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Cars (and their drivers) we love to hate

It used to be Holden drivers hated Ford drivers and Ford drivers hated Holden drivers. Now there’s a huge choice of car brands to hate and love. But attitudes to their drivers sometimes border on the irrational. For example, why do people hate Prius drivers so much?

The old rivalry

Australians feel strongly about their vehicles. The old rivalry between Holden and Ford began in 1909 when the Model T Ford first hit Australian roads. In 1948, General Motors came up with the locally made, true blue Holden. While American companies spawned them, they took on Aussie identities rather like football teams – you supported one or the other.

Just to check someone’s allegiance, you might even ask, “what did your parents drive?”. Unfortunately, Holden ceased production in late 2017 and Ford in late 2016. It was the end of an old rivalry and a particularly Australian one.

“Do-gooder” Prius drivers

Neither a Holden nor a Ford driver would have even considered driving a Japanese car, let alone a Prius. Few cars, or their drivers, have endured so much hate and scorn as the Prius.

As one auto enthusiast said, it’s the “automotive equivalent of eating low-fat plain yogurt… a do-gooder mobile”. He also said colourfully, “You don’t feel the Prius in your loins – you feel it in your brain, conscience, and guiltless superego”.

As if that was not enough, he went out and bought one – and liked it.

One commentator said the problem is not the car but the driver’s “pseudo-intellectual, superior-to-thou attitude as they grip the steering wheel in the 10 and 2 position while driving 1 mile under the speed limit for Safety First! If the car came with an optional helmet, most would wear that too.”

Hat drivers

Of course, while drivers don’t yet wear optional helmets at the wheel, some do wear hats – and other drivers hate it. Hat drivers may well be “pedestrians in cars who fail to modify their views and habits to those of motorists when they get behind the wheel”.

“Annoying” SUV drivers

More annoying, to 54% of respondents to one UK survey, are SUV drivers. This is because they hog the road (worst habit), park badly and straddle parking spaces (second worst), and they hog lanes on motorways. Unfortunately for school mums, over a third think they are the main culprits.

Now that the majority of people drive SUVs, it’s curious that other drivers get so worked up about them.

Perhaps it’s just that they are big and clumsy-looking in crowded areas and take up more space than seems considerate. Meanwhile, the more expensive SUVs, like Range Rovers, carry status that other drivers just can’t quite accept. How dare they be so big and luxurious!

“Dangerous” Volvo drivers

While Volvo and “dangerous” don’t usually appear in the same sentence, they do for people who hate Volvo drivers. As one car lover said, “Take a perfectly good driver, put them behind the wheel of a Volvo and they go into control freak mode”. She says they know their vehicle is invincible, so it doesn’t matter how they drive. They just expect everyone else to fit in with them.

One truck driver memorably described them as “Ovlovians who come from the planet Ovlov because they are ‘backward’. Ouch.

Others we love to hate

No brand can quite escape the occasional caustic wit:

Mercedes – Wealthy people who can’t handle a BMW and need their cars softened up and served on a silver platter.

Subaru – Outdoor muesli types who go camping a lot and cover their car with bumper stickers about animal welfare and vegan lifestyles.

Renault – A man walks into a garage and asks: “Have you got a wing mirror for a Renault?” The mechanic replies, “That sounds like a fair swap guvnor”.

Ferrari – “Here comes 40. I’m feeling my age and I’ve ordered the Ferrari. I’m going to get the whole midlife crisis package.” Keanu Reeves.

While some of us are dangerously close to midlife, we don’t expect to be getting a Ferrari.
Which drivers annoy you the most?

Corrina Baird

Writer and expert greenslips.com.au

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered first hand what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years of writing and research in financial services, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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