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I have decided I can’t stand VWs


After another week of driving a Volkswagen Beetle, I have changed my minds. i don’t just dislike this car; I actively loathe it. Its 4-cylinder engine is snarly, its 6-speed automatic transmission is harsh and jerky, and that rear hatch is VERY annoying. You cannot open the rear hatch from the inside; you must push the button on the key fob. Then you have exactly one second to get an appendage under the edge of the hatch (there are no recesses for lifting, you just have to jam an appendage in there) and lift quickly before the latch locks again. It is VERY annoying.

That, plus the brakes are oddly designed. You must press the brake pedal to start the car. You can turn the key and let go, then press the brake pedal, and the car will start anyway, which is disconcerting. But the most annoying thing is that if you release the brake pedal, the car does not actually release the brakes until a second or two later. It does not trust that you released the brake pedal intentionally. It is the strangest design feature I have seen in a car in a long time.

Perhaps Volkswagens are aimed at the same segment of the population that buys Apple cellphones and computers. The designs of those machines expect very little intelligence or capability from their owners. In fact, it’s difficult to make those machines function outside of Apple’s design parameters, so if you are smarter than the machine, you will find it very frustrating to work with it. Volkswagen is the same way. The design of the automobile gets in the way of using it.

I had the rental agency put a note on my file: “No VWs.” So this week, I have a brand new Nissan Versa. It’s a Japanese econobox instead of a German econobox, but the Japanese know how to design an automobile so that it is functional, while the Germans apparently have difficulty with the concept.

I am thoroughly enjoying my little Japanese rental car.

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