The Dumbest Auto Review Ever Written
Fame is a powerful drug that can transform a self-aggrandizing critic into an obnoxious churl. It explains how Jeremy Clarkson came up with this opening for his review:
“If you are a frizzy-headed, saggily breasted, left-threaded lunatic, Christmas is not a time for giving or receiving.”
It’s as if he had been sitting on a toilet and looking in the mirror as he unwittingly wrote this self portrait — and a mirror would also explain why he confused “left” and “right.”
This is followed by a 700 word rant about left-leaning multiculturalism before he finally makes a point.
“I have decided it’s one of the worst cars in the world. About as desirable as a packet of dung or a can of worms. Truthfully? I’d rather have a goat.”
Now here’s his reasoning for labeling this car a turbo toilet that’s as desirable as a packet of dung:
1. “The first problem is the single rear passenger door. It’s on the right-hand side of the car, which is fine if you live in Germany or America, where everyone drives on the wrong side of the road – pull up at the kerb and your kids get out onto the pavement. But here in Britain, where we do things properly, your kids are forced to get out into the traffic.”
The point about the rear passenger door is a valid criticism if you live in the UK. However, his logic is faulty because he claims to like the regular Mini which has no passenger door. Passengers are not forced to enter or exit on the wrong side of the road and get into traffic, they simply won’t enjoy the convenience of the extra door. In a parking lot or in the driveway the rear door is still useful, so in the UK the Clubman is only marginally more convenient for backseat passengers than a regular Mini. It certainly isn’t at a disadvantage.
2. “Then there’s the boot. Yes, access is good, and yes, you get 100 more litres of space than you do in the normal Mini. But it’s still pretty small.”
100 extra liters doesn’t sound like much, unless you are aware that a regular Mini has 160 liters of space. So it has 62.5% more space than a regular Mini (which he likes.)
3. “You can see out of the back of most cars, in fact. Seeing out of the back is jolly useful and is one of the reasons the Lamborghini Countach was not a big seller. But you can’t see out of the back of a Mini Clubman. Glance in the rear-view mirror and all you can see is the pillar where the two doors meet.”
First the obvious, price not visibility is the salient reason Lamborghini is not a big seller.
Secondly, I don’t agree with his assessment, in fact, when I drive at night I find it rather nice to align myself so that I use the pillar where the two doors meet to reduce the headlight glare from cars behind me. While the visibility is nothing to brag about, for me this hasn’t been a problem, but if you live in an urban environment and you need to parallel park routinely, a regular Mini would probably be a better choice.
4. “The cruising speed of a car is a bit like the natural parting in your hair. It’s just there, and you have to concentrate hard to make it go somewhere else. Weirdly, it has nothing to do with engine size. It’s a combination of things – the resonance of the body, the suspension settings, the gearing. My Merc, if I’m not concentrating, sits at 85. It’s its default setting. And that’s fine. But fail to concentrate in the Mini, and it sails up past 100. You have to be alert to keep it down, and that’s wearing.”
Yes, if you’re driving a turbo charged car that does 0-62mph (100km) in 7.6 seconds you can find yourself doing 100 mph in no time. Is that really all he’s got? A Clubman cruises fine at 60mph, 70mp, and yes, 110mph.
5. “But not as wearing as the torque steer. I do not know why the Clubman is so badly affected when the normal car, with exactly the same engine, is not. But I do know that there is no point paying extra for satellite navigation, because this is a car that goes where the camber of the road dictates. You, the man behind the wheel, have no say at all.
And woe betide the chap who decides to put his foot down hard coming off a greasy roundabout, because what happens next, in my experience, gets perilously close to dangerous. At best, it appears to be an extreme flaw.”
Torque Steer was indeed a real problem with the Clubman he tested. Calling it “at best” an “extreme flaw” is an hysterical exaggeration. Thankfully Mini Cooper paid attention to the numerous reviews that mentioned this problem and the software engineers corrected the problem. If you have a Clubman and you’ve experienced torque steer (during heavy acceleration the steering pulls to one side) all you need to do is have the dealer update your ECU software. In fact, after the update you’ll notice your Clubman drives better at all speeds.
So that’s it, that’s the sum total of his reasoning. Compare his review to Kelly Blue Books and perhaps you will see why I call this the dumbest review ever written.