, manufacturers then realised that for pennies they could spend a couple of hours trial and error in a car and install tweeters/bounce the sound at somewhere near ear level and enhance the quality of the in-car radio/CD no end. This is a proper advance, I'm amazed nobody used to bother.

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It does make me laugh though when the old chestnut of the technophobe with concerns about new stuff like EPB etc... I think sometimes we forget we've had this mind set for the last 30 years. I remember when CATs were first introduced and everyone said avoid a car with a cat as it will cost a bomb when it goes wrong, similarly ABS pumps going wrong or the fear of airbags that age and cause problems. What do you know but people found a way round and given that cars are much more reliable there are in real terms more 'old' cars around than there have ever been. There will always be old cars, yes you might have to take it to the garage now to have the electric brake thing reset but how many banger drivers DIY? Most take it to the increasingly competitive market of independents. 20 years ago you would have needed £xxxxx worth of equipment to read a fault code on a Mondeo, now you can do this with something that cost less than £20. Similar for the oil, you could literally only buy 5w30 for zetecs from either Castrol or Ford... Now you can get it in Wilkos.

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I would dispute the claims of better radios, better lighting and better ventilation on modern cars.

Dispute them all. You'll still be in the wrong!


The best car radios from the 80s are crap in comparison with 99% of new car stereo systems.


The best shape for a headlight is round, so the older cars are onto a winner there. However, Halogen lights are crap in comparison to HID or LED lights, and lots of new cars use round light units in whatever shape headlight units so they're not at a loss. Add projector lenses etc and the new car lights are almost always a fair bit better. There are exceptions, the Calibra and Ford Cougar both have bad lights, but they're a match for those on a Cortina Mk4 or Mk2 Granada.


Ventilation, you have a point but most older stuff didn't have aircon, lots used water valves to regulate heat, not many at all had automatic heat regulation where you can dial in say 22°c and that's exactly what you get.


Even some of the best lights from the 70s pale into insignificance in comparison to those on an average new car.

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I realise you have driven a lot more modern cars than I have, but I have never been in a 21st century vehicle that has decent radio reception. As far as I can tell they cracked it in the 1990s and then started working backwards.


Lighting might be starting to improve again now but it certainly got steadily worse from the early 1990s on. First they gave cars pointy front ends so the reflectors were smaller, then they split the unit into two even smaller reflectors (losing 8% of the main beam power along the way of course), then they started making the reflectors out of plastic, they they started making the lenses out of plastic (by which time the units were enormous but the lenses were still tiny). LED is certainly the future for all lighting but it requires clever lens design to be properly useful, and I don't think it's quite there yet in a lot of applications.


I think you more or less conceded the ventilation point. I'd love to meet the guy who looked at the eyeball vent and decided it had to go.


I do agree that modern cars are better in some, or even most, ways, just not these three. My last Transit, a 2007 model, did six years and 125000 miles with me and it hadn't fallen apart, that just wouldn't be possible in a Mk1 or 2 Transit with the kind of use it was being put to.

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The longevity of modern stuff is staggering. Over the last few weeks I've driven a Mk1 Focus TDCI with 650000 miles under its belt, a 2010 Audi A6 with 222000 miles (someone must have lived in it), and an 08 Octavia TDI with 475000 miles.


In 1992 I had a 10 yr old Cortina 2.0 Crusader which was very difficult to sell as it had done 130k (with a new engine at 100k). Nobody wanted it. Crazy high mileage. Nowadays 200k isn't scary miles - my Merc is on 188k and I'd happily drive it across Europe (again) tomorrow. My Subaru is on 160k and I'd do the same run in that without a worry.


Eyeball vents were excellent. Last year, bringing the Escort over from Czech they were quite handy for getting a coolish breeze on the go. Not as good as aircon but cheaper, lighter and easier to fix.

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Exhausts seemed to improve no end around the time catalysts were introduced. Does someone on here work in the exhaust industry and know what the process change was? I've been told it was dipping the things in aluminium when hot, rather than just rattle-canning the mild steel. 18 months for a back box used to be quite normal.



The longevity of modern stuff is staggering. Over the last few weeks I've driven a Mk1 Focus TDCI with 650000 miles under its belt, a 2010 Audi A6 with 222000 miles (someone must have lived in it), and an 08 Octavia TDI with 475000 miles.


When I used to drive for Ford in 1991, their cars used to feel worn smooth by 60k and totally shagged out by 85, if they got there. In contrast, after a day's work I'd hop back into a 230,000 mile Saab and it would feel less worn than a year old Ford.


I know someone with a Cit GS, the thing has done 270k and it goes faster than ever, using no oil. The powertrain is original and untouched apart from the clutch, but it's been serviced by someone who doesn't throw his toys out of the pram when confronted with something different. I've worked on a mid-60s DS which had never had the head off even after 600k+, it ran smooth as silk. Volvo Amazons carry on and on, too. I've an old 124 which feels as if it's just nicely run in with 500k km on the clock.


Yes, a Sierra or Cortina or Escort would do well to move far into six figures, as would a few other British vehicles built much before the 90s, but there were loads of cars from that era which could and did. What usually (unless they were wound back) prevented them in this country was the general attitude to a higher mileage and our love of new and shiny rather more often than our European neighbours.


What's changed most is the world market, which has dictated that bog-standard cars have been built to close-on Japanese standards (#irony) and computers in the design and manufacturing processes have auto-corrected any second or third-rate engineers and assemblers.

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