Driventowrite is the name and to some extent the “driven” part corresponds to a form of sub-clinical obsessive-compulsive disorder related to arm-rests in mid-size passenger cars. But there’s a bit more to it than that.
That’s why today’s car is here**. I would absolutely love to know what decision-making process led Opel to drop the rear-centre arm-rest in their “J” series Astra (2009-2015) while Ford decided that the rear-centre arm-rest would grace the saloon version of today´s Focus (but not the estate or hatchback). Actually I think I know… we’ll
get to that by the end of this tract.
I walked around the car and gave it a close stare. What’s wierd about it is that it’s a very ordinary kind of vehicle that also is deeply rare. They never sold it in Denmark (I mean never tried to).
I may only have seen a few Focus saloons since 2009 and since it’s a Focus it is not the kind of rarity that leaves a big impression. If I did see more of them I have not been able to remember. The Focus saloon is rare in the way a certain shape of pebble is rare – that precise shape confers no extra status on the pebble. Or the Focus.
I am not seemingly connected to the same internet as everyone else so when I say I couldn’t get reliable information about the dimensions, indulge me. Presumably the Focus saloon is not very much smaller than the 1993 Ford Mondeo Mk1 (though the Mondeo will be a lot lower and obviously, right-sized), but, boy that Focus is a tall car for its length.
Of course, we all know these car-like cars are much less popular than they were a decade ago. I suppose in the 1960s people said the same thing about hats: “I say, Jacqueline, have you noticed people don’t seem to wear hats so much?” Well, apart from people preferring cross-overs, isn’t it plain these saloon based on C-class cars are just as huge as people really need and that means the Mondeo and its peers are even less necessary.
Which brings me back to opening point about corporate decision-making. Is it possible that car manufacturers didn’t spot that if they increased the size of C-class and C-D class each generation then the small class would get as big as people need and the bigger class would get too big to be useful?
But of course and that’s why the switch-over to cross-overs is so handy because the heritage names of Focus, Astra, Mondeo etc with their baggage of size-expectations and status-expectations can be ditched.
The Focus saloon here, which is as well equipped as a 1995 Mondeo, is a hold-over and anomaly more than anything; and the fact that so many of the later C-class saloons like this lacked that rear armrest is a tell-tale that, properly equipped, these C-class saloons undermine the case for the official top-of-the range D-class models.
Don’t you think as I do that the sensible thing was to drop the huge, later iterations of the C-D class cars and call the Focus-derived saloons something else entirely? Maybe they could have been given a one-size bigger engine too.
The presence/absence of the rear-centre armrest means more than at first sight. Evidently, car makers were unsure if the these notionallly smaller cars should be equipped with the same features as when they really were smaller. That’s why some makers fitted them and some didn’t.
** Also, this is part of DTW’s public service duty. There aren’t so many photos of these cars. It’s a pity the lighting was so bad – and twenty minutes later the car was gone. Looking at it now, it is a grudging saloon. It doesn’t look very saloony, more like a one of those hatchbacks made to look like semi-saloon e.g. the Citroen C5 or Xantia.