For what it’s worth, our Editor attempts to be objective
It is a habit of older generations to convince themselves that they possess certain things that younger people don’t have. Generally, if that makes them feel better about the less positive sides of the ageing process, I suppose it does little harm. One of the re-occurring concepts is that, with age, you acquire a ‘set of values’. This panders to a natural desire to be able to calibrate and quantify everything in life but, at heart, we probably know that this is a foolish conceit.
If I tell you that a Bugatti Chiron will accelerate to 100 km per hour in 2.5 seconds, you will probably not dispute that, because various independent sources will have verified it sooner or later. If I tell you that it will travel at 420 km per hour, you might choose to question the practicality of achieving that in anything other than almost laboratory conditions. If I tell you that it’s worth €2.4 million, you might point out that no car is truly worth that, or you might find it a bargain. If I tell you that it looks only marginally less grotesque than its ill-formed predecessor you might disagree violently. By which I mean that, in each instance, I am defining a set of values for the car, some of which are objective, some of which are not.
Unlike food, healthcare, housing and education, which prosperous societies put a lot of value in, cars are not true essentials. Of course, if you live in a world of unreliable public transport, and your job depends on it, then for part of your life a reasonably reliable car is indispensable. To ensure this, you might spend even a couple of thousand Euros on its purchase but, beyond that point, we enter the world of irrationality.
The values that we put on cars are impossible to justify. They suck up a ludicrous proportion of our time and income and we end up sitting in them in exactly the same place we started from. We pore through magazines comparing figures – dimensions, performance, consumption, emissions, depreciation, tax set-off – yet we often end up making the final purchasing decision for none of these reasons.
The world of cars is a world of lopsided values and it seems only right that, this month, we should look at some of them.