Compare And Contrast

Your homework for this weekend starts with you reading the two articles linked below.

Article one: A week with the Dacia Sandero (Sniff Petrol).

Article two: The 6 dullest cars in America (Yahoo Autos).

Done that? Good.

Now compare and contrast to figure out why one of these articles is great and why one of them is complete bollocks.

Your submissions will not be graded, but feel free to contribute anyway.


My Take

Sniff Petrol is more commonly known for its spoofing of the real-world motoring industry but in the last few months, Richard Porter has taken to doing this short car reviews. His reviews don’t discuss the 0-100 time of the car. They won’t tell you how many G’s you might pull in the corners, nor are there any WOW-factor statistics about the number of cow hides used in the interior. It’s just him and the car, day-to-day for a week, with him noting down the things that are either pleasant or unpleasant to live with (along with a little bit of Sniff humour thrown in for good measure).

They’re not detailed, but Porter’s generally do manage to communicate the essence of the car that he’s spent a week with.

In the Sandero review, he manages to break the car down into what makes it good – its simplicity and the fact that it’s 100% fit-for-purpose. He covers the one main thing that makes it a pain – no central locking (which I’d have to agree with as our Saab 9000’s central locking gave up 12 months ago – it IS a monumental PITA).

But he also sums up what makes it a great, cheap runabout vehicle. The trick is to see the vehicle in the right light.

By contrast, the Yahoo Autos article manages to treat its subject vehicles with shallow contempt. That the author seems like a willing participant makes it all the more embarrassing. It pretty much sums up some of the reasons the car industry is heading down a rocky path – stupid expectations and an inability to see a vehicle in light of its intended purpose.

Yes, it’s up to car companies to build vehicles that people want. Yes, it’s up to customers to find the vehicle that matches their intended use. The role of the reviewer is to try and bring the two a little closer together. If you can do that in an entertaining way, then more power to ya. If you simply want to bag a bunch of cars in the name of getting page views, then the publishing industry’s in poor shape.

Actually, the publishing industry IS in poor shape, which is probably why stuff like this persists.

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  1. Fully agree on your view of the two articles.

    The Dacia review makes me think of my wife’s 1995 VW Golf with a ‘dull’ 75 hp engine
    – topped by an auto-transmission (you can imagine the drtiving dynamics…)
    But somehow it is – thanks to its simplicity – fun to drive.
    Just slam the shifter to ‘D’ and go…

    And to outperform the Dacia, it has got central locking 🙂

  2. About a year ago Renault Australia said it probably wouldn’t introduce Dacias here as it was trying to raise the status of Renault here in Australia, and selling cheap Dacias might have a negative effect.

    More recently Renault Australia has said it might re-badge some Dacias as Renaults for Australia.
    After last year’s statement, I find that totally illogical!

    My brother in the UK is looking at buying a Dacia Duster (the cheapest SUV in the UK), but due to demand there is quite a wait.

  3. The 6 Dullest article on Yahoo is simply “click bait”. Unfortunately, the “Top 5 Reasons…” list style articles draw readers. I’m not sure readers actually like ’em, but the “Top x reasons” title seems to be hard for many to resist. They are gonna click on it. And thus, vapid articles like the Yahoo Dullest.

    I don’t think authors have something to say when they write these, they simply pump out words that can follow the “Top x blah blah” format.

  4. If im not wrong the Dacia is nowadays built on Renault architecture with all of the “olden” extras stripped off. If you as me happen to have a Romanian friend or has seen the Borat movie you know most of Romania is mud and besides a few, most Romanians cant even imagine owning a car, much less a Renault. You easily understand this goes for many other former communist east state countries if you have a clue about them or at least read the Dilbert comics (gogle images “elbonia”). These are people used to drive cars with a simple but sturdy chassi and a body made of cotton or paper on bumpy mud roads. From what i understand the original Dacia was the hottest among the communist cars. The Sandero looks just great! I wouldn’t replace it with my ’98 9000 or not even a 900 in good condition. But it probably is a killer car on the muddy or newly paved roads where no one has the luxury to complain about squeaky clutch’es. The Dacia Sandero might be a choice for those on a budget in the richer part of the world but its not for them this car is built. This car is built with a purpose, to be cheap to buy and not have fancy features that can f*** up on a mud road to nowhere.

    I think this car i seriously beautiful but that might be because it in many ways reminds of one of my favorite cars ever, the Pontiac Aztek. A car with no purpose at all;)

    1. Language, Monty!

      But yes. The philosophy is a good one. And I’m a secret Aztek fan, too, even if it’s as ugly as a bashed crab.

    2. Dacia was founded when Ceausescu wanted to show the world that we, Romanians are capable of building cars. He got in touch with Renault and asked them politely if we can build some of their models under license. They accepted and the rest is history, as they say. The first model was the Dacia 1100, a copy of the old Renault 8. The second one ( Dacia 1300, which copied the Renault 12) appeared in 1972, and remained in production, albeit with tiny facelifts, until 2004 when the Logan replaced it. So Dacias were always built on Renault architecture.

      “From what i understand the original Dacia was the hottest among the communist cars.”

      Dacias were and still are the people’s car. The hottest car back then were the Volgas, Moskvitches and ZILs 🙂