Dodge and Duck

I know why the American auto companies are failing. I found out yesterday, when I finally got my rental car with three rows of seats. The car Randy delivered to me, after my incomparably disastrous morning, was none other than the Dodge Journey:


It’s a disaster on wheels. It’s ugly. It’s boxy. It’s small. It has absolutely NO visibility when looking over your right shoulder to make a lane change or turn. The interior is cramped- so much so, that even reaching for your cup in the cup holder requires contortion skills. The seats are uncomfortable. It’s hard to flip them open and back to access the rear seats, even my 7 year-old hits his head on the ceiling in the third row. If the boys are sitting in the third row, there is no room for legs in the second row. It’s dangerous to Abby’s legs, the space is so small. Forget an adult’s knee needs.

And, I’m not the only one who thinks so… a quick Google search turned up a scathing review by The Truth About Cars, and he says: 

“…the instrument panel upper is finger sink soft. But all the bits attached to it, including the protruding center stack, are straight from the bargain basement. It looks, feels and smells cheap.”

“…the driving position is an ergonomic abomination. The steering wheel rim obstructs the temperature gauge and the right half of the tach, and the optional rearview monitor is positioned at knee level.”

As if that’s not damning enough, he adds 

“And speaking of Novocain, the Journey’s driving experience is the only aspect of the vehicle that’s more forgettable than the exterior styling.”

My question is this: Why is this happening? With all the excellent automobiles out there, with all the fantastic designs, ergonomic beauties, why are American car designs so freaking butt-ugly? And not only are they ugly to look at, they are uncomfortable, and in the case of visibility, unsafe. I just don’t get it. There are car companies doing it well, making a quality product with good retention of value. There are companies making nice cars that fit your body comfortably, and get good gas mileage. So why are the Americans trying to reinvent the wheel? Why not look at what is doing well, and DO IT TOO?

Driving this disaster makes me all that much for frightened at the idea of bailing out the American Auto industry. It seems like a bottomless pit. If a company is making a sucky product, shouldn’t it fail? Nature abhors a vacuum, so another will rise and take their place, right? Maybe the next car company will be competitive with our Asian and German neighbors, and we won’t have to subsidize the American version of the Yugo.

End rant.

14 thoughts on “Dodge and Duck

  1. We bought our momstrosity after after trying out several of the smaller “family sized” vehicles on the market. I loved the jeep commander…until I tried to see out the 3 inches of back window about the headrests. It’s like they’ve taken regular cars and found a spot to add a couple seats, much like flying coach!

  2. I completely agree! We should be encouraging better vehicles not worse ones. That is why I love my Honda minivan. It drives wonderfully, there is plenty of room and it is easy to use. I can also feel secure with the thought that I can drive it into the ground and get many years of use out of it. Domestic cars just don’t seem to last as long.

  3. Thanks to getting side-swiped, we had to get a rental awhile back. Sucked rocks as well. You’d think that the designers would have at least half a brain.

  4. Totally agree! I am sure you can guess how I feel about an auto bailout, but when it comes to the cars that are made, they are just crap. I do love my Yukon though and wouldn’t trade it in unless need be, but the next car we buy is going to take some time to test before we actually agree. Forward your post to the gov’t 🙂

  5. I’ve been told that the American Auto Industry Bailout is more complex than just bailing out a crappy product. It’s that the auto industry isn’t just about cars–it’s about glass companies, plastic companies, fabric companies,etc. If the auto industry goes down, all those industries go down, too. Supposedly. I’m still scratching my head about it, though. I don’t see Honda looking for a handout….

  6. Heather, you’re right- it’s a stack of teetering dominos, and they are all connected. But I kind of think (in my un-economic trained brain) that it’s like pulling off a bandage. You can nurse it, but it’s just going hurt a little, longer, or, you can snap it off quick, and it will hurt, but then you can move on.

    I cannot exress strongly enough what a turd this car is. If this is anyting like what the rest of the car makers are producing, it really is not a stretch to compare it to a Yugo.

    All that said…

    I do drive a Suburban, made by Chevy, and I love it. It’s safe, very well made, and incredibly dependable. But I have also heard the Suburban is made by the Chevy Truck division, which is not the same company as the Auto division. Splitting hairs? I dunno. Maybe it is. But it’s a good product- and there sure are a lot of them on the road.

  7. This makes me scared. We drive a 2000 minivan. It will die soon, we don’t want a car payment but we should start shopping around. Is this what we have to choose from? Your comments have given me some good alternatives though 🙂

  8. We are still driving a 1995 Subaru. Yes, 14 years old. No car payment. Yes, paint peeling, hubcap missing, looks like white trash car. Still runs. Still like it. Hope it lasts another 14 years.

  9. My Surburban is from 1997- so it’s 12 years old, and seriously, is one of the most reliable cars I’ve ever had. No car payment, and I love it. As long as gas prices stay down…

    That said, if I were buying a new car (hahahaha!) I would certainly buy a Toyota or a Honda. Or a Volkswagen, which I love.

    And Mo? I totally thought Momstrosity was on purpose. It’s a good word!

  10. Our van is leaking oil from an expensive place. They told us for now it is a small leak so we can get away with it, but the clock is ticking…

  11. Wiz, you should move to Alaska. All you really need there is a Subaru, duct tape, and WD-40. You’re a third of the way there already!

  12. I’ve loved our momstrocity (ah Mo you have a gift), the Toyota Sienna. Except it has the turning radius of a school bus. Perhaps they’ve fixed that in later models (ours is a 2002).

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