Spannerhead Dot

Three Cars That Say
“I Don’t Care What I Drive”

April 10, 2012 by Matt

Toyota Highlander Light Blue

Conventional wisdom says ubiquitous commuter cars like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry should be the poster children for those among us who have absolutely no interest in what gets them from Point A to Point B. And while it’s true a large percentage of those who opt for either of those see their cars as nothing more than a transportation appliance, I’d like to suggest that it’s possible to go farther in the direction of not caring. There are others, but here I’ll spotlight three vehicles that communicate the notion that their owners have less than zero interest in cars.

Toyota Highlander. (shown at top) So this is essentially the “crossover” version of the Camry, a plain Jane family sedan on stilts. I can’t quite put my finger on what makes it so much more boring than the already-mind-numbing Camry; maybe it’s the typical drivers I see behind the wheel of Highlanders: Invariably women that look to be in their late 30s to early 50s, who like to “sit up high” as they drive and have always heard Toyota makes a reliable car. From there, it seems like they visited the first dealership they came across, found the first white or beige one on the lot and said, “Done.”

Kia Rondo Beige Brown Gray Grey

Kia Rondo. Completely anodyne, the Rondo is quite possibly the most uninteresting blob of metal and plastic on the road today. Nothing says quite as effectively “I really don’t give a crap what I’m driving” as sitting in one of these. It’s utterly inert and just kind of…pathetic. But—I suppose there’s a market out there. At the very least, its name is kind of interesting, in a silly way.

Honda CRV Gray Grey Silver

Honda CRV. If the Highlander is an elevated Camry, this is a jacked-up Civic. The styling is a bizarre mix of trapezoids and gentle curves, as likely to confuse an onlooker as anything else. And if it looks like the designers didn’t really care, what does that say about those who choose to drive one? I wonder if they could even remember what car they drive, if asked?

Filed under: Miscellaneous


  1. John D says:

    I know…can you do a segment called ‘I don’t care what I drive (as long as it’s a Beemer)’? I’ve known way too many people like that in the business world. And you can always tell because of all the awesome models that BMW has made over the years and are available for most any price point, these people don’t have any of them. Instead you can tell they saw it and said ‘Yup, looks like a Beemer’ and bought it, when they could have had found a much better one of only they had looked around just a little. Such a waste… ;)

    • Matt says:

      Oh I could write volumes about those folks. I honestly don’t know of any other marque with a sharper enthusiast/non-enthusiast-bought-it-for-the-prestige divide. Having been on the enthusiast side of the community for quite some time, I can testify to the fact that there’s a huge gaping chasm between us and those who buy BMWs for the cachet alone (or at least prioritize that).

      Thinking about it, I don’t know that it’s confined to a certain model range. Very generally, the older the BMW (especially if it’s in good shape), the more likely you are to find someone who appreciates the car’s dynamic qualities behind the wheel. There are exceptions, of course, but that’s a basic rule of thumb.

      Speaking of brand perception, I remember having a conversation online with a dad who wanted to buy a BMW for his daughter for a first car because it was a genuinely good car (which is the reasons most car buffs buy them). I counseled him that there was an inevitable “stigma” associated with BMWs, for better or worse, and that she would almost certainly be perceived differently at school than if she drove another make of car. It’s unfortunate the cars are tethered to that sort of thing, but…it is what it is.

      • John D says:

        Very true. I came so close to getting a late 80’s Porsche 944 instead of the ’96 Camaro when I was a senior in high school. I didn’t care if other people thought I was spoiled. It was a sweet car for a decent price. My dad just wouldn’t let it happen (mostly because the late 80’s models didn’t have an airbag). In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t get the Porsche back then. Come to find out they require a lot of maintenance, are a nightmare to maintain yourself, and expensive to have anyone else work on them. And with the flack I got driving a ~4 yr old Camaro (even if it was a base model with the smaller engine), just because it was a current generation body style it was certainly cause for a dubious distinction between me and everyone else in my class…except the guy who’s parents bought him a new BMW 318i (speaking of ‘those people’). At least I didn’t have the nicest car in the class. ;)

        • Matt says:

          The 944 is packed in there, and “unique” as well. Interference engine and a transaxle… Timing belt changes have to be done on the dot, and replacing a clutch requires dropping out the whole rear subframe. Parts prices are sheer murder too. I think you made the right choice. :)

          And for the record, I’d take a V6 Camaro over a 318i (probably auto too). So you did have the nicest car after all. :)

  2. Shawn says:

    Great post – I have a coworker that gets double bonus points on the Toyota. Not only is his Highlander a Hybrid but it also has the thought-it-died-in-the-90s GOLD package added to all the trim/badges. As you can imagine he knows absolutely nothing about cars and just picked this one because it was priced higher than the others.

    • Matt says:

      I think there are many duplicates of your coworker in every town…

      Can’t stand the “gold package,” especially on otherwise nice-looking cars like the first-gen SC coupes.

      • John D says:

        For some reason it seems that most ‘gold package’ cars I see are Toyotas…with the occasional Cadillac.

  3. Shawn says:

    As for Toyota embracing their status as cars for people who don’t care about cars:

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